Reality television is looking to enter a gritty part of the criminal justice system: the campaign to exonerate the innocent, reports USA Today. GRB Entertainment, whose clients include National Geographic and the Discovery Channel, has discussed a proposal with the California Innocence Project, GRB Executive Vice President Michael Branton says. A separate, undisclosed company is negotiating with the Innocence Project of Texas, says Jeff Blackburn, the Texas project’s chief counsel.
In New York, the national Innocence Project is approached nearly every week with a new proposal to allow cameras access to a long and confidential process that may – or may not – result in exoneration, spokesman Eric Ferrero says. “It’s a story where the stakes are often life or death,” Branton says. “I don’t think there is anything like this on television.” It may be a hard sell for Hollywood. Lawyers involved in the growing innocence movement say those stakes make them reluctant to expose private, confidential communications with their clients or risk undermining credibility with prosecutors and judges by converting their cases into television dramas. “It’s a dilemma for us,” says Blackburn.