>> one of the best things that ever happened to me was receiving your book on jeffrey mcdonald to review from "the wall street journal." it opened my eyes to how counternarcotics have a taxonomy, how you can follow them from case to case. i don't know if you are still pursuing that case. see i am pursuing it in the sense that my publishers have asked me to do another edition of the book, so i am rewriting
parts of the book and then there is an edition based on a recent hearing in north carolina. about the case, so that has been added to the mix. >> so i guess the answer is yes, i'm sorry. >> i'm glad to hear that. although i think your first edition of it really says everything there is that i can think of to say. they sit way you have, the police have a choice. they can either look for an intruder which is a lot of work or they can look at the one surviving family member, indyk him and convict him which is a much easier choice. i think we see this in the amanda knox case. we see this in the sam shepard case. there is a tendency and i don't know if you agree, but with
police to basically take the person closest to the crime which requires the least imagination. >> i would put it slightly differently. often there's a tendency to take that explanation which involves the least amount of thought and often an explanation that sets in early on and persists by any countervailing evidence. it persists despite everything. you mentioned, someone should do at some point a taxonomy of murder cases because there are all of these different kinds and maybe in fact you have done just that sort of thing. >> i mean i have tried and i was greatly inspired to continue trying when i read your book.
but you know i think you are right. you have cases where they find the shooter and then they have to decide whether someone pay them or someone was behind them or he was a loner. this goes back to abraham lincoln and john wilkes-booth. yes he shot lincoln. there were two other assassination attempts that night by associates of booth so it was this as the original finding that the u.s. military commission, was this a plot to decapitate the u.s. government or was john wilkes-booth crazy so you have that taxonomy. again getting back to your case where you have done a number of cases but getting back to the mcdonald case -- the mcdonald case. >> we have cases in common but you know, with amanda knox, the first basically decided that she
was lying. she was lying. she did lie to the police. it's not that uncommon. if you don't have a lawyer and you don't have miranda rights as you do in italy, under tremendous pressure you lie. >> lying is ubiquitous. i mean, if you find something, any account given by anybody that isn't riddled with lies braley is probably not given by anyone i know or anyone i've read about. the presence of lies is not somehow proof of anything. except that people tell and consistent contradictory confusing stories. >> the point of what you were
saying in a tna has given us another prism to look at past cases. and project innocence, they found 250 cases of people who were bromley can pick it and put into prison. of those, they found in 40 of the cases where people had confessed to crimes that they did not commit so basically i think yes yes people lie all the time but secondly people try to be accommodating. they tried to tell the police interrogator something that he wants to hear and amanda knox's case she simply wanted to go home. she had been there for 12 hours and she was exhausted here it she was a 20-year-old girl high on pot. she wanted to go home so she told them what they wanted to hear. basically a black man had been seen running out so the only black man she could think of was the very unfortunate for him the owner of the bar where she
worked. she said yeah he came home with me and killed my roommate. she then later repudiated the statement and said she made it all up which it turned out she did. he luckily had an alibi, an ironclad alibi even though he spent three months in prison so he was released and now they actually found the murderer. they found the guy whose dna was found in the woman who was murdered whose fingerprints were found in the room. all the fingerprints belong to him in the palm prints belongs entirely to him. his sneaker print was in her blood so they knew he had left the room after she was dead. and yet they persisted. this is the inertia that you mention. they persisted with amanda knox and simply said she was part of the devil scolds and managed to
go on. she was in prison for four years. >> what i understand they intend to pursue your -- pursue the case further. the prosecution in the end produces a miscarriage of justice. but what is really aggravating is probably the right word, often what we take from the evidence isn't really evidence of anything and often real evidence goes uncollected and unobserved and unconsidered. when i talked about the taxonomy of criminal cases, we are all familiar with cases that are simply unsolved murders, where really there are no suspects.
no one really is clear at all who might have committed a crime. then there are cases where you know it seems to be a slam dunk. we have a suspect and it's absolutely clear the evidence point to that one suspect and his guilt to none other. and then there are cases which i myself have been involved with, the jeffrey mcdonald case and the case that i made a movie about years ago. you have two competing narratives about what happened. and to suspects as well. in the mcdonald case you could say it's jeffrey mcdonald and then a collection of suspects,
who could have been involved with the murder. and so you have this choice between competing narratives a and b. you would think that if you scrutinized evidence carefully enough and closely enough that you would be able to come to some kind of conclusion about what really happened. because the world is constantly in the transferred theory. the world is constantly exfoliating and producing evidence itself. if you look closely enough at the crime scene or a criminal you should be able to determine what really happened. >> edmund picard who was the french sherlock holmes and he basically wrote the classic look that we now see the csi type
programs on, he said if someone commits a crime he has to transfer part of himself, his fingerprints, and it was before dna, his lead, the fibers on his coat so compared to microscopes developed in the early 20 centuries, they come to this answer. again in the amanda knox case, the crime scene indicated one person and one person alone did the crime. they took the second narrative of a conspiracy. in the oswald case, a case which i happen to leave it or not 50 years ago this november and i wrote my thesis at college on it 48 years ago so i was deeply immersed in it, they have the same thing. the crime scene and also show that osborne did. his palm print was on it and the sniper's bullets, one of them
ballistically match the gun and the bullet shells match, everything match but then of course the question is well, even if he did it first of all did he really do it? if he did do it was he doing it as someone else? here was a man who had defected to the soviet union and just two months beforehand was in this cuban secret service in mexico city. so again you have to make a choice of which narrative you want. but i would add something to what you said. i think in a sense we have tabloid journalism that always wants a story that is the most exciting story. and they continue with that story. i think prosecutors have to have prosecutions too. they also want a story that continues along the lines that they have established.
and evidence that makes them look foolish like with the blue line case where they have to let someone out of prison and they make mistakes. it's not something they want to admit so for many reasons as you say it's not just the evidence. if the evidence and the context in which the evidence was first examined. >> or the collection of evidence that we choose to look at first as the evidence we ignore. the evidence that you fail to collect because you worry or have a fixed idea of what kind of evidence is relevant and what kind is not. again the inertia, one should begin a case, how many people want to find evidence that undermines their own case? with the oklahoma city bombing they clearly knew who set off
the bomb and he was electrocuted. but then they found evidence, 14 eyewitnesses and eyewitnesses who were questionable who said there was a person who no one could identify with him the morning of the bombing. the prosecutors told the fbi, please, no more investigation because it will ruin the case. the defense will take it and demand exonerating evidence and we will never get the case finish. there is this tendency to finish the case and once it's finished -- speak to not revisit it. the ones who made the decision, this is how things really happened, why go back? even if the evidence suggests that you should go back. you may have very well made a mistake. there there's another thing in reading your book that i should
mention the coast it also is part of my experience in dealing with crime. are there cases where you investigate them and you feel you are getting somewhere. you are you're actually moving to some kind of conclusion. i sometimes think of them as mathematical theories, those mathematical theories that converge and those that diverge. as you accumulate more and more and more evidence from and obsessive investigators you see it sweeping in one direction, a single single line pointing to this man who was convicted, his innocence and guilt. the 16-year-old texas kid, in the jeffrey mcdonald case, you
see the evidence clearly pointing to a miscarriage of justice. on the part of those prosecuted and investigating the crime there is really no doubt on that score. but the case can be investigated and this is a very important thing, at least for me. the case can be investigated in such a way that we obliterate them. evidence is going to sort of conveniently sit around and wait to be collected. a crime scene can be managed, handled in such a way that evidence -- and as a result the case can never be resolved. there are pieces missing by trying to assemble a jigsaw puzzle where if someone has
stolen five or six of the pieces or they fail to put them in the box, -- >> from another box. >> from another box, exactly. see the mcdonald case which i found fascinating in taxonomy we have a domestic crime. the domestic crime, the dna, the fingerprints and the hare and the fibers, the people, the spouse, the children are all in the house so finding it is not incriminating because jeffrey mcdonald lived in the house. sam shepherd lived shepard lived in the house. amanda knox lived in the cottage where it happened. so the crime scene is only important when you can prove that there was someone that didn't belong there whether it was edgar allan poe, the
murders. it has to be an intruder for the crime scene to be conclusive. >> on that. there's also this crazy belief nowadays and maybe it's a csa inculcated idea that everything can be resolved. now don't get me wrong, i'm not at post moderate type of thinker, somehow indeterminate who killed who in a murder case. it's real world and the fact of the matter that there is someone with a gun or a knife who committed the act and we should be able to determined who that person is. but having said that, how do we determine who that person is? we do it on the basis of evidence. and dna nome more than any kind of evidence isn't the slam dunk. we have the slam dunk in certain
kinds of rape cases but as you just mentioned if you are investigating somebody where the murders occurred in that home, would you expect to find dna in the home? you kind of wood. how determine it is that? not determinative at all and yet there is a kind of magical thinking that takes over. the dna is going to be a kind of truth serum. you put the dna into a grinder and out pops in all instances the truth. where does work is in exculpating someone who is guilty. in other words if they find that someone else's dna, again and briefcases or murder cases are are there, than someone then someone who's been found guilty and this is what barry scheck has been doing with his innocence project and by the way making a great deal of money because each time there's a suit his law firm handles of false
imprisonment or -- but you are right the myth that is built up in popular culture is that crimes are solved and if you have enough young technicians with enough microscopes they speak the language and forensics you are going to get a solution. i agree with you. in most cases it's assumed you did get a solution but not always. what i find interesting and why i wrote they annals on crime is i am interested in the idea that not all cases are what they are said to be and when you look at them you find out a great deal about police procedures and about journalistic procedures. about the vulnerability of evidence which has always been a major theme of mine. it doesn't have the strength that people attribute to it. the o.j. simpson case of course
which is we would say a slamdunk, he was acquitted on dna evidence with the glove. >> the world is a very strange place. i'm always reminded, constantly reminded how strange it is. but how evidence can be neglected and the corrupted is understood. it isn't just simply something to be considered in the context of crime. all we have to do is look at american history, two wars that we have fought in recent years and in fact we may still be fighting one of them. they some evidence and the interpretation of evidence which turned out to be false. and, --
>> can i add another dimension, the political dimension? there is a political context for especially things like assassinations occurring. i will give you two examples. one is lincoln and the other is kennedy. when lincoln was killed, there was tremendous desire among the government to blame the confederate leaders said they convened and executed seven people and put a few people in jail for life and issued warrants for jefferson davis and the head of the confederate intelligence service and canada and everything. a year later the whole atmosphere to change. now we have reconstruction. we wanted to bring the south back and they actually acquitted who would have been the mastermind of the case and it was forgotten. the same thing happened with lee harvey oswald. when he shot kennedy and the
information went out to the cia, the cia concluded this had to be a plot and they actually thought there was a case to indict fidel castro. the ambassador whose name was thomas mann and not the author thomas mann that the friend of lyndon johnson thomas mann began collecting evidence in mexico city. a week later they decided this would be disastrous that we could wind up in a war with cuba or maybe russia that we didn't want. the one man alone very, loughner no one else involved and thomas mann was the ambassador to mexico and was fired. that case was within three weeks but before the warren commission began sitting down for its meetings, the political atmosphere was such that they moved. he was a demented loughner and let's leave it at that.
>> one thing to remember, it doesn't take a conspiracy for this kind of thing to happen. i am not at fan of conspiracy and i am not a conspiracy theorist. all that takes is pressure to believe axe rather than wimax. the human mind consciously or subconsciously does all of the rest of the work. if there is a reason for you to believe something, you will find a way to believe it, despite all the evidence. rationality is seemingly counting for so very very little in life. maybe nothing. >> you can say that i can make conspiracist although i recognize again i looked at half the cases but i think it's a very interesting prism. it brings in a much wider
context. if you're examining john wilkes-booth you suddenly have a picture of what was going on with the intelligence service of the confederacy. six months before they had tried to kidnap a plot. in the andes might come to the conclusion that it wasn't a conspiracy but i don't like to preclude the possibility. >> i agree. >> also you have to -- you have the kind of conspiracy that is not a conspiracy like with helena stokely and the hippie gang that she says killed jeffrey mcdonald. we don't really go there is a conspiracy to kill them. they went there to get drugs. he began resisting being a greene beret. there was not a conspiracconspirac y to kill them. the real conspiracy was a conspiracy to eliminate her from the trial. although you wonder, and this
can be really the central question in all of these things. there was a central question, did the prosecutors deliberately sent an innocent man to death? that is, did they sentence a man to death knowing in fact that he was innocent and he had not been involved in this murder? i don't think so actually. i think our minds are just too weak. there was a reason for them to believe, a bad reason but a reason for them to believe one thing rather than the other. i think it's true in the mcdonald case as well. we need to point the finger at mcdonald. they had developed a kind of what i consider crazy theory.
they looked at the crime scene and they decided that the crime scene have been staged by mcdonald to look like there had been intruders but they had done such a very bad job of staging it that it was obvious that the police -- to the police should have been staged. they have developed this theory of incredibly cunning manipulative psychopathic criminal who nevertheless was so stupid that he did a job that was easily uncovered by the police as something to divert their attention from the real culprit. i haven't done this. you could possibly help me with this. how many times in murders to the police come up with a staged crime scene very?
how unusual is this? >> it's very rare. at least my ability to find it. in the harry oakes case which was in 1942 and which the former king of england was involved, they actually did take a class and grab the glass and by the time to trot him out is revealed. there are a few times i can find a framing. instances where suicide is actually surreptitiously arranged murder. >> crime scenes where the actual criminal has aged a crime but also crime scenes where the police have examined the crime scene and decided that it was staged just simply on the basis
of looking at it, there's something about it that says oh this isn't right. in the mcdonald case it was a flower pot at the coffee table. these two physical objects seem to just radiate the fact that this man had lied. the coffee table it turns out was knocked over by one of the investigators and the coffee table is the longer story but how do you know a few walk into a room whether the room has been staged to look a certain way so you will come to some conclusion? maybe this is staged. how do you know whether something is staged or not? >> the description of the coffee
table, in the military hearing of mcdonald where expert witnesses foe prosecutor and this is from your book, status absolutely impossible that the table could land on its edge. it had had to be arranged that way and the judge deliberately put the coffee table on its side to make it look as though there had been a struggle in the living room. the coffee table was proof that he had been trying to defeat the police. >> the judge said let's just try it once. the first time they tried it it landed on its edge. >> the mp who had been investigating said it became the coffee table experiment. they had knocked the coffee table over repeatedly and it's kind of an inductive empirical
move. the coffee table had always landed flat on its back with the legs in the air. the coffee table was supine and the judge for the military trial finally demanded to be taken to the crime scene. he kicked the coffee table and it landed exact weight as they had founded at the crime scene. in a way that was deemed to be impossible by the military police. >> in the amanda knox case it's more or less the same scenario that develop. the blast from the window that had been broken, they believed iraq had been been thrown from inside rather than from outside. amanda and knox they thought had staged the breaking into the house.
this is another example, the amanda knox case is an example of the police saying the crime scene had been staged in order to trick them but when they found the guy who had been there and had raped the girl and it was his lot and everything he had broken the window as he admitted and threw the rock through the window and jumped through the river -- window which was only 10 feet high and he escaped to his death. once they got into the theory and i think the same is true, once the scene is staged, no matter what evidence you produce counter evidence and in the mcdonald case it was to produce counter evidence to say maybe it wasn't right that we have other evidence to show was staged.
i think basically the human mind is very simple. once you commit yourself to an opinion and frances bacon said this 400 yars ago, once you commit yourself to an opinion you hold any evidence hostile to that opinion in advance and any evidence that confirms it which is called confirmation bias you select. social scientists found that even at harvard, given experience experiments people tend to pick the evidence that confirms their opinion rather than contradicts their opinion and i think that's another, we should include that in our taxonomy is another locomotive that drives these people -- cases in directions we don't want them driven in. >> is worse than that because you can take one piece of evidence and depending on how you view it, the theory behind
that perception of a piece of evidence can flip. the amazing thing that there really is such a thing as knowledge of the physical you world. that's the amazing part, the fact that we get it wrong all the time does not amaze me at all. in fact science, that's kind of amazing. given our natural predilection, we would much prefer probably to burn people at the stake. >> going back to what happens in exchange theory and transfer theory, it is believed in the popular imagination that the police examine the crime scene and that takes them exact a where they are going. you pointed out they might just say the whole crime scene was staged and by the way the same is true with sam chapman or they may ignore evidence of the crime
scene. it's not like you see on television. basically by the time the crime scene is examined and the evidence comes in and the theory has developed, and it set theory which they fit the almonds of the crime scene in and and then throw out the ones that don't fit. they find expert witnesses. have you been an expert witness in any trials? >> i've been a witness at a trial but never an expert witness. i'm really not an expert. >> i was in the witness and the hollywood trial. i realized with the law firm what melody myers did is they ran a casting agency of hollywood. they looked around and who could give them an opinion, an honest opinion and if the honest opinion didn't fit their case the person would be called. they interviewed me and my opinions fit exactly their case so i became the expert witness.
it's a casting issue and the same is true. how many cases was that? >> there were a good number of cases. it became known as dr. death. he told me he had a lot of trouble with patients. after he became known as the hanging psychiatrist, people were more reluctant on the couch to reveal their deepest thoughts and anxieties. >> people really need to know from the interview you did, you asked someone to draw a diamond and a club and a hard. see i'm not a great believer in predictions of what people will or will not do. a predictor of human behavior and i used to joke that i didn't believe we could protect human
behavior except in one instanceinstance, with the psychiatrist would say in the penalty phase of a capital murder trial when asked whether the defendant would kill and kill again and he would invariably say yes. he did it in that trial that i eventually overturned saying that the defendant would kill and kill again and the 16-year-old kid had never killed and would never hurt anybody. this proved to be manifestly false. as i like to point out he managed to be 200% wrong in one case in achievement. >> well, i have a question for you. the thin blue line seemed natural to win and oscar. amazing documentary produced that year or five years before her five years after.
what happened to it? >> winning oscars is a tricky thing. >> documentary filmmakers control the oscars? >> i don't want to point fingers but i'm grateful for having got one. >> i always say the best thing about giving and oscar is you don't have to be resentful about not getting one. see you certainly deserve it. >> what is it about crime that appeals to you first of all? >> the vulnerability of what you think is certainty, forensic inteigce. before i got into crime -- >> writing about crime. >> yes, my specialty was intelligence service at the kgb
and the cia and it was the same thing. the cia continually try to create an aura, that it could could prove things in new things. when he looked at each case and the main case i looked at was the defector who testified about oswald and got thrown in jail. that case has gone on almost as long as the kennedy assassination. when the cold war ended, i then began to think not only crimes but mysteries going back to jack the ripper, some of them are products of basically journalism creating composite characters or creating circulation. some of them are prosecutors that remain determined not to be embarrassed. in amanda knox the prosecutors are now appealing her acquittal not because they are sure she is
guilty but because they don't want to be made fools of. so the tendency, the desire not to be made a fool of can convince you that you have done the right thing and that you know what really happened. i think people, it's very easy for anybody and i include myself in this regard, to convince themselves that they are right about whatever it is they believe. people do it all the time. and they only reluctantly render those beliefs. often as i say, evidence doesn't really trump anything. >> you mentioned dna evidence and in the amanda knox they found two pieces of dna which supported their theory but in italy they make videos while they are examining dna and maybe they do it in america too.
the video showed that the police technician who first examined the specimen did not change her gloves when she picked up the other specimen so we have another case of transfer. we have basically transferring dna by faulty police procedures which happens all the time. i also got interested in the whole political dimension to crimes of espionage and assassination, fake suicide. >> something that you mentioned which is also part of this, whenever i hear anyone saying that they have very few double proof, that they are absolutely certain of someone's guilt, that they know everything, not even beyond a reasonable doubt that any doubt, reasonable or
otherwise, i am always a little suspicious because they don't really believe in that sort of thing. i believe in the fallibility of humans, not in their infallibility. not even in the infallibility of the pope that we have. >> may be infallibility of the pope because faith is the only thing that can't be contradicted by counter evidence. the very definition of evidence is it can't be good. everything, if you can contradicted, then it cannot be considered objective science. evidenced by its nature can be contradicted. you can't contradicted because you can't find it but what can't be contradicted or acts of faith. religion is based on acts of faith and there's no way of contradicting it. and no one should
contradiccontradic ted as far as i'm concerned. but faith be faith and we should be interested in cases in which people claim that the evidence proves something beyond a shadow of a doubt. >> people seem to be in love with -- and the one thing we know about the basis there him is that if evidence doesn't count for anything then you can never rely on your proper authorities. you start off and end up in that same place no matter what. it said that true. >> let me add one other factor and that is time. take the kennedy assassination. 50 years have elapsed. if no evidence has emerged in those 50 years contradicting the warren commission, i would say
it strongly favors the warren commission report. in other words over time you expect something to leak out. this might also be everything has been obliterated and every witness has been killed but you would think over decades some leakage would appear. in the mcdonald's case they refuse to recognize it that you found the u.s. marshal, jack brett -- jim brit. the other phonecall was jack friar. jim brit who years later came forward with an affidavit saying that helen stokely and her name is stokely who is the person who claimed to have done the murder, she told her story to the prosecutor whose name was blacked burke.
it takes you unfortunately deeper and deeper into a kind of nightmare because brett's own account was a failed on the prosecutors. so you go in this strange merry-go-round to nowhere. the cases as i say there is only proof of prosecutorial and investigators -- investigator malfeasance but if you ask proof, so much of the evidence is gone or lost. i have my own beliefs about the case. i believe he is innocent. but there is this -- take the kennedy assassination. i have scrupulously avoided it because i think it's -- the deepest radical that you can run down and many of the people
that i find extraordinarily and the worst ending here many people who have gone down that rabbit hole never -- they vanish. and it has alwaysscared me. part of it is my belief that the evidence was collected in such a weird way, so much of it remained uncollected. there is so much pressure from different diverse beliefs to believe one thing versus another. who knows how you could ever get at the truth? >> this is the rabbit hole i did go down. my undergraduate thesis, i wrote a letter to earl warren, can i interview and he did me the greatest favor possible. he said promise no one can interview me but why don't you see the general counsel so then i called the general counsel and
said, chief juste warren suggests icu and that opened all the gates. it opened the doors to the rabbit hole. you can have a cover-up and not a conspiracy. a conspiracy can be the cover-up and when kennedy was killed, everyone had an interest in not lifting up and looking at what was below it. robert kennedy who closed down part of the investigation and to part of the x-rays away because robert kennedy had been involved in plans to assassinate castro. he is stealing political ideas and political ambitions. he was going to be president and he did not want assassinations to come out. at the i had something to cover-up. osborne had come to their office a couple weeks before and said i'm going to blow up your
offices unless you leave my wife alone. they burned his statement informing the secret service. the secret service, their agents were all drinking the night before and they really i had to say didn't really protect him as we see in movies. the cia knew that oswald had tried to assassinate general walker that april and they didn't want that coming out. they didn't want anything coming out about the embassy. everyone had a reason to let the rock set over so there could have been a dozen conspiracies to cover it up including the russians sending a false defector. that doesn't mean that anyone actually did the assassination. oswald might have done it alone
which would account or why the evidence was in the state that you described it. see there is also a principle of anti-curiosity. i often think of myself, how much would it cost someone who is telling you a story that you just do not want to hear? how much can i pay you to stop immediately after? i should give you one piece of information. when i was working on the line, this was a murder that occurred in dallas. i befriended the then district attorney of dallas county henry wade. henry wade had been district attorney in dallas county from 1950 on. in the late 80s.
he was the wade in roe v. wade as in many things and he was prosecutor of jack rubin, the attorney and dallas county one robert kennedy was assassinated. i never asked him all that much about the assassination but i was focused on the crime. it's kind of silly in retrospect but sure enough. >> i did interview him and ask him about it. what did he say to you? >> well you know he believes that oswald had to be a trained agent because the dallas police have done the original interrogation. it are oswald's answers were so good tonic and he was so shake a boat. the police expect they can rile people to get them to say what they want and oswald just kept asking for a lawyer. so yeah of course what henry
wade taught, there were many opinions. when i structured my book i tried to put down what happened and then i try to put down the theories, not all of them but a few and then i try to put down my opinion. anyway my opinion isn't any better than anyone else's in the room. >> i agree. it's one person among many but i did on one occasion ask him whether he thought that lee harvey oswald acted alone. he said, of course not. >> i recently checked my diary and i found i was in dallas the night of the 1976 doing my interviews for my second book, legend. i could've been a suspect in the
case. i wasn't exactly a drifter but maybe we could look into that. >> how people have looked into the kennedy assassination and this brings us to the umbrella man, they have taken photographs what are these three bombs doing on the overpass and then they began to construct scenarios. being in the wrong place at the wrong time, maybe this was the man who was convicted and that is what he claimed, he just happened to get her right. the worst thing you could do because it all comes down to timing. >> if you really want to find the evidence to prove something, usually you can find it, or you can construe it in such a way that it proves the point or seemingly proves the point that you want to make.
there is a story from my childhood. i was 10 or 11 years old. i had a rant but galli atlas of the world that i loved. i would page through it constantly, and my daughter told me the question you are supposed's people. which is further west, reno nevada or los angeles? people immediately say los angeles. but reno nevada is further west. so i bet this kid in the neighborhood, i bet him a dollar and i said you know you are wrong. so i get out the atlas and i show him clearly that is further west than los angeles. he says to me, i think it's a
very important point. he says to me lines of longitude don't run across water. [laughter] so, what do you do? he was bigger than me. >> when you come to police departments we have seen recently to murders in texas. there was a great film by eli kazan called boomerang. >> a terrific film. >> the police want to close the case. which means find a drifter, arrest him and convict him. i know this sounds cynical. >> boomerang is really truly a great movie. >> it is. >> movies also speak truth. i'm not talking about documentaries. they tell you what really can
happen in the world. in the world basically we live in a world of bureaucracies. they want to clear cases and get people to confess. one person confesses to one murder and there isn't much compunction to getting him to confess to 29 other murders. it shocks me because one of the, jane benet ramzi? when she was kidnapped, one was someone in the family did it and an intruder did it. no intruder, intruder and it was check the appropriate box.
>> how many intruders were in the area and how many child clusters were in the area? i was shocked when i looked at wikipedia. they had a list in those years is something like 3000 unsolved serial murder cases and 81 of them could have strayed into boulder colorado. there were hundreds of unregistered child molesters say you can't exclude the intruder. we have all seen the fugitive on television where the guy tries to prove there is an intruder. the manson case was the case a case of intruders breaking in and the original police theory of the case, the original theory was roman polanski did it. luckily he had an alibi. he was in london at the time so he couldn't have done it. it's much more than jeffrey mcdonald of the drugged out weirdo. then they had the theory --
>> probably was a weirdo. >> and i'm sure he was. there was another case it happened about the same time. tape was on the wall and the police did not connect these two cases. they believe that one was a drug-related case and the other was a hollywood case and finally they arrest somebody on a speeding ticket. one of the women of all send manson's gang. they had to have a whole new theory then but tape was written on jeffrey mcdonald's wall. it's impossible to conceive that this man would stamp himself in order to frame a manson gang by writing on the wall and none of it made any sense to me. >> a is a really good example of just the thing i was talking about. i see the word written in blood.
while that could be evidence that there is a manson style crazy hippie who killed the family or it could be proof that mcdonald wrote big to make it seem he staged the writing to make the police think that there had been a manson style intruder. evidence is very very finicky kind of thing and how you reason your way with evidence through some kind of conclusion really deeply fascinates me. >> the way the criminal system works you start with a motive and the means and opportunity. for anyone living in a family who has the opportunity and that means, anyone whether it's sam shepard --
[inaudible] >> there is a motive to him but one motive is to have an insurance policy on your wife with the indemnity and or your husband in that case and it's funny when you try to say any married person has a reason to kill their spouse, it's a profound philosophic statement about our social institutions. i am not disagreeing with it but the police think that. >> she of the case with the family. you don't have to go further than sam shepard. here is another tricky matter that is interesting. say your evidence is kind of shaky. her physical evidence is not conclusive subject to interpretation. alternative interpretation. then somehow motive suddenly becomes the trump card.
one of the things that i really hate about the case that i made a movie about in texas and one of those things i really hate about the mcdonald case, it makes me actually very very angry is unable to sort of crack the case with physical evidence, you then play your trump card, your so-called trump card. you called the defendant a psychopath. a psychopath. now in the thin blue line case the defendant was called a psychopath, sociopath, take your choice because he went to work every day. he didn't change his physical appearance. he didn't try to run. he didn't change his habits. ..
kill their families. but the interpretation that was the explanation he became a psychopath for those few minutes. >> there is the three pronged analysis then i will stop this. bedwetting, come home to find one of the baby girls had wet the bet, diet pills which was an amphetamine and psychopathy. you put those three things together and really problem is the diet pill how many had been distributed? in the united states? the answer is hundreds and
hundreds if not millions with the cause of extreme violence behavior? nothing. bedwetting? agreed beret princeton graduate emergency room physician never had to deal with bodily fluids, and never saw blood or urine? oh my god. the bet is what i think i will slaughter by family. the case of noise made. then there was his appearance on the deck cabin show which again sam shepard and amanda and knocks seemed complacent but in the imagination should be careful don't go on there but it was canceled and i'm
involved in the whole case because of the champion to jefferies innocents rover 30 years. something i consider quite heroic. should we take some questions? >> i read your book last summer and i understood that the time they were looking at further evidence to get him off, jeffrey macdonald they would have a hearing i honestly have lost track of that and could you update the group bought matt? >> did anything come out from that? i know your book would play a lot. >> i encourage you to read
the revised edition. it is not an easy answer i would rather talk about his book but they do. there is more to this story. >> you also read the of monte christo said off to prison for his entire life not really feeling he is guilty. if you feel you are guilty you can get parole, compassion but if you believe you are innocent it must be terrible. i would think it is pretty terrible. >> you brought up the man the knox is that in the book you have written? >> i have 36 cases and i
start with jack the ripper and move into russian political cases for you read you are interested in your not supposed to read the cases you're not interested in. >> don't tell people that. >> you mentioned demand in talks come i know they are reopening the case and is this other fellow tried and convicted? >> he was convicted for murder. but the prosecutor in the case, five years before this a famous case he tried to say that a dentist who died in the city he was sid was killed by a satanic cult made a fool of itself he
committed suicide there was no evidence the coulter exist. so now with the man then knocks there are not that many so now with another high-profile case he to kiss theory from the last case in instant lee told that before they arrested the guy and said it was a coulter orgy. said you have a persistence the case is only been reopened because of the appeals court they have not stated logic but in italy cases go on forever. that case went on 20 years where he was to kill somebody as part of the mafia acquitted convicted acquitted convicted i am glad we don't have me attila in justice system. i do believe the miranda rights are the best thing that ever happened not only to justice but history i am
not sure in 76 there were but they did read him his rights. >> remember it is one of my favorite questions around the time i was asked by a dallas journalists if i had read miranda rights to each of my interview subjects before i interviewed anyone anyone, i guess according to him should say, you have the right to remain silent. you have the right to have a and enter new president -- present anything you tell me would be used in the court of public opinion? i don't know. [laughter] but i told him that guess
what? i am a filmmaker not a cop. i don't read people there randall rights that is not part of what i am supposed to do but part of this something that we forget about nowadays is the kind of journalistic idea i mourn the passing of tony lewis this last week to i considered to be a great american the when i had my argument of the rand mcnally atlas and the location when i was a little boy the important thing to remember is there are thugs out there and truth in irrationality does not count for very much.
how you level the playing field? can the police or the government act like thugs? i am not saying they do all the time, but they have, compared to the individual such the enormous power we feel the playing field should be leveled with a fig leaf at best defendants should have a fighting chance. >> i think a lot of what you discussed the confirmation by asb inertia that everyone lies i believe amanda knox is innocent. that is my opinion she is
guilty of having lied. your book is very good by the way but if you live that doesn't mean you have killed someone if you cover up you have not necessarily killed someone. both the shepard and the mcdonald case there were inconsistent statements made by the suspect. that doesn't mean they did the murder. the media has a definite interest starting with jack the ripper that started circulation for papers what is better than a serial killer with a pet name? the zodiac and to sell a lot of papers and once they establish that in the way it works is you advance the story you don't substitute its entire lead news story
or counter narrative. if you do, you are in trouble. does not fit with the fact checkers because they checked "the new york times" said their forces woring to make the playing field far from level. >> is in a true these days questioning a lot of evidence the reliability of the so-called evidence starting off with for a long time they question witnesses statements and now it is ballistics of bullets matched again and even fingerprints i heard are questionable.
that is new i think, don't you agree? >> everything begins to fit a pattern like the mathematics serious you don't have to question the fingerprints it is only when this is an alternative or counter syria then it is hard. the evidence is hard is selected. i every i can find few cases where it is forged but i don't think they are. i think selection is enough to give a distorted view once you have false reporting prosecutors leaking information all the time amanda knox was leaked to review saying the mixed
blood of a manned anoxia the victim were mixed together at the crime scene but that was completely false they never found any mixed blood. once that was established you will read it today with another of my favorite cases the radioactive spider who became radioactive van died because it was established he was poisoned drinking tea but the fact is he died 22 days after he went to the hospital three days after there was no evidence because the teacups were washed and all they knew it is he had lunch in a sushi bar five years earlier and went to a go-go lap dancing
place two weeks earlier and there is polonium and he sought a hooker in another club that had the same traces so basically you come up with the theory he is poison it is hard convincing people if they read it over and over i just read in the times and it becomes difficult, for me at least. >> thank you for writing the book. you mention that you make movies. what kind of movies do you make? and had you get the materials? >> good lord.
who knows where you get the material i just make them. the only people to make police are crazy at least the kind of movies that i make but it is not a treatable condition. i would prefer that you ask ed questions about his work rather than me because i to have movies and unexpected ones i am happy they answer questions about my book. >> there is a case from arkansas which you may know the particulars about three young boys who were convicted of killing a five year-old child and there
were santic -- satanic things about it. there were some students in chicago who took on this case they saw all sorts of problems and it apparently fell apart. mike have to be to we run for president four years from now, they were not exonerated bohr said to be in this and that released from jail. mike have to be who will run for president in four years refuses to a knowledge any kind of malfeasance of the part of the prosecution. and i think for those that
had thought of them as guilty. >> but not my cup to be. >> by including him but he refuses to it knowledge they might be innocent the. >> i read this story in "the new york times" i don't know anything beyond it but it sounds like a miscarriage of justice. people are committed inside the process. and they might honestly believe because you want to believe. you want to believe you are right and not falsifying things. i cannot speak for her to be but people who are district attorneys are police
witnesses don't say i was wrong even when presented with dna that shows the person did not commit the crime so i think is an endemic problem and the only reason it is a problem the public is brought up no on programs like scsi in news reporting that makes it sounds like everything is solved but my view is a lot of things might be but there are a lot of mysteries unsolved. >> when you mention the murders in the room one of the great masterpieces of american literature, when perot was in the process to invent the detective story, long before scsi, the first part of the 19th century, there was this belief may be posted might
mean that the application of reasoning would be eventually force some kind of conclusion. but murder is a perfect example is the unknown intruder theory you know, there is an intruder but there possibly couldn't because what kind could it be? it goes on and on. and all of these stories, to create this detective who claimed that just by looking and a single footprint he could completely solve a case and all evidence is interconnected if you find one piece than the rest of it falls into place. an idea that i believe has
persisted over the years and if anything has become stronger today. but the adm might be important to the social fabric to believe that the justice system means they don't commit crimes. >> remember nothing is so obvious that it is obvious that our interpretations of the evidence he ann be wrong and in fact, terribly wrong. our knowledge is provisional, and not certain. we may be convinced we know what the truth is and maybe we do but at the beginning of my book by quoting a passage from brussels
principles of mathematics were made the introduction of mathematical philosophy and he compares napoleon to hamlet. and ornery have come to the and we will have exhausted everything we know. but napoleon, yes, he is dead but he can prove us wrong and but the reality is so most infinitely complex and deep but the process goes on forever. theoretically speaking.
>> would you think about me and capacity to deal with ambiguity? i say that from my own experience that i work with families that have children with very complicated illnesses and they want to have a reason for this to happen. >> work was done at harvard and chicago, a social psychology experiments and people trying to conform to the answer that people are giving with the confirmation by a sand many principles. there is a movie i am only recommending it is
absolutely everything in the video tape. is called compliance you can get john affleck sandy would the believe the story that humans do a prankster calls mcdonald's that real washington kentucky in convinces a perfectly nice manager to strip search a college graduate who works there who was also very nice that she is a fiefdom by the time the process is done, every moment is recorded and the cameras in the office i cannot say what happens, us banking banking, sussex, everything by a prankster. when i saw the movie i said no one could act that way so i looked up the prankster
incident in washington and from the videotape they had everything humans act in ways we don't expect them to act it is not like the novel they act according to certain rules they can act crazy but not just people we suspect as criminals also of prosecutors, many, many people in society to act in ways that seem bizarre. one of my larger investigations was into you dominique strauss-kahn on. here is a man who will be president of france the head of the imf one of the most powerful people in the world and the maid comes into the room and the maid has the
story and he has a story. there were video cameras in the hallways, telephone records, i tried to reconstruct and finally you come out at least in my opinion, in her view she is honestly telling a story where she was forced to perform a sexual act but in his view she simply responded to his voice commands that were discussing the bulls people saw themselves as innocent and it is easy to say a man or woman wouldn't do that. but we now know from bill clinton in monaco lewinsky people do things you don't expect them to do. when you approach a mystery mystery, that is why i like to go into a complicated cases with the lindbergh case, cases that are things are resolved to see does this make sense and in what
ways does it and doesn't it? i don't think we can trust our rationality or opinions. another question? >> currently the case i saw the other night there was a fighter and 19 people died either prosecutor or the judge said he is sure it was arson and a young black man had to have set the fire. and when he was questioned he said that there overusing
that the fire was set by one of these guys. 30 years later, they had the testimony of the of the arson he said there is no evidence of arson whatsoever and was in jail for how many years and the prosecutors said it is logical. >> part of the process is you have a defense lawyer in team and prosecution team and discovery and exonerating evidence, if that system works well, the defense should be able to bring up there is no evidence. what barry scheck has done
with the dna analysis is take something that did not exist at the time but over time dna can be found and tested in dinosaurs. he looks at cases of project innocence and one of the most interesting things i have found is not guilty people are innocent people convicted by it is innocent people toll lies including the did the crime they did not do then to your point* of human psychology to how fryer agile whole system is and wanted to be anything but fragile.
the better that one person goes free than some veils convicted? that is not how our system works. >> will you save the world of the crime is no different than the rest? we look at clouds and elephants and come into the world with so much prejudice >> what i found it is your phone, i'd never knew this. i went to blackberry. every two seconds it sends out a signal where it was. so not to mention there are
different forms of evidence in the future but i think the principle once the prosecution is committed and even journalists and is committed to be leaving they have an answer, it takes as you did prevent it is very difficult and it -- it happens for a:is the world changed? one man alone did it was crazy them rid chufa not sees to it with the provocation to take over the country. answered, the communists did it i came to the conclusion
the one crazy man with the fire but this was after 75 years and i am not sure either. >> have you looked into 9/11 ? >> i could have but i avoided it. >> there are plenty of radicals and but i did look into it and one of the things that occurred to me with 9/11 is the evidence extracted about what happened no doubt osama been lauded by hall is that evidence extracted from cayenne some in his two associates were extracted from water boarding not a huge issue from this movie
is zero dark 30 where the torture ever produces answer but i cannot even get into that question but do we know that much about the mechanics? because certainly we know who was behind the plot and the pilots but beyond that i think there may be more to that story but in this book i did not get into it. >> one development is technology the web, , etc. and in some of real sense we have become reporters and can all take pictures and write about what we have seen we can share our
experiences with others and it is not just the province of a small group of people distributing information to the masses but a more populist kind of thing without cameras we would not be aware of of a grave and i think that is a good thing that journalism is becoming a different kind of enterprise maybe there are dangers anybody can practice or do journalism but in balance we have access to more information about ourselves, our government than we have it any other time in history. >> and the government has more information than us our credit card and telephone records coming e-mail's, everything. yes the public has more information even los angeles
police beating rodney king but we don't know the extent because surveillance is not that they have a camera in a drone that people are looking at it somebody wants it but they know they take the phone records and see that we went home. [laughter] they are welcome to them. thank you so much. [applause] >> this system of mass incarceration is a deeply rooted in our social political and economic
structure it will not just fade away or downsize out of sight but an upheaval of radical shift of the public consciousness. i know there is many people today who say that there is no point* of sending mass incarceration in america. no. and 1,000 would say yes. its a shame that the way that it is. i find that so many people today sjs and butted is the american way of life. i am certain dr. king would that have been so resigned. so i believe if we are truly truly to honor dr. king, if
we're ever to catch up with him we have got to be willing to continue his work we have to be willing to go back and pick up where he left off o do hrd work of movement building on behalf of poor people of all colors. in 1968 dr. kean advocates said from the civil-rights movement to the human rights movement. meaningful equality could not be achieved through civil rights alone without basic human rights, the right to work work, shelter, quality education, so civil-rights are an empty promise so in honor of dr. king and all those who labored to end the old jim crow i hope we will commit ourselves to building a human rights movement of mass incarceration. a movement for education.
a movement for jobs and in discrimination that denies basic human rights and when with they do to start the movement? >> began by telling the truth. we have to be willing to it matt out loud we as a nation have managed to recreate the castlelike system we have to be willing to tell this truce in the schools and churches and places of worship behind bars we have to be willing to tell the so that a great awakening the reality of what has occurred can come to pass because this new system does not come with signs there is not
a white only or signs alerting as to the existence of the system of mass incarceration. but instead they are out of sight and out of wind. hundreds of miles away from communities and families that might otherwise me connected to them. and those whose cycle in and out typically live in the segregated impoverished communities that middle-class folks. you can live your whole life in america today having no idea in this system of mass in her inspiration in that it even exists. we have to be willing to tell the truth about what has occurred in pullback
occurred where it is hidden in plain sight? en people take the creative destruction action that this part of history requires but of course, it is a lot of talk in his city enough? we have to be willing to get to work. and in my view that means we have got to be willing to build the underground railroad for people who want to make a break from freedom people who want to escape the system to find shelter and support their families with true freedom in america today real thought to be willing to open our homes, schools, workplaces to people returning home and to have a safe haven with families to have of loved
ones behind bars today how do we create these safe places? one thing we can do is submit our own criminality out loud. our own. because the truth is we have all made mistakes in our life. we all have. all of us are sinners. all of us have done wrong. of us wrote the law at some point* but you have at some point* and others say i am a sinner i would get in there but don't call me a criminal, they say maybe you never drink under age or experimented with drugs what is the worst thing you have done to go 10 miles over the
spee the man on the freeway you put yourself and others at more risk of harm than someone smoking marijuana in the privacy o their living room. there are people in the united states serving life sentences for first-time drug offenses. the u.s. supreme court upheld licenses for first-time drug offenders against the eighth amendment challenge that they were cruelty of the unusual and the u.s. supreme court said no. it is not cruel and unusual to sentence a young man to life in prison for the first-time drug offense even though no other country in the world does such a thing. we have got to end the idea that criminals are them. not us and instead say there but for the grace of god go i.. all of us make mistakes in our lives, take a wrong turn but some of us are required
to pay for the rest of our live. barack obama himself has admitted to more than a little bit of drug use in his lifetime. he admitted to using marijuana and cocaine in his use. if he had not been raised by white grandparents in hawaii or had not done much of his illegal drug use on but the odds are good he would have been stopped or for a store search and caught and far from being president of the united states today he might not even have the right to vote depending on the state he lives in. >> intelligentsia is from
the certainty that religion and reason are in different boxes. and the two are at war with each other. someone who was a rational is not a religious or vice versa. and it is the antidote to religion. this itself is the ultimate irrational idea because of the belief that religion is identical to the west is completely untrue.