Symposium Addresses Wrongful Convictions

Paul Kasabian

Between Sunday and Tuesday, Colgate played host to a three-day symposium that raised awareness for wrongful convictions in our justice system. Arnold A. Sio Professor of Diversity and Community Earl Smith and A. Lindsay O’Connor Professor of American Institutions Angela Hattery brought in two men, Darryl Hunt and Kirk Bloodsworth, who spent a combined 28 years in jail for separate rape and murder crimes that neither committed. Darryl Hunt’s lawyer, Mark Rabil, also participated in the symposium. Both Hunt and Bloodsworth were later released after undisputable DNA evidence surfaced that led to two exonerations. Bloodsworth is the first inmate to ever be released from Death Row after DNA evidence surfaced.

The three-day series of events began with a screening of the HBO documentary, The Trials of Darryl Hunt, a gut-wrenching film that details the injustices done to Darryl Hunt by numerous people associated with the faulty North Carolina justice system. The following day, Hunt, Rabil and Bloodsworth participated in a panel discussion in Persson Auditorium. A brown bag lunch at the Women’s Studies Center the following afternoon highlighted the impact incarceration has on families. Five hours after the lunch, Professor Smith gave a lecture titled, “Race, Wrongful Conviction and Exoneration.” Overall, the three-day symposium was a very successful event that taught many students, faculty and staff alike that there are severe cracks in the American justice system that too many civilians fall through.