Anatomy of Innocence, Caldwell, Klinger

Anatomy of Innocence: Testimonies of the Wrongfully Convicted
Edited by Laura Caldwell and Leslie S. Klinger

Liveright Publishing Corporation

There are few things more horrible to contemplate than being wrongfully convicted of a crime and forced to serve hard time for many long years in unspeakable conditions, far away from friends and loved ones.

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“This eye-opening, cautionary collection should be read by everyone.”

Innocent men and women have been railroaded through American courts to fill for-profit prisons quotas or to give a false sense of security to the public after a monstrous crime or to simply maintain the illusion that somehow law enforcers are “doing their jobs” instead of acting out their own personal racist or political agendas through torture and forced confessions. Anatomy of Innocence presents fifteen illuminating essays of exonerated persons written by some of today’s best-selling authors of crime, mystery and thrillers–Sara Paretsky, Lee Child and Phillip M. Margolin, among others. 

Sometimes a person is imprisoned simply because of a revenge motives. Neighbors wanted to throw ex-Marine Kirk Bloodsworth in jail for living in a flophouse, so they lied and claimed he was the man the police were looking for to close a case. After many years in prison, Bloodsworth was able to prove his innocence through DNA evidence, but this occurs in less than 24 % of all exonerations. Most exonerated persons were convicted by irregular police and judicial procedures, including severe beatings and threats by the arresting officers to denying the accused access to competent lawyers and a fair trial. Physical evidence used against many is misplaced, destroyed or tampered with, further hampering attempts to prove innocence. Some law enforcement officers lie in court to cover over the prejudicial crimes of their colleagues, giving no thought to the falsely accused person’s suffering.

Anatomy of Innocence sheds a critical light on an occurrence that happens more often than most would like to admit in our justice system. This eye-opening, cautionary collection should be read by everyone. It demonstrates that anyone–from a suburban mom to an honorably discharged vet–can be wrongfully convicted in America today.

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Reviewer: Cindy A. Matthews