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An Unreal Dream: The Michael Morton Story   cover image

An Unreal Dream: The Michael Morton Story 2013

Highly Recommended

Distributed by First Run Features, 630 Ninth Avenue, Suite 1213, New York, NY 10036; 212-243-0600
Produced by Blue Bandana Productions LLC; Glass House Productions LLC
Directed By Al Reinert
DVD, color, 92 min.

Sr. High - General Adult
Sociology, Criminal Justice

Date Entered: 11/14/2014

Reviewed by LaRoi Lawton, Library & Learning Resources Department, Bronx Community College of the City University of New York

The Innocence Project was founded in 1992 by Barry C. Scheck and Peter J. Neufeld at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University to assist prisoners who could be proven innocent through DNA testing. An Unreal Dream: The Michael Morton Story tells the story of Michael Morton's horrendous journey that began in 1986, when his wife Christine was found bludgeoned to death in their home in Austin, Texas. Despite no direct evidence linking him to the crime, he quickly becomes the prime suspect. At his trial, the Williamson County District attorney paints a picture of him as a ferocious, sexually degenerate murderer who showed no remorse for his crime. He is convicted and sentenced to life in imprisonment despite the lack of actual evidence linking him to this crime.

An Unreal Dream: The Michael Morton Story illustrates the harrowing experience of Morton’s journey through the criminal justice system, wrongfully convicted of a crime he did not commit. As a last resort Michael Morton makes contact with the Innocence Project who take up his case. The documentary takes the viewer along Michael’s long prison journey, his tenuous relationship with his son, now raised by relatives who consider the father a murderer and filling the son with their personal impressions of the father. The documentary also illustrates how one man decides to fight to prove his innocence rather than take parole and show remorse for a crime he did not commit after the request for DNA testing of evidence is challenged. The Innocence Project’s groundbreaking use of DNA technology to free innocent people has provided irrefutable proof that wrongful convictions are not isolated or rare events but instead arise from systemic defects. This film illustrates in definitive detail, those defects within our criminal justice system. This film also asks the question, what exactly is “due process” in the American legal criminal justice system across America that sends innocent people to prison? This documentary was a Human Rights Watch Film awardee in 2013.