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Documentary “Mississippi Innocence” to be Shown at Law School

A film screening of the documentary “Mississippi Innocence” will be held on Tuesday, Nov. 1, at 7 p.m. in the Millhiser Moot Court Room in Lewis Hall. It will be followed by a Q&A session with the co-producer of the film and director of the Mississippi Innocence Project at the University of Mississippi, Tucker Carrington, and a defendant from the film, Levon Brooks.

The event is co-sponsored by four law student organizations: the Southwest Virginia Innocence Project, the Black Law Students Association, and the W&L chapters of the American Constitution Society and the National Lawyers Guild.

“Mississippi Innocence” is a 56-minute documentary that tells the story of the Noxubee County, Miss., convictions and exonerations of Levon Brooks and Kennedy Brewer. These men, who together spent a combined 32 years in prison for crimes they did not commit, were released in the spring of 2008 through the work of innocence project lawyers from New York and Mississippi, as well as a host of other lawyers who had worked on their cases for years.

Both were extraordinarily fortunate: the DNA evidence in Brooks’ case had, over the years, become too degraded to test; the material in Brewer’s case went missing for years. Without the intervention of their lawyers and the DNA analyst who became involved, this would have had a completely different outcome. DNA testing led law enforcement to the real perpetrator, who was free and living in the community.

John Grisham, author of The Innocent Man and himself an advocate for improvements in the criminal justice system, as well as Peter Neufeld and Barry Scheck, co-founders of the Innocence Project, are interviewed during the film.