Directed by Roberto Hernández • Documentary • 2009 • 88 minutes
In December 2005 Tono Zuniga was picked up off the street in Mexico City, Mexico, and sentenced to 20 years for murder based on the testimony of a single, shaky eyewitness. PRESUMED GUILTY tells the heart-wrenching story of a man who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.
A friend of Tono's contacted two young lawyers, Roberto Hernandez and Layda Negrete, who gained prominence in Mexico when they helped bring about the release of another innocent man from prison. As Centro de Investigacion y Docencia Economicas (CIDE) legal researchers, they tracked an alarming history of corruption in the Mexican justice system (93% of inmates never see an arrest warrant, and 93% of defendants never see a judge).
Looking into Tono's case, Roberto and Layda managed to get a retrial-on camera-and enlisted the help of filmmaker Geoffrey Smith (THE ENGLISH SURGEON) to chronicle the saga. Shot over three years with unprecedented access to the Mexican courts and prisons, this dramatic story is a searing indictment of a justice system that presumes guilt.
"A rare – and chilling – glimpse of Mexico's dysfunctional legal system." —David Luhnow, Wall Street Journal