The innocent convicts
Film is a powerful tool to expose injustice, galvanize action and hold the powerful accountable.
- Osagie N. Okoruwa
Our organization works with innocent defendants in federal, state, and local prisons to give a voice to the victims of wrongful incarceration. Using film, public arts and civic engagement, we bring attention to the plight of victims. Victims can be wrongly imprisoned, forced into dangerous environments and watch their families suffer. Together we fight against the grave penalties being implemented for crimes they never committed. The Innocent Convicts documentary brings much-needed attention to the causes and aftermath of wrongful convictions. We examine several incidents around the U.S., including the story of Tim Cole, a Texas Tech student and Army Veteran, who lost his life when his medication was withheld while he was wrongly incarcerated. Principal photography on the first six episodes of The Innocent Convicts has been completed. We’ve conducted interviews and shot accompanying videos in Texas, North Carolina, California, Wisconsin and Minnesota in connection with the stories of Tim Cole, Audrey Edmunds, Uriah Courtney, Mike Hansen, Lamont McKoy, and The Monfils Six.
Audrey Edmunds is a Wisconsin stay-at-home mom who babysat for neighborhood families. Edmunds was accused of killing a child in her care based on “Shaken Baby Syndrome” theories, sentenced to 18 years, and served nearly 11 of those before she was able to present new research and evidence casting doubt on Shaken Baby Syndrome. Edmunds’ conviction was overturned.
Uriah Courtney is a San Diego man who, like Tim Cole, was also wrongfully convicted of a rape he didn’t commit. Courtney’s story, fortunately, has a happier ending than Cole’s because DNA evidence cleared him before he could languish and die in prison.
At the age of 18, Lamont McKoy was sentenced to life in prison in connection with a North Carolina drug deal that resulted in a homicide. McCoy has never wavered in his claims of innocence, refused to take a plea deal, and today — 28 years later — still stands by that declaration. Four years after McKoy’s conviction, evidence was presented in federal court indicating that McKoy wasn’t actually responsible for the crime. Yet that information and testimony, which could potentially clear McKoy, has never been allowed into a state court for a hearing. Duke University School of Law’s Wrongful Convictions Clinic is fighting to prove his innocence.
Mike Hansen is a Minnesota man who was wrongfully convicted of killing his infant daughter, based mainly on questionable medical expert testimony. Hansen served six years of a 14-year sentence before the Innocence Project stepped in to help him.