Friday, October 12, 2007

The Trials of Darryl Hunt DVD

DVD Review by Kam Williams

Headline: Documentary Vindicating Convict via DNA Evidence Out on DVD

Back in 1984, Debbie Sykes was brutally raped and slain and left scantily clad in a wooded area of her hometown, Winston-Salem, NC. Because she was a popular reporter there, the police were under considerable pressure to crack the high-profile case.
Based on the positive identification by a Ku Klux Klansman, a 19 year-old black kid named Darryl Hunt was soon fingered as the perpetrator. In spite of a lack of any evidence linking him to the crime scene, Hunt was arrested and charged with the murder.
While behind bars, he was jailed briefly with a white convict who was promised parole in return for damning testimony against his cellmate. Not surprisingly, the man soon swore under oath that Darryl had confessed to killing Sykes.
After a trial which might best be described as a rush to judgment, Hunt was found guilty by an all-white jury which took the word of a couple of shady characters over that of an innocent African-American kid with a solid alibi. Sentenced to life imprisonment, he would languish in prison for ten years till his plight came to the attention of the Innocence Project.
At the behest of attorney Barry Scheck, a former member of O.J. Simpson’s infamous Dream Team, the case was reopened and it was subsequently determined that Darryl’s DNA did not match any of the semen left on the body of Sykes. And although it was apparent that he was indeed innocent, it would take another decade to get the corrupt Carolina court system to agree to right the wrong.
That tireless effort to set a wrongfully-convicted man free is the subject of The Trials of Darryl Hunt, a disturbing bio-pic chronicling a mammoth miscarriage of justice which can only be explained as resulting from deep-seated racism. Despite its feelgood resolution, the film offers little in the way of reassurance that the next black man framed in the Deep South won’t have to wait just as long to be vindicated.

Excellent (4 stars)
Running time: 107 minutes
Studio: Velocity/ThinkFilm
DVD Extras: Bonus interviews, deleted scenes, theatrical trailer, plus a featurette.

No comments: