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Netflix is currently in production on season two of its true-crime hit, “Making a Murderer.”
The docuseries follows Steven Avery, a man who had been cleared of a sexual assault charge after spending 18 years in prison.
Free and with a $36 million lawsuit pending against Wisconsin’s Manitowoc County, Avery suddenly found himself at the center of the investigation into the 2005 murder of photographer Teresa Halbach.
Even worse, his teen nephew, Brendan Dassey, was accused of helping.
In the end, both Avery and Dassey were given life sentences for Halbach’s murder.
Since “Murderer” was released in December 2015, many people have come away with their own takes and theories on the case. And there have been a couple major developments.
Kathleen Zellner, a defense attorney whose work has so far led to the overturning of wrongful convictions for 17 people, took on Avery’s case earlier this year. She has expressed nothing but confidence that she can get Avery freed.
And Dassey’s conviction was recently overturned. A federal judge in Milwaukee ruled that Dassey’s constitutional rights were violated when authorities questioned him without an adult present.
All this amounts to several loose ends that need to be tied up.
Here are six questions that need to be answered on “Making a Murderer” season two:
How will Brendan Dassey’s overturned conviction play out for Steven Avery?
The recent overturning of Dassey’s murder conviction has revived the attention to Avery’s conviction. But how will it play out for Avery? Will Dassey become a trial witness for his uncle? Or will Avery’s attorney want to distance his case from Dassey’s?
Also, there’s still a chance that the state will refile charges against Dassey. Does that mean season two will once again feature Dassey’s trial?
Who is new defense attorney Kathleen Zellner’s alternate suspect?
During the trial and in the wake of the success of “Making a Murderer,” several possible alternate suspects in the Halbach murder have been discussed in the media and fan forums. They’ve included Avery family members, Halbach’s ex-boyfriend, and even a serial killer known for pinning his murders on others.
In March, Zellner said she was close to identifying alternate suspects among key people who knew the victim. Currently, Zellner says that she has a very good lead on an alternate suspect. Will that pan out?
Will new tests uncover that evidence was planted?
Since choosing to represent Avery, Zellner has been using new tests on the alleged crime scene and the evidence in the case. She hasn’t established whether earlier tests have come up with anything that would help Avery’s case, and recently told The New York Times that she’s embarking on more, with results coming back within 60 days.
Nonetheless, she still feels fairly certain her defense team will come up with something.
“It may not all be successful, but I believe if even one bit of evidence is planted, the conviction is going to be vacated,” she told The Times.
Will any of the tests prove that evidence was planted, as many “Making a Murderer” fans suspect, or is she bluffing?
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Calls to reform police departments have echoed across the country with renewed energy in recent years, as cities from New York and Chicago to Baltimore and Milwaukee face increasing pressure to police less aggressively while still keeping a lid on crime rates.
“Broken Windows,” the policing strategy which emphasizes pursuing smaller crimes as a means preventing more serious or violent ones, has received much of the blame for instances of police-related killings and racial profiling, and has largely fallen out of favor among the public and lawmakers alike.
But although criminal justice experts remain divided on whether the theory is actually an effective crime prevention strategy, they say it’s unlikely that “Broken Windows” is on its way out.
In the face of renewed criticism, politicians and police departments appear to be shying away rhetorically from the theory, but it’s unclear whether reforms within the departments reflect any significant strategic shift.
During a press conference earlier in August announcing New York Police Department commissioner Bill Bratton’s resignation, his successor James O’Neill and Mayor Bill de Blasio touted a strategy termed “neighborhood policing,” and called for officers to spend less time in their cruisers and more time interacting with the communities they patrol.
That definition doesn’t differ much from the “Broken Windows” approach, according to Peter Moskos, a professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice and former police officer in Baltimore. “Broken Windows” policing has always demanded a high amount of community interaction as it targets neighborhood disorder. But to predominantly African-American neighborhoods already wary of police officers, the rhetorical shift may help reassure residents who fear aggressive police tactics.
“My guess is that because [O’Neill is] a Bratton protegé, I’m assuming he basically believes what Bratton does in terms of policing. If that’s true, he is going to use ‘neighborhood policing’ as his justification to keep doing ‘Broken Windows’ — by that name or a different name,” Moskos told Business Insider.
“To some extent those optics are important.”
Where did “Broken Windows” go astray
“Broken Windows” was first introduced in a 1982 Atlantic essay by George Kelling and James Q. Wilson. In the essay, Kelling and Wilson call for police to focus on quality-of-life violations and “order maintenance.” They post that preventing order-based crimes such as vandalism or public drinking prevents more serious or violent crimes from occurring by projecting an atmosphere of law and order.
Kelling has since argued that his theory has been misunderstood by many of the police departments that implemented it.
“Broken windows was never intended to be a high-arrest program,” he wrote last summer in Politico Magazine. “The goal is to reduce the level of disorder in public spaces so that citizens feel safe, are able to use them, and businesses thrive. Arrest of an offender is supposed to be a last resort — not the first.”
Instead, “Broken Windows” became the justification for “zero tolerance” policing for many major cities beginning in the 1990s. “Zero tolerance” is the tough-on-crime approach that equates success with arrests. New York, Chicago and other cities’ practice of “Stop and Frisk” is frequently associated with “Broken Windows” policing as well.
“Broken Windows” was never intended by Kelling and Wilson to result in arrests at every minor infraction, Robert Worden, an associate professor of criminal justice at the State University of New York at Albany told Business Insider.
For better or worse, that is what “Broken Windows” has come to mean for many police reform advocates and the public.
A perfect storm for police violence
It’s questionable whether “Broken Windows” is relevant to the ongoing national debate about police violence.
Some criminal justice experts argue that eliminating the theory will do little to lessen the propensity of officer-related violence when lawmakers continue to fall back on policing, rather than political reform, to tackle crime.
Alex Vitale, a Brooklyn College sociologist and “Broken Windows” critic, said he has observed few substantial changes in American policing, despite two years of near-constant protests, criticism, and media scrutiny following the widely reported deaths of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri and Eric Garner in New York in the summer of 2014.
Even after the prolonged public outcry and a rhetorical shift from public officials away from “Broken Windows” policing, “egregious” police killings still regularly appear in news cycles, unlawful arrests continue to occur, and overall incarceration rates haven’t dropped in any meaningful way, Vitale told Business Insider.
Indeed, marijuana arrests in New York City have jumped by a third since last year, according to data published in July by the Police Reform Organizing Project, a police watchdog group. This despite widespread criticism of prosecuting those offenses, even from Brooklyn’s District Attorney Ken Thompson.
Low-level marijuana arrest are a perfect recipe for instances of police violence, according to Vitale. A person being arrested for a such an offense in the city is highly likely to resent the police officer making the arrest. Should he or she resist, the officer will resort to force — a situation that would be entirely possible to avoid if lawmakers relaxed marijuana laws.
“Elected leaders have taken more and more social problems and turned them into police problems. The students don’t work? Let’s not hire more counselors or fund more disciplinary programs, let’s just flood the schools with cops. Methamphetamine use is on the increase? Let’s not open more drug treatment, let’s just massively expand anti-drug policing,” he said
“Then when the cops have interactions with these people, people resent it. And they resist sometimes. And those encounters escalate.”
‘Asking too much of police’
At issue in most communities that use “Broken Windows” policing is the amount of discretion it provides officers.
Kelling and Wilson’s theory admits there’s no “wholly satisfactory answer” to the question of racial profiling and excessive use of force. The best that can be hoped for is that “by their selection, training, and supervision, the police will be inculcated with a clear sense of the outer limit of their discretionary authority.”
Minor misbehavior incidents nearly always deserve education, reminders, or warnings instead of arrests, the University of Michigan’s David Thacher argued last year in a Marshall Project op-ed titled “Don’t End Broken Windows Policing, Fix It.”
“Even in the face of defiance they call for modest sanctions and restraints — citations, court summons and perhaps temporary detention of an unruly drunk on the street rather than a trip to the jail in a patrol car and a permanent misdemeanor record,” Thacher wrote.
But while criminal justice experts maintain the distinction, officers may not always know where the line is drawn.
“It is challenging to exercise that discretion in the right way. Officers that are very good at that, who have extremely good judgment, practice ‘Broken Windows’ policing effectively. Officers whose judgment is less well-developed or who work less at it make a hash of it,” Worden said.
“[“Broken Windows”] is a fundamentally sound concept, but it can be challenging to implement properly,” he added.
Not that police departments haven’t tried — programs such as de-escalation, crisis intervention, and implicit bias training are being experimented with around the country. But Vitale said those efforts are futile when officers are still instructed to uphold two priorities that seem fundamentally at odds: combat crime aggressively and reduce use of force.
Hinging the success of the country’s leading crime-prevention theory to the judgment calls of individual officers is simply asking too much of police, he said.
“How do you train the police to simultaneously be ready to shoot at any time of a threat, and also to hold off shooting?” he said. “We have to quit expecting policing to be the solution to all of our problems.”
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The Colombian government and rebels of the left-wing Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) may have agreed to a landmark peace plan on Wednesday, but the long-term viability of the deal hinges on the country’s success at combatting a problem that has proved intractable for decades: drug production.
Colombia emerged as a global hub for cocaine production in the 1980s (recently reclaiming the title of top producer) and since that time, the FARC has been heavily involved in the drug’s production and trafficking, currently controlling as much as 70% of the country’s crop and therefore about 40% of world supply, according to Insight Crime.
As a part of the peace accord, FARC leadership pledged to work with the Colombian government to eliminate coca and marijuana production in the areas of the country controlled by the rebel group. The FARC also agreed to help farmers who produce illicit crops change over to legal ones and to aid development in poor rural areas, long neglected because of the 52-year conflict.
‘We can’t be naive’
Criminal groups and economic concerns stand in the way of these goals, however.
Even if the FARC totally fulfills its commitment to disarming and leaving behind its illegal activities, there are a plethora of criminal groups that could pick up the slack. Criminal bands, commonly referred to in the county as BACRIM, are active throughout Colombia, and reports indicate that they are salivating at the prospect of assuming the FARC’s role in the drug trade.
“We can’t be naive and think that drug trafficking will end with FARC,” Gen. Jorge Rodriguez Peralta, the commander of a police special-forces division, told The Washington Post in February. “There’s too much money to be made.”
Chief among those BACRIM are Los Urabeños, known as Clan Usaga or the Cartel del Golfo. It was formed by remnants of right-wing paramilitaries who formally disarmed in the 2000s.
Los Urabeños has emerged as the most powerful of the BACRIM (it reportedly has ties to Mexico’s Sinaloa cartel), and the Colombian government is scrambling to hobble it before the FARC begins to leave the drug trade. In addition to Rodriguez Peralta’s special police units, Colombia has also targeted the group with airstrikes, which were last used to fight the FARC.
“The FARC are amateurs compared to these guys,” Jeremy McDermott, a security consultant in Medellin and founder of Insight Crime, told The Post earlier this year. With the FARC out of the picture, “Now the professionals are going to take over,” McDermott said.
The FARC is not Colombia’s only rebel group either. The National Liberation Army, or ELN, also has a presence in the country, though it is much smaller than the FARC’s.
The Colombian government has stepped up its efforts to bring the ELN to heel and prevent it from moving further into the drug trade. For its part, the ELN has continued to launch lethal attacks on Colombian police.
“As the FARC move out of some of the areas of the country where they’ve been dominant … there is a risk that these existing … criminal groups do move in,” Anna Szterenfeld, the Economist Intelligence Unit’s senior analyst for Colombia, told Business Insider earlier this summer. “So it means that for the government, there’s still going to be a tremendous need to have a strong security presence in these areas of the country.”
There is also a likelihood that many FARC elements, either dissatisfied with the peace deal or enticed by criminal profits, will remain in the drug trade, consolidating the market share vacated by those FARC groups that do demobilize. A FARC group in remote eastern Colombia has already declared its refusal to disarm.
Other FARC members may make the jump to one of Colombia’s many criminal organizations, continuing the same activities under new management. Many do already, according to Alcibiades Escue, the mayor of a town in southwest Colombia.
“By day they wear the FARC insignia and by nightfall they’ve switched to the ELN,” Escue told Reuters, only partially in jest.
“In territories left vacant by the FARC we have to fill the space immediately because organized crime will get there quickly,” Defense Minister Luis Carlos Villegas told Reuters.
‘We will confront anyone who touches our plants’
The appeal of lucrative criminal economies may keep some FARC elements in the underworld, but for many Colombian farmers who cultivate those illegal crops and sell them to criminal groups, the drug trade is less an opportunity and more of an imperative.
“This pays better than coffee and it has more harvests a year than coffee,” Luz Mari Teteche, 42, who earns about $12 a day trimming and bagging marijuana, told Reuters. “The government will have to give big subsidies for people to stop this work.”
The government has proposed some schemes to convince Colombians to give up drug cultivation. In addition to subsidies for growers, the government has also unveiled crop-substitution programs, aimed at transitioning farmers to legal crops like bananas and other fruits.
A crop-substitution pilot program has gotten underway in northern Colombia, but there are doubts that such programs will be applicable in other parts of the country, where those crops are not viable or where a lack of infrastructure makes getting those crops to the market unfeasible. Moreover, farmers who have already gone through the crop-replacement process have found their new crops bring in less than one-third of what coca did.
In contrast, when farmers grow marijuana or coca leaves, criminal groups come to their doors to pick up the product.
While some Colombians are skeptical of government efforts to ween the population off illicit crops, others are openly hostile.
“We will confront anyone who touches our plants,” Fernando Zapata, the communal president of a village in north-central Colombia, told the Associated Press earlier this summer. “They want to do away with the livelihood of our families and the entire region.”
Even if all the Colombians involved in the drug trade were willing to give it up, the government would likely struggle to provide them with an economic alternative.
A slowing economy, stuttered by a decline in oil prices, has led to doubts that the administration of President Juan Manuel Santos can finance all the post-conflict programs needed in the wake of the FARC’s disarmament.
“I would say … the whole peace process has become substantially more complicated because of the economic environment that Colombia finds itself in,” Szterenfeld, of the EIU, told Business Insider.
“You’ve got the good news about the near conclusion of the peace talks,” Szterenfeld added, “but this is happening against the backdrop of all kinds of other economic constraints.”
‘They will all come’
The peace deal, the culmination of nearly four years of work to end more than a half-century of conflict, is a historic moment in Colombia’s history. The Santos administration must now get public approval for that deal and prove that it can secure the peace the country has so long been denied.
The struggle to do so will play out in Bogota’s halls of power, as the country’s leaders, joined by FARC representatives appointed to the legislature, wrangle over how to apply and pay for the terms of the deal.
But in the streets and jungles of Colombia, new actors look set to assume old roles.
“Even if peace is signed there won’t be peace,” Jeymi Orozco, 19, who works in the drug trade in southwest Colombia, told Reuters. “They will all come, all the gangs. And if the government tries to eradicate coca and marijuana there will be more struggle.”
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Netflix releases trailer for documentary about Audrie Pott and Daisy Coleman alleged sexual assaults
Netflix just dropped the trailer for a new documentary, “Audrie and Daisy,” that covers the harrowing details surrounding the sexual assault cases and subsequent harassment of Daisy Coleman and Audrie Pott.
Both girls’ cases tell a story that has become dismayingly similar to a more recent case involving a Stanford University swimmer convicted of sexually assaulting a woman earlier this year.
Coleman and Pott were both sexually assaulted in 2012, while unconscious and intoxicated, both had pictures and videos taken of them while passed out, both faced incessant bullying and harassment in the aftermath as they tried to pull their lives back together, and none of their alleged abusers faced significant consequences.
The Coleman case
Coleman, after being sexually assaulted and videotaped while she was passed out, tried pressing charges against her alleged abuser, Matthew Barnett, who was a football player and the grandson of a Missouri state representative.
The charges against Barnett were dropped without any explanation.
When Coleman’s mother tried to ask questions, she apparently lost her job. The family moved out of Maryville shortly after, and their Maryville home was burned to the ground a few months later.
Daisy claims she faced brutal harassment and bullying after her alleged assault, including being targeted on social media, being called derogatory names, and being told she had been “asking for it.” Since then, Daisy has made repeated attempts to take her own life and is in therapy.
A tragic ending
Audrie Pott was a pretty and popular student at Saratoga High School in California when one night of partying changed her entire life. Audrie was at a party at a friend’s place where she allegedly became unconscious after drinking too much.
At some point during the night, she was taken to a bedroom, had her clothes stripped off, and had various parts of her body, including her cleavage and genital region, drawn on with Sharpie. While she was still unconscious, the three boys who were with her allegedly digitally penetrated her.
She woke up the next morning with Sharpie marks all over her body and no recollection of what had happened the night before, but she started to piece together the details when she found out there had been pictures taken of her when she was naked and unconscious.
Despite being devastated over the events of that night, Audrie tried hard to get her life back to normal, but she found it difficult after being subjected to vicious cyberbullying and harassment when the photos of her spread among her peers. A few days into the start of her sophomore year of high school, Audrie Pott hanged herself.
One of the boys’ parents took him out of Saratoga High School and enrolled him at another school, where he was allowed to play football. The other two boys remained at Saratoga.
“Audrie and Daisy” delves into the details of what happened in both girls’ cases and explores the question of why, as one person in the documentary’s trailer put it, it has become “more important to shield the boys than it [is] to find justice for the girls.”
The documentary was played at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year and will premier in theaters and on Netflix on September 23.