Ripped From Which Headline? "Innocence"

Brow Beat
Slate's Culture Blog
March 16 2010 12:39 PM

Ripped From Which Headline? "Innocence"

We all know that Law & Order rips its stories from the headlines—but which headlines? Every week, Brow Beat matches L&O 's plot points to the events that inspired them.

/blogs/browbeat/2010/03/16/ripped_from_which_headline_innocence/jcr:content/body/slate_image

March 15, 2010, "Innocence"

Advertisement

These Are Their Stories
After Cedric Stuber is found guilty of murdering a gay man in a hate crime, the Hudson University Innocence Coalition challenges the conviction. The coalition has found a new witness, drug dealer Ricardo Diaz, who claims the victim's husband asked about finding a hit man to kill him. When ADA Cutter and the rest of the team investigate, they discover that Diaz only agreed to testify after a student from the coalition gave him booze, $100 in cash, and offered to help find him a lawyer. When Cutter notices that students who helped to secure exonerations for coalition clients received better grades, he subpoenas their academic records and e-mail archives.

This Is the Real Story
In October 2009, according to the New York Times , prosecutors subpoenaed "the grades, grading criteria, class syllabus, expense reports and e-mail messages" of journalism students involved in Northwestern University's Medill Innocence Project ." Among the issues the prosecutors need to understand better ... is whether students believed they would receive better grades if witnesses they nterviewed provided evidence to exonerate [Anthony] McKinney." The Chicago Tribune reported that prosecutors "questioned the quality of the students' investigation, saying some witnesses either recanted what they told the Medill Innocence Project or said they were improperly influenced for their statements to students investigating the crime." Last week, a judge agreed to dismiss evidence uncovered by the Medill students.

A hat tip to the Chicago Tribune , which ran its own "ripped from the headlines" story before Brow Beat had digested its breakfast.

June Thomas is a Slate culture critic and editor of Outward, Slate’s LGBTQ section. 

TODAY IN SLATE

Technocracy

Forget Oculus Rift

This $25 cardboard box turns your phone into an incredibly fun virtual reality experience.

The Congressional Republican Digging Through Scientists’ Grant Proposals

Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real

Sleater-Kinney Was Once America’s Best Rock Band

Can it be again?

Whole Foods Is Desperate for Customers to Feel Warm and Fuzzy Again

The XX Factor

I’m 25. I Have $250.03.

My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.

The XX Factor
Oct. 20 2014 6:17 PM I’m 25. I Have $250.03. My doctors want me to freeze my eggs.
Politics

Smash and Grab

Will competitive Senate contests in Kansas and South Dakota lead to more late-breaking races in future elections?

George Tiller’s Murderer Threatens Another Abortion Provider, Claims Free Speech

Walmart Is Crushing the Rest of Corporate America in Adopting Solar Power

  News & Politics
The World
Oct. 21 2014 3:13 PM Why Countries Make Human Rights Pledges They Have No Intention of Honoring
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 21 2014 5:57 PM Soda and Fries Have Lost Their Charm for Both Consumers and Investors
  Life
The Vault
Oct. 21 2014 2:23 PM A Data-Packed Map of American Immigration in 1903
  Double X
The XX Factor
Oct. 21 2014 3:03 PM Renée Zellweger’s New Face Is Too Real
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 21 2014 1:02 PM Where Are Slate Plus Members From? This Weird Cartogram Explains. A weird-looking cartogram of Slate Plus memberships by state.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 21 2014 1:47 PM The Best Way to Fry an Egg
  Technology
Technology
Oct. 21 2014 5:38 PM Justified Paranoia Citizenfour offers a look into the mind of Edward Snowden.
  Health & Science
Climate Desk
Oct. 21 2014 11:53 AM Taking Research for Granted Texas Republican Lamar Smith continues his crusade against independence in science.
  Sports
Sports Nut
Oct. 20 2014 5:09 PM Keepaway, on Three. Ready—Break! On his record-breaking touchdown pass, Peyton Manning couldn’t even leave the celebration to chance.