Prosecutors are the most powerful people in the American criminal justice system. "Open and Shut" is a narrative, seven-part investigative series following two district attorneys in Wisconsin’s Fox Valley and their impact on victims, the accused and the justice system.
Ep. 7: The Scandal
As Outagamie County district attorney, Biskupic let potential defendants buy their way out of trouble. As a judge, he offered deals that fell in a 'gray area' of the law.
Ep. 6: The List
One of Outagamie County District Attorney Vince Biskupic’s cases involved a rewritten police report; another, an exoneration.
Ep. 5: The Circus
A possible Miranda violation, a missing taped "confession," and an improperly charged girlfriend among the flaws in Vince Biskupic’s case.
Ep. 4: The Witness
In 2019, Wisconsin Watch received a tip about a case. It alleged that the prosecutor, Outagamie County District Attorney Vince Biskupic, had withheld information about a key witness — a young woman who got some help, monetary and otherwise, from the police. That assistance was never disclosed to the defense. It’s part of a pattern seen in some other high-profile cases prosecuted by Biskupic, according to an investigation by Wisconsin Watch and WPR.
Ep. 3: The Hit Plot
The Wisconsin case was tainted by secret tapes, unreliable witnesses and a supposed "hit" plot against Winnebago County District Attorney Joe Paulus.
Ep. 2: The Golden Boy
Joe Paulus's time as Winnebago County district attorney involved taking bribes, allegedly asking an officer to lie on the stand and bragging about having sex in his office.
Interesting, important, and timely
This podcast addresses the important and interesting topic of prosecutorial misconduct. It makes for compelling listening. My only criticism is that the episodes should have been released together. There are too many names and details to remember between weekly episode drops, and the momentum of listening was lost. Otherwise, great work!
Good, but Relevant?
The reporting, production, and narration were excellent! But the stories are so old. Would have liked to see more contemporary examples to support the through line that cautions us about prosecutorial power.
Important, well-executed and gripping!
Open and Shut is so well done! The writing and delivery are excellent- very clear and direct, intriguing and even-handed. The stories move along at a crisp but very manageable pace. (This podcast also avoids the annoying, cloying, overly dramatic and repetitive aspects of many other podcasts as well as their mumbly and odd delivery.)
The legal concepts are explained in an interesting and understandable way. The stories have some real “characters” who are unscripted and fun to listen to! Their stories illustrate how prosecutorial power is essentially unlimited and show the devastating consequences that can have for the community. I was shocked to learn that the US is the only western country that gives prosecutors this amount of power. It seems clear that reform and oversight are needed.