Innocence Project Roundtable: Michael Moore, Barry Scheck and New York Exonerees Discuss Injustice in the United States


Photo by Mattedesign

Photo by Mattedesign

As we had mentioned earlier this week on the Innocence Blog, on Thursday the Innocence Project

welcomed Academy Award®-winning director Michael Moore to its office to participate in a candid

conversation with Innocence Project Co-Founder and Co-Director Barry Scheck about ways in which the

United States criminal justice system is failing and how to solve it. The jam-packed event brought

together Innocence Project staff and law students, advocates and exonerees for an exciting exchange of

ideas by expert panelists and participants, which included Innocence Project Policy Director Rebecca

Brown, Raymond Santana of the Central Park Five and Sharonne Salaam, mother of Central Park Five

member Yusuf Salaam.

In his recently released documentary,

Where to Invade Next

, Moore documents a trip he made across

Europe to learn about other countries policies’ regarding a range of issues—from paid leave for new

parents to sexual education for youth to policies around drug use—and whether United States should

consider adopting similar policies. At Thursday’s event, Moore said that he believes the film takes a

serious and important turn when it explores issues of criminal justice. For example, he traveled to

Norway to learn about how the country provides true criminal reform while keeping sentences to a

minimum, even for serious crimes. Discussion about his film led into the topic of wrongful convictions,

which is touched on in the film, and the work of the Innocence Project. “It’s shameful that we allow this

to happen,” said Moore.

“I plan to go out across the country in the coming months and spread the word,” said Moore, about the

problems of wrongful convictions and DNA-based exonerations.


New York exonerees Derrick Hamilton, Shabaka Shakur and David McCallum were special guests at the

event. The highlight of the discussion was when they responded to the moderator’s question: “In your

opinion, what steps need to be taken to address and prevent wrongful convictions?”

Shakur said, “One of the problems is lack of accountability. Hardly ever is a prosecutor held accountable

even though we’ve had numerous wrongful convictions. In my [wrongful conviction] case the detective

Scarcella is being investigated for over 70 cases.”

McCallum expressed, “The public can play an important role in stemming the tide for wrongful


Moore apologized to the exonerees and their families who were seated in the front rows.

He also expressed that in his opinion there are other social issues underlying the problem of wrongful

convictions that need to be addressed in order to truly fix the problem. “I don’t think [criminal justice]

it’s going to get entirely fixed until we fix the racial issue and the issue of fear.”

Where to Invade Next

will be released nationally on

February 12th.

Photos by Mattedesign

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Tina Linker April 30, 2016 at 8:53 pm Reply   

The people who prosecute should be held accountable for wrongful convictions.

They are dealing with people’s lives. Why can a doctor be held accountable and sued when something goes wrong? But our broken judicial system has ZERO accountability!!
You can bet if the cops, detectives, prosecutors and judges were held to the standards that our laws are set to protect they would make sure they had the REAL facts before throwing in the hat so they can have another feather in their cap and send innocent people to jail.

We as people of the United States vote these people into office who are supposed to uphold the law for all citizens. Currently, our broken system upholds the law that each of these judicial crooks set.