Pennsylvania House Democratic Policy Committee to host virtual screening of FAMM’s trial penalty documentary “The Vanishing Trial”

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Tripp Laino, 202-999-4273

Pennsylvania House Democratic Policy Committee to host virtual screening of FAMM’s trial penalty documentary “The Vanishing Trial”

HARRISBURG – The Pennsylvania House Democratic Policy Committee is hosting a virtual screening and panel discussion of FAMM’s new documentary “The Vanishing Trial” which takes a deep dive into the trial penalty in America on Thursday, September 10.

The screening will be followed by a virtual panel discussion featuring Celeste Trusty, FAMM’s director of policy for Pennsylvania, Marirosa Lamas, former Superintendent of SCI Chester; Chester Hollman III, Legal Assistant for PA Institutional Law Project and Nyssa Taylor, Criminal Justice Policy Counsel, ACLU-PA. The film and panel will be streamed at at 10 a.m.

“The Vanishing Trial” focuses on four individuals who were forced to make that excruciating choice between pleading guilty or going to trial. Each was threatened with a “trial penalty,” the term used to describe the substantially longer prison sentence a person receives if they exercise their constitutional right to trial instead of pleading guilty. The documentary reveals how the trial penalty has led to the shocking disappearance of one of the most fundamental individual rights and the explosion in America’s prison population.

Throughout the film, we hear the perspectives of national experts, including former federal judges and prosecutors, criminal defense lawyers, constitutional law experts, and criminal justice reform advocates.

“The Vanishing Trial” was produced by FAMM producer/director Wynette Yao and cinematographer/editor Travis Edwards. Yao is an Emmy-nominated producer/director who has worked for National Geographic, Discovery and other major networks. Edwards is an award-winning cinematographer/editor who has worked on a wide range of documentaries and features.

For nearly three decades, FAMM has united the voices of affected families, the formerly incarcerated, and a range of stakeholders and advocates to fight for a more fair and effective justice system. FAMM’s focus on ending a one-size-fits-all punishment structure has led to reforms to sentencing and prison policies at the state and federal level and is paving the way to programs that support rehabilitation for the 94% of all prisoners who will return to our neighborhoods one day.


FAMM is a national nonpartisan advocacy organization that promotes fair and effective criminal justice policies that safeguard taxpayer dollars and keep our communities safe. Founded in 1991, FAMM is helping transform America’s criminal justice system by uniting the voices of impacted families and individuals and elevating the issues all across the country.