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Source:  The Atlantic

Narrative is one of mankind’s sharpest tools. Doug Passon, a defense attorney-turned-filmmaker, knows this better than most.

In the courtroom, he harnesses the power of storytelling to create sentencing mitigation videos. They are emotionally rousing documentaries designed to appeal to a judge’s sense of empathy and humanize Passon’s clients.

These biographical short films have one express purpose: to motivate the judge to deliver a reduced prison sentence.

Lance Oppenheim’s short documentary, “No Jail Time: The Movie,” profiles Passon and his controversial practice in all its variegated shades of gray. In the process, the film offers a meta-analysis of objectivity in the realm of narrative nonfiction.

“Passon treats sentencing videos in an artful manner nearly indistinguishable from narrative-driven, fictional films,” Oppenheim recently told The Atlantic.

According to Oppenheim, defense attorneys and sentencing video makers are increasingly drawing inspiration from true-crime entertainment, such as “The Jinx” and “The Thin Blue Line,” to bend the rules of reality in the courtroom with visual storytelling.

Read the story at The Atlantic.

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