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“Abacus: Small Enough to Jail”: A Minority Bank, Racial Bias, and the Democratization of Credit 

February 26, 2017

Steve James presents the story of the Sungs and their struggle to save their family-run Chinatown bank from a misguided prosecution based on cultural incompetence.


“The Return”: Resentencing, Reentry Support, and a Criminal Defense Lawyer’s Evolving Roles 

June 21, 2016

“The Return” reveals why a lawyer, deeply involved in the resentencing of Three Strikers as a way of reducing mass incarceration, placed reentry services near the top of his concerns.


Visual Advocacy for Advocates: How Philadelphia’s Defender Association Used Social Media to Increase Funding for Its Workers 

July 27, 2022

The staff members of the Defender Association at every level are essential to the fair and efficient operation of Philadelphia’s criminal justice system and deserve pay parity with other City workers. But how do they show that?


A Confederate Flag in the Jury Room Leads to a New Trial: “Talking Images” and the Visual Turn in Law 

January 21, 2022

Does the image of a Confederate flag framed and hung on the wall of a jury room provide “extraneous prejudicial information” on which to set aside a verdict? Yes!



January 25, 2019

A visual call to justice on a lamp post in West Philadelphia??


Only “Good Victims” Need Apply: “Tales of the Grim Sleeper” and Poor Black Women in Crack Culture 

May 27, 2016

The story of a serial killer who took advantage of crack culture to prey on black women can tell us much about what is wrong with the notion of “the good victim.”


Occupy Wall Street Filmmaker Wins First Round in Lawsuit Against Police, NYC 

March 28, 2016

A federal judge refused to dismiss the lawsuit by an activist who was arrested while filming protests in 2011. Now the filmmaker and her legal team will have a chance to investigate the city’s training policies regarding the First Amendment and handling the media.


Defendant uses ‘Cops’ video footage to suppress handgun evidence 

February 23, 2016

Documentary television footage contradicts a police officer’s testimony about a stop-and-frisk, and leads a federal district court to find that the officer violated the defendant’s constitutional rights.


“Last Day of Freedom”: Bill Babbitt’s Struggle with the Stigma of Being the Brother of a Murderer 

January 25, 2016

How does a brother cope with the shame, guilt, regret, and anger of being the relative of a mentally-ill ex-Marine who committed a murder, but should not have been executed for it?


The government’s harassing me because I’m a documentary filmmaker. Should I FOIA them? 

January 12, 2016

Weighing the pros and cons of filmmakers asking federal agencies for records about themselves, under the Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act.


Prison Portraits: Photographic Self-Representation in an Image Desert 

December 7, 2015

As the Docs Program undertakes visual work on behalf of lifers incarcerated for decades because they are ineligible for parole, we confront a ban on photographing and filming in prisons.  Prison Portraits may be useful in providing not only a way to deal with the ban, but also an argument why it is wrong.


Arranging a Doc Screening Leads to Inquiry of Federal Judge’s Impartiality 

December 4, 2015

After federal judge Mark Wolf moderated a panel discussion about The Life and Mind of Mark DeFriest, he was investigated by the FBI, the IRS, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and the Massachusetts State Police to determine if he had compromised his ability to preside over a death penalty case.