Presumed Guilty

Presumed Guilty

2008. Documentary by Roberto Hernández. Mexico. 1h27m.
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Original title: Presunto culpable (Spanish)Presumed Guilty tells the heart-wrenching story of a man who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. On a December day in Mexico City, 2005, José Antonio Zuniga pleaded: "God, kill me or put me in jail" as he wrestled with an unhappy love affair. A week later, a boy pointed him out from a police car, and he was arrested then charged with murder. 48 hours later he was sent to prison. A judge who never heard him speak sentenced him to twenty years on the testimony of a single, shaky, eyewitness. Two unlikely filmmakers, Mexican lawyers recruited by Antonio's friends, followed him with a camera in what seemed a hopeless quest to get the case re-tried. The future seemed promising, however, the retrial was assigned to the same judge who had already convicted him, with one variation: a camera would be there this time to record the court's every move. Through one man's extraordinary two-year struggle to regain his freedom, Presumed Guilty documents the contradictions of a judicial system that presumes guilt.

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