True Crime Binge podcast

55: Justine van der Leun

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In this episode, as part of Domestic Violence Awareness month, Bob is joined by independent journalist Justine van der Leun, host of the upcoming new podcast “Believe Her.”  The pair cover a wide range of important topics, such as bias in the criminal justice system, what it means to be a “perfect victim,” and the division of gender roles in relationships. These discussions lead into an in-depth conversation about the subject of the Believe Her podcast, the case of Nikki Addimando. In 2017, just after a visit from CPS due to concerns of domestic violence that lead to an altercation, Nikki shot and killed her boyfriend. She took her kids and ran, only to later turn herself into police. Despite an extensive and thoroughly documented history of extreme physical and sexual violence perpetrated by her boyfriend, Nikki’s claims of self-defense would ultimately be dismissed by a jury, and she was convicted of second-degree murder. Nikki is still serving time in prison, but her case serves as a terrifying and tragic example of the difficulties survivors of domestic violence face in the American criminal justice system, highlighting the biases that result in a staggering number of women being imprisoned after attempting to free themselves and their loves ones from danger at the hands of their partners.

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