Synopses & Reviews
A landmark in the fight against the death penalty. Extensively researched and brilliantly written.” Martin Garbus, criminal defense attorney
In January 2000, Illinois Governor George H. Ryan declared a moratorium on state executions. Three years later, Ryan commuted all Illinois death sentences to life imprisonment, saying, Our capital system is haunted by the demon of error, error in determining guilt, and error in determining who among the guilty deserves to die.”
The Exonerated chronicles over one hundred cases where journalism students, grassroots organizations, families, and pro bono lawyersarmed with DNA evidence and other instruments of justicehave defeated that demon. Cohen reveals how eyewitness error, jailhouse snitch testimony, racism, junk science, prosecutorial misconduct, and incompetent counsel have often populated Americas death row with the wrong men.
Readers embark on journeys with men who were arrested, convicted, sentenced to death, dragged through the appeals system, and finally set free based on their actual innocence. Some languished for decades in our death houses. Notable cases of wrongful imprisonment outside of death row are also profiled. Although these stories end with vindication, there are those that have ended with unjustified execution. The Exonerated is sure to fuel controversy over a justice system that has delivered the ultimate punishment nearly one thousand times since 1976, though it cannot guarantee accurate convictions.
About the Author
Stanley Cohen is a veteran award-winning newspaper and magazine journalist. For more than fifty years, he has worked as an editor, writer, and reporter for newspapers, magazines, and an international news service. He also has taught writing, journalism, and philosophy at Hunter College. He lives in Tomkins Cove, New York.