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An increasing number of documentaries are highlighting cases of prosecutorial misconduct and overreach, and asking questions about the level of power we have divested to prosecutors in our criminal justice system, a recent Los Angeles Times article says.

In an article titled, “New crop of documentaries make the case for prosecutorial misconduct” (February 7, 2014), Steven Zeitchik writes,

“Ever since Errol Morris’ landmark 1988 “The Thin Blue Line” led to the freeing of death row inmate Randall Adams, modern nonfiction films have been making the case for the wrongly accused. But in the age of rampant surveillance and unauthorized wiretapping, the U.S. documentary appears to be entering a new era, one in which the prosecutorial overreach film is not just the blood-boiling exception but a prevalent theme.

At the recently concluded Sundance — with four of the five 2014 Oscar nominees originating there, the festival is a key barometer of the documentary zeitgeist — nearly a half-dozen films contained this undercurrent. They included a wide range of subjects, in movies revisiting the case of Pamela Smart (the New Hampshire woman serving a life sentence for conspiring to kill her husband in 1990), the recently convicted Boston gangster Whitey Bulger and even an instance of the FBI confiscating a discovery by South Dakota paleontologists as prosecutors racked up charges against them.

…By injecting themselves into the legal process, these films — many will play on TV and in theaters in the coming months — have opened a powerful storytelling vein and shone a light on perceived injustices. At this Edward Snowden moment, creators say, they tap into perceptions of government run amok.”

Read the full article here.

 

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