Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Interview: Nadia Costa of ‘Crime After Crime’

posted by Nell Minow

“Crime After Crime” is the story of Deborah Peagler, serving a 25-to live sentence for killing the man who abused her, and the lawyers who fought for her release.  California is the only state to adopt a law that permits the courts to re-open cases if there is evidence of abuse as a factor in the crime.  Peagler was severely abused by Oliver Williams, who forced her into prostitution at the age of 15, beat her with a bullwhip, and abused her daughter as well.  In desperation, Peagler asked friends of hers who were in a gang to beat him up.  They killed him.  She went to prison.  Twenty years later, land use lawyers Joshua Safran and Nadia Costa, with little experience of criminal law but a strong commitment to helping survivors of abuse, took her case to see if the new law would help her to get out of prison.

Costa took time to speak to me about the case, the movie, and mostly about Peagler, whose extraordinary courage, dignity, principle, and wisdom illuminate the film.  Her co-counsel came to the case because of obligation as an Orthodox Jew to “free those who are bound” and from his own experience as a child unable to protect his mother from abuse.  Costa’s connection was less direct but just as personal, based on her experiences as a social worker and her spiritual commitment to helping others.  As she says in the film, she was also inspired by running ultra-marathons, which provided a physical and spiritual level of endurance necessary for what proved to be a six-year process with many devastating setbacks.

The hardest part, she told me, was when the prosecutor’s office reversed its decision to support Peagler’s release.  She dreaded having to tell her client, who was already making plans for seeing her grandchildren and visiting the ocean.  But Costa said that Peagler’s grace, peace, and compassion even in receiving such painful news were a sustaining force in maintaining her own dedication and inspiration.



Previous Posts

Interview: Todd and Jedd Wider about the Bullying Documentary "Mentor"
Producers Todd and Jedd Wider generously took time to answer my questions about their documentary, "Mentor," the story of two teenagers who committed suicide following relentless bullying. The film, which received Honorable Mention for Best Documentary Feature at the 2014 Woodstock Film Festival th

posted 3:56:57pm Oct. 24, 2014 | read full post »

Clip: Tinkerbell and the Legend of the NeverBeast
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/ApzHJhZz2JQ" frameborder="0"] The latest in Disney's animated Tinkerbell series adds Ginnifer Goodwin to the cast. Coming in March of 2015, it explores the ancient myth of a mysterious creature whose distant roar sparks the curiosity

posted 1:23:59pm Oct. 24, 2014 | read full post »

Interview: "Avatar" Villain Stephen Lang on Playing a Good Guy Coach in "23 Blast"
Stephen Lang is best known for playing the villain in "Avatar." But in "23 Blast," based on the real-life story of Travis Freeman, a high school football player who lost his vision but stayed on the team, Lang plays a good guy, the coach who encouraged and supported him. I talked to Lang about actin

posted 5:56:30am Oct. 24, 2014 | read full post »

Birdman (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
Filmed as though it was almost entirely one long, stunning, audacious, breathless and breathtaking shot, "Birdman" (subtitled "The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance") explodes with ideas and visions, adopting the language of dreams to explore and upend the very idea of storytelling. Michael Keaton p

posted 5:59:46pm Oct. 23, 2014 | read full post »

John Wick
This is a movie directed by two stunt men, which means it is pretty much a first-person shooter video game projected onto a movie screen. But that also means that it is directed by people wh

posted 5:44:02pm Oct. 23, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.