False Conviction

Currently in development, False Conviction is the story of the innocent who spend decades behind bars. The film follows their struggles to gain freedom through post-conviction DNA testing, and examines how such grave miscarriages of justice can occur.

For twenty years Billy Smith sat rotting in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Convicted of rape in 1986, he faced a lifetime behind bars with little hope of freedom… a lifetime staring at the same four walls. In 2001 Smith sought DNA testing to prove his innocence. It took five years of appeals. Finally in 2006 this innocent man walked free after evidence obtained two decades earlier was eventually tested.

Twenty years. How can this happen?

To date, there have been 289 post-conviction DNA exonerations in United States history. But for every Billy Smith who walks free, potentially hundreds more innocent people remain stuck behind bars for life. Smith was one of the lucky ones. Texas inmate Hank Skinner has been serving time on death row since 1993. Still, after nineteen years, he continues to seek DNA testing that could prove his innocence. Meanwhile the biological evidence he’s depending on continues to degrade.

In the images below, more than a hundred exonerees gather on stage at the 2012 Innocence Network conference. Each one of these men and women was convicted and incarcerated for something they didn’t do.