From Publishers Weekly
Dicks's son Jeff has been on death row in the Tennessee state penitentiary since 1982, when he was sentenced for participating in a 1978 holdup-murder. That he sat in the getaway car while an acquaintance committed the slaying is verified, but according to the law, he is guilty nonetheless. As portrayed here by his mother, Jeff was a naive, overprotected youth who was deeply compassionate toward the dispossessed; in her view, that helps to explain his association with the killer and with the orphan he married, who turned out to be a troubled wife and mother. Dicks ( Death Row ) chides herself for bungling every effort she made to help her son's defense, and his lawyer is presented as having been more interested in his fee than in his client. Although she diminishes the book's emotional impact by writing in the third person, Dicks makes her case convincingly, and readers are likely to agree that Jeff's death sentence is not just. 20,000 first printing.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
The sheer weight of reasonable doubt in this case makes one wonder at the trial and appeals process in death penalty cases where the accused lack the financial resources for competent legal representation. Jeff Dicks is down to his last appeal. This book, written by his mother, shockingly brings home the best argument against capital punishment--that even after a "fair" trial an innocent person might be put to death. Dicks's account is both a cry of anguish and a testimony to the lengths a mother will go to try to save the life of her child. Jeff is not a savage killer with a long rap sheet. He is a naive kid who found himself in the wrong company, at the wrong place and time. Dicks argues that the proficiency of the law enforcement agencies, judicial system, press, and legal profession are at best questionable, more possibly prejudiced, and maybe even corrupt. She convinces the reader that the bungled defense of her son because he could not afford a better lawyer is prevalent in similar cases. Recommended for true crime collections.- Robert Hodder , Memorial Univ. of Newfoundland Lib., St. John's
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.