Criminal Records Podcast

Criminal Records Podcast

A twice monthly podcast on crime and punishment throughout history!

Episodes

January 13, 2022 53 min

In 1969, a group of graduate students had a great time smashing up a car. Their very strange psychology experiment is responsible for some of the most racist policing practices in America today. How did the broken windows theory go from textbooks to police departments? And will we ever know what actually solved America's biggest crime wave?

Content note: This episode discusses a lot of racist practices specifically targeting Bl...

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A group of thieves set their sights on the greatest wealth stockpile of them all: the Global Strategic Maple Syrup Reserve. All they needed was a network of truckers, black market syrup smugglers, and shady dealers willing to get their fingers sticky for a sweet payoff.

Show notes and sources at this link

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December 16, 2021 61 min

Was a poor Jewish kid from Massachusetts the real inspiration for Professor Moriarty? Meet Adam Worth, the gentleman thief so daring his crimes created fashion crazes, inspired private detectives, and nearly caused an international diplomatic incident.

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December 2, 2021 60 min

Want to take your gang war to the next level? Try buying a rocket launcher! In this wild episode, we learn about the history of one of the world’s best-known criminal organizations, the split that launched a bloody turf war, and the linguistic complications of saying “yes” to arms dealers.

Show notes and sources at this link

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November 18, 2021 70 min

How did one of the most famous political prisoners of all time end up in prison? What system did he have a part in taking down? This week, we discuss the strange legal maneuvers South Africa’s racist government used to stay in power, and the court case that changed the way the world reacted to the apartheid system.

Content notes: This episode contains discussion of the South African apartheid system, which includes some language in...

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November 4, 2021 57 min

One gang of women terrorized London's merchants for more than a century. From smashing cars through shop doors to stuffing fur coats down their pants, learn the secrets of the lady gang of master criminals.

Content note: This episode includes discussion of domestic violence.?

Show notes and sources at this link

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October 21, 2021 59 min

What do you do when your country won't let you leave? One group of defectors from the Soviet Union hatched a desperate plan: they'd pretend they were on their way to a wedding, then they'd hijack their plane and fly it out of the country.

Content note: This episode discusses antisemitism in the Soviet Union and the Zionist movement.

Sources and show notes at this link

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October 7, 2021 50 min

A Salvation Army-inspired preacher decided to turn a small Oregon town into a new Eden. His method for achieving this: public nudity, floggings, bonfires, and sex rituals. When the worried families of his victims tried to stop him, they set off a chain of deaths.

Content notes: Murder, sexual exploitation of women and girls, suicide.

In case it's not clear from our discussion in the episode, we don't believe there's any...

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September 30, 2021 29 sec

Sorry folks, Isaac is in the middle of a covid scheduling shakeup and Demetria is sick. We should have a new episode for you next week!

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September 16, 2021 62 min

What if a legal trial was also a battle to the death? In this episode, we look at the strange phenomenon of the judicial duel, in which a plaintiff and defendant would try to kill each other to win a court case. In the “last duel” of medieval France, one man made his fight for justice into a literal fight, and used his weapons to prove that God was on his side.

Content notes: This episode is about a trial for violent rape. It conta...

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September 2, 2021 70 min

We've talked about cultures that had a formalized, bureaucratic process for getting revenge. But what do you do when you're not legally allowed to retaliate against the man who killed your father? Shi Jianqiao devoted her life to revenge, captivating the Chinese populace with her filial piety and her poetry justifying her crime.

Show notes and sources at this link

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August 19, 2021 53 min

London’s greatest thief-taker had a secret: he was also the leader of its best-organized gang of thieves. For years, Wild turned one of the most brutal criminal justice systems in the world to his advantage—but even the self-styled Thief-Taker General ended up on the gallows.

Content note: This episode contains a graphic description of execution by hanging.

Show notes and sources at this link

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August 5, 2021 65 min

Is it a crime to be well-dressed? In this week's episode, we return to the French revolution to find out why one of the world's most fashionable women became the symbol for everything that was wrong with the aristocratic system. Did Marie Antoinette really bankrupt the country with her dresses and jewels, or was she the victim of an angry, desperate populace looking for a scapegoat?

Sources and show notes at this link

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July 22, 2021 65 min

The people of France tried to do just a little bit of revolution, but things got out of hand when their king didn't play along. Louis XVI's accusers needed to convict France's disgraced figurehead to cement the legitimacy of their own government. They just had one little problem: how do you prosecute a man who committed no crimes, because he was the law?

Show notes and sources at this link

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July 8, 2021 78 min

The hunt for a spy within the French military went off the rails when an amateur graphologist fingered the wrong suspect. A closed military trial turned into an national scandal involving forged evidence, multiple moles, and two separate failed assassinations.

Content warnings: Discussions of antisemitism, suicide, pogroms, and the origins of the Zionist movement. The show notes contain several antisemitic caricatures of Dreyfus an...

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June 24, 2021 57 min

Two women entered Kuala Lumpur International Airport to film a prank show. Their target: an unassuming business traveler. The result: the assassination of the former heir apparent of the North Korean government. How did two aspiring actresses end up caught in the middle of the biggest diplomatic incidents of the decade? And why did Kim Jong-nam go from North Korea's future leader to its top target?

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One man's quest for vengeance against Wells Fargo turned into a massive crime spree—with occasional poetry breaks. Returning guest Amanda Jean joins us to fall in love with Black Bart, the gentleman robber who bluffed his way through a criminal career with no horse, no accomplices, and no bullets.

Show notes, sources, and guest information at this link

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May 27, 2021 59 min

Welcome to the seedy underbelly of Pittsburgh, where the battle for control over the sex trade turned into an all-out gang war. Caught in the middle: A trans horse riding instructor who turned to a life of crime when he needed money to care for his ailing mother. S.A. Chant joins us today for a conversation about money laundering through paint-your-own ceramics, fighting the cops with birthday cake, and the way respectability polit...

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May 13, 2021 60 min

One of Japan’s most famous murderesses took a very intimate souvenir from the lover she murdered. Was she the sex-crazed nymphomaniac portrayed in the media? Was she the symbol of female empowerment described by her supporters? Or was she an abuse victim who broke down after making one terrible mistake?

Content notes for this episode: Sexual assault, sexual exploitation of young girls, murder, genital mutilation, suicide.

Show note...

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April 29, 2021 63 min

If you want to tackle the crime problem, why not just get rid of all the laws? In this episode, a group of free thinkers take a utopian experiment to the extreme, and discover in the process that some laws exist for a reason. One of those reasons: preventing bears from eating everyone.

Content note: This episode mentions several instances of libertarians arguing in favor of pedophilia or being caught with child pornography. It also...

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