Sleuth Podcast: What’s Appropriate to Hide from Public in Murder Trials?

Rachel Buffett introduces the show. (Art design by R. Scott Moxley / Photo illustration by Richie Beckman)

A prosecutor regularly featured on national prime-time TV seethes because an investigative journalist questioned his charging decisions based on her undeniably fascinating discoveries. The father of a murder victim wants to gag a defense lawyer, who represented the killer, from sharing his opinions with the public. A district attorney callously boots a mass killing victim’s husband from a government building during a public event. Others aren’t happy with a court reporter—that would be me.

Welcome to the latest episode of Sleuth, an iHeartRadio true crime podcast focused on the bizarre and unimaginable 2010 Orange County double murder of two popular Coast Community College students, Sam Herr and Julie Kibuishi.

Let’s identify the major characters tied to this show. Matt Murphy is the acclaimed homicide prosecutor who put Daniel Wozniak on San Quentin State Prison’s death row and Rachel Buffett, Wozniak’s onetime fiancé, in jail. Linda Sawyer is the aforementioned investigative journalist and host of the wildly successful Sleuth that has earned more than 1.65 million listeners. Steve Herr is the understandably distraught father of Sam. Scott Sanders is the tireless assistant public defender who represented Wozniak. Though he lost his wife because another one of Sanders’ clients committed the worst mass killing in county history, Paul Wilson formed an alliance with the man he once hated because he became exasperated by law enforcement corruption. The final two roles go to voter-exterminated, crooked District Attorney Tony Rackauckas and myself, someone I’m certain the departing DA sees as a troublemaking pain in the ass.

This latest Sawyer podcast focuses on questions about what information is appropriate to hide from the public in murder trials, the continuous courthouse battles to ensure the criminal justice system isn’t tainted by badged cheaters, and the tension-filled relationships between prosecutors, crime victims, defense attorneys, judges and reporters.

Go HERE to hear all episodes of Sleuth.

R. Scott Moxley’s award-winning investigative journalism has touched nerves for two decades. An angry congressman threatened to break Moxley’s knee caps. A dirty sheriff promised his critical reporting was irrelevant and then landed in prison. The U.S. House of Representatives debated his work. Federal prosecutors credited his stories for the arrest of a doctor who sold fake medicine to dying patients. Moxley has won Journalist of the Year honors at the Los Angeles Press Club; been named Distinguished Journalist of the Year by the LA Society of Professional Journalists; and hailed by two New York Times Magazine writers for his “herculean job” exposing Southern California law enforcement corruption.

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