THE TRIALS OF DARRYL HUNT is an outstanding documentary about a black man who was wrongly convicted of the brutal rape and murder of a white reporter in Winston-Salem, NC, and served almost 20 year before the truth came out.
It's a stunning example of the blatant racism and pathetic incompetence in the judicial system. With no reliable witness, the prosecution relies on a man with a long rap sheet who uses an alias to call in the crime, a schizophrenic prostitute who changes her story, and a KKK member who drives around looking for trouble as their "witnesses." Things only get worse over time as it becomes clear in appeals that evidence was kept hidden from the defense and that defense witnesses were threatened not to appear, yet the appeals STILL lose!
Even when DNA evidence is not matched to the accused, the court rejects a potential appeal.
The film is very well made. The filmmakers did not start until ten years into the case and had to deal with mostly local news footage to create the first half of the film. There are a lot of on-camera interviews from all the major characters (except the police, who refused to appear).
One of the interesting subtexts of the film is that no one takes the case seriously until an investigative journalist spends seven months researching the case and runs an impartial series of articles on the case, changing the public tide from a race case (white people assumed he was guilty) to actual justice.
Ummm... the victim was a journalist. It took 20 years for another journalist to look at the case impartially? Wouldn't you think the journalists she worked with would have done this right after her death? There's a subliminal indictment of the media throughout the film.
I highly recommend it.