"I always knew I would be free. I didn't know when,
but I knew I would get out."
The Years of Fierro
Los Años de Fierro
César Fierro was, until very recently, the oldest Mexican prisoner on death row in the United States. He languished over forty years in a Texas prison for a murder that, according to the evidence, he did not commit; watching his death sentence being postponed repeatedly, as the contradictory details of his initial trial were reviewed. Santiago Esteinou's documentary The years of Fierro is an empathetic portrayal of this man and all the psychological hardship that he endured while awaiting his execution day.
Despite evidence of police corruption, a confession given under duress (César's parents were taken into custody and threatened with torture), and the prosecuting attorney's statement that he would not have proceeded with the trial had these details been revealed, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals upheld César's death sentence until late 2019. Such delays of justice constitute cruel and unusual punishment under the Eight Amendment.
One of the most painful effects of César's incarceration was the separation from his younger brother, Sergio, whose life derailed the day César was imprisoned, and became a homeless man in Ciudad Juárez, México. The years of Fierro poignantly tells both brothers' stories, demonstrating how this miscarriage of justice resonates beyond one wrongfully imprisoned man. Esteinou approaches his subject with subtlety and care, balancing the Fierros' points of view with details of the case presented by César's lawyers and the arresting officer. The years of Fierro portrays a decayed and dehumanizing legal system, governed by bureaucracy rather than by any imperative to uphold justice.
CONACULTA - IMCINE, FOPROCINE, Santiago Esteinou, Alejandro Durán and EPF Media with the support of Centro de Capacitación Cinematográfica, Fondatión Alter-Ciné, Christell Kollman and Temple University present César Fierro and Sergio Fierro "Los años de Fierro" (The years of Fierro) music Carlo Ahyllón, sound design Iván Ramos, sound recording Axel Muñoz and Milagros Vargas, cinematography María Secco and Axel Pedraza, editing and postproduction Javier Campos López, produced by Alejandro Durán, directed by Santiago Esteinou.
Mexico, Canada, Germany, United States / 2014 / Documentary / 104 minutes / English and Spanish / subtitles available in English, Spanish and French.
15/05/2020 Today César Fierro became a free man!!! 😃
After being deported to Mexico, he will establish in Mexico City until the CoVid situation improves.
12/18/2019 The Texas Court of Criminal Appeals finally vacated César Fierro's death sentence, citing faulty instructions given to his 1980 trial jury. 😄
10/12/2018 César's defense team filed new lawsuit in the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals.
César is now a free man!
He survived the emotional and physical torture of death row and solitary confinement for over 40 years and is now, in México, rebuilding his life.
After years of complete isolation, the free world brings great challenges for César. You can support him in his transition to a new life by making a contribution to his GOFUNDME.