Anthony Ray Hinton, a former and wrongly convicted death row inmate whose conviction was overturned by the Supreme Court in 2015, will speak on April 19 as part of a virtual community event. Hinton's account, The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row, was selected for Oprah’s Book Club and is a New York Times bestseller.
BEST-SELLING AUTHOR AND CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM ADVOCATE ANTHONY RAY HINTON AND CONGRESSMAN DAVID TRONE TO HEADLINE APRIL 19 COMMUNITY EVENT
CUMBERLAND, Md. (Mar. 25, 2021) – Allegany College of Maryland’s Human Service Class of 2021 will host a virtual event entitled, “Breaking Free: Life Behind and Beyond Bars, A Community Call for Criminal Justice Reform,” from 6 to 8 p.m. on Monday, April 19, 2021. The event features best-selling author Anthony Ray Hinton, a former and wrongly convicted death row inmate whose conviction was overturned by the Supreme Court in 2015. Congressman David Trone (MD-06) will provide brief introductory remarks about current criminal justice legislation.
The event will conclude with a discussion about local action criminal justice reform, specifically prison reentry, with a focus on opportunities for the community to get involved and take action. Community groups have been asked to share their recent initiatives in regards to reentry services. All in the community are invited to virtually attend and participate. More information is available at https://bit.ly/3clFjes or by visiting the college’s Facebook page and other social media.
Anthony Ray Hinton survived for 30 years on Alabama's death row. His story is a decades-long journey to exoneration and freedom. In 1985, Hinton was convicted of the unsolved murders of two fast-food restaurant managers based on the testimony of ballistics experts for the State who claimed that the crime bullets came from a dusty revolver found in Hinton's mother’s closet. Without the benefit of a competent expert to challenge the State’s theory (His lawyer hired a ballistics expert who was blind in one eye.), an all-white jury convicted Hinton and he was sentenced to death. After years of petitioning to have the revolver re-analyzed, three independent experts concluded that the bullets could not have been fired from his mother’s revolver. With the assistance of the Equal Justice Initiative, led by attorney Bryan Stevenson, Hinton was freed in 2015. Since his release, he has traveled the world sharing his story and discussing the changes that need to be made to prevent similar injustices from happening to other people. In 2018, Hinton published The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row, which was selected for Oprah’s Book Club and is a New York Times bestseller. In 2019, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from St. Bonaventure University.
Representing Maryland’s sixth congressional district that includes western Maryland, Congressman Trone’s legislative record includes supporting and/or introducing legislation to reform the criminal justice system, increase funding for mental health services and decriminalize substance abuse disorder.
In their capstone course, ACM students read Hinton’s book, The Sun Does Shine, and explored the criminal justice reform movement which garnered international attention in 2020 following the murder of George Floyd. In the words of the students, “We hope to bring this discussion ‘home’ to Allegany County so we, as a community, can better understand and examine how reentry services after imprisonment can be improved to create better futures for us all. Together, we can identify what programs, initiatives and movements are taking place in our area to benefit our population and those affected by the criminal justice system.”
ACM’s event is coordinated to coincide with the Allegany County Library System’s community-wide book discussion of Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Equal Justice Initiative founder Bryan Stevenson this March and April. Allegany County Public Schools is partnering with the Equal Justice Initiative to host a Racial Justice Essay Contest. The contest is open to all ninth to twelfth grade students attending public high school in Allegany County, and the deadline for submission is April 30, 2021.
Hinton’s speaking engagement fee is made possible through the kind generosity of a donor to the ACM Foundation who chooses to remain anonymous. For more information about ACM’s Breaking Free: Life Behind and Beyond Bars event, please call Cherie Snyder, human service associate program professor, at 301-784-5556 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
What Would You Do? video featuring Anthony Ray Hinton.