The Division: New Orleans – part three – podcast

The Guardian’s US southern bureau chief, Oliver Laughland, and producer Joshua Kelly spend time in the civil rights division, the office set up by district attorney Jason Williams after his election win in 2020. It is led by Emily Maw, who tells them about the kind of cases the team have been looking at over the past year.

They learn about multi-billing, where someone’s prior criminal record is used to massively increase their sentence, and the case of Maurice Lewis, who was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole after a series of low-level crimes. He spent 23 years behind bars until assistant district attorney Bidish Sarma and the civil-rights division took up his case.

Sarma is also working on the case of Kuantay Reeder, and has access to his entire case file. In the almost three decades that Reeder has been in prison, this is something none of his lawyers have ever been able to see. Will there be evidence inside to support his claim of innocence?

Read Oliver’s reporting on his six months with the division:

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/may/06/prosecutors-new-orleans-mass-incarceration

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2022/may/06/life-in-prison-for-stealing-20-how-the-division-is-taking-apart-brutal-criminal-sentences

Cormac Boyle, Bidish Sarma and Emily Maw at their office in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Photograph: Annie Flanagan/The Guardian

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