Select Films and TV Programs on Wrongful Convictions
A&E ‘American Justice’
Programs include: The Green Beret Murder Mystery (2000); Lying Eyes (2001); Another Man’s Crime (2007) Hosted by Bill Kurtis, these hour-long programs examine flaws in the criminal justice system, including eyewitness misidentification (Lying Eyes highlights IP client Ronald Cotton and rape survivor Jennifer Thompson’s transformation into an advocate for eyewitness identification reform). The Green Beret Murder Mystery features the case of Dr. Jeffrey MacDonald, and Another Man’s Crime features Scott Hornoff.
A&E ‘Investigative Reports’
Programs include: Cold Cases (2000); Forensic Fraud (2002); Death Penalty on Trial (2006) Hosted by Bill Kurtis, these programs discuss the problems with the American justice system by looking at cases of innocent people in prison. Cold Cases features interviews with Barry Scheck and Ronnie Bullock
False Confessions (2006) Focuses on the phenomenon of false confessions and interrogation tactics that can lead people to admit to crimes they did not commit. Includes the cases of John Restivo, Dennis Halstead and John Kogut, who were exonerated through DNA evidence in New York.
Dead Men Talking (1998) Covers the National Conference on Wrongful Conviction and the Death Penalty and includes a discussion with Kirk Bloodsworth, Rolando Cruz, Dennis Williams and Shabaka Waqlimi, with Barry Scheck.
Syndicated ‘Dr. Phil’
False Confessions (2007) Dr. Phil explores the psychology of false confessions. Includes information about the Marty Tankleff case, an interview with Steve Drizin of the Center on Wrongful Convictions and Lola Vollen of the Life After Exoneration Program.
CNN ‘Classrom Edition’
Reasonable Doubt: Can Crime Labs be Trusted? (2006)
This CNN special presentation addresses the long-standing problem of crime lab misconduct, and how to fix the misconduct that is responsible for the many people serving prison sentences for crimes they did not commit. Features interviews with Peter Neufeld and Barry Scheck.
CNN ‘Larry King Live’
Programs include: Clarence Elkins Falsely Imprisoned for Murder/Rape (2005); Men Wrongfully Convicted of Rape by Faulty Eyewitness Testimony (2005); New DNA Evidence May Grant Man New Trial (2006)
Larry King conducts interviews with the wife of exoneree Clarence Elkins, and discusses the nature of his exoneration and also interviews Barry Scheck about Jeffrey MacDonald’s case and DNA evidence that could prove his innocence. The program on eyewitness misidentification features Dennis Maher, Herman Atkins, Wilton Dedge and Vincent Moto.
Court TV ‘The System’
The Wrong Man? (2001-2003) A series of specials investigating possible wrongful convictions. Features Edward Lee Elmore, who was convicted of murdering an elderly woman in South Carolina, and includes an interview with Barry Scheck. Other episodes investigate the cases of Marty Tankleff, Dennis Dechaine and Henry “Fred” Chichester.
Court TV ‘Stories of the Innocence Project’ Series
Programs include: Marvin Anderson’s Nightmare (2004); A Life Stolen (2004); Confessions of an Innocent Man (2005); What’s in a Name? (2005); Fingered with a Print (2005); Broken Words (2006); Unforgettable Face (2006)
This TV series “opens up the files” from the Innocence Project and takes an inside look at the stories of Innocence Project clients who were able to triumph in their fight for freedom, while highlighting key mistakes and causes for their wrongful convictions. Each episode is an hour long. Featured exonerees include: Bruce Godschalk, Marvin Anderson, Eddie Joe Lloyd, Jimmy Ray Bromgard, Dennis Fritz, Stephan Cowans and Anthony Michael Green.
(2002) Coverage of debate on the Innocence Protection Act, sponsored by Senator Patrick Leahy. Also features Senator Russ Feingold, Kirk Bloodsworth, Clyde Charles, Peter Neufeld and Barry Scheck.
Dallas DNA (2009)
Investigation Discovery’s show about the Conviction Integrity Unit (CIU), a division of the Dallas County District Attorney’s Office dedicated to clearing innocent inmates through post-conviction DNA testing.
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Discovery Channel ‘The New Detectives’
Case Studies in Forensic Science(1997) Forensic scientists aid in criminal investigations. Interviews with Troy Webb and Barry Scheck. Each episode is one hour.
Programs include: Discussion about DNA testing and wrongful convictions with Terry Chalmers, Ed Honaker, Brian Piszczek, Peter Neufeld and Barry Scheck (1995); and interviews with Eddie Joe Lloyd and Barry Scheck (2002)
Coverage of Dennis Fritz and Ron Williamson Cases
(2007) Coverage of the two related exonerations of Dennis Fritz and Ron Williamson. Interviews with Clarence Elkins and his wife Melinda, the “housewife turned sleuth” who helped solve Clarence case after he had been convicted of murdering her mother and raping her niece.
Misidentified and Paying the Price: Wrongful Convictions Based on Faulty Eyewitness Testimony (1998) Leeza talks with two wrongfully convicted men who were able to prove their innocence without the use of DNA evidence.
NBC ‘Inter Night’
Justice Gone Bad (1995)
Discussion hosted by Barry Scheck and featuring David Shephard.
Death Penalty Controversy
(2000) Oprah Winfrey talks to three men who were sentenced to die and later proven innocent: Kirk Bloodsworth, Gary Gauger and Dennis Williams. Larry Marshall, professor at the Northwestern University’s Center on Wrongful Convictions explains some of the causes of wrongful convictions.
The Governor Who Emptied Death Row
(2003) Oprah interviews former Governor George Ryan and three of the innocent men that he pardoned.
Marty Tankleff’s Wrongful Conviction
(2009) Could you be convinced to confess to a crime you didn’t commit? It may seem inconceivable, but research shows that in approximately 25 percent of DNA exoneration cases, innocent defendants made statements falsely incriminating themselves.
PBS ‘Frontline’ Series
Programs include: Innocence Lost (1991); Innocence Lost: The Verdict Parts 1 & 11 (1993); What Jennifer Saw (1997);The Case for Innocence (1999); Requiem for Frank Lee Smith (2002);
Burden of Innocence
(2003); The Plea (2004) and
Death by Fire
(2010). Many of these programs feature Innocence Project cases, clients and attorneys.
PBS ‘Charlie Rose’
Charlie Rose hosts hour-long discussion with several Innocence Project pioneers and supporters including Barry Scheck, Peter Neufeld and Jim Dwyer about DNA and its influence on justice in America. Also see
TLC ‘Medical Detectives’
Crime Seen (1999) ‘Medical Detectives’ investigates crimes with the help of forensic science experts. This episode features Ed Honaker, exonerated of rape in 1994, and Barry Scheck.
(2006) This episode features guests including Barry Scheck and recent exonerees who discuss their fight to prove their innocence, as well as their progress in life after exoneration.
Films & Documentaries
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.
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The Central Park Five
In 1989, five black and Latino teenagers were arrested and charged with brutally attacking and raping a white female jogger in Central Park. News media swarmed the case, calling them a “wolfpack.” The five would spend years in prison for a crime they didn’t commit before the truth about what really happened became clear. Watch instantly on
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Directed by Tony Goldwyn and starring Hilary Swank and Sam Rockwell, ‘Conviction’ (2010) tells the true story of a woman’s fight to prove her brother’s innocence. Watch instantly
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Court-TV’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.
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Scenes of a Crime
“Scenes of a Crime” explores a nearly 10-hour interrogation that culminates in a disputed confession, and an intense, high-profile child murder trial in New York state. Watch instantly on
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The Trials of Darryl Hunt
(2006) Break Thru Films’ documentary about Darryl Hunt’s decades-long fight for justice after being wrongfully convicted of rape and murder. The film follows Hunt’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.
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An Unreal Dream
In 1986 Michael Morton’s wife Christine is brutally murdered in front of their only child, and Michael is convicted of the crime. Locked away in Texas prisons for a quarter century, he has years to ponder questions of justice and innocence, truth and fate. Though he is virtually invisible to society, a team of dedicated attorneys spends years fighting for the right to test DNA evidence found at the murder scene. Their discoveries ultimately reveal that the price of a wrongful conviction goes well beyond one man’s loss of freedom.
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The Wronged Man
Lifetime Movie Network’s 2010 original movie about Calvin Willis, who was released from Louisiana State Penitentiary after more than 21 years of wrongful incarceration. The film focuses on Willis’ relationship with his longtime advocate, Janet Gregory, a single mom and paralegal, and her critical role in his exoneration. Watch instantly
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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 Sheriff’s Office. Buy a DVD at
The Interrogation of Michael Crowe
Court-TV’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 at
“In the Blink of an Eye,” a 1996 ABC TV movie about Sunny Jacobs and Jesse Tafero, both innocent of murder. Sunny spent almost 17 years in prison before her conviction was overturned and she was released. Jesse Tafero wasn’t as lucky. He was executed in 1990 based on the same tainted evidence that freed Sunny.