Friday, August 05, 2011

Not-Your-Typical Summer Movie Recommendation

This is a shameless plug for a brilliant film that (in my opinion) every law student and legal professional should try to see while it's in theaters this week: Crime After Crime documents the ordeal of Debbie Peagler, a woman incarcerated for decades because of her role in the death of her abusive boyfriend, and the 7-year legal struggle of two Bay Area attorneys who represented Debbie pro bono in her fight to be set free.

Broadly, the film focuses on the issue of intimate partner battering, and how it contributes to the ever-increasing rate of female incarceration in the United States today. Particular to Debbie's story, the film exposes the appalling misdeeds of the Los Angeles District Attorney's office in overcharging and extracting a plea from Ms. Peagler - knowing all along that she was a victim of domestic violence and that the one witness against her had committed perjury - then two decades later, resisting her habeas petition under California's Penal Code §1473.5 (passed in 2002), which permits battered women convicted of a felony to file a writ of habeas corpus with evidence demonstrating the effects of battering in their case.

In addition to taking place in the Bay Area, the film is closely tied to the Boalt community - incomplete versions have been screened in various classes over the last couple of years, and the film includes a short commentary by Boalt Professor Nancy Lemon.

The movie was recently picked up by the Oprah Winfrey Network to air sometime in November. In the meantime, Crime After Crime is showing in San Francisco, Berkeley, and San Rafael today through Thursday - and many of the showings include introductions / Q&A with Professor Lemon or the attorneys who worked on the case. As someone completely unfamiliar with this subject matter before tonight, I was incredibly moved by the film and highly recommend it.


Blogger Patrick said...

By "not your typical summer movie recommendation" on N&B I assume you mean "not The Big Lebowski"?

8/05/2011 11:32 PM  
Blogger L'Alex said...

Haha, pretty much!

8/06/2011 9:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't recommend this movie highly enough. As someone entering the criminal law field, I will carry the lessons of Debbie Peagler with me every day.

8/08/2011 4:05 PM  

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