It tells the story of Darryl Hunt, a black man who was tried and convicted for the rape and murder of white newspaper reporter Deborah Sykes in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, in 1984. Hunt was sentenced despite there being no physical evidence, simply off a testimonial given by a former Ku Klux Klan member. After ten years, in 1994, a DNA test cleared Hunt of the charges, yet he wasn't released from prison for another eight years.
The film would probably make for a good, though upsetting, double-header with the 2005 Sundance Special Jury Prize winner After Innocence, which examines the difficult process of re-entering society following, and despite, being exonerated. Unfortunately, such a double-header will likely never happen on television, since After Innocence was produced by HBO competitor Showtime. After Innocence was also shortlisted for the doc feature Oscar last fall, but didn't garner a nomination. Still, it did okay in limited release and gets occasional play on Showtime (including this Thursday morning). The Trials of Darryl Hunt, which was set to premiere on HBO sometime in 2007, will now get a theatrical and DVD release courtesy of ThinkFilm.