Must-see film about prostitution and the criminal justice system

‘Crime After Crime’: Documentary on Debbie Peagler

Debbie Peagler was serving a life sentence for her involvement in her boyfriend’s murder – a boyfriend who was abusive and had forced her into prostitution.

Her case was picked up pro bono by two San Francisco area lawyers, Joshua Safran and Nadia Costa, after a law was passed in 2003 that allowed incarcerated women who were victims of domestic violence to introduce new evidence.

Berkeley filmmaker Yoav Potash spent years chronicling the case, and the result is the documentary “Crime After Crime,” which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, played recently at the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival and opens in theaters Friday. It has also been picked up by the Oprah Winfrey Network.

Potash, Safran and Costa sat down with The Chronicle at the SFJFF screening at the Castro Theatre.

Potash: You meet (Peagler), and you can immediately tell she’d been through hell with all the abuse she’s suffered, all the injustices she’s suffered, and yet she’s an inspiring, uplifting person to be around.

Costa: We thought it would be 3 to 6 months; 7 1/2 years later, here we sit!

Potash: There’s a lot that we’d like to see in terms of domestic violence laws in America. (The laws) are an outgrowth of the women’s movement, which itself is not that old of a phenomenon. California is the only state that has this particular law that allows incarcerated survivors of domestic violence to present their evidence to the court proactively. New York state has a similar resolution that’s been proposed; hopefully that will be passed, and with California and New York the models, other states will follow suit. So what we’re engaged in is a nonprofit project called “Debbie’s Campaign,” where we’re using the film to help reduce domestic violence, to reduce unlawful incarceration and to support full and fair consideration of those kinds of laws.

Costa: Abuse against women and children today exist because as a society we want to look away. As long as we do that, it will continue.

Starts August 5, 2011 at San Francisco area theaters.


‘Crime After Crime’: Documentary on Debbie Peagler

You might remember Debbie Peagler was a woman who was serving a life sentence for her involvement in her boyfriend’s murder – a boyfriend who was abusive and had forced her into prostitution.

Her case was picked up pro bono by two San Francisco area lawyers, Joshua Safran and Nadia Costa, after a law was passed in 2003 that allowed incarcerated women who were victims of domestic violence to introduce new evidence.

Berkeley filmmaker Yoav Potash spent years chronicling the case, and the result is the documentary “Crime After Crime,” which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival, played recently at the San Francisco Jewish Film Festival and opens in theaters Friday. It has also been picked up by the Oprah Winfrey Network.

Potash, Safran and Costa sat down with The Chronicle at the SFJFF screening at the Castro Theatre.

Potash: You meet (Peagler), and you can immediately tell she’d been through hell with all the abuse she’s suffered, all the injustices she’s suffered, and yet she’s an inspiring, uplifting person to be around.

Costa: We thought it would be 3 to 6 months; 7 1/2 years later, here we sit!

Potash: There’s a lot that we’d like to see in terms of domestic violence laws in America. (The laws) are an outgrowth of the women’s movement, which itself is not that old of a phenomenon. California is the only state that has this particular law that allows incarcerated survivors of domestic violence to present their evidence to the court proactively. New York state has a similar resolution that’s been proposed; hopefully that will be passed, and with California and New York the models, other states will follow suit. So what we’re engaged in is a nonprofit project called “Debbie’s Campaign,” where we’re using the film to help reduce domestic violence, to reduce unlawful incarceration and to support full and fair consideration of those kinds of laws.

Costa: Abuse against women and children today exist because as a society we want to look away. As long as we do that, it will continue.

Starts August 5, 2011 at San Francisco area theaters.

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