The Journal of History     Summer 2004    TABLE OF CONTENTS

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A Few Reviews of an Excellent Book
Praise for THE WRONG MEN
by Stanley Cohen

"Stanley Cohen's powerful, shocking book is a landmark in the fight against the death penalty. Extensively researched and brilliantly written, the book tells the heart-wrenching stories of 102 wrongfully convicted Americans. This seminal book should be read by every American, both by those who agree with the author and those who disagree with him. The Wrong Men is a gem. It is an important book and will help lead the courts, the legislature and the people to abolish capital punishment." -Martin Garbus, criminal defense attorney and author of Courting Disaster: The Supreme Court and the Unmaking of Amertcan Law

"For many, injustice is easier to define than justice. Stanley Cohen helps us articulate what justice should be by clearly reviewing how our system often fails through his profiles of these wrongly condemned prisoners. The Wrong Men is a book that will keep you reading as you fervently hope for a better day, when justice will prevail instead of fail." -Joseph B. Ingle, minister to condemned prisoners and author of Last Rights: Thirteen Fatal Encounters with the State's Justice

"Some day, the number of mistakes in death penalty cases will become intolerable. Thankfully, The Wrong Men may bring that day closer. By providing more than 100 stories, arranged so that the patterns of error become clear, while never losing sight of the individual tragedies in each case' Stanley Cohen shows why the death penalty is the wrong punishment. Over 100 mistakes in less than 30 years reveals that far too high a risk is being taken with innocent lives. If the people in these stories had been executed before the truth came out, nothing could be done to right the wrong." -Richard Dieter, Director, Death Penalty Information Center

"A spellbinding book, in the same mesmerizing sense of watching an unscrolling catastrophe. Cohen has carefully catalogued the tales of one hundred men (and two women) wrongfully sentenced to die in America's death chambers, then exonerated. The Wrong Men is an essential book for anyone concerned with the inequities of today's criminal justice system." -Joe Jackson, co-author of Dead Run: The Shocking Story of Dennis Stockton and Life on Death Row in America and author of Leavenworth Train: A Fugitive's Search for Justice in the Vanishing West

Publishers Weekly
August 18, 2003

The Wrong Men: America's Epidemic of Wrongful Death Row Convictions
Stanley Cohen. Carroll & Graf, $14 paper (320p) ISBN 0-7867-1258-9

As the title suggests, Cohen (The Man in the Crowd) examines some 100 instances where people sentenced to death were later exonerated, most of them ultimately proven innocent of the crimes for which they were condemned. The capsule profiles of the exonerated are often too sketchy to be fully satisfactory. Still, Cohen makes his case that innocent people regularly receive death sentences merely through the cumulative effect of the stories. Cohen also analyzes the chief reasons why wrongful convictions occur so frequently.

Eyewitness error is a prime factor, whether because of simple mistake or pressure from law enforcement omcials. Again, prosecutors avid for convictions distort trials by inducing or winking at periury or by suppressing evidence favorable to the accused. Other wrongful convictions are attributed to junk evidence, such as having witnesses' memories stimulated by amateur hypnotists. The author's explanations of these sources of capital error are straightforward and clarified by well-chosen examples. DNA analysis, as the book also explains, has become the main vehicle for exonerating the innocent, but in many cases no DNA evidence is available. Cohen believes the death penalty will soon be relegated to the "dark and distant past," and this volume is a convincing argument for the unreliability of capital convictions.



The Journal of History - Summer 2004 Copyright © 2004 by News Source, Inc.