Criminal Records Podcast

Criminal Records Podcast

A twice monthly podcast on crime and punishment throughout history!

Episodes

January 26, 2023 56 min

We’re heading to the Roman Republic for two stories about women getting their day in court. Asking the gods to put a supernatural hit out on your illicit lover, that’s a-okay according to the Romans. But being a sugar baby? That’s against the law.

Show notes and sources at this link

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We're starting the year off with a civil law case involving some very uncivil language. One of our nation's most important legal battles over the First Amendment was a battle between a Nyquil-chugging preacher and an American flag diaper-wearing porn publisher. Does the right to free speech protect your right to be really, really gross?

Content note: This episode is labeled explicit for graphic descriptions of fictional inc...

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December 29, 2022 70 min

On a lonely island off the coast of North America, one man shot another man's pig for eating his potatoes. The legal question of who had the right to arrest him nearly upset the fragile peace between two nations.

Sources and show notes

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December 15, 2022 65 min

While Japanese officials were investigating a case of illegal baseball betting, they uncovered a shocking secret about the integrity of one of the country's most famous sports. Who actually runs the world of sumo, and why would some of the most elite athletes in the world feel so much pressure to fix their matches?

Sources and show notes

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December 1, 2022 68 min

In the Soviet Union, snitches got statues. But was the story of a brave little Communist who was murdered by his own family just a little too good to be true? And if the famous campfire tale was a fabrication, who really killed the Morozov boys?

Content note: This episode contains descriptions of the murders of two children, torture of suspects, execution by shooting, and millions of deaths due to famine.

Sources and show notes her...

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November 17, 2022 57 min

Are people really being fined thousands of dollars for smuggling a sweet treat across the US border? Demetria goes deep (maybe a little too deep) on an investigation into why American stores can't sell one of Europe's favorite chocolates.

Content note: Deaths of children by asphyxiation and poisoning will be mentioned in this story but are not discussed in detail.

Sources and show notes here

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November 3, 2022 55 min

Was one of Seattle's most notorious killers murdering her patients and stealing their fortunes on purpose, or did she really believe that starvation was the cure for every disease? Welcome to the world of Dr. Linda Burfield Hazzard, one of alternate medicine's most notorious quacks, who always seemed to end up with power of attorney over her wealthy victims shortly before they died under mysterious circumstances.

Content no...

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October 20, 2022 56 min

One man lived the dream of every hockey fan when he bought a 50% stake in the ownership of the New York Islanders. There were just a few problems with his plan to save the struggling underdogs: He didn’t know anything about how to run a hockey team, he couldn’t fulfil any of his grand promises, and he didn’t actually have any money.

Sources and show notes here

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October 6, 2022 71 min

When Washington State went dry, one baby-faced cop decided to start moonlighting as a bootlegger. His alcohol empire involved crooked mayors, bootlegging conventions, airplane engines strapped to boats, and a conspiracy theory about secret messages for rum-runners hidden inside children's bedtime stories.

S.A. Chant generously stepped up to guest while Isaac's out sick this week. I highly recommend checking out their work!

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    September 22, 2022 63 min

    On one fateful week in 1902, Old Country systems of oversight of meat production met New Country price collusion. With the price of kosher meat skyrocketing in New York City and the Jewish population entering its hangriest period of the year, tensions spilled over into a pandemonium involving naked butchers, flying fish, and cops getting slapped in the face with raw liver.

    Sources and show notes at this link

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    September 8, 2022 49 min

    A man, a plan, a violation of controlled airspace. Larry Walters was an ordinary truck driver, but he hatched an extraordinary scheme to take to the sky in a lawn chair tied to weather balloons. His stunt made international headlines, inspired movies, and launched an extreme sport. 

    Content note: This episode includes a discussion of suicide.

    Sources and show notes here

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    August 25, 2022 62 min

    What should you do when two different governments claim to have authority over your country? Tell everyone that a third government secretly has the real claim to power! Then, start taking people's money so you can issue your own license plates and government ID cards. What could go wrong?

    Sources and show notes here

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    An attempt to get to the bottom of steroid abuse in Major League Baseball spun out so badly that one of the lawyers involved ended up in prison. But why is punishing people for the misuse of regulated drugs in sports left up to private organizations in the first place? And wouldn't baseball be so much more fun if everyone was still injecting meth and goat testicle juice?

    Content notes: Discussion of drug abuse including meth, a...

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    July 28, 2022 62 min

    The target: The British Museum of Natural History. The payload: A suitcase full of dead birds. The criminal: A flute player obsessed with the rare art of Victorian fly tying.

    Content note: This episode contains discussion of the "Asperger's defense," a controversial mental health defense in the British court system. We're discussing the legal and medical terminology that was used at the time; understanding of the au...

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    July 14, 2022 61 min

    We’re tackling one of our most confusing legal systems yet in a case so complicated no one could even figure out which jurisdiction covered it. Because there was no law covering criminal negligence, the accidental sinking of the warship Chishima was tried in a civil court–but Japan’s bizarre treaty system forced the emperor of Japan to personally take his suit to a British court on Chinese soil. Mix in a little debate over maritime...

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    June 30, 2022 63 min

    We’re closing out Pride month with a look at a country where Pride demonstrations are banned. How did Russia go from relative tolerance to extreme repression? Why did so much Soviet propaganda feature men kissing? And how did a law about kids’ media turn into a human rights violation?

    Note: While this episode is not particularly sexually graphic, I’ve marked it as explicit just in case because it contains discussion of the legality...

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    June 16, 2022 61 min

    Can you break the law by reincarnating in the wrong body? We get into Tibet’s complicated battle with China over its reincarnation lineages, including a government-mandated ceremonial golden urn, a legal precedent that requires time travel to make sense, and an inheritance dispute involving a parent who’s younger than his own child.

    Sources and show notes here

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    June 3, 2022 65 min

    Get ready for more discussion of of glory holes than you’ve ever heard in a civics lesson before. This landmark case invalidated sodomy laws across the United States. But did the plaintiffs involved actually commit any sodomy with each other? And is the Supreme Court’s legal reasoning at risk today?

    Sources and show notes

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    May 19, 2022 58 min

    This secret society of criminals had a fake leader, but their grievances were very real. Were the Luddites just a bunch of anti-technology cranks, or was there more to their machine breaking movement?

    Sources and show notes

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    May 5, 2022 57 min
    The invention of one incredibly minor traffic offense had massive consequences for legal systems around the world. When did we lose the right to cross the street wherever and whenever we wanted? 

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