For 11 years, Melissa Lucio has been on loss of life row: she was convicted for the homicide of her two-year-old daughter, who died of blunt head trauma. However, in accordance with Sabrina Van Tassel’s new documentary, “The State of Texas vs. Melissa,” that’s not the entire story. A trailer for the movie means that Lucio’s sentencing was and is a significant miscarriage of justice.
As Lucio faces her final enchantment, Van Tassel takes the viewers via the case, reviewing the proof that did and didn’t make it to courtroom.
“There have been bruises from head to toe. There have been bruises on the face, within the hair, on the chest,” a medical expert says of Lucio’s daughter’s physique. “This was the worst case of kid abuse I had ever seen.”
However what occurred to the little woman might not have been abuse in any respect. One among her siblings revealed in a police interview that he noticed her fall down a flight of stairs. “That interview was by no means introduced to the courtroom,” one other character explains. “None of these youngsters ever mentioned that their mother was beating up on [their sister].”
“The State of Texas vs. Melissa” posits that Lucio could have been a pawn in another person’s recreation. The DA who tried her case, Armando Villalobos, was working for re-election, and has a historical past of bribery and corruption. “I’m the primary Hispanic girl on loss of life row, so this was an enormous case for him,” Lucio remarks. “There was a plan to place her away,” one among her grown kids says. “My mom — poor, good goal to assist him win his election. She’s no legal. They’re the criminals.”
Van Tassel has directed dozens of TV documentaries as an investigative reporter, exploring social points resembling incarceration, human trafficking, and PTSD. She beforehand helmed the characteristic doc “The Silenced Partitions.”
“The State of Texas vs. Melissa” was chosen for this yr’s Tribeca Movie Competition. The doc is now screening through digital cinemas, and will probably be out there On Demand October 20.