August 10, 2015

EP. 82 — Why Getting Away With Murder Is Easier Than You Think

Here’s a potentially scary statistic: Of the 330 people freed by the Innocence Project, an organization dedicated to exonerating wrongfully convicted prisoners, 10% of them actually admitted to committing the crime they were innocent of. They even estimate that as many as 5% of all prisoners in America are innocent. That may seem like a low percentage, but that’s tens or hundreds of thousands of people in jail right now who committed no crime.

In the age of DNA testing, facial recognition software and the deputization of every person with a smartphone camera and a YouTube account, it’s actually barbaric the ease with which we send people to prison without really knowing for sure if they’re guilty or just had bad lawyers. We like to think that by comparing the technologies we have now to the primitive science and guesswork of 100 years ago that we’re actually really good at solving crimes and putting the real bad guys away, but that’s not the case. DNA science isn’t nearly as exact as we think it is, and the criminal justice system is built more for quickly shuffling suspects to prison than actually solving crimes.

This week on the podcast Jack O’Brien is joined by Jason Pargin (aka David Wong) to discuss how far we’ve come as a species in the way we try to solve crimes, the areas we’re still woefully bad at it, and how society’s earliest mistakes still color the messed up way in which we view and prosecute right versus wrong.

Recent Episodes

January 26, 2020

Freedom sucks…and that is why we have to defend it. Because our democracy involves doing a lot of stuff that takes energy, takes time, and lacks that Michael Bay Quality that only a surprise missile launch can provide. So on this episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt and special guest Jason Pargin (who writes for Cracked as David Wong) are exploring the ways being afraid of everything (an easy action) can stop us from being free. Discover the decades-long tradition of some Americans wanting to give up everything in exchange for not needing to think, the centuries-long tradition of people inciting fake panics, and the reasonable ways you can help change things for the better.


January 19, 2020

How’s your local shopping mall doing? Have you checked on it lately? Swing by sometime, because its department store might’ve turned into a call center or a hospital or a go-kart track. On this episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by the one and only Kai Ryssdal (Marketplace, Make Me Smart) for a look at surprising, strange, and shocking stories from all over the U.S. economy. Discover an international pig flu, a 26-word statement that built the modern Internet, and more amazing ways cash is ruling everything around you. By the way, if you’re an American listener, you spent the past few years funding an astonishingly huge bailout. Surprise! Listen for details!


January 12, 2020

Movies, TV, gaming: three things that are theoretically a waste of time. Oh sure, they deliver value in the art sense, and comfort in the goofing-off sense. But what if they’re more valuable than that? What if consuming shows and playing video games (accidentally) turns people into real-life heroes? On this episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt is joined by comedians/writers Caitlin Gill and Alex Watt for a look at the surprising number of times that exact thing happened. They’ll explore stories of regular people who saved a life thanks to skills gained randomly from cartoons, sitcoms, ‘World Of Warcraft’, and more silly entertainment.