Aired Tuesday July 27th, 2010 at 11:00 pm on KUED HD Ch. 7.1
Antonio Zúñiga's life changed when he went for a walk on December, 12, 2005. As he crossed a busy Mexico City avenue, two city police abruptly arrested him for committing a crime he knew nothing about. He spent the next 20 years of his life behind bars. Like thousands of other innocent people, Zúñiga was wrongfully incarcerated. In the award-winning documentary POV "Presumed Guilty" two lawyers, Roberto Hernández and Layda Negrete, tell Zúñiga's story and the battle they waged to free him. The film will be shown on KUED Tuesday, July 27 at 11:00 p.m.
With no background in film, Hernández and Negrete began documenting Zúñiga's case. Soon the lawyers found themselves engulfed in a bewidlering and appalling world as Zúñiga's trial led them face to face with Mexico City police investigators and a skeltered criminal justice system.
Acclaimed documentary filmmaker, Geoffrey Smith was visiting Mexico City when Hernández and Negrete asked if he would watch their footage. He was so moved by what he saw that he immediately jumped on board and began working on the project. And so began the dark and alarming investigation, "Presumed Guilty."
"This is a David and Goliath story of two people who took on a system. It's beautiful and so heartfelt and gives so many people inspiration that change is possible," said Smith. "You can see the righteous indignation. People are angry, but they also want to channel that anger and do something about it."
After being arrested, Zúñiga sat in a holding cell for two days without any answeres or accusations given. His questions were met only with hostile stares from gaurds and detectives. Zúñiga learned of his charges only after being moved into a cell with other prisoners, one of whom asked Zúñiga, "So you're the guy accused of murder?"
"You have a great mandate to talk to a whole country about its justice system," said Smith when speaking to Wall Street Journal reporter David Luhonow about the film. "In Mexico, this topic is very much a sore point, and it is a part of everyone's sensibility here. It's a burning issue in their lives."
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