In a gripping real-time life-or-death tale, DEAD TIME follows the story of Bill Kuenzel as he rapidly nears what could be the final chapter of his decades-long battle to prove his innocence. Kuenzel has sat on death row for 27 years for a murder he has always maintained he did not commit. The prosecution withheld important evidence during his trial, and investigations since have uncovered a significant amount of new evidence to support his innocence.
Kuenzel has never been able to present the new evidence to a jury because his attorneys missed a filing deadline imposed as a way to restrict death-row appeals and has lost access to habeas corpus, a critical safeguard in our system of capital punishment.
Documentary filmmaker Eric Forman has spent ten years following this extraordinary story as a dedicated team of pro-bono attorneys work tirelessly for justice. Allowed unprecedented access into the high-stakes world of a capital appeal, DEAD TIME is not intended to provoke a death penalty debate amongst a partisan few; it’s a bigger story – one of a heartbreaking miscarriage of justice.
Are deadlines more important than truth? Do prosecutors seek merely to win a case or do they seek justice? How do we assure the integrity of convictions? Would we knowingly execute a prisoner without hearing all the evidence?
A supporting cast of characters – including members the victim’s family and Kuenzel’s family, as well as the attorneys’ families and legal experts connected to the case, many of whom have developed an intimate friendship with Kuenzel over the years – will provide an emotional window into the hearts of people who believe the system has failed and will stop at nothing to correct it. No matter where you stand on the death penalty, this film will raise troubling questions about whether America acts to prevent the death of innocent men and women.
Read additional background on the case in this VICE article written by director Eric Forman
WE NEED YOUR HELP!
On October 31, 2016, the United States Supreme Court refused to review Kuenzel’s appeals. Barring the revelation of new evidence or some other unexpected event, there’s a real chance Bill Kuenzel will be executed before the end of the year.
The story of Bill Kuenzel’s urgent fight for justice needs to be told, and we’re asking for your help to finish the film. While we may not be able to change the outcome of Kuenzel’s case with this film, we can provide viewers with an unvarnished objective look at our justice system to be used as a spark towards reform.
Click the button below to support this project.