NEW RESOURCES: Documentary tells story of innocent man who spent 18 years on death row

In 1984, Juan Melendez was sent to Florida’s death row for the murder of Delbert Baker even though no physical evidence linked him to the crime. In 2002, he was released with all charges vacated after it was found that prosecutors had withheld critical evidence in the case. He became the 99th person exonerated in the United States since 1976, and the 20th from Florida. As of today, 135 people have been exonerated. Juan Melendez - 6446 is a documentary released as part of the HBO-sponsored 10th Annual New York International Latino Film Festival. Director Luis Rosario Albert tells Melendez’ story through his own words and the words of his family, friends and lawyers - the story of a migrant Puerto Rican farm worker sent to death row for a crime he didn’t commit. It also brings into play legal issues between the United States and Puerto Rico in application of the death penalty. More information, including the film’s trailer, can be found here. The film will be screened on July 31st at 2 pm at the Clearview Cinemas Chelsea, Screen 8, W 23rd St. & 8th Ave. in New York City.

(Source: Judi Caruso, Director, Juan Melendez Voices United for Justice, July 27, 2009). See also Innocence, Multi-media, and the Death Penalty in Puerto Rico.