USA, 2011, 93 min
Yoav Potash’s moving documentary takes us inside the case of Deborah Peagler, a woman serving 25 years-to-life for her involvement in the murder of the man who abused her. This intimate portrait includes the pro bono legal team of Joshua Safran and Nadia Costa, young attorneys who upon meeting Peagler—already more than 20 years into a life sentence—became inspired to fight relentlessly for her release. In the wake of a new California law offering abused women the opportunity to reopen their defense cases, Safran and Costa were convinced they would prevail. 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. The 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.
—Andrea Carla Michaels
This is a Cinema by the Bay film. Special support for this program generously provided by Visionary Circle member Lynn Kirshbaum. GGA Documentary Feature Contender.