From Philip Friedman, author of No Higher Law:

ACTUAL INNOCENCE is a remarkably compelling book. Using real-life stories more horrifyingly
gripping than any fiction, the authors make clear the deep flaws in our criminal justice system, and the positive difference that is being made by DNA identification methods whose use they themselves
pioneered. Telling their tale clearly and without fanfare, they let the human drama speak for itself. I couldn't put ACTUAL INNOCENCE down; it's a book everyone should read.

BARRY SCHECK and PETER NEUFELD founded and direct the Innocence Project, which seeks postconviction release through DNA testing. Perhaps the most prominent civil rights attorneys in the country, both are in private practice in New York City. JIM DWYER is the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist for the New York Daily News.


Read an Excerpt
New York Times Review

A nightmare from a thousand B-movies: A horrible crime is committed in your neighborhood, and the police knock at your door. A witness swears you are the criminal; you have no alibi, and no one believes your protestations of innocence. You're convicted, sent to death row where you await the executioner's needle.

Tragically, this is no movie script but reality for hundreds of American citizens. Our criminal justice system is broken, and people from all walks of life have been destroyed by its failures. But science and a group of incredibly dedicated lawyers are working to repair the damage.

In the last decade of this century, DNA testing has uncovered stone-cold proof that fifty-five completely innocent people were sent to prison and death row. At the Innocence Project, Barry Scheck and Peter Neufeld have managed to free forty-three wrongly convicted people and have taken up the cause of two hundred more. In ACTUAL INNOCENCE, Scheck, Neufeld, and Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist Jim Dwyer relate the harrowing stories of ten of these individuals--convicted by sloppy police work, corrupt prosecutors, jailhouse snitches, mistaken witnesses, and other all-too-common flaws in the trial system--and tell of the heroic efforts to free them.

Intense, harrowing, and compelling, ACTUAL INNOCENCE is a passionate argument for sanity in our courtrooms and a fascinating journey through the looking glass of the American criminal justice system.



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