cover image Anatomy of Innocence: Testimonies of the Wrongfully Convicted

Anatomy of Innocence: Testimonies of the Wrongfully Convicted

Edited by Laura Caldwell and Leslie S. Klinger. Liveright, $26.95 (320p) ISBN 978-1-63149-088-0

Caldwell and Klinger collect 15 “Kafkaesque” stories from exonerated convicts, as told to popular writers of mystery and crime fiction. Sara Paretsky narrates the chilling ordeal of a man threatened and tortured by Chicago PD into a false confession and incarcerated for 11 years. Laurie R. King provides the account of an Army veteran who was convicted of raping a child after being misidentified by witnesses and police operating under the influence of racial bias. In a previously unpublished essay, Arthur Miller argues against capital punishment, using the example of a teenager wrongfully convicted of murdering his mother. The exonerees report PTSD, humiliation, suicidal ideation, and “soul-crushing monotony” while in prison. For one individual who served 25 years, it didn’t end there, as he was forced to register as a sex offender, wear an ankle monitor, and avoid children before his exoneration. Each chapter is introduced with a brief synopsis of what went wrong and ends with an editors’ note containing facts and figures related to issues like prison overcrowding, DNA testing, the evolution of forensic science, and the scourge of inadequate legal counsel. With these stories, the authors and editors provide a list of symptoms for an illness that is plaguing the justice system, bringing desperately needed awareness to the issues involved in wrongful convictions. (Mar.)