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June 4, 2009

For More Information, Contact:

Keith Weissglass 650-688-6384


PALO ALTO – The League of Women Voters of Palo Alto will host a screening of a new documentary, titled $100 a Day, in Palo Alto on June 11. California State Senator Joe Simitian (D-Palo Alto) will participate in a panel discussion following the film, along with filmmaker Gwen Essegian and Rick Walker, the film’s subject.

Admission to the event is free. The screening is co-sponsored by the ACLU of Northern California, Mid-Peninsula Chapter.

$100 a Day tells the story of one local man’s wrongful conviction and imprisonment, political partisanship in Sacramento, and the difficulty of righting the wrongs in our justice system. 

On December 10, 1991, East Palo Alto resident Rick Walker was sentenced to 26 years in prison for a murder he did not commit.  Linked to the crime by false testimony and questionable legal tactics, Walker would spend the next 12 years in some of California’s most dangerous prisons.  Once exonerated, he faced yet another barrier to justice: the California State Legislature.

Entitled to one hundred dollars for every day he spent wrongly imprisoned, Walker’s attempts to receive his just due became caught in the partisan battle over the 2003 California budget.  In the early morning hours on the last night of that year’s Legislative session, Simitian (then a State Assemblyman) challenged his colleagues to put aside their political differences and “show 35 million Californians that we have the right stuff.”

$100 a Day was created by Santa Cruz-based filmmakers Gwen Essegian and Mark Ligon under the auspices of the Midpeninsula Community Media Center. The film recounts the story of Walker’s conviction and exoneration and the dramatic political battle that threatened to keep him from rebuilding his life. 

“We were struck by how Rick’s story touched on so many things that matter to all of us: the flaws in our justice system, California’s partisan political deadlock, and the prospects of hope and change,” said Essegian.  “It seemed like a natural subject for a film.”

Showing of the new documentary $100 a Day, followed by a panel discussion moderated by Sigrid Pinsky of the League of Women Voters of Palo Alto.  The panel will include:
Rick Walker
Gwen Essegian, filmmaker
State Senator Joe Simitian

Thursday, June 11, 2009
7:00 p.m. – Film screening
7:45 p.m. – Panel discussion
8:30 p.m. – Informal reception

Council Chambers
Palo Alto City Hall
250 Hamilton Avenue
Palo Alto, CA

Tickets to the event are free, but seating is limited.  To reserve a seat, visit:  (Tickets not necessary for press.)  For more information, call the League of Women Voters of Palo Alto at (650) 327-9148.


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