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

Trailer -- Exodus: Gods and Kings, The Story of Moses with Christian Bale
[iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/t-8YsulfxVI?rel=0" frameborder="0"] Christian Bale and Sir Ben Kingsley star in "Exodus: Gods and Kings," the story of Moses and the exodus of the Jews from Egypt. It opens this December.

posted 8:00:26pm Oct. 01, 2014 | read full post »

October 2014: Movies This Month
Happy October! This month is when we start to get the big, award-hopeful fall releases. Some of the highlights of what's ahead this month include: October 3: "Gone Girl," with Ben Affle

posted 3:42:45pm Oct. 01, 2014 | read full post »

The Inside Story of "The Princess Bride" by Cary Elwes: As You Wish
Fans of The Princess Bride, which means pretty much everyone, will love the new book from Cary Elwes (Wesley), who takes us behind the scenes for the inside story of the making of the film, from his nervous audition (his imitation of Fat Albert saved the day) to the most dedicated fans (one had "As

posted 8:00:44am Oct. 01, 2014 | read full post »

Believe Me
Will Bakke has followed his two thought-provoking documentaries on faith with a remarkably smart, funny, brave, and heartfelt first feature film that explores religion and values without ever falling

posted 11:06:16am Sep. 30, 2014 | read full post »

Gone Girl's Rosamund Pike
Rosamund Pike delivers a stunning breakthrough performance in this week's "Gone Girl." She's been a favorite of mine for a long time, for her elegant voice and precise acting choices. It's a good

posted 8:00:23am Sep. 30, 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.