After Innocence

Director: Jessica Sanders
Screenwriters: Jessica Sanders, Marc H. Simon

Institute History

  • 2005 Sundance Film Festival


Employing a brisk narrative style, fluid editing, barely subdued outrage, and an articulate cast of characters, director Jessica Sanders examines not just the flood of reversed convictions that DNA evidence has visited upon a grievously flawed criminal-justice system but also what happens to those exonerated once they have been set free. Considered an embarrassment to prosecutors' offices, a potential burden to state legislatures, and a walking indictment of mismanaged or corrupt police work, the men whose innocence is established—mostly in rape and murder cases, where DNA evidence actually exists—have to pick up and carry on with even less government support than that given guilty prisoners out on parole.

Some of those profiled by Sanders in After Innocence seem to accept their fate without bitterness. Others, including a former police officer and a death row inmate, are understandably shattered by their experiences. But none exhibit the pure anger that one expects from people who have been subjected, in some cases, to more than 20 years of unwarranted, unjust imprisonment. One cannot help but be moved by this powerful and haunting documentary, which offers a searing critique of a system that fails the innocent not only once, but twice.

— Diane Weyermann

Screening Details

Sundance Film Festival Awards

As you use our Online Archives, please understand that the information presented from Festivals, Labs, and other activities is taken directly from official publications from each year. While this information is limited and doesn't necessarily represent the full list of participants (e.g. actors and crew), it is the list given to us by the main film/play/project contact at the time, based on the space restrictions of our publications. Each entry in the Online Archives is meant as a historical record of a particular film, play, or project at the time of its involvement with Sundance Institute. For this reason, we can only amend an entry if a name is misspelled, or if the entry does not correctly reflect the original publication. If you have questions or comments, please email [email protected]