Criminal (general)

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.  

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Direct download: 01_Episode_51__Money_Tree.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

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. 

Direct download: 01_Episode_50__This_is_Criminal.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

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. 

 

Direct download: 01_Episode_49__The_Editor.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

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.

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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.

Direct download: 01_Episode_48__Eight_Years.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

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.
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Direct download: 01_Episode_47__Brownie_Lady.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

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. 

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Direct download: 01_Episode_46__Tiger.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

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/

 

 

Direct download: 01_Episode_45__Just_Mercy.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

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.

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Direct download: 01_Episode_44__One_Eyed_Joe.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

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. 

Direct download: 01_Episode_43__39_Shots.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST

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. 

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Direct download: 01_Episode_42__The_Finger.mp3
Category:general -- posted at: 4:00am EST