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Submitted 8:01 a.m.
02.21.2015
Letter to the Editor

My curriculum deals with men who have been wrongfully convicted and incarcerated...I show several films, none of which you mentioned in this article. ”

Harriet Hendel of Sarasota, Florida

I was very interested in this particular article about how the criminal justice system is portrayed in Hollywood films. I am a member of the Board of Directors of The Innocence Project of Florida and have created a class which I am now teaching at the University of South Florida in Sarasota~a class which is called: "Locked Up: Justice Denied". The class is offered to Senior Citizens who are eager to learn more about many different topics. My curriculum deals with men who have been wrongfully convicted and incarcerated---some for decades.

To make the class even more interesting, I show several films, none of which you mentioned in this article. One film is: "The Wronged Man" based on the actual case of Calvin Willis. It stars Julia Ormond who spends many years trying to free Mr. Willis from prison. Another film is: "Conviction" starring Hillary Swank. This is also a true story based on the Kenny Waters case. There was a series on CNN about a year ago called: "Death Row Stories" directed by Alex Gibney (Academy Award winning director of "Taxi to the Dark Side"}. Mr. Gibney sent me the first film in the series.It was a true story based on the case of Edward Lee Elmore. I also show a documentary called: "After Innocence". So, there are some good films out there which shine a light on our broken criminal justice system. My students have enjoyed all of these films which provide us with great opportunities for discussion.

Sincerely,

Harriet Hendel

 
This letter written in response to
News February 20, 2015
How Academy Award-nominated films have handled, and mishandled, criminal justice.