Ira hears from a woman named Shannon about a phone call she got in 2008 that cast doubt on whether an 18 year old named Marie was telling the truth about being sexually assaulted. This idea leads to one of two investigations—one small and bad, and the other stunningly big and good.
Ira explains how a man named Chris Butler created a private detective agency where the investigators were good-looking soccer moms. Their publicist invited a reporter named Pete Crooks from Diablo magazine to do a ride-along with the P.I.
Host Ira Glass tells the story of Florencia de Benito Juarez, a small town in Mexico where a new drug gang recently took over. They promised peace and tranquility, and for the most part, they're making good on those promises.
Three guys who go by the names Professor So and So, Jojobean and YeaWhatever spend part of each day running elaborate cons on Internet scammers. They consider themselves enforcers of justice, even after they send a man 1400 miles from home, to the least safe place they can bait him: The border of Darfur.
Host Ira Glass interviews Joe Amrine, who was falsely accused of murder. Rather than avoid the death penalty, Amrine said everything he could think of on the witness stand to get the jury to give him a death sentence.
Carl King, a self-taught investigator, talks about the murder case he's working on now—one the police think they've already solved. Carl got started in this business after freeing his close friend from prison.
Could anyone in a small farming town have done anything to prevent a brutal crime, committed by one of their neighbors? Robert Kurson first wrote about the March 2002 triple murder in Toulon, Illinois, for Chicago Magazine. His article has been reprinted in the anthology Best American Crime Writing 2003. (15 minutes)
Host Ira Glass plays parts of a speech by George Ryan, former Governor of Illinois. When he was a state senator in 1977, Ryan was part of a successful coalition that voted to reinstate the death penalty in Illinois.
Host Ira Glass talks to Cory Simmons and Dominique Mapp, who were driving home one night and were followed by a group of rowdy men in an SUV. The men tailed them for miles and then started firing a gun at them.
Reporter Mark Arax spent three years investigating the murder of his father and yet he's still not at peace when he thinks of his dad's death. (His book is called In My Father's Name.) This is how it goes sometimes: We create a story that tries to explain our lives, and it still leaves so much unanswered.
To understand how Cicero reacted when Hispanics started flooding into town, you have to understand how it dealt with conflict in the past. For a period the town was run by Al Capone, and the mob was connected to Town Hall for most of the twentieth century.
In the 1970s and 1980s, a wave of non-white migration into Cicero begins, this one primarily Mexican-American. The head of the political machine is named Betty Loren-Maltese, whose husband, now deceased, was convicted for mob-related activity.