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What would you do if you discovered that 13 people slated for execution had been found innocent? That was exactly the question that Illinois Governor George Ryan faced in his final days in office. He alone was left to decide whether 167 death row inmates should live or die. In the riveting countdown to Ryan's decision, Deadline details the gripping drama of the state's clemency hearings. Documented as the events unfold, Deadline is a compelling look inside America's prisons, highlighting one man's unlikely and historic actions against the system.
DVD features will include: Interview with directors Katy Chevigny and Kirsten Johnson. Additional Scenes: Governor George Ryan's Clemency Speech, Interview with Governor George Ryan, Gabriel Solache and the Vienna Convention, Furman v. Georgia: Donald Schneble, Murder Victims' Families for Reconciliation: Mamie Till Mobley, Governor Ryan and the Death Penalty, Filmmaker Biographies, Glossary of Terms, Internet Links.
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Proving that a documentary can be both rigorous and stylish, Deadline delves into the hot-button topic of the death penalty, with particular focus on the 2002 investigation initiated by former Republican governor of Illinois, George H. Ryan, after an investigative journalism class at Northwestern University proved that three men on Illinois' death row were innocent. The current debate focuses not on the moral right-or-wrong of capital punishment, but on whether the legal system can keep an innocent man from being condemned to death. The debate is by no means simple, and Deadline presents a balanced picture, interviewing lawyers, anti-death penalty advocates, politicians, and men who've been released from death row, all of whom are lucid and articulate. But it's testimonies from victims that are the most emotionally wrenching--and you may be surprised by their statements. A superb documentary, directed by Katy Chevigny and Kisten Johnson. --Bret Fetzer
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