In Spite of Innocence Hbk

Michael L. Radelet, Author, Constance E. Putnam, With, Hugo Adam Bedau, With
Michael L. Radelet, Author, Constance E. Putnam, With, Hugo Adam Bedau, With Northeastern University Press $50 (400p) ISBN 978-1-55553-142-3
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Nearly 30 years ago, Tufts University philosopher Bedau, editor of The Death Penalty in America , began collecting evidence of innocent persons who were either executed or freed after being wrongfully convicted of murder and given lengthy imprisonment or death sentences. In 1987, Bedau and University of Florida sociologist Radelet ( Facing the Death Penalty ) published an influential article in the Stanford Law Review that described 350 such cases. In this volume, after further research, Putnam, a freelance writer and editor, joins with these scholars to present an instructive and detailed description of what happened in 23 of the 416 cases the authors have now documented. Among the ``true crime'' accounts included in this volume are those of Randall Dale Adams, featured in the film The Thin Blue Line , Isadore Zimmerman, who served more than 30 years in prison in upstate New York before being released, and Delbert Lee Tibbs, a black Chicago Theological Seminary student who was the victim of an incompetent police investigation. The authors conclude that ``it was fickle good fortune rather than anything having to do with the rational workings of the criminal justice system'' that spared those who were finally freed. A comprehensive ``inventory of cases'' briefly describes the hundreds of other instances in which the authors believe justice was not served. (Dec.)
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