Criminal

Criminal

United States

Criminal is a podcast about crime. Not so much the "if it bleeds, it leads," kind of crime. Something a little more complex. Stories of people who've done wrong, been wronged, and/or gotten caught somewhere in the middle. Proud member of Radiotopia from PRX.

Episodes

Episode 56: Don't Let Me See You In The Whirl  

Since 1938, a weekly African-American owned newspaper called The Evening Whirl has covered crime in St. Louis with a style all its own, using alliteration and rhyme, and often omitting the usual crime-reporting words like "accused" or "alleged." The paper has been widely criticized for its casual approach to fact-checking and sensational writing style. But the paper's owner, Anthony Sanders, who has been helping out with it since he was 18 years old, doesn't have any plans to change it. As the pages of The Whirl have said: “If that’s too much for you, pick up the Times and read the theatre reviews.” 

 

Criminal is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX.

Congratulations to our fellow Radiotopia show The Heart, which just won first prize at the Third Coast International Audio Festival for their story "Mariya." You can listen here: http://www.theheartradio.org/solos/mariya

We have new T-shirt designs! And one of them *glows in the dark*. All of the designs were created by Julienne Alexander, who makes illustrations for each episode of Criminal. We've also restocked our sticker and magnet supply, so there is lots to check out in the Criminal shop: http://criminal-show.myshopify.com/ 

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Episode 55: The Shell Game  
The Magic Castle in Hollywood has been a private club for magicians since 1963, and its walls are lined with portraits of magicians past and present. Among them is a portrait of one of the earliest American organized crime bosses and conmen, Jefferson Randolph "Soapy" Smith. And though it may seem strange that this "mecca of magic" honors a criminal, Soapy's legacy reveals just how blurry the line is between a delightful trick and a dirty one.   

Criminal is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX.

Congratulations to our fellow Radiotopia show The Heart, which just won first prize at the Third Coast International Audio Festival for their story Mariya, about one woman’s experience with female genital mutilation and how she broaches the subject in conversation with her family. You can listen here: http://www.theheartradio.org/solos/mariya.

Radiotopia’s flagship show is 99% Invisible, hosted by Roman Mars. 99% Invisible is ostensibly a show about design and architecture. But really it’s a show about who we are through the lens of the things we build. Because, even though we are surrounded by the stuff we’ve made, from tiny objects to massive structures, that physical matter is only 1% of the story. The rest is 99% Invisible. Go listen.

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Episode 54: Melinda and Clarence  

SPOILER WARNING: Please listen to Episode 53: Melinda and Judy before you listen to this one.

Melinda Dawson found out on the same day in 1998 that her adoptive mother had been killed and that her husband Clarence was being charged with the murder. Clarence was convicted in 1999 and given two life sentences. Left alone with her two sons, no money, and no experience, Melinda set out to try and prove that he was innocent. She started with a suspect list.    Special thanks to David Massar, who is currently working on a film about Melinda's life story, Miss America.    We are on tour! We will be in Chicago, Iowa City, Minneapolis, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Toronto. Find out more here

Criminal is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX.

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Episode 53: Melinda and Judy  

When Melinda Dawson was seven years old, she learned that she was adopted under mysterious circumstances. As she got older and had children of her own, she tried to learn something about her biological parents. And when she went to the county courthouse and asked to see a copy of her birth certificate, she discovered that she was an unwitting participant in something much bigger and more complicated than she could have imagined. 

We are going on tour! We will be in Washington, Durham, Philadelphia, Anaheim, New York, Boston, Chicago, Iowa City, Minneapolis, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Toronto. Find out more here.

Criminal is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX.

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Episode 52: The Checklist  

SPOILER WARNING: Please listen to Episode 51: Money Tree before you
listen to this one. While working on our last episode, we became
curious about the nature of psychopathy -- how it is defined, and what
to do if someone close to you meets the criteria. We spoke with Dr.
Ronald Schouten, author of Almost a Psychopath, and Jon Ronson, author
of The Psychopath Test.

We are going on tour! We will be in Washington, Durham, Philadelphia, Anaheim, New York, Boston, Chicago, Iowa City, Minneapolis, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Toronto.  Find out more here.

Criminal is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX.

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Episode 51: Money Tree  

When Axton Betz-Hamilton was 11 years old, her parents' identities were stolen. At that time, in the early 90s, consumer protection services for identity theft victims were basically non-existent. So the family dealt with the consequences as best they could. But then when Axton got to college, she realized that her identity had been stolen as well. Her credit score was in the lowest 2%.  As she was working to restore her credit, she inadvertently discovered who had stolen the family's identity. It would change everything forever.  

View the photograph Axton describes here.  

If you live in Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Durham, Philadelphia, Anaheim, Brooklyn, Boston, Chicago, Iowa City, Minneapolis, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, or Toronto. . . come see us tell all new stories live! Learn more at http://thisiscriminal.com/live/

Criminal is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX.

 

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Episode 50: This is Criminal  

To celebrate Criminal's 50th episode, we check in with some of our most memorable guests including Fran Schindler from Episode 17: "Final Exit," Dan Stevenson from Episode 15: "He's Neutral," Corporal Scott Foster from Episode 29: "Officer Talon," and Marian Tolan from Episode 18: "695-BGK."

We're very excited to announce that we're taking the show on the road this fall, visiting Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Durham, Philadelphia, Anaheim, Brooklyn, Boston, Chicago, Iowa City, Minneapolis, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, and Toronto. We'd love to see you. Learn more at http://thisiscriminal.com/live/

Criminal is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX. 

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Episode 49: The Editor  

In November of 1988, Robin Woods was sentenced to sixteen years in the notoriously harsh Maryland Correctional Institution. In prison, Robin found himself using a dictionary to work his way through a book for the first time in his life. It was a Mario Puzo novel. While many inmates become highly educated during their incarceration, Robin became such a voracious and careful reader he was able to locate a factual error in Merriam Webster's Collegiate Encyclopedia. He wrote a letter to the encyclopedia's editor, beginning an intricate friendship that changed the lives of both men. Contributor Daniel A. Gross has the story. 

We're very excited to announce that we're taking the show on the road this fall, visiting Washington D.C., Durham, Philadelphia, Anaheim, Brooklyn, Boston, Chicago, Iowa City, Minneapolis, Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, and Toronto. We'd love to see you. Learn more at http://thisiscriminal.com/live/

Criminal is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX. 

 

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Episode 48: Eight Years  

2008 was an exciting time to be a Harry Potter fan. The final book, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, had been released. Movies were on the way. And author Melissa Anelli was at the center of it all, running a popular fan site called The Leaky Caldron and working on a book, Harry, a History. Just as things couldn’t get better, Melissa received her first death threat.

Please take a moment to fill out our listener survey: http://surveynerds.com/criminal

We’re taking Criminal on the road for a series of live shows! Learn more and buy tickets here: http://thisiscriminal.com/live/

Criminal is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX.

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Episode 47: Brownie Lady  

Shortly after Meridy Volz moved from Milwaukee to San Francisco, she received a phone call from a friend asking her to take over a small bakery business.  Meridy agreed to run the bakery, but she only wanted to sell one thing: pot brownies. Her brownies were a massive success, and soon she was making enough money to support three families. Meridy tells her story alongside her daughter, Alia Volz, who describes what it's like when San Francisco's "original brownie lady" is your mom. Visit our website: www.thisiscriminal.com to see Meridy's final brownie bag & recipe. Criminal is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX.  If you are interested in sponsoring Criminal, email sponsor@radiotopia.fm

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Episode 46: Tiger  

There are more tigers in captivity in America than wild tigers in the entire world. The exact number of captive tigers in this country isn't known, because many of them live in people's backyards or unaccredited zoos, and the legality of their ownership varies widely by state and even by circumstance. We travelled to Louisiana to see a 550-pound Siberian-Bengal tiger who lives at a truck stop, and the man who's fought very hard to persuade Louisiana lawmakers he's not a criminal.

We're a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX, a curated network of extraordinary, story-driven shows. Learn more at radiotopia.fm. 

Say hello on Twitter @criminalshow or Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ThisIsCriminal/

 

 

 

 

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Episode 45: Just Mercy  

As a law student, Bryan Stevenson was sent to a maximum security prison to meet a man on death row. The man told Stevenson he'd never met an African-American lawyer, and the two of them talked for hours. It was a day that changed Stevenson's life. He's spent the last 30 years working to get people off of death row, but has also spent the final hours with men he could not save from execution. He argues that each of us is deserving of mercy.

Learn more about Bryan Stevenson in his book, Just Mercy.

Criminal is hiring.

We're a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX, a curated network of extraordinary, story-driven shows. Learn more at radiotopia.fm. 

Say hello on Twitter @criminalshow or Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ThisIsCriminal/

 

 

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Episode 44: One Eyed Joe  

Not only was John Frankford a famous horse thief, he was also a notoriously good escape artist. People thought no jail was strong enough to keep him, but then in 1895 he was sentenced to Philadelphia's Eastern State Penitentiary. At Eastern State, Frankford became the victim of a strange practice that carried implications for both the state of Pennsylvania and the medical establishment we know it today. Reporter Elana Gordon from WHYY's The Pulse has today's story.

Criminal is hiring!

We're a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX. 

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Episode 43: 39 Shots  

In 1979, a group of labor organizers protested outside a Ku Klux Klan screening of the 1915 white supremacist film, The Birth of a Nation. Nelson Johnson and Signe Waller-Foxworth remember shouting at armed Klansmen and burning a confederate flag, until eventually police forced the KKK inside and the standoff ended without violence. The labor organizers felt they'd won a small victory, and planned a much bigger anti-Klan demonstration in Greensboro, North Carolina. They advertised with the slogan: “Death to the Klan" and set the date for November 3rd, 1979.

As protestors assembled, a caravan of nine cars appeared, and a man in a pick-up truck yelled: "You asked for the Klan! Now you've got 'em!" Thirty-nine shots were fired in eighty-eight seconds, and five protestors were killed. The city of Greensboro is still grappling with the complicated legacy of that day.

The Greensboro Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s full report is available online.

Today, Reverend Nelson Johnson is a pastor with Faith Community Church and serves as the Executive Director for the  Beloved Community Center of Greensboro, which advocates for social and economic justice.

Signe Waller-Foxworth is the author of  Love and Revolution: A Political Memoir.

Eric Ginsburg is the associate editor at the Triad City Beat

For this story, we also interviewed Elizabeth Wheaton, author of  Codename Greenkill.

Criminal is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX. 

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Episode 42: The Finger  

People have been giving each other "the finger" since Ancient Greece. The first documented use is said to be a photograph from 1886 in which the pitcher for the Boston Beaneaters extends his middle finger to the camera (ostensibly to the rival New York Giants). Even though it's been around for so long, many still find the gesture offensive enough to try to bring criminal charges. Courts have ruled that "flipping the bird" is a form of speech protected by the First Amendment. It's not a crime to be obnoxious. But there's a man in Oregon who tests the limits of free speech by giving the finger to every police officer that he sees. 

To learn more about the legalities of the middle finger, you might
enjoy: "Digitus Impudicus: The Middle Finger and the Law" from the UC Davis Law Review. 

Criminal is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX. 

If you enjoy the show, please write us a review on iTunes. 

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Episode 41: Open Case  

Since 1965, there's been an unsolved murder in Houston, Texas. The main suspect managed to disappear and police were never able to find him. The case is still considered open. In 1997, a couple of accountants decided to look into the murders, and were able to uncover evidence that the police missed. They think they've solved the mystery. 

  To learn more about Hugh and Martha's book. The Ice Box Murders, click here: http://iceboxmurders.com
  We're heading to Los Angeles on May 4th for a special Radiotopia live event. Find out more: http://www.axs.com/events/308712/radiotopia-live-tickets  

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Episode 40: Pappy  

When it comes to the bourbon Pappy Van Winkle, it doesn't matter who you are or how much money you have -- you can't get it unless you're exceptionally lucky or willing to break the law. The Pappy frenzy has law enforcement, bartenders, and even the Van Winkle family themselves wringing their hands.  

Criminal is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX. On May 4th, all of the Radiotopia shows are coming together in Los Angeles for a very special live performance. Tickets and information here: http://www.axs.com/events/308712/radiotopia-live-tickets?skin=acehotel

Say hello: 
Twitter: @criminalshow
Instagram: @criminal_podcast
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ThisIsCriminal/

 

 

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Episode 39: Either/Or  

In 1983, three men were prepared to plead guilty to a violent sexual assault in Anderson, South Carolina. Defense attorneys did not want their clients to go before a jury, and arranged a plea deal. This left the sentencing in the hands of the judge, who gave the assailants a very controversial choice.

Criminal is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX. 

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Episode 38: Jolly Jane  

Jane Toppan was born in Massachusetts in 1857. She attended the Cambridge Nursing School, and established a successful private nursing career in Boston. Said to be cheerful, funny and excellent with her patients, nothing about "Jolly Jane" suggested she could be "the most notorious woman poisoner of modern times."

Criminal is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX. Visit us at thisiscriminal.com. 

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Episode 37: Hastings  

In 2010, an eighth-grader brought a loaded gun to a middle school in Hastings, Minnesota. We speak with two students and the principal about the minutes and hours in lockdown. 

Read Jake Bullington's essay, "Yeah, I'm Afraid of Guns.

Criminal is a proud member of Radiotopia from PRX. Say hello on Twitter @criminalshow and on Facebook. Visit us online at thisiscriminal.com

 

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