From Publishers Weekly
Guilty until proven innocent was a concept expressed by Duke University's president Richard Brodhead, among others, betraying a stunning misapprehension of America's justice system in the case of the Duke lacrosse players wrongfully indicted for raping a black stripper in 2006. As well reported in detail by respected legal journalist Taylor and Brooklyn College historian Johnson, the facts of the case speak for themselves: rogue prosecutor Mike Nifong willfully disregarded evidence of the boys' innocence; Duke administrators hung the team members out to dry; much of Duke's faculty and the media rushed to assume guilt in the racially charged case (the New York Times comes in for special opprobrium). But these facts are embedded in repetitiously hammering home the basic points, sarcasm and ranting against the political correctness (i.e., obsession with the race-class-gender triad) of academia and the media. The authors challenge the academic credentials of the black faculty members who attacked the team and criticize the Times's Selena Roberts for choosing to live in lily white Westport, Conn. In total contrast, the closing chapters offer balanced, tautly argued discussions of, and remedies for, the central problems: prosecutorial abuse, the frequency of false rape accusations and academic groupthink. 8 pages of color photos. (Oct. 1)
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Until Proven Innocent is the most compelling true crime book of the year. Its immersion into the case and access to the major players makes the reader feel like an insider. The book is crammed full of salacious details, scientific details, background details, etc., but it never feels overwhelming. After reading the book, though, you will feel disgusted, if not outraged. (Amanda Barrett, The Chicago Sun-Times)
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In their vivid, at times chilling account, the authors are contemptuous of prosecutor Mike Nifong, whom the North Carolina legal establishment disbarred for his by now well-documented misconduct. But their most biting scorn is aimed at the 'academic McCarthyism' that they say has infected top-rated American universities like Duke. (Evan Thomas, Newsweek)
From the Scottsboro Boys to Clarence Gideon, some of the most memorable legal narratives have been tales of the wrongly accused. Now Until Proven Innocent, a new book about the false allegations of rape against three Duke lacrosse players, can join these galvanizing cautionary tales. Taylor and Johnson have made a gripping contribution to the literature of the wrongly accused. They remind us of the importance of constitutional checks on prosecutorial abuse. And they emphasize the lesson that Duke callously advised its own students to ignore: if you're unjustly suspected of any crime, immediately call the best lawyer you can afford. (Jeffrey Rosen, The New York Times Book Review)
Brutally honest, unflinching, exhaustively researched, and compulsively readable, Until Proven Innocent excoriates those who led the stampede--the prosecutor, the cops, the media--but it also exposes the cowardice of Duke's administration and faculty. Until Proven Innocent smothers any lingering doubts that in this country the presumption of innocence is dead, dead, dead. (John Grisham)
This compelling narrative dramatizes the fearsome power of unscrupulous police and prosecutors to wreck the lives of innocent people, especially when the media and many in the community rush to presume guilt. The inspiring story of how the defense lawyers turned the tables on a dishonest DA points to the crying need for reforms to give defendants of modest means a fighting chance when law enforcement goes bad. (Nadine Strossen, president of the American Civil Liberties Union and professor of law at the New York Law School)
In what surely is this year's most revealing, scalding and disturbing book on America's civic culture, the authors demonstrate that the Duke case was symptomatic of the dangerous decay of important institutions--legal, academic, and journalistic. . . . With this meticulous report, the guilty have at last been indicted and convicted. (George F. Will)
A gripping, meticulous, blow-by-blow account of the whole grotesque affair. It is beautifully written, dramatic, and full of insights, exposing how vulnerable the prosecutorial system is to abuse and how ready the liberal media and PC academics are to serve as leaders of the lynch mob. A must read for anyone who cares about individual rights and justice. (William P. Barr, former attorney general of the United States)
A chilling, gripping account of how our judicial system can go terribly wrong. This is an important book that brings the Duke story to life and exposes troubling facts about our justice system and our citadels of higher learning. You may think you know the Duke story--but you don't until you read this book. (Jan Crawford Greenberg, ABC News legal correspondent and author of Supreme Conflict)
The analysis of the notorious Duke rape case in this book is hard to accept. According to Stuart Taylor and KC Johnson, this episode was not just a terrible injustice to three young men. It exposed a fever of political correctness that is more virulent than ever on American campuses and throughout society. . . . Unfortunately for doubts, the authors lay out the facts with scrupulous care. This is a thorough and absorbing history of a shameful episode. (Michael Kinsley, columnist for Time magazine)