On Tuesday, February 19th, we went to Bar Louie on West 6th Street for a City Club of Cleveland Dinner and Dialogue where the topic of discussion was the third season of Serial, the popular investigative journal podcast, which focused on Cleveland’s criminal justice system. As the City Club notes read said about the Serial podcast, “it’s nine compelling episodes surpassed 50 million downloads and was named the best podcast of 2018 by TIME despite its unconventionality. Featuring multiple story lines and offering no resolution, the series wove together both large and small case to illustrate how daily injustices can amass into systemic problems.”
For this event, Ms. Danielle Doza of the City Club queried Mr. Nick Castele, Reporter/Producer of ideastream, and Ms. Rebecca Maurer, Owner and Founder of Maurer Law as well as the creator of SerialLand.com, about their responses to the Serial podcast, what they have witnessed regarding our criminal justice system, and whether or not they believe that the Serial podcast will inspire reforms.
Due to rules of the Dinner and Dialogue series, in order to encourage a frank and honest discussion, there can be no reporting (on entities like this blog) or the sharing of specific content on social media. But we can assure you that a provocative discussion took place in which participants (panelists and audience members alike) shared their reaction to the Serial podcast. By and large, the discussion centered on conditions in Cleveland area courts and jails; the necessity of reforming Cleveland’s criminal justice system along with factors that impede reform; and examples of promising reforms instigated in other locales.
What we really liked is that all of us seemed to speak from our own personal experiences and how they related to the podcast. In the process of doing this, we shared our honest beliefs.