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January/February 2006  (Volume 21, Issue 1)

Reckless Indifference ****
(2004) 105 min. DVD: $19.95. PPR. Color cover.
The fatal stabbing of a pot dealer might not warrant an extraordinary level of prosecutorial gusto, but the 1996 death of Jimmy Farris in a ritzy Los Angeles suburb appeared to bring an uncommonly energetic response from the local District Attorney. According to this documentary, the underlying reason was because Farris—although clearly identified as a marijuana dealer—also happened to be the son of a Los Angeles police officer. The resulting trial ended with sentences of life imprisonment without parole for all four surviving participants in the deadly backyard brawl that ended with Farris’ death, even though only one of the four actually committed the murder (the other three were literally onlookers to the crime). Oscar-nominated filmmaker William Gazecki (Waco: The Rules of Engagement) asks whether Farris’ father influenced the excessively harsh sentences for the three men who did not kill his son, and if the Los Angeles D.A. went full-throttle with this case because of a series of disastrous failures (most notably the O.J. Simpson debacle). While Gazecki’s filmmaking skills can charitably be described as scruffy (no one will mistake him for Errol Morris when it comes to camerawork or editing), the disturbing and haunting Reckless Indifference makes a solid argument that the case represents a true miscarriage of justice. Highly recommended. Editor’s Choice. Aud: C, P. (P. Hall)








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