Democracy Dies in Darkness

The Watch | Opinion

In which Larry David clears a man of murder

By Radley Balko

September 12, 2017 at 9:07 AM

Actor Larry David speaks in Beverly Hills, Calif., in 2013. (Fred Prouser/Reuters)

Okay, so maybe not Larry David himself. But the upcoming Netflix documentary "Long Shot" tells the story of how extra footage from David's show "Curb Your Enthusiasm" confirmed the alibi of Juan Catalan, who had been accused of murdering a state's witness in a gang-related shooting. Given David's penchant for taking his shows meta, maybe we'll see an episode next season about this. Of course, it would need to happen in a way that provides enormous inconvenience for David's character.

The more important point here is why police and prosecutors were so intent on convicting a man who turned out to be innocent. Catalan spent five months in jail and was likely facing the death penalty. The city paid him a $320,000 settlement in 2007 but admitted to no wrongdoing.

The documentary will be available on Netflix beginning Sept. 29.

Radley Balko blogs about criminal justice, the drug war and civil liberties for The Washington Post. He is the author of the book "Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America's Police Forces."

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