Crime After Crime

Crime After Crime largeIn 1983, Deborah Peagler was sentenced to life in prison for first-degree murder, despite many factors indicating that she should not have been charged with the crime in the first place. Deborah was a victim of domestic violence who had tried to escape her abuser many times, ad had contacted police, who were of little help. When two me who were supposed to protect Deborah killed her abuser, she was charged with first-degree murder and threatened with the death penalty.

To avoid that sentence, Deborah entered a guilty plea so that she would “only” be sentenced to life in prison. With a slim chance of being released on parole, Deborah and little hope of ever reuniting with her two daughters outside of prison – until a 2002 law offered a new possibility. Two decades after her incarceration began, California became the first state to allow domestic violence cases like Deborah’s to be reopened.

Her volunteer attorneys soon uncovered a trail of prosecutorial misconduct that began with Deborah’s arrest and that continues continues to the present day. Their discoveries sent the case into the headlines and launched a movement that not only advocated for Deborah’s freedom, but that also raised a banner for battered women and the wrongtully imprisoned around the globe.

CRIME AFTER CRIME tells the dramatic story of the legal battle to free Debbie Peagler, an incarcerated survivor of domestic violence. Over 26 years in prison could not crush the spirit of this determined African-Amercan woman, despite the wrongs she suffered, first at the hands of a duplicitous boyfriend who beat her and forced her into prostitution, and later by prosecutors who used the threat of the death penalty to corner her into a life behind bars for her connection to the murder of her abuser.

Her story takes an unexpected turn two decades later when two rookie land-use attorneys step forward to take her case. Through their perseverance, they bring to light long-lost witnesses, new testimonies from the men who committed the murder, and proof of perjured evidence. Their investigation ultimately attracts global attention to victims of wrongful incarceration and abuse, and becomes a matter of life and death once more.