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Panel discussions commemorate Constitution Day
September 16, 2013

Panel discussions commemorate Constitution Day

By Alexandra Velasquez

Why would people confess to a crime they didn’t commit? Tuesday’s showing of “The Central Park Five,” delves into that question with a panel discussion that examines the role of false confessions in wrongful convictions.

The documentary will be screened 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Tuesday in Room 204/207 at Main Campus Building. The presentation, which commemorates Constitution Day, is sponsored by Texas A&M-San Antonio university’s library, National History Honor Society and the Pre-Law Society. The event is free and open to the public.

Documentary filmmaker Ken Burns, director of “Central Park Five” and winner of 12 Emmy awards and two Oscar nominations, will be available live via webcast as part of the discussion.

The documentary is told from the perspectives of five Black and Latino teenagers from Harlem who were wrongly convicted of raping a white woman in New York City’s Central Park in 1989; and how their lives were upended by the trial, according to PBS.org.

Dr. Amy Porter, faculty advisor for the National History Honor Society, helped coordinate the event because “we should honor (the Constitution signing) and its history.”

“Speaking with Burns is a great opportunity,” Porter said.

This year will be the 226th anniversary of the United States Constitution, which was signed Sept. 17, 1787.

Dr. William Bush, department chair of humanities and social science, said the U.S Department of Education requires all educational institutions that receive federal funds to hold  educational programs about the U.S. Constitution for the benefit of students.

He hopes people will remember the protections offered by the Constitution. “People should take away that the Constitution is a living document,” he said, which is a key objective of Constitution Day.

Also in honor of the Constitution’s signing, the Criminology program sponsored a panel discussion of the Constitution today at Main Campus. Panelists, including local judges and attorneys including Joseph Gay, Chief of Appeals for the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Texas discussed the Constitution as a living document, and the need to constantly reinterpret its application to new or different circumstances.

Check back for full coverage on the film and web panel discussion.

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