11 Alternatives to Crimelibrary.com and Courttv.com
Back in 1991, Court TV launched as a niche, almost novelty channel. It gave the American people an insight into what actually went on behind the closed doors of the judicial system. It wasn’t polished, it was the nuts and bolts of real court cases live on air.
Americans were glued to their sets while watching the cases of OJ Simpson, Jeffrey Dahmer, and the Mendez Brothers, which were all broadcast on Court TV. However, the company was bought by Time Warner in 2008, who rebranded the station as TruTV and switched its focus to reality TV shows such as “Operation Repo” and away from the live courtroom drama that had gripped so many Americans.
In 2001, Court TV bought the website Crime Library, a site which documented crimes of all natures but had a particular penchant for those with a violent edge. It lengthy reports on murders and trials as well as often horrific photo galleries. This site was sold as part of Court TV’s sale to Time Warner and stayed under the umbrella of TruTV until it was taken offline in 2015.
Luckily today we have an abundance of information online that can fill the gap left by these two behemoths true crime. Not restricted by channels viewers can choose to watch courts from all over the USA, rewatch cases that have already happened, and find information on the people involved.
Best sites to watch live courtroom drama
This site was set up in 2013 and is one of the best free ways to watch court drama unfold. You can watch live streams of cases from small local courts all the way up to the Supreme Court. Once the live stream ends the video is available on the site’s archive.
The site isn’t just for streaming courtroom videos but they also have a wealth of informative articles. Their “In-depth trials” section has bios for many of the big names in US court history. The articles aren’t confined to just the trials but give background on people involved to help readers get a more full picture. For those who want to dig even deeper, the site has all court documents available for download.
Wild About Trial is somewhat rough and ready without any real frills. It’s a great resource and wealth of information but it’s not in the neatest package. Get ready to dig through some archive lists if you’re looking for a specific case as the site doesn’t have a search function. The site does stay up to date with current trials and deals with facts in a manner of fact fashion.
While the Wild About Trial site is great for getting access to uncut, unedited footage of courtroom drama but for a cleaner, more polished view of the courts The Law and Crime Network is just the ticket. This site is almost more in keeping with Court TV with their anchors and reporters digging into court testimony and discussing the day’s events.
Fans of Court TV will remember the name Dan Abrams from his famous coverage of the OJ Simpson trial, amongst others. Abrams clearly still has an appetite for live courtroom drama as The Law and Crime Network is his brainchild and he holds the position of CEO in the company. Abrams involvement only solidifies the view that this streaming service is the new Court TV.
Not simply content reporting on proceedings, the site’s investigative reporter Brian Ross digs a little deeper into stories and presents them in hour-long exposés. Among the other content categories on the site, they have sections for celebrity, sports-related, and even one section for “Crazy cases”. These cases are genuinely some the most extreme ones out there. The stories vary from rape and murder cases to the legal ramifications of Kanye West’s latest tweet.
The Courtroom View Network is a paid version that combines the functionality of both Wild About Trial and The Law and Crime Network. While those networks are free CVN runs on a subscription model. Prices start from $24 per month but they have a bespoke service where users can subscribe to only view certain trials, almost like a trial pay-per-view.
The main reason someone would pay for this service is their back catalog of trials and how they organize it. Users can search for trials by industry, practice areas and even by people involved in a particular case.
This site would be of particular use to someone studying law or reporting on it. The results from the site’s search are broken into small videos that save hours of scrubbing through irrelevant content. Their paid model means that there are no ads to contend with, unlike the previous two streaming services making the use of the site a little more seamless. CVN is basically the Netflix of Courtroom TV.
There are some free to use elements on the site mainly short articles about trial outcomes. The articles are usually accompanied by videos of the verdict being delivered or of key testimonies from the trial.
Best sites for true crime information
The ominously named Murderpedia is what it sounds like; a Wikipedia about murder. This rudimentary website has some basic navigation tools where users can search by country or by alphabetically organized killers. They have profiles for almost 6,000 male and 1,000 female murderers.
Each profile is a trove of information about the killers. Not content with just giving information on the murder itself, the site goes into the person’s backstory and history. They have a summary of the case at the top of the page to give an overview of the crime, the tendencies of the murderer and the punishment method.
Famous serial killers like Ted Bundy get huge in-depth profiles that include photo galleries, court documents, and profiles of the victims. In Ted Bundy’s case, the site includes a section with quotes from the infamous killer, his psychiatric evaluation and even an article that was copy and pasted from Crime Library itself. These big-name cases have multiple photo galleries that include photos used as evidence, photos from the killer’s past, and photos from around the time of the court case.
The information on the site isn’t limited to mass murderers or serial killers but the site also has reports on one-off murders. These lesser-known cases include court reports and newspaper articles about the killings but generally only have a mugshot rather than a gallery of photos.
In the era of clickbait websites like Buzzfeed and Listverse have almost come to dominate the internet. With articles about crime being by their nature attention-grabbing, it only makes sense that these sites would use true crime as a source.
Listverse covers a huge amount of topics but their crime section is full of interesting content in snackable article form.
As the name of the site suggests, all of the articles are in list form and known as “listicles”. Once started these articles drag readers into a seemingly never-ending hole of information. Articles such as “10 Worst Crimes to Occur in a McDonald’s” and “10 Infamous Alcatraz Inmates” show the scope of the site.
While Listverse doesn’t have the gory details fans of Crime Library may have been used to, the site is a great place to discover new and interesting cases. Articles tend to be rather bare-bone but plentiful so readers can expect to while away a few hours digging into the archives.
Once a physical museum in Washington DC, The Crime Museum has moved its artifacts to Alcatraz East Crime Museum in Tennessee. Although the artifacts are gone from the museum, their site still holds on to the wealth of articles about famous crimes from the past.
The site has a resource interestingly called “Crime Library” and has sections on cold cases, mass murder, and 28 other types of crime. This allows users to hone in on their area of interest and find articles with new information
The articles on The Crime Museum are well-written and to the point. They’re not sensationalist and present the facts and would even be suited for younger readers if they’re researching a school project. They even have fun quizzes like “What Mob Boss Are You?” and then link to information about that mob boss. This is a great way to get kids interested in history without glorifying criminals.
Updated with new stories every day, this site is where readers can keep their finger on the pulse of crime. The site doesn’t host its own articles but rather curates news mainly from the US but does some international coverage. The site is a feed of articles as they come in with links out to news organizations and sites with the full story.
The real power of the site is in its extensive categories and cataloging of crimes. The three most popular are unsolved, homicide, and Douchebag. The douchebag section is reserved for crimes perpetrated by men taking advantage of women. Needless to say, these stories make for harrowing reading and the articles linked to tend to revel in the details of crimes.
The site also has a full section for list articles, so if somehow the Listverse back catalog is too small, there are hundreds of list-based articles here too.
One thing to keep in mind with this site is the fact that it links out to many different news sites. It does link to large, reputable news sites but also to less well-known ones. This means that there is a chance that some of the articles being linked to may not be as reliable as others.
8. The Line Up
If the previous sites mentioned seemed a little vanilla, well The Line Up might the the right fit. It’s obsessed with all things creepy and gory. The True Crime section of their site is a real horror-fest and really digs into the nitty-gritty of some of the most notorious crimes in history.
Articles with titles like “6 Twisted British Serial Killers”, and “Who Really Killed Nancy Pfister with an Axe and Hammer?” are always going to lead to grim reading and they really don’t hold back on the details.
Many of the stories focus on the occult aspects of crimes, which makes sense for this website as one that is obsessed with horror movies and novels. They use police reports and medical records to talk about the killer’s motivation and tend to focus on the more bizarre elements of the crimes.
For readers interested in longer-form content the site has a list of books that cover the most notorious killers from A-Z. Their “Killer Encyclopedia” has a list of 26 books that look in-depth at the likes of Jeffrey Dahmer, The Unabomber, and The Zodiac Killer. Many of the books listed also have excerpts from the books to let readers get a taste of the novels.
This is the website for a UK monthly magazine which users can pay for in printed or digital form. The site itself is designed like an old-school noticeboard with new crime content pinned up daily.
Their homepage features information feeds from the FBI and UK’s National Crime Agency with links to reports and articles on the respective agency’s website. Unlike The Line Up, this site does make their own content, mainly digging into homicide cases from the past, especially cold cases.
The stories they write about are almost editorial with the authors using colorful and emotive language to discuss the crimes rather than the usual unbiased style favored by news networks. They refer to victims and convicts by their first names, as though they personally know the people involved.
They mix in reviews of crime books and crime museums amongst the somewhat sensationalist stories which makes this site another one where hours disappear down a rabbit hole of information.
For readers looking for cases of justice actually being just, they need look no further than The Innocence Project. This project is dedicated to exonerating wrongly convicted people. According to the group, between 2 and 5% of people that are incarcerated in the USA have been wrongly convicted.
Their site documents the cases where people have been freed, mainly using advances in DNA testing. They often highlight misconducts and failures by judges and lawyers, making this an excellent resource for those studying law as well as those simply interested in the criminal process.
The stories are simultaneously joyous and heartbreaking as many of the recently freed people have lost decades of their life based on mistakes, lazy legal systems, and corrupt cops. The stories on here don’t end with the overturned conviction but they follow the now-innocent people on their journey to regain some kind of normal life after years in jail.
With budgets for investigative journalism in traditional print media on the way south, many were worried that hard-hitting journalism had its day. However, in recent years the growth in popularity of podcasts has seen somewhat of a resurgence in investigative reporting. The world was gripped by NPR’s podcast Serial, which aimed to find out if Adnan Syed, the man convicted of murder, actually did it.
Serial was one of the most popular podcasts of all time and a sleuth of crime podcasts followed to sate the public’s appetite for true crime podcasts. Anyone looking for a new crime podcast would do well to have a look at what Parcast offer.
Not content with just one podcast, Parcast make several shows, all covering niche topics so they can really dig into the subject matter. Their crime podcasts include topics such as serial killers, female criminals, and unsolved murders.
What makes their shows stand out amongst the crowd is the way they tell the stories. These aren’t normal reporter speaking into a mic and playing recordings of interviews but rather a mash-up of reenactments, pop-psychology, and discussion of the topics between hosts.
The show’s popularity is obvious, with all of their shows ranking in the iTunes top 10 list from the first week of their release. Parcast also has several other shows about conspiracy theories, unexplained mysteries, and cults all of which have proven popular.