Learn more! Following are several lists of resources, from reading and viewing lists to the Innocence Network, all of which can help you be more aware of the issues that beset our legal system today.
California Commission on the Fair Administration of Justice
The Innocence Network
Â Recommended Films & Documentaries
Opening in theaters October 15, 2010, this film is based on the true story of Betty Anne Waters (Hilary Swank), a high school dropout who spent nearly two decades working as a single mother while putting herself through law school, tirelessly trying to beat the system and overturn her brother’s (Sam Rockwell) unjust murder conviction with the assistance of the Innocence Project. See the trailer.
John Stoll, was exonerated and released after twenty years in prison due to the work of the Northern California Innocence Project. Witch Hunt, directed by Dana Nachman and Don Hardy, is an unprecedented documentary which features the stories of individuals, including Stoll, who were wrongfully arrested, charged, and convicted of child molestation in Bakersfield in the 1980′s. The documentary was produced and narrated by Sean Penn, who was moved by the compelling stories of these families whose lives were devastated by small town hysteria and government misconduct. The everlasting impact of this horrific injustice is incontrovertible; on the children who were coerced into making false claims of molestation as well as their parents who spent years in prison away from their loved ones. See the trailer and buy the movie.
$100 a Day
On December 9, 1991 Rick Walker was convicted and sentenced to 26 years in prison for a murder he did not commit. Linked to the crime by false testimony and questionable legal tactics, Walker would spend the next 12 years in some of California’s most dangerous prisons.
$100 a Day is a compelling story of gross injustice, political partisanship and the heroic struggle to prove Walker’s innocence. Once exonerated, he would face yet another barrier to justice – the California State Legislature. Entitled to one hundred dollars for each day spent falsely imprisoned, Walker would become a pawn in the annual partisan battle over the California budget. Ultimately, $100 a Day is about hope – hope that in one man’s quest for justice lays the inspiration for our elected officials to govern with the true strength of their convictions. Watch the trailer and order the film.
Starring Denzel Washington, this film is based on the life of Ruben â€œHurricaneâ€ Carter, a middleweight boxing contender who was falsely imprisoned for 19 years for the 1966 murder of three people in Patterson, New Jersey. His co-defendant, John Artis, was likewise wrongly convicted and falsely imprisoned for 19 years. Go to Amazon.com for the DVD.
Court-TVâ€™s 2006 film version of the popular play features the stories of six people who were exonerated after being sentenced to death. The cast includes Susan Sarandon, Danny Glover and Aidan Quinn. DVDs can be purchased at Amazon.com.
The 2005 Sundance Film Festival Special Jury Prize winner (produced by a former Innocence Project clinic student) tells the compelling stories of innocent men wrongfully imprisoned for decades and then exonerated through DNA evidence. The documentary film focuses on the stories of seven men, their lives after exoneration and their efforts to rebuild their lives. Click here for more background on the film. DVDs can be purchased at Amazon.com.
The Trials of Darryl Hunt
(2006) Break Thru Filmsâ€™ documentary about Darryl Huntâ€™s decades-long fight for justice after being wrongfully convicted of rape and murder. The film follows Huntâ€™s multiple appeals and chronicles the police misconduct that contributed to the 20 years he spent in prison for a crime he did not commit. The film was on the short listed for a 2006 Academy Award for best documentary. Click here for to view a trailer or buy on Amazon.com.
Murder on a Sunday Morning
This 2001 Oscar-winning documentary follows the defense in a murder trial of an African American teenager wrongly accused of robbing and murdering a white tourist in Florida. The film focuses on racism and misconduct in the Jacksonville Sheriffâ€™s Office. DVDs can be purchased at Amazon.com.
The Interrogation of Michael Crowe
Court-TVâ€™s 2002 film focuses on a 14-year-old California boy who was targeted by police investigating the murder of his 12-year-old sister. Police aggressively interrogated Michael Crowe and ultimately coerced a false confessions from him. This film won a Peabody Award and an American Bar Association award for its thoughtful handling of false confessions and the need to record interrogations. DVDs can be purchased atAmazon.com.