by Margaret Edds

Publisher:  NYU Press

Pub Date:  Spring 2003

Format:  Hardcover

Brief Description
The first book to tell the story of Earl Washington, Jr., one of the most famous prisoners.  Wrongly accused for a crime he didn't commit, Earl spent 18 years on Death Row in Virginia, before finally being released on DNA evidence--with no compensation.
(see below for Full Description)

Margaret Edds has been nominated for the Los Angeles Times Book Award and for the Black Political Scientists Outstanding Book Award for her previous books.


Full Description
Earl Washington Jr. has spent 17 years in prison—the last 8 on death row—for a crime that DNA evidence recently proved he did not commit. Adding to the injustice, even after he was proved innocent, he was held on death row for months more due to the stubbornness of the governor of Virginia—the most notorious execution state—to release him.
DNA testing of prisoners is one of the most controversial issues right now, and it is still just beginning to heat up. Earl Washington, Jr. is only the ninth death row inmate in the country to be pardoned based on such evidence; he is the first in Virginia. The timing is perfect for a book on the subject and Earl Washington, Jr. is the perfect case. Poor, black, mentally retarded, his, unfortunately, is an all too typical case, and his story—replete with a false confession elicited by aggressive policemen, a shoddy defense in which his own attorney ignored evidence, and an appellate system in Virginia that is the most aggressive in putting people to death—contains all the elements of a compelling narrative. The fact that his case has already been highlighted nationally twice on "Nightline", PBS’ "Frontline," in The Washington Post and in The New York Times hints at the national coverage that this book will receive.

About the Author
Margaret Edds has spent 25 years of government reporting in Virginia, and is now a reporter for the Virginia Pilot, the state’s largest paper. She is author of two critically-acclaimed books on Southern and African American issues, FREE AT LAST (Adler and Adler) and CLAIMING THE DREAM (Algonquin Books), the former nominated both for the Los Angeles Times Book Award and for the Black Political Scientists Outstanding Book Award.  She has met with Earl Washington, read the full transcript of his trial, and is the only reporter that works closely with his attorneys and all the principles of the case.

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