Hermans House movie poster

Herman’s House film poster

Last week, a remarkable film was awarded an Emmy. Herman’s House is a documentary I’ve mentioned and reviewed before, and it examines the use of solitary confinement and incarceration in a compelling way. The award news—plus a free screening—is reason enough to point you toward it.

My review was way back in 2012; you can read it here.

The Emmy, given to PBS’ POV Documentaries for Herman’s House, is described here. This is an excerpt from the press release:

“The POV (Point of View) film Herman’s House won the 2014 News & Documentary Emmy Award for Outstanding Arts and Culture Programming, it was announced on Sept. 30 by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Herman’s House aired on PBS in 2013 as part of POV, American television’s longest-running independent documentary series. The 35th Annual News & Documentary Emmy Awards were presented at a ceremony in New York City. PBS won a total of 11 awards, more than any other broadcaster.”

The award is bittersweet, for the film’s namesake, Herman Wallace, passed away a year ago.

You can watch a portion of the Emmy Award ceremony here, as the film’s producers accept (click on “Playlist” and select Outstanding Arts and Culture Programming).

Haven’t yet seen this award-winning film? It is screening—free—through October 15 here.

Herman Wallace in 2008 (photo: The Innocence Project)

Herman Wallace in 2008 (photo: The Innocence Project)

Herman Wallace, whom I have written about a few times, passed away last week. His death followed just days after he had been released from in a Louisiana prison.

As the ABA Journal summarized the varied news stories:

“An inmate held in solitary confinement for 41 years for the murder of a Louisiana prison guard has died just a few days after he was released from prison because of a federal judge’s order.”

“The New York Times reports that the inmate, Herman Wallace, died Friday morning from liver cancer at the age of 71, while the New Orleans Times-Picayune says Wallace died late Thursday. He had maintained his innocence in the murder until he died.”

“Wallace was a member of the Black Panthers and was in prison for armed robbery when he and two others were convicted in the prison guard’s 1972 slaying. The group was known as the Angola Three, based on the site of the prison. A lawyer for Wallace, George Kendall, told the Times that the conviction was based on shoddy evidence and alleged that the convicted men were kept in solitary because prison officials were worried they would organize the prison for the Panthers.”

Hermans House movie poster

Herman’s House film poster

“Wallace’s lawyers claim he was convicted based on accounts by witnesses who were given incentives to testify, but the deals weren’t disclosed until decades later.”

“U.S. District Chief Judge Brian Jackson ruled on Tuesday that Wallace’s habeas petition should be granted because of systematic exclusion of women from the Louisiana grand jury that returned the indictment. Wallace was re-indicted on Thursday, the stories say.”

I first came across Wallace via a film focused on solitary confinement; I reviewed the film, Herman’s House, which I found compelling on a number of levels.

Wallace’s death was covered by multiple news outlets, both here and abroad.

Amnesty International issued a statement on Wallace’s death here, and previously covered the case here.