Laura (madlawstudent) wrote in criminal_law,

After Innocence

Last night I went to see "After Innocence" at Opera Plaza Theater in San Francisco. It's about what happens to former prisoners that have been wrongfully imprisoned and later exonerated through DNA evidence. DId you know that in 28 states there is no compensation for these people? In the other 22, the compensation is woefully low. In California, exonerees have a mere 6 month statute of limitations for compensation. The compensation they receive is $100 dollars a day that they were wrongfully imprisoned. However In most states, this means that a man can spend 22 years on death row and all he gets is a one-way bus ticket away from prison. The vast majority of exonerees receive no job training, no psychological services, and often no means to integrate into society.

After the movie, I talked to Herman Atkins. He spent over 10 years in prison for a rape he did not commit. He was convicted on the basis of eye witness testimony alone. It was inspiring to see that he continues to give back to the community and deeply cares for the others who have wrongly incarcerated. He harbors no bitterness or ill will. Instead, he uses the injustice that he has suffered to call attention to this problem.

It's really important that as many people see this movie *this weekend* so that the movie stays in theaters through the week (Hopefully longer). This is an issue that is of national importance. The wrongly accused DESERVE the State's sincerest apologies as well as job training, psychological services, and financial compensation. More importantly, we have to learn lessons from the flood of exoneration's that have occurred in this country. For instance, eye witness accounts are simply not credible in the vast majority of cases and criminal convictions should not be sustained based on eye witness testimony alone. Human beings are fallible, but we must take responsibility when mistakes occur. We have to have procedures in place to make sure innocent people are not incarcerated or executed.

Together we can pressure our government to acknowledge and be held accountable for these devastating mistakes!

Please go see the movie. It's playing around the country. Please check the website:
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Do you know of any way to request/sponsor a screening? We're not getting it anywhere in Oregon, and I thought it might be an event the OR Innocence Network would be interested in sponsoring.
Actually, Mr. Atkins told me that screenings are available. I think that there may be that information at the website. I'm not sure though.