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This is exactly right. Hello, hello and welcome back. Is that so we're looking forward it and it all my favorite time I've ever murder murder.


And that's Karen Kilgariff. That is Georgia Hard Star. Hi.


Hi. How are you? Good. How are you?


I have a tension in my neck. Shoulder, huh? And so sometimes I can't lift my arm and then sometimes I do lift my arm anyway. And it makes a popping sound. You know, lifting your arm was like math. You never use it in your adult life. Right.


That's the thing is you do not need your shoulder. Do not need to lift your arm. You're not at a concert. You're not going to concert.


You're not you're not fucking hailing a cab. I was told to put my hands in the air like I don't care and I don't care. So I just needed to indicate it. Yeah. If Freebird comes on, you can hold your lighter up with your other hand. You don't click. Yeah. What's up? A mini trampoline behind you.


Oh, thanks for clearing my lymphatic system. Remember long ago when we were in Sweden and we got serious massages on my birthday? Yes, because that's somehow the life we're leading now.


So ridiculous. Quick update in our lives. We've done that. Remember how we used to tour in Europe? So the the second my Swedish massage therapist looked at me, she was like, you need lymphatic drainage, like from the doorway. And that's a really good way to do it. Oh, I did. I've been on like three of those mini trampolines in my life doing that. I'm going to trampoline as a as an exercise and but I've done it in studio apartments.


So after two months, if I haven't used it, I get rid of them or like give it to goodwill or whatever. So this I'm going to buy one. I know it. So it's going to be my like fourth.


You know what's interesting, too, is it is harder than you think.


The second you start, you're like, oh, what the hell, you really are doing something. And you could do like, yes, one hundred percent trampoline. It's cool. It's our new book club is everyone get a trampoline, mini trampoline. We're all going to start working out on the trampoline. Let's do it. We'll report back about it. Then we'll act like we never started it. Don't worry about it. We're here for you every week.


Give it away to charity and you're done and give it away the end. What have you been up to besides wishing you had a mini Capling? Let's see. I can tell you that I listened. You text me over the weekend a you have to listen to these episodes of our still favorite podcast. This is actually happening. We're so good spokes models for this podcast, but it's worth it's so good and so good. So many. So the one that I listened to was what if you refuse to be annihilated, right?


Episode one twenty three.


Oh. Oh my God. It's so perfect. Every word she was saying, I was just like, I love her. She's what's happening. All the quiet. Was this possible. The quote in the episode notes that she says is, I believe that people like me that have experienced trauma, I think were the ones that need to save the world, were the ones that actually know everything about innocence.


That made me feel so many feels as someone has always felt a little broken because I did and went through so much as a young person and made so many mistakes, I felt like I wasn't allowed to be involved and have good things.


And like I already spent all my shit, I spent my karma, I spent my good vibes. Yeah. And that was just like, no, no, no, you went through that shit. And so now you have a better understanding of it.


You are now you you that experience is what graduated you into humanity, into the brotherhood of human beings. That's how we're connected. That's what we have in common is shame. That hideous cringe like it's just me and I'm bad that yeah. Every person has it. That's the thing. And that's the thing that I think makes empathy. It has to be a choice. And it's hard is because you have to acknowledge your own before you can go. Oh, I now see it in you now I get it.


I get what's going on with you and it doesn't make me a broken person. Well, so the woman who is, you know, the subject of the subject episode, Rene Dunfield. So now I downloaded her her book because she, of course, became a writer, which is part of the narrative called The Child Finder. And I'm so I'm just completely enmeshed. I'm so into it.


And that's her second book, The Child Finder, because there's a couple books. Her first book, she immediately got all these awards. Yeah. Like she is. You have to hear the story, you guys. It's what a great podcast. Yes. Such a what a great feeling. So that's what I'm doing. What are you doing. Nice. I just started I realized I have a thing where I really need a series to be in the middle of.


Yes. Because when I finish a series I get a little dip. It's now I'm lost. There's like a big void between where it's like, what are you doing? Thing, then you search and like if you try to start one and it doesn't work, it's like it's like going on a bad date where you're like, I'm like, I guess I'm the one I give up for now. So I hooked into a new one. And it is I've heard I heard people talk about it on Twitter.


It's the one time a while ago and I ah, I forgot until you said is it I may destroy you know, but it's incredible. The HBO series were there. It has to happen. It's on. It's on. You will love it. It's completely games like right up your alley. Yes. And I, you know what it was I had been kind of going to what I knew worked for me, which was Scandinavian procedurals saying I'm insane.


But it really they did something exact for me that I was like, no, I just want this. It's like when you just want to eat the one dish over and over kind of thing. And then the other day, like the last one, the foreigners that I loved so much, it was over and I was kind of just like, well, I might as well, because the Foreigners was on an HBO series, HBO Europe. So I was like, well, I'll just go tried and true.


We know HBO, they make hits. That's what they do. And there was I may destroy you. And I remembered so many people going like, this is so good. And just right away I was like, I love her. I want to be friends with her. I have been this girl like is really great and but also completely not. And the fact that it's her, you know, her real experience, it's her life. It's not.


Yes. It's not an actress.


They hire date. It's really impressive. She's a really cool, impressive. It's fascinating.


OK, we're going to do it. I this. What is it. I might destroy you. I may destroy a destroyer. Well in a completely different realm of life. And being Vincent I have watched it the first one as a joke and then are fucking in it. Kobrick high overlooking Netflix. It's like yes it's like the it's like Karate Kid that we all know and love. If you guys have the original Karate Kid, watch it.


It's the two of them grown up and fight and fuck and fighting their adult battles.


RATCH Ralph Macchio and the blonde main guy that was the blonde main guy in every eighties movie.


Yes, it's them as grown ups and like the key when they're like remembering things from their childhood, they actually flashback to the fucking movie they're able to like.


It's so good and weird and kopra kind of writing it down. I recommend it. But you got to watch Karate Kid first. Yes. If you haven't seen it, you won't get it. The Karate Kid, which has one of the greatest Halloween costumes ever. It's in the new one. It's fucking featured out there. Oh, yes. It's so good. Like this one son is getting a lot like it's almost like a nine to one equi.


And it's like cheesy drama. But then it gets so good in, like, understanding of the human condition and like, you know, and love and family.


And it's so good. Oh my God.


That's I haven't even heard of it. I didn't know, although I did. I saw an article about about Ralph Macchio, you know, a couple of weeks ago. But I think because not not like spending so much time on social media, I just thought it was like we're digging in the past because we need to write stories about something now.


And so I love that it's always theirs and they always the same. They're like, it's Billy is the guy blond guy's named Billy. Billy Zabaleta. Zamka. Yes, yes. Thank you, Spreecast. To everyone's like just so good. It's fucking and such a good idea. Yeah. It's such a good idea. There's a lot of corny like bits of it, but it's really it's touching to hey you know what, I love corn. Yeah.


So really quick, before we get into the details of this episode, we want to quickly let you guys know that we have heard you and we have responded to you as we love to do, love to do by putting out fuck you, I'm single sweatpants.


Yes, they are. And you know what?


My favorite murder, dotcom and the store. And we I think we have now married, divorced and single, right. Yeah. What more do we Wytheville. We should go fuck you. I'm other or just like a blank line. You can write it in with a sharpie. Yeah. So we're excited because we're doing a special show, a special what do we call these. Georgia an episode. God damn you.


Interview conversations. Conversations with conversations with them. It's us right.


These we're always in conversations with Karen and George and then a third party. We can't I can't. I have to make sure people understand that I'm in this too. Conversations with. Yeah. Elipse ellipses. Questionmark in parentheses. Smiley face. Yeah. So some of you may have seen this go down on social media. We'll get into the actual discussion of it. But David Rudolph reached out to us and basically he's the the defense lawyer from the foundational documentary series The Case.


That's right. It's basically how we bonded the first time we ever met. They're not met. But the first time we actually, like I think became friends was at a Halloween party. And we just started talking about the staircase. I think it just come on. We were both obsessed with it. Theories, theories abound. I changed my mind about my conclusion multiple times that night, as I want to do. We've discussed it ad nauseum. We have talked about guilt and innocence ad nauseum, as you know.


So when I first got this tweet sent to me, it was a little bit scary. Yeah, it was. It felt like it could potentially be confrontational. And then I realized I doubt it. So we reached out and you'll hear everything else because we talk about all of it in this interview. So it's really special. We hope you guys like it. We had such a blast talking to David and Sonya like such incredible, brilliant people. Yeah.


So please enjoy our conversation with David Rudolf and Sonya Phifer of the Abuse of Power podcast. OK, so this is a very exciting special episode that we are doing today. So we'll give you a little background on on how we got here. Georgiade, do you remember the I believe it was four thirty in the morning when I texted you. I sent a screenshot to Georgia because I of course, woke up in the middle of the night and started reading Twitter and saw that I had a message from one David Rudolph that said, Karen, this is David Rudolph.


I represented Michael Peterson in the Netflix dock, the staircase. Could you please me when you have a minute? Thanks, David.


And then I panicked just before I broke out in a cold sweat and then in character defamation of character where it's all over, it's over.


And then I remembered the great line from Michael Clayton when the guy the phone rings and the the the client goes, oh, is that the cops? And then Michael Clayton goes, no, they don't call. And so I thought would a defense Michael Peterson, defense attorney, tweetup me to let me know that he was going to sue us for some reason, or would he actually just go ahead and do it and not warn me in any way? So that's when we Emden said, hi, what's up?


And then of course, basically we had a nice conversation and we got here. So it's really nice to know, David, that this you wanted to talk to us. Our guest today, David Rudolph and Sonya Phifer, were the hosts of the brand new podcast Abuse of Power. And they're here to talk to us today about basically a whole range of things, I would assume. How are you guys doing?


We're doing great. Well, I'm getting better. I'm recovering from a day of fifth grade with my daughter. Oh, wow.


Well, also attending a remote deposition and managing a five month old puppy, cooking breakfast and lunch and clean up until you're having a chill. Just an easy day. Yeah.


Yeah. She just needs a bottle of wine, don't we all. Yeah.


It's almost twenty in the afternoon. That sounds about time. Well, thanks for being on you guys.


We're so excited. And we we've already talked about this that we bet you guys are so sick of talking about staircase. So we all want to talk about that. But we also want to know everything about the new podcast and what an amazing thing you guys are doing for justice for. Yeah, we're so fascinated, but we don't know how much, David, you know about the fact that the staircase documentary is basically the reason that George and I first met and like and bonded over talking about and arguing about that documentary.


It was is big.


I had heard that I was going to ask you about that because that was the rumor that was going around. But but I never was able to confirm it. So it's nice to hear that that, in fact, was true. Oh, yeah.


We started talking about it at a party and just never stopped. That was four and a half years ago and we never stop talking about it. Yeah, really.


So so for better or worse, I'm responsible or at least you're a big part of it. All right. You're fighting about. Well, we just we have lots of different you know, basically this podcast started because we both realized that art entirely an expert opinion on these, like this whole wave of true crime documentaries, because The Jinx came out, like around the same time and there's, you know, a whole bunch of them. But there was so much to discuss that.


We felt like what we thought versus what reality is or what the truth is or what how the legal system works, and I think that the staircase is a great example of a documentary where you are led in a direction and then you get to a place and then suddenly you're taking a hard left and going in a totally different direction, the way they reveal the different things that were going on inside that courtroom with those experts, with all that stuff. I mean, it's truly fascinating.


And yeah, so we were just thinking we could talk to you a little bit since we have you. We could just like, is there anything off the top that you think we or people in general kind of got wrong about that case?


If we only knew it from the documents, you were there too. So, yes, Sonja Sonja reported on it.


So maybe she has a more objective view that true?


Well, I mean, I think you probably could answer that. What did people get wrong? And I think that depends on what your point of view is in terms of, you know, was it the right outcome or the wrong outcome, the jury verdict and the way it resolved. What I can tell you from being a reporter is that when that verdict came in to this day, I remember the moment where they said guilty and everyone was ready to go out to their live shots.


But it was like a freeze frame. I mean, I looked at this reporter next to me who was, you know, a rival reporter fighting for the same stories and the same scoops.


And she and I looked each other like, oh, my God, how did that happen?


Because it didn't really matter whether you thought Peterson was an odd guy, whether you thought the stuff that came in maybe Manono could have done it. The truth of the matter is there was enormous reasonable doubt. And even as a layperson at the time, I'm a practicing attorney now. But then as a journalist, I thought for sure it was going to be a not guilty.


So I think that if you covered it day in and day out and you saw what the evidence was and what the evidence wasn't, you were shocked at the verdict. Because if we believe our system does, in fact work, you are supposed to vote for a reasonable doubt. And there were many, many reasonable doubts. But I guess I'm wondering what you think people's take away from it is. And when you say, what do people get wrong?


Yeah, it's a little hard for me to say what people got wrong. You know, from my perspective, the outcome or somebody, you know, sort of deciding what happened was really not the point for me. For me, it was.


Let me show you how the criminal justice system actually worked and let me show you what criminal defense lawyers actually do instead of how they're portrayed in popular culture. And so for me, what the result was, whether somebody thinks Michael is guilty or not guilty is really besides the point. I think, you know, I think it's important that people come away with, wow, you know, that sort of seemed like reasonable doubt. I think that's important. And I think it's important for them to come away recognizing that expert testimony can be fraudulent.


And, yeah, at the moment, I think what Karen and I and our you know, we'll tell you the evidence and that's it. There's no nuance. There's no you know, there's no us deciding whether there's reasonable doubt or not or whether, you know, the expert. We hear the word expert and we're like, well, then they're right.


Yeah, it's blind. Yeah.


That's not that's case that moment in that documentary, you know, that reveal about the blood spatter expert, it was jaw dropping. I mean, that was that thing where you as a person who likes to follow true crime and is very interested in it, those are those things where you're like that assumption that this is the expert and the expert doesn't lie and the expert is an expert, knows exactly what they're talking about, the whole reveal of the stuff he was doing at his house and everything, it was just like, oh, my God, this can't be.


And I think that's total naiveté. But it was such a fascinating element. I mean, it must have David driven you insane in that.


Well, I can remember watching those videotapes of him doing these experiments and thinking to myself, this is ridiculous. I mean, they're never going to show these to the jury.


I'm going to have to show these to the jury to show them how stupid it is. And then they put them on the stand and they're showing the experiments. You know, it was it was it was amazing to me. And then, of course, you know, the little victory dance at the end when they finally get the spatter right.


You know, and so for me, it's important that you all had that drop, jaw dropping moment. I think a lot of people have. I think the same thing happened in making a murder with the Brendan Dasi interrogation. I think a lot of people had no idea that those interrogations can go like that. And there's a lot of other similar things that are that are finally being exposed through these documentaries.


So I think, you know, what got left on the cutting room floor is Sammy Shibani. Oh, yes. If you thought that Deaver was jaw dropping, there was another expert that they brought on that David Cross examined. It turned out the guy, like, completely fabricated his resume. He said that he graduated from Temple or taught at Temple. He taught at Yale. Yeah. You said he graduated from Oxford. We're not sure about that. Right.


But he was doing experiments with just like Deaver was trying to recreate the blood spatter, this guy, Sammy Sheibani, was doing experiments in another case to try to simulate a drowning where he was taking people's heads. Real people who volunteered for this put them in a toilet to see they could stay in the toilet and they could drown that way. No, it's it's one it's one of the great video clips of all time. It's it's unfortunate. I can't show it to you right here, but it's it's a jury saw that.


Yes. In the real case, they they saw him testify and then his testimony was stricken because he had made up his credentials.


But they see this. And so, like from the reporter's point of view, all of this stuff has been in front of the jury. And even though the jury is told will disregard that, I mean, let's just talk about the experts alone. You watched what you saw Deaver do. Then couple that with this other guy, Sammy Shibani, who was an absolute joke. And you recognize that if the jury saw this, there's no way they can believe this because this is baloney.


This is obviously baloney. But the fact that their verdict hinged on Deaver's blood spatter evidence and in particular the stuff that he said was inside Peterson's shorts, it was shocking. It was shocking that people would believe that. But I actually think the reality is what did it for these jurors at that time was, you know, the bisexuality and and so that that was what did it. They didn't like it. They didn't like Michael. He was already an outsider.


And I think that the jury was made up of enough people who were persuaded in that way. And also, you know, from from the Germany stuff didn't help the German stuff to hell.


Right. I mean, that's another trial within a trial. Yeah.


And I think, you know, you asked me earlier, what what do people get wrong about almost everybody who watches that says, well, he killed his first wife.


Oh, that's right. You know, everybody you know, it was his wife's best friend.


And and, you know, actually, the wife who he divorced was very alive at the time of the trial and was there in the courtroom supporting as a defense attorney, you wish that the you know, the jury knew going in or, you know, a level of understanding.


Is it better if they are, you know, true crime aficionados are better if they're just coming in without any knowledge of, you know, what an expert testimony means or, you know, what do you look for?


Well, you know, back then, no one had seen true crime documentaries.


It was the it was all, you know, so so CSI and stuff like that. They were basing it on shows that were complete fiction. Right. So the truth is, I think that somebody who has watched true crime documentaries, I mean, really well done documentaries like West Memphis Three or Making a Murderer or the Staircase Man, innocent man, people who have watched those I think are going to make much better jurors, much fairer jurors, because they understand that they can't take everything at face value.


Right. So they're educated jurors. And indeed, part of the reason why I went around, I didn't draw the crowds you drew. But part of the reason I went and spoke was to to sort of send that message that, you know, listen, folks, you're now an educated consumer of criminal trials. And so you need to serve and you need to let other people know what you know, because it really makes a difference, I think. Yeah.


I mean, you did get that feeling after the, I guess, escort testified where it I got that sense of like, oh, no, this is going to be the thing that sticks no matter what else they hear and the thing that although unrelated in terms of what the crime is that is on trial for, this is just the thing that's going to make people go moral or immoral. Well, then here we have it like it.


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Can we ask about Ye Olde Owl theory and sure, your thoughts on that? Well, I see some owls behind you there on your wall, flowers, flowers, all those flowers. But, you know, like everywhere you see feel like I'm not doing that.


You know, I scoffed at that theory when I first heard it, just like everybody else did. And I heard it, you know, like two days before my closing argument, you know, at a time when, as I told Larry Pollard, even if I wanted to use that, I can't because there's no evidence of owls in the case. And I scoffed at it because Larry really didn't rule it out very well. You know, he he rolled it out before he had expert support for that theory.


And so people were able to make a joke out of it. And that's what happened. It became a running joke in in Durham and then other places. The truth of the matter is that when you when you really get into it and you start looking at, you know, pictures of people who have been attacked by owls, when you start looking at stories of people being attacked by owls, you realize that this is this is a real phenomenon. You look at her wounds, you look at some of the evidence that was at the scene, like drops of blood outside the house, a feather, you know, in her hair, a twig on the steps.


All of these things that, you know, back in the day, I sort of wrote off as, you know, inconsequential take on a whole different light when you're looking at it through the lens of an owl theory. Now, you know, I think a lot of people have this idea that the owl theory means that the owl was in the house and you know, what happened to it and where is it? The owl theory was never that it was in the house.


It was that she walked outside and when she walked outside, an owl swooped down and then she ran in bleeding.


So, look, you know, can I tell you that's what happened? No, but can I tell you, it's at least as likely, if not more likely than the blow poke? Absolutely. I mean, the blow poke theory never made any sense, particularly after we found the blow poke.


Right, right now. And you mentioned the wounds. And I mean, I'll tell you that from the reporter's standpoint, I remember everybody getting the autopsy photos and looking at these very odd wounds on the back of her head, which looked like a Talon. And there's like three prongs and they come down to a single point. No one could figure out how does that happen? And if it is like a split, like her head was hit on something, then how does she not have, you know, any edema or anything like that?


It didn't make any sense. And then there was also subsequent information that there were, in fact, owls and owls had attacked people in the area. And now that we have social media and ways of sharing this information, you see this owl attacks on animals, on people all over the place and Durham and the triangle. And didn't you just post a.


Oh, yeah, somebody sent me this picture of a dog that had been attacked by an owl.


And when you looked at the wounds, they were like identical. It's true. This theory has taught us that owls are jerks. Really more than.


Exactly. Well, you know, there's an owl that lives outside of our house here in Charlotte. And you can hear me. I don't know what canal it is, but you can hear them at night. The and and when I'm walking the dog, you know, we have you fairly not a tiny bore dog, but a small dog is scary.


You know, now that I know I'm frightened about it. It would be so ironic if you got attacked by an owl like that. It would just be. Boy, wouldn't it be. Yeah, yeah. You're like, not me. I'm not the guy I'm on your side. But, you know, that's actually a really good point. Talking about social media, because I bet this has changed reporting a lot, but also the way cases work this way where everybody is getting an education kind of real time.


We talk about it a lot, having followed true crime TV like cold case files, Dateline shows like that from eighties and nineties. Yeah. Where these you don't know you only know what the people who are in charge are telling you. You kind end. So as we used to talk about how in the beginning there would be there would always be reenactments in these true crime shows that were really kind of salacious. And they would they would there would be a lot of like blonde girls in red bras being stabbed for a long time where I remember watching it and just being like, why are we still in this spot?


Like, this is gross and not not processing that. Like what we're getting is based on who's giving it to us. It's not the expert. It's not these aren't the people that know best. It's just the people that have elected to. Is this story, and it's starting to feel that that's kind of the same, we're all our eyes are opening overall as a culture to seeing what a small group of people have been in charge for so long and how they've kind of we only know what they let us know.


So it's like not until cameras have been in the courtroom do we know the kind of insane high jinks that go on in a courtroom that I would have assumed before that couldn't happen.


Well, and it's not just in the courtroom. How about, you know, Black Lives Matter and shootings? You know, I knew I've known for decades that police abuse minorities. I saw it when I was a public defender in New York. My clients would come in, they'd be totally beaten up, and they'd invariably be charged with resisting arrest, you know, and they tell me, I didn't do I they just beat the crap out of me.


And so I knew about this stuff, but all of you didn't. Now, with cell phones and social media, all of a sudden people see it for themselves. And you know what was so powerful about what happened in Minnesota and now what happened in Kenosha is how raw that is. You know, how how cruel and how and, you know, it's just shocking. But, you know, this stuff has gone on for decades. It's just that none of us knew about it.


And I was going to say, I don't know if you saw the story yesterday about the 13 year old autistic boy in Salt Lake.


Yeah, his mom called for help because he was acting out in the house and the Salt Lake police arrive and they shoot him.


You know, I mean, part of it is I think that the police have become sort of militarized and they no longer view themselves as sort of helping the community. They view themselves as keeping law and order, period, and particularly order. And so, you know, I think that's a real problem. And, you know, our eyes have been open to all of that by social media and by cell phones, really. And so, you know, the first step is recognizing your implicit bias and then trying to to work through that.


So I think that's part of it, is that police officers, like everybody else, have implicit biases. And then the training is is really not you need de-escalation training. You don't need giving police officers bazookas and, you know, armored vehicles.


Well, beyond that, though, I mean, the training piece actually goes all the way back to basic law enforcement training before we even get to de-escalate in training. What we need to talk about is how police officers are entered into the academy and essentially taught that their lives are in jeopardy every day that they're out on the street. That's not community based policing. That's not protecting and serving your community. So I think part of the problem is, yes, training at a fundamental level is not started from a place of we are here to serve the community.


We are here to create relationships with people in the community. If you think about the best policing practices that nobody will dispute, it is when the officers who are in a neighborhood know the neighborhood. Let's take what happened to Jacob Blake, OK? I don't know all of the circumstances and who called what end. Right. But if you have neighborhood police who know Jacob Blake, you know that there might be some history and they know that there's been a call about domestic violence or whatever the case may be, if they already know him as a human being and they have seen him in other circumstances other than a mug shot, which, by the way, they didn't know, I don't think, before they shot him.


But if you have in your mind a human being in front of you rather than an object and you understand something about that person's life, you treat them like a human being and not like an object. And so I think that the training starts with basic empathy training. And I don't mean that in a corny way. I mean in a very real way. And I think it also begins with the training about systemic racism and systemic biases, because it is it is simple, but it's complicated.


It's simple and that we live in a society that was purposely set up to discriminate against anyone who is not a white male and a white straight male at that. And we have to recognize that. And when that society works well, we have the outcomes that we have now. And so we have to begin to break down that entire system. And it won't happen quickly because it's taken hundreds of years to get here and it was purposeful. So what do we do?


You know, I mean, you have these officers who are already operating within a structure that is meant to discriminate, that is meant to perpetuate racism and sexism. And you have them trained to believe that their lives are in jeopardy when they're on the street. That's a toxic combination. And so I think that, yeah, we need better training. We do need more money in police departments. But for the right things, we need to take away these things that were meant to combat terrorists.


And we need to really get down to the. Basics of community policing and what that means and then have things like de-escalation training so that you recognize when a person is mentally ill, you don't put a spit bag over their head, you know?


Yeah, yeah. It's it's also interesting, the thing I learned and had no idea because of the Black Lives Matter protests and the and the activism that came out of that was the size of police budgets compared to all the other services in a city and how insanely like, you know, ten times the size and. Oh, yes, large cities, which is it's especially here in Los Angeles where homelessness is so rampant. And so it's such a huge problem.


There's so many people that need help and the services like the money isn't there. And yet it's all the money is there for these for the police. I mean, it's it's really surprising. But but also there's the study that they've been doing or sorry, they've been put into practice. I just read this article this morning. So sorry. I won't be able to remember the city. It might be in Wisconsin, though, or but they started sending a social worker and a paramedic to 911 calls that weren't direct danger.


And one percent of the time those people needed to actual police presence. That's the I thought that was such an amazing piece of information of like a lot of the time when people call 911, when they don't need guns drawn, they don't. That's not what they're looking for.


Right. Right, right. Right. Yeah. Well, as with that woman in Salt Lake, I mean, she certainly didn't need police with guns. What she needed was a social worker.


Yeah, right. Had she known that was going to be the outcome, you know, she wouldn't have called. It's so sad.


Well, imagine her guilt for the rest of her life. It's it's horrifying. What's what's, you know, like, you know, as the public about when we call 911, when our when we're arrested or I think that when when and if you're arrested, I think the first thing is don't talk. Right. Don't talk. Be quiet. Stop talk. Don't answer questions. Get a lawyer. Yeah. Do not talk. I mean, it is just.


But even then you're probably innocent. Don't talk because whatever you say, they'll find a way to make it sound like you did do what they said you did. But you know, the real problem and I think what's at the root of most wrongful convictions and wrongful arrest, which is probably a wrongful arrest, don't get a lot of media play.


But there's no in your life they stole somebody's life and they're probably a lot more prevalent. At root, it's about confirmation bias. It's about a police officer having the idea and arrogance a little bit. It's the idea that, oh, I know what happened here. And so I'm going to act on that. And then confirmation bias kicks in and you sort of ignore anything that's inconsistent with your theory and you focus in on the facts that are consistent with your theory.


And that, I think, is, you know, you can talk about false confessions, you can talk about all kinds of ways in which the the conviction goes bad, but it's all rooted in confirmation bias.


It's your question about 9/11 one. I mean, what do people know? I actually think that there's frighteningly there's not a good answer, because what just happened in Salt Lake City, you know, that I think really begins to shake those who have put themselves in a place of privilege before and felt like that couldn't happen to me.


Well, here's what I'll tell you that you probably don't know about nine one one operators, nine one one operators are trained to investigate the call.


So when somebody calls in, once they dispatch to the scene, then they're on the phone and they're trained to, in essence, do a interrogation. And so if you're on the phone and you're panicked because you're in this horrendous situation and they're asking you questions, that's not just random questions.


It's not just to sort of keep you calm. They are doing the preliminary investigation and then whatever you say on the phone is going to end up being used against you.


Most people have no idea. I know. I never thought about that either. About that.


Well, in your in your in the podcast and abuse of power, you guys are are specifically telling stories of these people who were, you know, who the investigators had tunnel vision or, you know, they talked when they shouldn't have. What made you guys want to focus on those cases?


You know, it's not so much focusing on the the cases are a storytelling. Device, you know, any time you want to educate, it's always good to have a narrative, a story to tell it, it's sort of a hook that people will stay interested in. But for us, it was really about illuminating the kinds of abuses that we see every day by people who are in positions of authority.


And it doesn't just relate to the police. It relates to prosecutors as it relates to judges, as it relates to politicians. You know, we can go on and on and we're all seeing, you know, the abuse of power on a daily basis now. And it's dangerous.


And so for me at least, I started feeling this about three and a half years ago that we were in for a rough go here in terms of the rule of law. And so for me, this abuse of power podcast is not just about wrongful convictions. No, we want it to be a lot broader than that. We want to talk about things like bail reform and, you know, the kind of abuses that you see with bail. You know, there's there's lots of things that don't relate to wrongful convictions that are still abuses of power both in the criminal justice system and in society at large.


And that's really what we ultimately want to really focus this podcast on. It's great.


It's a fascinating thing to actually start really analyzing. And I'm glad you guys are basically opening up on the other side because I feel like we haven't heard.


This is the side we need to be hearing from in in true crime is the people that actually know in the day to day what this is like and what is actually going on.


Yeah, well, you know, part of what's part of what's nice now is that people don't have to take our word for it. You know, they can watch a documentary and they can see for themselves that police can be abusive in how they interrogate a 16 year old with mental problems. You know, I don't have to convince anybody that that happens.


They've seen it. Yeah. So that's that's that's a very important thing.


Having a background in journalism originally, what role do you think the media in journalism plays?


I mean, we were talking earlier about social media, and I really think that that has vastly changed everything, including how reporters view their job because they constantly have to be, you know, tweeting updates or sending in, you know, new video. And I think that's really dangerous. But one of the large reasons I got out of reporting is because I felt as though it was such a squandered opportunity. I really believe that good reporting, whether it's in print or on radio or on television, has such an incredible opportunity to educate and enlighten people, to inspire people and to really get to the truth of something.


So I think that that the media and when I speak about the media, I'm referring to journalists with a capital J. I think there there's enormous value to journalists in our society. I personally am very frightened by how that institution has been chipped away at over the past three and a half years. And how much doubt is out there about what you are hearing in whatever your choice of information is? I think when it comes to criminal cases, there's an enormous responsibility.


And I certainly recognize once I became a criminal defense lawyer that there were a number of things I did as a reporter that made me a very good reporter, but actually were kind of unfair when. Exactly. Exactly. You just you just suggested by the time that he yelled at me, I was sort of like six, 10 and see my phone ringing me like hello when I take the phone away. Do you know what you just did to my client?


Now, but I mean, in all fairness, was this before you were in a relationship or during the trial? Yeah, I know. I look and I'm with him like, oh, I love it. Yes.


But, you know, there are a lot of things that you do. So, for instance, I mean, one of the stories that I broke was the story of soldier top of the get a gay male escort. And that was something that the defense team was fighting to keep out of court. And there was a motion hearing about that saying, I am going and I'm reporting to the public about the motion hearing and about Soldier Top. And actually, I think it was before the jury was sworn.


But well, not no, not only that, but like even even if it had been. The other thing is, whatever you report, the jury wasn't sequestered.


And so all of these things that a lawyer is trying to do and look, and it could be the prosecution also either side, they are trying to have a fair trial. And when the media has the ability to report to the public at large things that. The lawyers believe should not be a part of the trial and might even be kept out because they are not reliable, they should not qualify as evidence by the jury, you you still taint the jury because any splashy headlines or whether it's on TV or whether it's in the newspaper and you I mean, like many times, juries aren't sequestered, but even when they are, how do you keep anybody off their cell phone these days?


So I think that well, it's challenging because you have a responsibility as a journalist to get the story, as a reporter to tell, you know, but where is that balance? We don't have the same sort of rules that exist in other places like England where, you know, your mouth shut.


You know, somebody else turns the hard way, actually. Yeah, we learned about that, right? Oh, I got that. You're talking about the nanny. What did you guys do? Well, we haven't talked about this.


But Karen, can we should we share?


I mean, sure. I don't think because we're out of the we're in the clear now. But we did it we did a bunch of shows in the U.K. and Georgia talked about a case that had just been reopened. And we had we toured the UK twice. We had no idea that you cannot talk about open cases like that in the media.


So I came in representing you guys in the UK. We are very close. We're very close.


But we and we had posted it and we pulled it down and we got a letter from the Crown saying from the from the Crown Court in contempt by being in contempt.


We sent in the recording of the episode and then they everybody got to listen to it and they decided we were not. It basically we were two idiots. But that idea that in England they're like, oh, no, no, you don't get to that's not your right.


Yeah, well, and here's the thing. In the United States, the the First Amendment, forgive the word always trumps due process. Yeah. So, you know, due process is a right to a fair trial.


And every time I argue that a courtroom should be closed so that the public doesn't find out about a fact that may not go to the jury, the the lawyers for the newspaper or the TV station come in and start yelling about the First Amendment and the public's right to know and blah, blah, blah.


And and it's there. But there needs to be a balance. And in the United States, there is no balance. The First Amendment sort of trumps anything having to do with due process in England because they don't have a First Amendment due process actually controls. And that's the basis of the distinction between the two countries.


And, you know, look, you may remember a certain reporter standing out in a cemetery when a body is being taken out of a grave reporting there about, you know, they're lifting the casket out, you know, and and then following it back to to Chapel Hill.


You know, that was a media show and it was all done two weeks before trial. And the jury had all gotten their notices. So they all knew they were going to be jurors. And, you know, then here comes the autopsy report. Oh, it's a it's a homicide. You know, and we tried to seal that and it wouldn't be sealed, so how do you how do you get a fair trial under those circumstances? And it's all her fault.


So you married or married her.


You really you know what you say. If you can't beat them, join them, right? Yes.


But wouldn't you say I mean, like my first reaction to hearing that, although I absolutely understand the point, but aren't there times where the media are the ones that are breaking this information that if it were up to defense lawyers, we'd never hear about anything that they didn't, you know, that was not positive for their client, which isn't always serving the reality of.


Let me answer so you don't have to go ahead. Go ahead. It would be an honor to be yelled at. He's going to deserve it. Here's the thing. I hear what you're saying. And so when David said, you know, that a fact doesn't in fact, that's not going to go to the jury is kept out. What you have to remember about a criminal trial is that the only things that are supposed to be considered by a jury are relevant, admissible factors.


And a perfect example is the relationship that Michael Peterson had with this guy soldier, these emails that they exchanged, the guy's never actually even met. What relevance did that have at all? It had no relevance, but it got to the jury. And I believe that's what turned the jury. I mean, look, I get that weird, OK? So he knew this person who died at the bottom of the staircase in German, again, not his wife.


Let's be clear, not his wife. That is an important distinction because. Important because it isn't. So for that reason, it wasn't the same. This was fully investigated by German authorities. Can you think of anybody on the planet who was more thorough than a German with police power? I mean, come on. And there was you know, there was no blood at the scene. It was incredibly different from what happened to Kathleen Peterson. And so, sure, once you hear it and you see it in the documentary, you think to yourself, well, of course, they needed to hear that because it's so similar, but it's not that similar and it's not relevant.


And there's actually a legal test that you're supposed to run it through and it doesn't pass the legal test.


Well, in the judge, if you're if you remember the judge eight years later said, oh, I guess I shouldn't have let that in. And the same thing with with Brent. Yes.


Same thing with the way he admits.


OK, but because I think, you know, as a as a as a observer, I think two people dying at the bottom, two women that are you're close to in your life, dying at the bottom of the stairs. Whether or not it's your wife or not someone you're close to is an incredible coincidence. Coincidence, but nothing to do with it. But here's well, here's the deal. Yeah. First of all, there was no evidence that Michael had anything to do with the death in Germany.




OK, no evidence. Second of all, was never even looked at. Second of all, she died of a brain hemorrhage, not of, you know, some sort of trauma. And beyond that, there was no blood at the scene. You know, these women came in and testified about all this bloody scene we had. And it's not in the documentary. We actually had the army police officer who went to the scene and wrote a report and we had the report and he testified.


And there was no blood at the scene. Yeah, that didn't make it into the documentary, but that made it in front of the jury. So. And then what are the similarities? I mean, because because she's found the bottom of the set of stairs, that that means that she died as a result of a fall or some crime. She was actually found right by the front door. You know, in that particular house. It's a very small house.


You walk in the front door, you're at the bottom of the front of the stairs.


Right. Right. I can tell you what it has done is that my husband and I moved into our house that has a concrete set of stairs inside.


And I will not walk down behind in front of him, if that's what it's taught me.


Well, actually, he should he should make sure that he doesn't walk behind you.


I know I won't kill him, but I don't know his.


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You know, one thing that's always driven me crazy about the cases that we that have the get overturned is when I finally I finally find there's a lot that the prosecutor didn't turn over all the evidence or the investigators don't turn over all the evidence. Is that something that you run across frequently just all the time?


Really laughable all the time. I mean, you know, we have we have three cases right now where we're suing police officers for exactly that reason. You know, we sure want one person served. Forty two years, one person served twenty five years, and the other person served thirty three years. And in each case, the police had exculpatory evidence. Well, if you if you listen to the podcast, Tim Bridges, which is a first the first episode about a case, Tim did twenty five years and the prosecutor I'm sorry, the police had a had a note that somebody else had been confessing in a jail in the next county and never turned that over to the prosecutor.


So it never got to defense counsel. Well, that's the thing where they want to. It's their caller, right? It's that weird culture. It's the police culture why they don't share evidence with with other counties or whatever. I mean, this is obviously half from movies, but it's that idea that it was my arrest. I got the guy. It worked. It's good. And then they just keep working to keep that.


Well, it's partly confirmation bias. And it's probably by the time by the time they found that out, Tim had already been arrested because of confirmation bias.


So now what do they do?


They've got this man arrested for other reasons, too. Well, I mean, that was sort of like Tim got arrested because they hadn't arrested somebody for many, many months in a horrible crime. And this is always the case. They're always horrible. It was the eighty three year old who was raped and beaten on Mother's Day. She was wheelchair bound the next day by her sister. That's horrible. So you get a case like that and the cops don't find anybody.


And Tim wasn't arrested for six, four months. Yeah, I mean, for months.


But the community is freaking out. Right? Right.


But but the point is that by the time that tip came in that there was a guy in the jail next county who was confessing to this. Tim had already been arrested. So now what does the police what does the cop do? Does he say, oh, gee, I'm sorry, you've been in jail for six months, but I made a mistake? Or does he or does he or she just put that tip to one side and keep on going?


You'd like to think that they go to the guy and say, sorry, but that's not human nature.


No. And it's not it's not police culture.


I think there's that whole part of it, too, that is well, they they convince themselves, oh, that that's that guy is just probably crazy. You know, he's just saying that because he read in the newspaper. So he didn't really do it. We've got the guy. That's the that's the look. I don't think police set out to entrap or or prosecute innocent people. You know, that happens rarely. And I don't think that happens in, you know, one percent of the cases.


It's ninety nine percent of the time they think they have the right person and then they're going to get whatever evidence they need to get to convict that person. And you know what? Most of the time they're right. But when they're wrong, it is really bad.


Yeah. So what do we not change? What's I mean, jeez.


Well, I mean, I think you have to have you have to have independent agencies essentially investigating along with an investigation, because you might have a conviction integrity unit that goes back and reviews a conviction. But by then, somebody has already been convicted. If you could have within again, let's talk about these police budgets. Right. You've got a lot of money there. Why don't we create an independent agency that is sort of tracking things along the way.


But, you know, I mean, look, part of the problem is that it's human nature. It's not just that they they look for evidence that supports their theory. It's that when evidence that is contrary to the theory comes in, they find a way in their mind to diminish it, to discard it. Well, it doesn't matter. It look right. We all suffer from confirmation bias. Every single one of us does. Doctors suffer from confirmation bias.


So what do they do? They have something called differential diagnosis. When you go to a doctor and you give him a set of symptoms, that doctor is really supposed to work his way through a differential diagnosis and consider various options that those symptoms can fit. And then you start ruling things out. There's nothing like that for police officers. You know, they're not they're not trained to worry about confirmation bias. And I think that that is a really critical missing piece in police training.


Police need to be trained about implicit bias. Police need to be trained about confirmation bias, and it needs to be really drilled into them and it needs to be part of their ongoing sort of consciousness.


But there needs to be independent review as well, because I don't think it might not be realistic. But that's what you need. Well, that's not going to happen. I don't think I think if you if you could get real training on confirmation bias and implicit bias and people took it seriously and and, you know, supervisors took it seriously and supervisors would look at cases with an eye towards avoiding confirmation bias. And if we had a Sentinel event review so that when something went wrong in a case, you know, police departments don't investigate them, they don't really investigate themselves when a wrongful conviction happens, they try to make excuses for what happened.


They don't say what really went wrong here.


Let's figure out what went wrong here and let's try to fix it for the future, huh? That's not what they do. It happens in aircraft crashes, right? Yeah. Somebody comes in and says, here's what happened. And then there's there's fixes. Hopefully that never happens in the criminal justice system. It never happens with police officers. And that's another piece of this. I mean, the police have to start taking seriously the fact that they get it wrong sometimes and the results are devastating.


And so they need to figure out why did we get it wrong, what happened here and how can we avoid that in the future instead of just putting blinders on and saying, well, you know, it's just the way it is.


Yeah, I also think there is that what you guys were talking about earlier, that idea of the external pressure, the worse the crime is, the more there's pressure to say you arrest someone now and that feels old. Like I feel like we're all starting to understand how often that is bad, how often that goes wrong, because that is that thing where, yeah, they want results, they're demanding results. We can't just have this a murderer or a rapist or whoever on the street.


And then it's like, so just get anybody and then people will be satisfied. That's the problem.


Right. And if you think about it and like, for instance, in Tim's case, they got the wrong person, which means that the right person was still out there. And if this is someone who has a, you know, a serial habit of raping or robbing or murdering, then that. Continues and so it really is not serving justice in any way, not for the community, not for the person wrongfully arrested and convicted and not for the victim and his or her family.


It is a loss all the way around.


And if you think of that little bit of evidence being, you know, dismissed by the police officer and not being brought forward, that would have possibly led to another suspect. And that suspect has committed all these crimes since then. I would, you know, think he the police officer would feel responsible for that in a way, if you had done the job correctly.


You know, for every wrongful conviction, there's a victim who never received justice. Oh, yeah. And people sort of lose sight of that. Yeah.


It's such a it's the heightened its worst case scenario in human experience. So people want it to end. They want it to be solved. They want justice. And that's understandable.


It's understandable. But like I said, when it goes wrong, it goes really, really wrong.


Aside from the Michael Peterson case, are there are there any cases that are just these egregious standouts to you that you might each have a different one, but of of what we're talking about either inside the courtroom, people making mistakes or the police or whoever, that you just can't believe how the story actually turned out?


Well, you know, for me, it's Tim Bridges, because I represented Tim Lee representative all the time.


We represented Tim. Sorry, sorry. That's implicit bias against your own one is true. Exactly. And and I pay for that, I promise you. Anyway, I was what I was trying to say is that this is my year.


We're going to talk about how good I did in the media. No, no, no, I'm sorry.


The reason is we represented him, but it means a lot to me because I got close to Tim and I saw how devastating this was to him. He's a really emotional guy. He can barely talk about, you know, losing his mother while he was in prison without sobbing.


And it was what happened to him was just so egregious. He was raped in prison. You know, he spent twenty five years. He wouldn't go into a program where he could have gotten out earlier because he had to admit that he did it and he just wouldn't do that. So for me, you know, if you're going to listen to one episode, you know, for me, it's the Tim Bridges episode, because I just think it has virtually every it has junk science.


It has suppression of exculpatory evidence. It has tunnel vision. It sort of has almost everything that shouldn't happen in the case. Now, you you have a different case, I think I haven't thought about.


I mean, I think the reality is there were so many cases we had to pick from. It was hard to narrow it down to 10. And so I think that David's right. Certainly all of those things play a role in Tim's, but they do almost in every case because we would have to go through and kind of say, OK, what are we going to focus on here? And you could focus on all of these things, whether there's confirmation bias or tunnel vision or any of the cognitive biases.


But I think Christine Bunch's case is also particularly moving. She's a mother she was accused of, charged with and convicted of killing her son in something that was not even an arson. Oh, that's right.


Oh, it's it's I mean, it really is not only a tragic story, but one of these stories where at the end you shake your head like, how does she not only survive this, but now all she's doing is giving back. And she's created a charity that helps people when they get out of prison with your basic needs, like a shoebox that has a toothbrush and soap and underwear, like, you know, you think about when you are let out of prison, you have nothing.


When you woke up today, what did you have that you had all sorts of stuff. You out of bed, you had sheets on your bed, you had a pillow, you had clothes, you had to brush your teeth. I mean, nothing. You have nothing. So she is really focused on that. So I think Christine Bunch's case is one that stands out for me in the podcast, although they all do. Yeah.


You know, I mean, I think right now one of our other cases which is ongoing, so we can't comment on too much. But the Ray Finch case actually, I think possibly the most egregious case because it involves such corruption and in a county sheriff department. But we are allowed to. Yeah, yeah. That's a case where somebody, an innocent person, actually consciously got blamed for something. And that's all you can say. And purposeful.


It was purposeful. That's a purposeful one. Wow, wow, wow. This is heavy.


I'm so excited for this podcast. I can't wait to listen to it. And I'm so glad you guys are doing it. It's really it's so important. I just love that true crime is.


Evolving in this way, and it is kind of following this, you know, that it's following for me personally, the trajectory of no longer are you just sitting back and kind of commenting on people far away. You start you really start to understand human life. This is human life and and the value of it. And and the idea that we could we could work toward a real justice for people if if like you're saying, if people could admit their mistakes, admit their faults, do the work, develop these processes, better training.


The idea that I also learned in the last four months that training only lasts for six, nine months for the average police officer, which is seems insane, I would assume, like two years.


Minamo much less than that. I mean, here in North Carolina, they go to what's called Bellette basic law enforcement training for like four months.


Wow. And then they're out on the street and they get mentored, you know, by somebody else who only had four months of training. Right. And that's it. And then they become a detective and there's no additional training that's required. I mean, think about that for a second. You move from the street to a detective position and you don't have to take a single course in interrogation or or, you know, what the law is with regard to turning over exculpatory evidence.


You know, it's mind boggling to me that you could take somebody and put them in that kind of position without doing any training at all. But it happens every day. Yeah. What's something that you both want us as the public or as as true crime? You know, armchair detectives. What something that we need to change our thoughts on or be aware of.


I think the most important thing anyone can keep in mind is that we are all human beings. And I think if we remember that and if we treat each other as human beings with the respect and empathy that we would hope to be treated. I think we have a far better criminal justice system, and I think that goes for the public who consumes news and information, I think that goes the public who serves on a jury. I think that goes for players within the system.


I think it goes for investigators, for prosecutors, for defense attorneys, for all of us. I really think if we operated that way as a society, it would be much fairer and we would see far fewer pain and suffering cases, whether it's a wrongful conviction or harm to another person. I think that really is the missing link. And if people could adopt that way of living, it'd be a different place.


Yes, I'm not quite as humanist as Sonia is. So for me, I wish that no one jurors would be a lot more skeptical of authority and people in positions of authority and not just defer to what somebody who's in a position of authority says. I think that's really important. What else?


I think we're learning that these days, actually, just to not you know, it's not it's not that they don't have the final say and are the only narrative, you know, kind of a little more question authority going on.


And then the other piece is, you know, I when I grew up, what I remember was always being told it was better for 10 guilty people to go free than for one innocent person to be wrongfully convicted and imprisoned. And somewhere along the way, I think that got lost. And I think we need to understand the horror of what it is to be locked up sometimes for decades for something you didn't do. And people need to take reasonable doubt a lot more seriously for that reason.


That's why we have a reasonable doubt standard. And I also think that the verdict in Scotland, which is one of the verdicts in Scotland is not proven, is a really, really smart verdict. Because, you know, when when a juror has to say not guilty, it almost implies the person is innocent. And I think jurors may have a tough time doing that in some situations, particularly if the crime is really egregious and there's some evidence the person did it.


You don't sort of want to say, oh, well, he's not guilty. It's different to say not proven because then the focus is not on the person who's on trial. The focus is on the prosecutor and the evidence. And so for me, what I'd like to see people thinking about when they're on juries is whether the case has been proven. And what you know, I'd love to see a verdict that says either proven or not proven beyond a reasonable doubt.


So I wish people would take that whole burden a lot more seriously.


I wonder if talking about, you know, there needing to be more training because it's kind of the same thing with with serving on a jury where you go in there and you just you go in. Most people are going in to try to get out, to try to get off. And if there was some kind of a way to educate or May and maybe there is because and I just don't know about it, but about the the level of importance I like.


Is there any kind of jury training, if it's a murder case, as opposed to, like, shoplifting?


Well, jurors in most jurisdictions get or at least here in Mecklenburg County, for example, they get shown a film and they get shown a film that has, you know, some platitudes about the importance of jury service. And we thank you and, you know, that kind of stuff. They don't hear from me.


You know, they'd hear a lot different message from me. It's sort of an anodyne introduction, you know, and they don't really hear about you need to take things really skeptically and you really need to to understand how horrible it is if somebody's innocent gets, you know, convicted. And, you know, I think I think they need to be indoctrinated, indoctrinated, maybe the wrong word, educated about their responsibility in a more forceful way.


I mean, there are jury instructions. So when you are whether it is shoplifting or whether it is murder one, a jury is instructed by the judge what reasonable doubt is how they're supposed to view the evidence. But I think part of the problem is that has become such a rote at sort of like, OK, I'm going to go through here's the jury instructions, here's reasonable doubt. And it doesn't have the same impact. And it's all in legalese.


It's not it's not in English. Right. And then right. Then what you have is the lawyers and closing argument telling you to be skeptical, telling you what their version of reasonable. Out is but as a juror, the only people you're skeptical of are the defense attorneys and, you know, so clearly when they go, well, you said it that way, but I don't know if I can trust you. So I think that it could all be done better.


I think maybe that video that jurors are shown, at least here, maybe why aren't we showing them something that's compelling and letting every juror know that this is one of the most important responsibilities that they have as a citizen in this country, to serve on a jury, to do justice and then to really impart meaningful information about weighing evidence about reasonable doubt.


I think that would be really helpful, would also be really helpful if you just tell people to trust defense lawyers.


The where are the good? I don't know. I don't trust you saying that. You say I'm skeptical of that.


I'm just thinking of I'm thinking of the Deaver's thing where there's there is a bunch of blind faith and trust going on, but it's for four experts and. Right. They get called where how there should be a thing where you have to see that person's, like, credentials or something that that happens.


It happens. It happens every day.


And part of the problem is a lot of this, quote, forensic science is not really science at all. It's anecdotal. You know, there's no there's no testing. You know, you don't have blood spatter experts being called in and being tested on what this means or what that means. Same thing with, you know, dentists and bite marks. Same thing with arson endorsing arson investigators, right? Yeah. No matter what is now, you know, DNA was different, but now even DNA is getting a little bit subjective because you have all these mixtures and you have algorithms to figure out what the mixture means.


And so, you know, people need to understand that these, quote, sciences are very, very subjective and there's really no competency testing for most of this stuff. It's one it's one police officer teaching another police officer and they're all in the same agency. You know, we need independent experts, not. Yeah, not people who are working in the same lab with, you know, with the cops.


This also removes the possibility for the prosecution to do what they did in Peterson's case, which they do in almost every case. This is your expert. He works for you for the state of North Carolina. You know, like if you can remove that bias and have somebody who's really independent, I think then you get fair information, right? Yeah. I'm I'm going to ask the question. That nobody is ready for, such as how did how did you guys actually like in during the case figure out that you liked each other?


I did not like how it happened. I'm sorry to just go. Oh, no, no. This is a this is a fair question. We have different. We have different. Bring our daughter and, you know, different version. We have different versions of this here. No, no, let me finish. Let me finish. Let me start with the truth and then you can color and the way that you want to go ahead, which would you prefer?


No, go ahead.


Yes, we're just we're at a blank slate.


We're not coming out to convince us who's right. All right.


So here's this is the retelling of the story goes like this. So I end up getting assigned to cover this case. And it was after the death had already happened. It was a couple of months in. There was another reporter who had been covering it. We are sort of both covering it for a period of time. I met with David for coffee or maybe had a phone call and I set up an interview with him and it was a big get because he hadn't done a sit down interview with anybody yet.


So I was assigned the best photographer at my station. Her name's Colleen. She had come from Denver, which is a great photog market. We show up at his Chapel Hill office and we go upstairs to the reception and he comes out and he says, oh, you guys can set up in the library. So Colleen spends 20 to 30 minutes creating the most incredible set. It looks like a Dateline's that the lighting is perfect. She's stacked up books behind him.


I was like, girl, this looks awesome. And so I put my head on the can you tell Mr. Ridolfo already?


And he comes in and opens the door and he goes, Oh, Ouessant, this romantic. I look at Colleen, Colleen looks at me.


It was like the biggest eye roll ever. So, so David has. And you asked how we realized we liked each other at that moment. I was like I really do not like this guy, but I got to cover this case. And so I continued to cover this case. And let me tell you, the more he yelled at me after my six o'clock live shots, the less I liked him. And when I say yell, I mean, you heard how loud he's talking to you today.


Like, magnify that times 20 in your cell phone and you're driving on forty back home. And he's just going off about how he's like an emergency room and his client, he's just trying to plug him up. And you're right behind him. You understand what I'm like?


Oh, I'm sorry. I'm sorry. I'm sorry. OK, so I've given you, like, the that the truth of what happened on that day. And I tell you that day because David seems to think differently of what occurred. So would you like to go? Well, I think I think that Sonia obviously was attracted and therefore she had her she had her photog set up this sort of romantic scene and books that had been a textbook.


You can go ahead and rest your case. I think the decision, oh, your daughter is sick of this story. She was a teenager. She's dead, but she's still psychiatrically. Yeah, yeah, I know.


You know, I think I think the interesting thing is being serious for a minute, we we both saw each other at our most stressful, you know, in in in a situation where you weren't on best behavior and you were both doing this incredibly difficult job. Very, very well. And even, you know, even when I was angry at her, I wasn't angry at her. I was angry at what was coming out of her mouth. You know, it was it was it was because it was hurting my client.


I wasn't you know, I was concerned about Michael and about him getting a fair trial. It was it seemed like you were angry at me. Well, whatever.


In any event. So I think what happened is we developed this mutual well, I'll talk for myself.


I developed a respect for Sonya and what she was doing and how she was doing it. I hope she did the same for me. And I think, you know, that's sort of the genesis of the relationship. It wasn't like it was a respect. And I think that's that's a really healthy way to start a relationship. Yeah.


So that's I think that's true. I mean, certainly watching him work on a regular basis and get such insight into what this work entails, there was absolutely a level of respect that was critical and I think still is very important to our relationship, because I think if you have that, it gets you through a lot of the really, really hard times. Yeah.


Like now we've had good luck with your podcast. Oh, my God. I'm going to be working it all out. Amazing.


Well, you guys are definitely our favorite couple that we've ever. Interviewed here. Oh, thank you. Thank you for being on. This has been so insightful, so awesome. Yes. We really appreciate you for reaching out, David. I'm scared. We were scared. We were worried. No, no searching our minds of all the horrible things we said.


We certainly hope that your listeners will will tune in to our podcast because hopefully they will get a an insider view of what's going on on a day to day basis in the criminal justice system. All right.


There it was. You guys. We hope you enjoyed conversations with conversations with the I mean, maybe we'll do this once in a while. There's so many people to talk to you that know so much more than us. Yeah, we love experts. If you want to go back up, like two hundred episodes ago, there's an interview that we do with Guy Branum that's also really fun. Yeah. So thanks for listening as always. Stay sexy and don't get murdered.


Goodbye, Elvis.


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