When Truth Is All You Have: A Memoir of Faith, Justice, and Freedom for the Wrongly Convicted

Jim McCloskey, with Philip Lerman. Doubleday, $26.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-385-54503-7
McCloskey’s engaging memoir depicts his transformation from a spiritually unfulfilled business consultant to a minister working to free wrongfully accused prisoners. Thirty-seven-year-old McCloskey quits his job and enrolls at the Princeton Theological Seminary, where he discovers his mission while working as a prison chaplain at New Jersey’s Trenton Psychiatric Hospital in 1980 as part of his training. There, he meets Jorge de los Santos, a convicted murderer who denies committing the crime. McCloskey leaves the seminary temporarily to pore over 2,000 pages of court records and makes the case for de los Santos’s innocence. McCloskey enlists the help of a sympathetic lawyer to file an appeal based on a faulty eyewitness account, and, three years later, they win (“I was Humphrey Bogart, tracking down the Maltese Falcon; I was Philip Marlow and Sam Spade, all wrapped up into one” ). Soon after, McCloskey establishes Centurion Ministries, an inmate advocacy organization. McCloskey is an engaging narrator, and his ensuing stories of 12 cases detail both successes and heartbreaking losses, including two cases in which prisoners were executed. Among his team’s successes—they’ve won the release of 63 wrongfully convicted inmates across the country—is Joyce Ann Brown, a mother wrongfully accused of robbing and killing a Dallas furrier in 1980, and who, after her release, formed her own advocacy group for women behind bars. McCloskey’s inspiring stories form a moving collective profile. (July)
Reviewed on : 04/20/2020
Release date: 07/14/2020
Genre: Nonfiction
Book - 978-0-385-54504-4
Paperback - 320 pages - 978-0-525-56682-3
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