Once national and regional media personalities agree that a serious injustice is in the works, the legal process changes, often dramatically. I have seen this happen in Tulia, Texas and Jena, Louisiana. I call it “the embarrassment factor”. No one wants to be associated with a racist prosecution and the Flowers case may soon be perceived that way.
Podcasts, especially the true crime variety, are coming into their own. And, in the opinion of this New Yorker review, In the Dark’s in-depth investigation of the Curtis Flowers case may be the best podcast in existence right now.
Readers of this blog will be familiar with the strange saga of Curtis Flowers and the prosecutor who is determined to put him to death. But with the story now gracing the pages of the New York Times and the New Yorker it is only a matter of time until Curtis is reunited with his devoted family. The case against Curtis is built on threats, lies and manipulation.
Ironically, a podcast may be a more effective remedy to this travesty than the legal process. Especially when journalists camp out in small town Mississippi for a full year and gradually win the trust of a fearful community.
Baran and her team moved to Mississippi for almost a year to report the Flowers story. We learn that his case is full of abuses of power, mostly by white officials against black people, from evidence-gathering to jury selection. Local opinion about Flowers’s guilt is largely divided by race. The state’s evidence doesn’t focus on a central incriminating piece of evidence—multiple details are meant to add up to a convincing narrative. Baran investigates those details—including the route that Flowers supposedly walked, the gun he supposedly used, and confessions he supposedly made in prison—and uses them to scrutinize the case as a whole. So far, she’s smashed it to smithereens.
If you have never listened to a podcast just download Stitcher and search for In the Dark, season two.
Episode 6 of the In the Dark podcast is stunning.
The only piece of direct evidence DA Doug Evans has on Curtis Flowers comes from Odell “Cookie” Hallmon. Never mind that Hallmon testified for the defense before he changed his story.
Never mind that Hallmon (see episode 5) told jury after jury that he received nothing for his testimony when, truth be told, Doug Evans got his star witness out of legal trouble again and again.
Never mind that, thanks to yet another break from Evans, Holman got out of prison a few years ago and murdered his girlfriend and two other people in cold blood.
When the producers of In the Dark learned that Hollman was friending people from his cell in Parchman prison they decided to send him a friend request.
And what he said will, in God’s good time, return Curtis Flowers to the free world.
No, I’m not going to tell you what he said. You need to listen for yourself.
Fifty years ago, the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was gunned down at the Loraine Motel in Memphis, Tenn. Everyone was shocked, but no one was surprised. “Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you.”
The In the Dark crew spent a full year on the ground in central Mississippi and they talked, at length and in depth, to everyone associated with the story. And there are dozens and dozens of people to talk to, each one more captivating (and disturbing) than the last.
Come Sunday gets the theological focus right. A God who would consign the unsaved to eternal punishment, even if they had never heard the gospel, comes off looking like a monster.
Darwin’s theorizing has always been more popular with public intellectuals eager to dispense with Christianity than it has been with the scientific community.