24 Frames

Movies: Past, present and future

« Previous | 24 Frames Home | Next »

Sundance 2011: Oprah's network buys L.A. crime documentary

January 31, 2011 |  4:40 pm

  Peagler_1

Oprah Winfrey’s new cable network, OWN, has acquired “Crime After Crime,” a documentary that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival last week and takes aim at Los Angeles County Dist. Atty.  Steve Cooley for his handling of a controversial murder case.

Director Yoav Potash said in an interview Monday that the deal includes an Oscar-qualifying theatrical run in Los Angeles and New York before its airing on television. The deal for the film was valued in the low six figures, according to a person involved in the negotiations.

“Throughout most of my time making this film, which was 5 1/2 years, people kept saying Oprah has to see this,” Potash said by phone. “It involves an important social issue that affects women but doesn’t get the attention it deserves, and it’s a film about an African American protagonist who holds her head up high despite being brutalized and being denied justice.” 

The film chronicles the story of Deborah Peagler, who pleaded guilty in 1983 to first-degree murder and was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison. She said she agreed to the plea  to avoid a death sentence for her involvement in the killing of her estranged boyfriend. (Read more about the case, and last week's screening, here.)

At the time, the fact that she was severely battered by her boyfriend was not considered, but California became the first state in the country to pass a law in 2002 that allows cases to be reopened if the defendant can show that domestic violence was a factor that led to the killing.

Cooley became a key foil to the efforts of Peagler and her pro bono attorneys to gain her release under the law, and the documentary follows their topsy-turvy battle to its unsettling completion.

At screenings of the movie in Park City, Utah, many viewers hissed when Cooley appeared on screen, but his spokeswoman released a statement saying that the office was steadfast in its belief that Peagler was treated appropriately.

"Deborah Peagler intentionally orchestrated the murder-for-hire of her estranged boyfriend. She lured him to the spot where he was killed. She witnessed the murder and drove the killers away," Sandi Gibbons said. "She profited by receiving money from the victim's insurance."

--Garrett Therolf

Photo: Deborah Peagler, pictured behind the security glass at Central California Women's Facility prison. Credit: Yoav Potash


 
Comments () | Archives (2)

The comments to this entry are closed.

"United Forensic College" is allowing me to expand my career choices and earn a higher income in my chosen field of Criminal Justice

“A Story That Needs To Be Told”
By Author - John J. Pecchio

This article will inform the mind and startle the soul. Crime and punishment in this country is out of control. Many are in agreement in, how lawmakers and prison bureaucrats are controlling our modern prisons, and turning them into political arenas that operate like a circus of shams and charades.

When we started building modern prisons in the 1800s, air, food and space was all that the constitution called for when incarcerating criminals. It was understood that prisons were built to punish criminals for their crimes and reform them to live productive lives.

It has been about two-centuries of building prisons and processing criminals in this country and I am appalled, about how lawmakers have not revised the system to correct the lack of administrative and prisoner discipline. Nor impeach those who have, and still are, contaminating our prison with flaws embedding them with unthinking, unknowing or corrupted officials and political bureaucrats.

When politicians run for public office they want to impress taxpayers with solutions to lower the deficit, stabilize taxes and protect public safety. I realize that most politicians have never seen the inside of a prison and the ones that have been were shown the best parts and the visit was short. But why do they always want to close down prisons to lower the deficit when it will only increase prison spending and crime rates?

Federal and State Prisons have deteriorated to their worst condition in the history of these institutions? They have changed from being run with dignity and strong security into a hellish nightmare where corruption is the norm. With the loss of positive leadership in our prisons came the increase of prisoner’s power, primarily caused by their ability to hide behind highly-defended “Civil Rights”, which has now taken precedence above all else. These rights allowed them to live without fear of strong retribution for their actions, thereby leading to a breakdown in inmate behavior and resulting in riots, fights, and physical and verbal abuse of prison workers.

The recidivism rates are now at the highest point in prison history. Prison bureaucrats know that approximately 70% and 80% of repeat felons’ including 90% of pedophiles and sex-offenders are returning in one-to three-years committing the same crimes, which is a sure sign of a failing prison system.

After working in a maximum-security prison for almost three-decades, it’s my firm conviction that “The criminal mind never sleeps”. Our Justice System processes so many criminals throughout the prison systems at taxpayers’ expense, and they still continue to rebel against the system by violating prison rules and regulations, breaking laws and committing more crimes.

Each year, taxpayers’ are spending over $450-billion dollars on our Justice System to fighting crime in this country, and approximately $50-billion dollars of that money is spend on the Department of Corrections.

In 1966 when I started working in the prison system our prison security was intact and ran well because administrators were in control. Three years later we started getting a new breed of administrators from Central Office, (the main headquarters for all prisons in the state) they were politically orientated, inexperienced, arrogant and controlling. Their goals were plain and simple; they worried more about pleasing their superiors and prisoner’s rights then prison safety. That was the beginning of how our prisons went from good to bad and ugly in the last several decades.

In today’s prisons the lack of prison security has diminished. The security correctional officers, who were the backbone of the prison system, have now been downgraded to glorified babysitters. Now prison staff is forced to move daily between freedom and captivity while walking a delicate line between administrative politics and the threat of inmate violence.

I was a vocational instructor working and supervising murderers, rapist, pedophiles, and drug-pushers and mentally unstable prisoners. My vocational shop was dangerously filled with trade tools, including shape knives, screwdrivers and machineries. The new administrators ignored security procedures and removed the security officer from all the vocational shops and tripled their workload to patrol several shops a day, which left me without security for several hours. Needless to say, my inmates became reckless and became a security risk. These new administrators and prison security put me in life-threatening situations. The inevitable happened. Several inmates begin challenging me and setting me up to be harmed. The leader of the gang started pressuring me and violating prison rules and regulations to impress other inmates. He was a mass-murderer serving two-life-terms for killing several people.

I had written several misbehavior reports when locking this inmate up. Most of those reports were downplayed by prison security leaders because of pressure from above to have fewer incidents and look good to Central Office and feared they would violate prisoner’s rights. Within the month the same inmate wrote a threatening letter to security heads and the superintendent, quote. “Take me out of Pecchio shop or there will be trouble” unquote. I was never warned of the inmate’s letter nor were my misbehavior reports taken seriously.

As expected, this 280 pound muscular inmate charged me from behind and brutally attacked me. With blood pouring down the side of my face where he hit me, he then picked me up and threw me hard against a 600 pound steel machine; I hit it with such force it moved. I then fell hard to the concrete floor next to my desk on a platform. When he stopped punching me for a few seconds and turned towards the door I reached up with one arm and knocked the phone off the hook and that alerted security. They rushed in and took control. Both the inmate and I were medically treated in the facility hospital. He was taken to the guardhouse and I was transported to the outside hospital for further medical treatment.
Then several months later, a jury trial found this inmate guilty and added a three-to-seven-years sentence to his two life terms. I was put on a medical disability for the rest of my life. This traumatic experience was caused by a failing prison system.

MY BOOK TITLES SAY IT ALL. IT IS TIME TO ACT AND I HOPE THE DIVERSITY OF MY TRUE, COMPELLING AND GRIPPING STORIES WILL BE A POSITIVE INSTRUMENT IN PRISON REFORM. “HELL BEHIND PRISON WALLS” WAS MY FIRST BOOK, WHICH IS MY AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF WORKING IN THE PRISON SYSTEM.

MY SECOND BOOK “THE DEVIL’S DEN OF PRISON AND JUSTICE” IS A LOOK AT HOW PRISONS ARE STILL FAILING WHILE TAXPAYERS ARE SUPPORTING THE HIGHEST INCARCERATION RATE, WITH THE MOST SERIAL-KILLER IN THE WORLD? WE HAVE APPROXIMATELY 2.4 MILLION SCHIZOPHRENICS, WITH MANY BEING BORDERLINE CASES, WHO ARE MIXING IN WITH REPEAT FELONS AND ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS. THEY ARE THE ONES COMMITTING MOST OF THE CRIMES IN THE UNITED STATES.

My Website www.johnpecchio.com contains a prison video to the rights of the screen, along with my guestbook of satisfied readers and their comments on our Justice System.

You can place a book orders on Amazon.com or contact me directly, at jpecchio@npacc.net I would be glad to answers any questions.

GOD BLESS THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA,
AND A SPECIAL BLESSING, TO THOSE BRAVE MEN AND WOMEN FIGHTING FOR OUR
FREEDOM, LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL


Connect

Recommended on Facebook


Advertisement

In Case You Missed It...

Video







Categories


Archives
 



Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: