Audio Review

The Division: New Orleans – part three – podcast

In 2020 a change comes to New Orleans. The city elects Jason Williams, a progressive Black prosecutor who promises to reckon with the past. One of the first things he does is set up a civil rights division, led by Emily Maw. The division takes on the case of Kuantay Reeder, and assistant district attorney Bidish Sarma is able to view Reeder’s case file. Will there be evidence inside to support his claim of innocence?

The Guardian’s US southern bureau chief, Oliver Laughland, and producer Joshua Kelly spend time in the civil rights division, the office set up by district attorney Jason Williams after his election win in 2020. It is led by Emily Maw, who tells them about the kind of cases the team have been looking at over the past year.

They learn about multi-billing, where someone’s prior criminal record is used to massively increase their sentence, and the case of Maurice Lewis, who was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole after a series of low-level crimes. He spent 23 years behind bars until assistant district attorney Bidish Sarma and the civil-rights division took up his case.

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