Ripped From Which Headline? "Innocence"

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

Jurisprudence

Scalia’s Liberal Streak

The conservative justice’s most brilliant—and surprisingly progressive—moments on the bench.

Scotland Votes to Remain in U.K.

There’s a Way to Keep Ex-Cons Out of Prison That Pays for Itself. Why Don’t More States Use It?

The Music Industry Is Ignoring Some of the Best Black Women Singing R&B

Can Democrats Keep Counting on Republicans to Offend Women as a Campaign Strategy?

Culturebox

Theo’s Joint and Vanessa’s Whiskey

No sitcom did the “Very Special Episode” as well as The Cosby Show.

Television

The Other Huxtable Effect

Thirty years ago, The Cosby Show gave us one of TV’s great feminists.

Cliff Huxtable Explains the World: Five Lessons From TV’s Greatest Dad

Why Television Needs a New Cosby Show Right Now

  News & Politics
Weigel
Sept. 18 2014 8:20 PM A Clever Attempt at Explaining Away a Vote Against the Farm Bill
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 18 2014 6:02 PM A Chinese Company Just Announced the Biggest IPO in U.S. History
  Life
The Slate Quiz
Sept. 18 2014 11:44 PM Play the Slate News Quiz With Jeopardy! superchampion Ken Jennings.
  Double X
Doublex
Sept. 18 2014 8:07 PM Crying Rape False rape accusations exist, and they are a serious problem.
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Sept. 18 2014 1:23 PM “It’s Not Every Day That You Can Beat the World Champion” An exclusive interview with chess grandmaster Fabiano Caruana.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 18 2014 4:33 PM The Top 5 Dadsplaining Moments From The Cosby Show
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 18 2014 6:48 PM By 2100 the World's Population Could Be 11 Billion
  Health & Science
Science
Sept. 18 2014 3:35 PM Do People Still Die of Rabies? And how do you know if an animal is rabid?
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.