Crime Film Documentaries

Instructor: James R. Elkins

"Conviction: The True Story of Clarence Elkins"

[55 mins.] [film by Mike West & Bill Ward]


"One summer night, Melinda Elkins’ mother was raped and murdered, and her husband, Clarence, was convicted of the murder and sent to prison for life. Melinda knew her husband was a victim of mistaken identification. Proving it would take years. A do-it-yourself detective, Melinda discovered a person she believed killed her mother – a convicted sex offender overlooked by police. In a twist of fate, the suspect was incarcerated in the same prison as Clarence. In prison, Clarence picked up a cigarette discarded by the suspect. DNA testing showed that the man was, in fact, the real killer. Because of his wife’s tenacity and conviction, Clarence walked out of prison a free man." ~ Durango Independent Film Festival  

"When a man is wrongly convicted of murder and rape, his wife devotes her life to proving his innocence. Conviction is not only a gripping story of justice gone wrong, it's also a meditation on the role of luck in the criminal justice system. In order for Clarence Elkins to prove his innocence, all of the stars had to align. It's a story that would be unbelievable if it weren't true." ~ Michael West

Internet Movie Database

Wikipedia Film Trailer

Clarence Elkins bio
[provided by Clarence Elkins for his appearance at the College of Law,
West Virginia University]

Ten Years to Convict the Real Killer: Case Chronology

CNN Larry King Live Interview
[aired December 26, 2005]

Innocence Project Reveals Key Find in Elkins Case

First Christmas at Home in Eight Years for Man Falsely Convicted of Murder
[ABC News, December 22, 2005]

Beacon Journal news accounts

Innocence Reform Bill Crafted at UC College of Law On Verge of Becoming Ohio Law
[University of Cincinnati News, March 16, 2010]

Ohio City to Pay $5.25M to Settle Wrongly Convicted Man's Lawsuit
[November 19, 2010]

Prosecutors' Opposition to DNA Testing

Prosectors Block Access to DNA Testing for Inmates
[New York Times, May 18, 2009]

Prosecutors Still Opposing DNA Access for Prisoners Despite New Laws
[Jonathan Turley, blog]

Prosecutors Justify Oppostion to DNA Testing
[Grits for Breakfast, a blog on Texas criminal justice]

Thwarting Justice by Denying DNA Testing
[Judge H. Lee Sarokin, Huffington Post blog]