Civil Liberties

Briefly Noted: DIY Exoneration


The movie Conviction—which saw a limited theatrical release in October, with a wider one planned for 2011—tells the true story of Betty Anne Waters, an unemployed single mother who worked for two decades to win her brother's exoneration and release from prison. Kenny Waters was convicted in 1983 for the 1980 murder of Katharina Brow in Ayers, Massachusetts. Convinced of her brother's innocence, Betty Anne worked to earn her GED, then her bachelor's degree, and finally a law degree so she could fight for her brother's release. 

With backing from the Innocence Project, Kenny Waters was finally cleared by DNA testing and released from prison in 2001. The movie features Hillary Swank (who is also the executive producer) as Betty Anne and Sam Rockwell as Kenny.

Sadly, after serving 18 years in prison, Kenny Waters died from an accidental fall just six months after his release. He was 47 at the time of his death. —Radley Balko