Felix the Flasher: Indecent Exposure in Downtown Crossing

Clad in bright-red mesh basketball shorts and a red shirt, 39-year-old Mark Felix wasn’t exactly inconspicuous when he approached four young women at different times in Boston’s busy Downtown Crossing on the sunny afternoon of July 10, 2008. He supposedly wanted directions to the Back Bay neighborhood. When he had his target cornered, he exposed his erect penis that was sticking out of the top of his shorts. Later that afternoon, members of the Boston Police bicycle squad arrested him in the same area. In his 2009 trial for four counts of open and gross lewdness, Felix chose to represent himself.

“Here Comes the Judge”

Ever wonder how someone becomes a judge? In Massachusetts, judges are appointed by the governor. Judge Robert C. Cosgrove, an associate justice of the MA Superior Court, discusses the steps in that process and divulges many details of the day-to-day work of a sitting judge.

Twisting the Facts: The Dangers of Confirmation Bias

Sherlock Holmes warned that “it is a capital mistake to theorize before one has data … one begins to twist facts to suit theories, instead of theories to suit facts”. That tendency to interpret information to support a pet theory or to support what we think we know is called “confirmation bias”, and it can be a major problem in police investigations when likely suspects are ignored and data or evidence is misinterpreted or even suppressed. Aviva Jeruchim, a criminal defense attorney, explains how confirmation bias works, why it happens, and how it can lead to wrongful arrests and convictions.

Justice Was Not Done: The Trials of Sean Ellis

In 1993, 19-year-old Sean Ellis was sentenced to prison for a crime he didn’t commit. He served 22 years for the murder of Boston Police Detective John Mulligan, who was shot multiple times in the head as he slept in his private vehicle while parked in a drugstore lot in Roslindale MA. At the time of his murder he was on a paid detail. It was revealed after his death that Mulligan was part of a four-man crime spree within the Boston Police Department. While watching TV in prison, Sean saw a Boston-based criminal defense attorney, Rosemary Scapicchio, who was defending another wrongfully convicted young man. Eighteen months after Sean wrote to her, Rosemary went to see him at the correctional facility where he was serving his sentence and decided to take his case. Rosemary reviews the challenges she faced and obstacles she overcame to finally get justice for Sean nearly 30 years after his conviction. This case was featured on the Netflix docuseries Trial 4, released on November 11, 2020.

McAuliffe on Equitable Justice

Shannon ran for Suffolk County DA in 2018; she shares her insights on that important office as well as what it takes to break the cycle of repeat incarcerations for emerging adults. Having a strong commitment to equitable justice, she is now a Vice President at ideas42, a nonprofit that uses behavioral science to address complex social issues such as mass incarceration and racial disparities baked into the criminal legal system.

“Hit the Gate, Standing Straight”

Not everyone who works in a prison is a correctional officer. Today, Diane’s brother-in-law Irl will share memories of his ten years in the California prison system as a teacher and education administrator. He’ll talk about what it’s like to walk the yards and tiers of a maximum-security facility as “free staff”, connecting with inmates who want to learn and assisting many with their mandated access to legal resources. You’ll also hear about the role of education in helping to reduce recidivism (reoffending). In this potentially explosive environment, the goal is to “do your eight, hit the gate, hope you’re standing up straight.”

The Fiery Retribution of Marco Flores

Marco Flores, age 27, is ten years into a 15-year prison sentence for voluntary manslaughter. Some people say he should never have been incarcerated. The inner demons that drove him to kill a trusted family friend sprang from a horrible breach of trust: he was sexually abused for years. When he found a picture of his young nephew siting on the abuser’s lap, he felt he had to act to protect his family. He captured his plans on video, and even got his abuser to admit on camera what had happened.