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Race To Execution


Rachel Lyon's documentary about the way racial bias affects the use of the death penalty is interesting because it primarily focuses on two cases in which there is great doubt about the guilt of the men sentenced to death, but not indisputable evidence of either guilt or innocence. One of the men, Madison Hobley, was pardoned by Illinois Governor George Ryan just before Ryan put a moratorium on the use of capital punishment in the state. Initial investigations exonerated 13 men on death row, including one who was just two days away from execution. One of those cases might have made a stronger argument against the death penalty in the documentary. But ultimately, the film is about the way in which racial bias functions regardless of guilt or innocence. Prosecutors and death penalty advocates in the film counter that guilt is established on a case-by-case basis and penalties should not be altered even if justice is dispensed inconsistently. But the film makes one wonder how often racial bias alone frames guilt for many of the poorest defendants who stand trial. A discussion will follow with a representative of the Innocence Project and a wrongly convicted and later exonerated former inmate. Free admission. -- Will Coviello

6:30 p.m. Sun., March 18

Ashe Cultural Arts Center, 1724 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd., 569-9070;


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