Surviving Justice: America's Wrongfully Convicted and Exonerated First edition (presumed; no earlier dates stated) Edition

21 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1932416237
ISBN-10: 1932416234
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Surviving Justice: America's Wrongfully Convicted and Exonerated + Convicting the Innocent: Where Criminal Prosecutions Go Wrong + Actual Innocence: When Justice Goes Wrong and How to Make it Right
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Product Details

  • Series: Voice of Witness
  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: McSweeney's; First edition (presumed; no earlier dates stated) edition (November 25, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1932416234
  • ISBN-13: 978-1932416237
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.6 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #352,334 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By Paul Ramon on February 23, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book is a must read for anyone who has their doubts about the justice system in this country. As an American citizen we're taught to have faith in our government -- local, state, etc.-- and that things like wrongful conviction only happen in the movies or to someone who happens to look strikingly like the perpetrator and was in the vicinity of the crime when it occured. Thirteen innocent individuals spent years in prison for crimes they did not commit. They had significant portions of their lives ripped away by the state and it's cronies with a desire to punish the person responsible, they just felt that the person responsible was........anyone really. Case closed, next!

Don't get me wrong, the justice system, as any system, is fallible, but I was not aware of its malevolence. The tactics used by those who "serve and protect" to coerce false confessions and identifications -- even from a 13 year-old rape victim-- to "get their man" is the most disturbing facet of the book. Beverly Monroe was convicted of murdering her companion after the death was ruled a suicide by the coroner's dept. Through the assistance of a state police agent she was manipulated and dare I say, forced into confessing to a murder that wasn't even a murder, and subsequently spent seven years in prison.

The book is very well put together, through it's various appendices it offers statistics about the plague of wrongful convictions in the past few decades and the rise in exonerations through DNA eveidence, along with case studies and legal documentation. In summation, this book is a must read for everyone who cares about their rights as a citizen. It illuminates the problems underlying the American justice and legal systems with a white light in hopes that we'll notice the glare.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Jill Cobb on May 19, 2006
Format: Paperback
Once this book is started, it is nearly impossible to put it down. It is a "must" read for everyone who lives in the USA. Technically it is an easy read, but emotionally it is a roller coaster as we track people who were wrongfully incarcerated, some for many years, to the time that they were exonerated. As a person who is closely associated with the criminal justice system, I recommend that this book be read by all lawyers, police investigators and by forensic pathologists. It may change your outlook on the death penalty and the validity of the "presumption of innocense". When you finish this book you will bless the day that DNA evidence came into existance and become thankful for those who never lose faith in a wrongly convicted.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Michelle R. Monroe on March 24, 2006
Format: Paperback
Interested in hearing (in first person) the stories (always painful, sometimes truly horrific) of those whom our legal system has failed? The foreword by Scott Turow provides an honest and compelling account of the increasing numbers of individuals for whom jurisprudence in this country is lost in illegal arrest procedures, faulty investigations, less than credible witnesses, inaccurate forensic evidence, unconstitutional treatment, and lynch-style trial proceedings in order to secure convictions.

The stories in this book of the men and women who were wrongfully convicted of crimes they did not commit will force you to question why our legal system is "flailing and failing" so many individuals.

All of us can glean much wisdom from this book, as most of these individuals believed {as we do} that "it can never happen to me."

Michelle Monroe
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Allen Smalling TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 22, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Let me add my words to the chorus of praise that accompanies this amazing, engrossing, infuriating book. Thirteen people slammed into prison due to poor or nearly nonexistent defense, overzealous prosecution, junk science and cockeyed local politics tell their stories as oral history. The narrators talk in the first person and range through the socioeconomic spectrum from a semi-nomadic, illiterate Puerto Rican immigrant to a well salaried professional engaged in research at a large corporation.

Their testimony is not always grammatical, but it is articulate, even eloquent. These persons spent completely unnecessary terms in prison ranging from three years to 25 years, and they most likely would still be there if not for DNA testing and the patient work of the Innocence Project, which specializes in such cases.

How dare we feel superior to 19th-Century fictive prisoners like the Count of Monte Cristo or Jean Valjean (Les Miserables)? Right here in the USA, these our fellow citizens have suffered torturous police interrogations, brutal guards, inedible food, nonexistent or poor medical care, indifferent "justice" bureaucracies and predatory inmate populations. For no reason whatsoever. Even the luckiest and best-situated of these people were bankrupted by expensive DNA testing, their lives interrupted in young adulthood or middle age, with little if any money compensation given to them on the way out.

In my opinion this is THE book to start with regarding innocent convicts, but there are other good ones, too, particularly ACTUAL INNOCENCE by the three men most associated with The Innocence Project. Truly, it is frightening what can happen here in this country with our alleged "bias toward defendants." Basically the authorities railroaded people when and how they pleased with no regard to consequences. And it has stayed that way.
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