This is an interview with a very old friend of mine, and the person who trained me as a private investigator. She taught me everything from basics like how to look up criminal records to the very advanced skills I learned. Susan Randall has been a PI in Vermont for fifteen years. She works on the some of the biggest cases in the state…and she’s really good. Susan can find anyone, and she can get them to talk about anything. And most of the time she’s working on fifty to seventy-five cases at the same time.
Last week I went over to her house. We lay in deck chairs in her back yard and we talked about the job. About crime, lawyers, and what it means to give so much of your life to exploring dark stories.
Susan Randall does criminal defense work in both federal and state court. She also does civil litigation. In the past ten years she’s started to focus on creative storytelling that’s necessary in sentencing mitigation work. She works primarily in Vermont but has worked all over the country. She runs Vermont Private Eye.
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brilliant. “you can’t be flippant” with the truth.
‘the love is the shape it all takes.”
profoundly inspiring. a HUGE victory.
This was wonderful. I’ve always been in awe of Susan and her strength, bravery, and ability to talk to ANYONE. Thanks for sharing a little of her with us.
Scratching my head trying to decide what made this interview so strong. It has a lot to do with the relentless pace that may have resulted partly from good editing but which sounds like the result of your sureness and Susan’s absolutely perfect pitch. One tiny remark sums it up for me: it was the moment when she was trying to get at the initial acceptance or rejection she may meet, how it may depend on whether her eyes are spaced a pleasing distance apart. There it is! It costs me twice the verbiage to get the idea across lamely.
Suffice it to say I liked this episode as much as just about any of them, Nice going.
As was true earlier in your lives you two are a phenomenal combo. Susan’s work is awe-inspiring, as well as terrifying to me, her Mom. There is no better interviewer than Erica. As we have all seen in the last few weeks the President is listening to you about changes in sentencing and length of time and re-establishing as much support for assistance as the Congress will allow. That is pretty good vindication you are on the right track ! Bravo, Suze!
Being inside this conversation was like a really fast, awesome ride at the fair. That was fun. Thank you.
This is a wonderful piece of work about a truly good person. It effortlessly ranges from the details of personal tragedy to national policy. The emotional intensity builds and builds. Way to go, Erica.
It points out how our country is focusing on counterproductive, almost irrelevant methods for dealing with crime. It also shows how truly knowing people eliminates most of our dismissive judgement and scorn.
Thank you for another wonderful and rewarding episode. It reinforced for me the importance of empathy as Susan pointed out that in almost all of her cases, the acts committed evolved from poverty and desperation.
Thank you Susan for pointing our in detail , as objectively as possible, our hidden neighbors and what Michael Harrington documented in his book “The Other America (1962).” This book help launch LBJ’s war on poverty but we have changed to a war on drugs and we see what that got us.
Absolutely excellent Erica
I can’t wait to listen to more.
Fav tape… How she feels (and responds to) lawyers that want her to do her job or tell them a weak story without reading the file.
More than anything the hopelessness of poverty comes through. These are people who are not in charge of their lives where events take them over one cliff after another until all that is left is a shrug or a sigh as another avalanche leaves them overwhelmed. They are the voiceless at the fringes of society that have become disposable, ashamed and resentful as they see people who are better off judge them for making poor decisions. When the lifelines are gone and the wages are bad all there is at the end of the day are either poor decisions or just bad ones and a strong urge to escape whatever way you can. Thanks for the unvarnished truth about the pyramid of our capitalist system.
At the close of your interview with Susan Randall I felt suffused with peace as if I had just been submerged in a warm bath of human wisdom and dignity. You were like dance partners or teammates who have found the “zone” together. Your questions and her answers were so beautifully attuned and, might I add, enveloped in compassion and wisdom. Forty years ago I read Working by Studs Terkel, a book with whom I cannot imagine you are not familiar, and to this day I remember this wonderful passage where he humbly admits to learning a great lesson from a firefighter. Terkel was trying to beg off from a dinner when he suddenly realizes how disrespectful it would be not to accept an invitation to sit at the family table of a man who was about to share his life story.
With thanks and great appreciation that you are pursuing and sharing this wonderful passion of yours.
I’m so impressed with Susan Randall’s deep intelligence and compassion. The world needs more people like her.
Just listened to this captivating interview. This is a note for Susan: You are an amazing human being on par with Hermione and RGB, both of whom happened to show up at my door for Halloween last night. Just blown away by your courage, intelligence, experience, and compassion for the lives of the underdogs. Maybe you SHOULD write a book. Erica, such a well produced show and a great contribution to this amazing array of topics from Rumble Strip.