Crime After Crime tells the dramatic story of the legal battle to free Debbie Peagler, an incarcerated survivor of domestic violence. Her time in prison could not crush the spirit of this determined African-American woman, despite the wrongs she suffered, first at the hands of a duplicitous boyfriend who beat her and forced her into prostitution, and later by prosecutors who used the threat of the death penalty to coerce her into accepting a life sentence behind bars. Her story takes an unexpected turn two decades later when two rookie land-use attorneys step forward to take her case. Through their perseverance, they bring to light long-lost witnesses, new testimonies from the men who committed the murder, and proof of perjured evidence.
Shot over a five-and-a-half year period, Crime After Crime is a fascinating and penetrating look at a skewed justice system from the vantage of a remarkable and committed triumvirate taking on the powerful Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. This remarkable film also offers a rare glimpse into life behind bars at the Central California Women’s Facility in Chowchilla, the state’s largest women’s prison. Myriad twists and surprises unfold for the audience as they did for the director, making for an emotional roller coaster ride with pressing social content.
Directed by Yoav Potash, U.S.A., 2010, 95 mins.