Thanks for your comment, David. The reason I mention Poddar’s backstory is because most of the scholarship around this case (and the closing brief in the case) all make reference to his profound “cultural shock.” That shock is seen as more extreme considering his background. As I understand it, Berkeley in the 1960s was very overwhelming for Poddar, and that particular state of duress was taken into consideration during the trial and has been in subsequent assessments of the case. It in no way justifies his crime, of course.

Author of Good Morning, Destroyer of Men’s Souls: A Memoir of Women, Addiction, and Love. Work in NYT, New Republic, the Guardian, Jezebel, and more.

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