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101- Celebrated investigative Journalist Exposes Deadly Corruption Within the Parole Board System

101- Celebrated investigative Journalist Exposes Deadly Corruption Within the Parole Board System

Robert Riggs is Peabody Award-winning journalist and digital media entrepreneur, widely regarded as one of the nation’s top investigative journalists. In his new podcast, Free to Kill, he exposes the rampant, deadly corruption that has come to poison many parole board systems across the country. In a disturbingly increasing trend, many parole boards let out vicious killers who go on to commit new crimes while refusing to parole the wrongfully convicted, simply because they do not admit to their crimes or show remorse. This episode of Open Mike sees Robert discussing the most heinous crimes he’s covered throughout his storied career, reflecting on ways parole boards have failed those they claim to protect, and examining the intersection of wrongful convictions and deceitful parole boards. Check it out!

Show Notes

[00:19] Welcome to Open Mike, Episode 101!

[00:46] Robert Riggs’s background and bio.

[01:23] Welcome to Open Mike, Robert Riggs! Robert is one of the country’s top investigative reporters. You’ve been on CBS Evening, Evening News, CBS 60 minutes ABC nightline, as well as local stations. Tell me about some of the hot stories you broke or covered as an investigative reporter.

[01:50] Robert tells the story of serial killer Kenneth McDuff who, enabled by political corruption, essentially bought himself parole and continued a killing spree.

[03:14] You’ve done reporting on parole boards before, with Free to Kill… what did you discover about parole boards?

[05:51] They want people to admit their guilt, take responsibility. It feels like that’s the only litmus test to whether or not they’re going to get out… If someone is innocent, and they keep proclaiming their innocence, there’s no way they’re going to get paroled. Do you think that’s true?

[06:48] We cover a lot of wrongful convictions on Open Mike, and there as estimations that tens of thousands of innocent people are locked up. Some of the people we’ve interviewed have gotten a break because of an investigative journalist, like yourself. What’s your sense? Do you think that there is a enough journalists covering these types of wrongful convictions or potentially wrongful convictions? To expose this this tragic injustice?

[09:20] Case after case that we cover…it comes down to a bad court-appointed attorney who pushes deals on innocent clients because they have too many cases, or they don’t have enough time to do all the work. It feels like that should be a national story, but I think you just answered the question why we’re never going to see a big story about this.

[13:02] Have you ever sat through a trial or covered a trial, where you’ve heard about so-called scientific evidence on bite marks, or Shaken Baby Syndrome, or even arson cases, that just didn’t make sense?

[14:46] As we’re talking about reporting… what we see in a lot of our cases here in Michigan, are that the police and prosecutors are lying. They hide exculpatory evidence to kick convictions and have crazy tunnel vision. Why isn’t the media all over this? You might have already answered my question that it’s budget cuts. But it’s just mind blowing to me that the public doesn’t know what’s happening.

[17:34] On true crime reporter you started talking a little bit about this five-part series… what can you tell us about one of the crazy cases that you’ve covered on that?

[21:02] Robert tells the story of Annie Laurie Williams who, in 1955, murdered and dismembered her two young sons. She was imprisoned, but then released by the Texas parole board after 25 years served, started a new life in Idaho where she likely killed a widower and took over his social security benefits.

[23:13] How the heck did they let this woman out for such a heinous crime?

[23:26] One of the problems is that the parole files in the prison files are secret. It’s against the law to make them public. In Robert’s case, he developed the sources and they started leaking information about corruption to him at their own legal risk.

[24:14] True Crime Reporter podcast is available on all your favorite podcast apps, so be sure to check it out!

[26:16] On that note, Robert, Peabody Award-winning investigative reporter, I really loved having you on the show. I love hearing these stories. They’re mind blowing to me, and we’re going to check out your podcast today. I’m going to go check it out today. Thanks for being on Open Mike. And thanks for doing what you do, and keep exposing all this crazy stuff out there.

[28:06] I am literally going to subscribe to that podcast right now. Hope you enjoyed that episode. Like it, share it, comment, tell us what else you want to hear. And we will bring it to you here on Open Mike. That was Episode 101. I can’t believe we are over 100. But thank you for your support. Thank you for sharing the episodes as you do. And I’ll see you next time.

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