In 2002, pro-death penalty Illinois Governor George Ryan is at the end of his term. A group of Northwestern student does a class project and exonerates death row inmates. The Chicago Tribune writes about the story and Ryan comes to question the infallibility of the death sentence. Ryan claims 13 are released with 12 executed. The system has become no better than a coin flip. He institutes a clemency board to review all of the convictions. The movie examines the history of the death penalty from its use against minorities, the 1972 Supreme Court case abolishing it, the 1976 case reinstating it and various convicts facing that final walk.
It's a compelling and important issue. It's also a fascinating moment in time for this issue. This has plenty of information. However it's not much more than a TV investigative report. It's very scattered. It needs to concentrate on fewer people. The doc needs to concentrate on that university class and their cases and Governor Ryan. Some of the convicts seem to be presented as innocent but they are just as easily be lying.
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