Students, faculty and staff are encouraged to attend a free screening of “Crime After Crime, the award-winning documentary by Yoav Potash, on Wednesday, October 14, at 7 p.m. in Van Bokkelen 204. A panel discussion will follow with Rachel Wohl, founding board member of the Public Justice Center; Hannah Brancato, FORCE; representatives from the ACLU and CHANA, and others.
The 95-minute film chronicles the efforts of two rookie land-use attorneys on behalf of Deborah Peagler, an African American who had arranged the murder of her brutally abusive boyfriend. In 1983 Peagler received a sentence of 25 years to life for her connection to the crime. She languished in a California prison for 20 years until the state allowed incarcerated domestic survivors to reopen their cases.
Her attorneys were convinced they had incontrovertible evidence that would free Peagler in a few months, but they couldn’t imagine the depth of corruption and politically driven resistance they’d encounter. “Crime After Crime” shows them hurtling down a nightmarish, bureaucratic rabbit hole in their quest for justice. The spirit, fortitude and love all three marshal during this wrenching marathon is miraculous.
Greg Faller, associate dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication, praises the film for “shining a light on the inconsistencies of the American criminal justice system.”
“At the time Deborah Peagler was tried and convicted, California prevented women from bringing charges against their abusive spouses,” he says. “That inequality meant that she and many other women were treated more harshly as second-class citizens.”
The screening and panel discussion are co-sponsored by The College of Fine Arts and Communication, the Department of Electronic Media and Film, The College of Liberal Arts, the Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Criminal Justice, the Center for Student Diversity, the Division of Marketing and Communication, and CHANA.