Chasing Justice

By Chesa Boudin and Rachel Marshall

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Description

A podcast on criminal justice reform featuring some of the nation's most prominent thought leaders. Hosted by progressive prosecutors San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin and Rachel Marshall.

Episode Date
Season 1 Finale: Overcoming Obstacles to Our Movement with DA Rachael Rollins
01:06:14

In the Season 1 Finale of Chasing Justice, DA Boudin and Rachel get personal with Suffolk County (Boston) DA Rachael Rollins.  DA Rollins opens up about obstacles she has overcome as a person and as a progressive prosecutor.  Both DAs also discuss the role of familial incarceration in their lives and in their new roles.  The DAs and Rachel also talk about meeting with incarcerated people as prosecutors; the many challenges progressive DAs face in getting elected; and the role of money in elections.  They also explore how to overcome institutional resistance--including from their own offices-- as well as from the courts and police institutions.  It’s a candid, thoughtful, and, at times, even funny conversation about how those committed to criminal justice reform can overcome the many obstacles to success.  


Chasing Justice is taking a seasonal break but we will be back soon with new episodes!  We encourage you to stay in touch with us during the break.  You can email us at chasingjusticepodcast@gmail.com. You can also find us on Instagram or facebook at chasingjusticepodcast or on twitter at @ChasingPodcast.  During the seasonal break, you can also follow DA Boudin on his personal twitter/instagram at @chesaboudin and Rachel at @RachelRMarshall.

Aug 11, 2020
The Criminalization of Poverty: Bail with Alec Karakatsanis
01:01:00

Every day, there are hundreds of thousands of people in the United States who are in jail simply because they are too poor to buy their freedom.  In this episode, DA Boudin and Rachel discuss one of the most important issues in the criminal justice reform movement: cash bail.  For this discussion, they are joined by Alec Karakatsanis, the founder of Civil Rights Corps and the author of the book Usual Cruelty: The Complicity of Lawyers in the Criminal Injustice System.  Alec, one of the leading bail reform lawyers in the country who successfully sued Harris County, Texas over its bail system, explains the history and practice of bail in the United States, as well as its impact on the legal system overall.  Alec, DA Boudin and Rachel also explore the dangers of risk assessment tools as alternatives to bail, as well as pending bail reform litigation.  DA Boudin also describes his groundbreaking policy to stop seeking cash bail in all San Francisco cases. This episode is a must-listen for anyone interested in criminal justice reform.

Aug 04, 2020
Playing Ball with People’s Lives: The Three Strikes Law with Susan Champion
49:25

California’s Three Strikes Law has sent thousands of people to prison for life sentences, frequently for crimes in which no one was injured.  In this episode, DA Boudin and Rachel are joined by Susan Champion of Stanford’s Three Strikes Project to break down the Three Strikes Law. They explore the history of this harmful law in California (as well as similar laws in other states); the effects of the law on California’s prison population; recent reforms Three Strikes has undergone; and the damage it continues to inflict.  Susan, Rachel, and DA Boudin share stories of people they’ve encountered whose lives have been impacted by this law and explore what changes can be made to promote justice.  They also discuss DA Boudin’s policy in regards to strikes and status enhancements.

Jul 28, 2020
“For the People”: Finding the Humanity in Our Criminal Legal System with Sajid Khan and Avi Singh
01:10:34

In this crossover episode with the cohosts of Aider and Abettor podcast, Bay Area public defenders Avi Singh and Sajid Khan join DA Boudin and Rachel to examine what it means when a prosecutor represents “the people.”  The group asks who are the people represented by the system at each stage and is the system really serving them?  How can the system better recognize the humanity of defendants and victims?  They also explore whether lawyers working in the system should find more collaboration in an adversarial system.  The discussion walks through various stages of the criminal legal system (from charging, bail, plea bargains, trials, through sentencing) and reimagines all the ways in which the system should honor the humanity of the people touched by it but too often denies it.  Finally, Avi leads DA Boudin, Rachel and Sajid in a “lightning round” of questions submitted by Aider and Abettor fans.

Jul 21, 2020
Who’s Policing the Prosecutors? Prosecutorial Accountability with Emily Bazelon
01:08:24

In the midst of a national conversation about holding police accountable, DA Boudin and Rachel are joined by Emily Bazelon, New York Times Magazine writer and Author of the book Charged: The New Movement to Transform American Prosecution and End Mass Incarceration to discuss prosecutorial accountability.  They discuss the problem of the lack of transparency over the decisions prosecutors make despite their enormous influence.  Emily shares some stories from her book Charged about prosecutorial abuse and discusses the broad independence prosecutors have to make decisions with little oversight.  DA Boudin, Emily and Rachel also explore the lack of accountability for prosecutors in providing discovery, charging, and especially in plea bargaining, and think about the ways in which progressive prosecutors can enact changes to promote fairness.  Finally, they discuss the ways the public can hold progressive prosecutors accountable, as well as the relationship between national politics and the progressive prosecution movement.

Jul 14, 2020
An Epidemic Within the Pandemic: The Drug Crisis with Dr. Leana Wen
53:18

In this episode, we hear from nationally renowned physician and COVID-19 expert Dr. Leana Wen on the drug and opioid crisis in our nation.  Dr. Wen explains how to approach the drug and addiction epidemic from a public health perspective, and she explores with DA Boudin and Rachel the roots of the United States’ drug crisis.  Dr. Wen, DA Boudin, and Rachel also discuss the racial impact of the war on drugs, the role of incarceration in perpetuating the cycle of addiction, and how to balance public safety concerns about drug use with public health concerns. They also explore specific policy responses. Finally, they explore the parallels between our failure to treat drug addiction properly with our nation’s failure to respond adequately to the COVID crisis.

Jul 07, 2020
The Personal is Political: One on One with DA Boudin and Rachel
54:21

In this deeply personal episode, DA Boudin and Rachel share their own journeys towards criminal justice reform.  DA Boudin describes the story of his parents’ participation in a crime that led to their incarceration for his entire childhood and explains how it tied into his career as a public defender and then to his election as the District Attorney of San Francisco.  Rachel also shares her path towards and her motivations for working in criminal justice reform, first as a public defender and now for DA Boudin.  The two also explore what the concept of progressive prosecutors means to each of them and their hopes for Chasing Justice. 

Jun 30, 2020
Prosecutorial Discretion with SA Kim Foxx
57:35

In this episode, DA Boudin and Rachel explore the role of prosecutorial discretion in the criminal justice system with one of the most well known progressive prosecutors in the country: Cook County State’s Attorney Kim Foxx.  They discuss the power of the prosecutor to determine when to use their discretion to choose not to file charges, as well as when to decide to file charges.  Drawing on specific examples, SA Foxx speaks candidly about her thinking around how to approach the immense power of prosecutors.  She also explains why she decided to be the first prosecutor in the country to make felony case data available to the public and how that decision slinks to her role as a progressive prosecutor.  SA Foxx talks about specific decisions she has made in exercising her discretion in high-profile cases and explains her thinking about how to prioritize limited resources to advance public safety.  SA Foxx and DA Boudin also discuss their responses to the COVID-19 crisis and other ways in which prosecutorial discretion plays out in their work.

Jun 23, 2020
BONUS: The Modern Civil Rights Movement with Angela Davis
39:09

In this special BONUS episode, DA Boudin, Rachel, and special guest, the iconic Professor Angela Davis, build on the conversation from last episode and focus on the movement that the death of George Floyd has spawned. Professor Davis explains the significance of this moment in the context of the broader Civil Rights Movement.  Professor Davis also discusses the role of intersectionality in past and present movements for justice. The group also explores the commonalities between abolition and the current movement to defund police, as well as the limitations but also the possibilities of reforms to the justice system.

Jun 19, 2020
Race, Policing, and Protest with James Forman Jr.
53:16

In the midst of national protests over the murder of George Floyd and many other recent examples of Black people killed by police, DA Boudin and Rachel discuss race, policing, and protest with Pulitzer-Prize winning Professor James Forman, Jr., the author of the book Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America.  The group discusses the history of racist policing, reactions to recent incidents of police violence, the movement to defund police, other ideas for reforms, and the future of this movement.

Jun 16, 2020
Teaser for Chasing Justice
01:49

This sneak preview of Chasing Justice introduces the new, exciting podcast on criminal justice reform with some of the nation’s most prominent thought leaders. Hosted by progressive prosecutors San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin and Rachel Marshall.

Jun 09, 2020