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BOOK DESCRIPTION: There is a horrible murder in your neighborhood. You stand outside with your neighbors and watch, or maybe you peek out of your curtains. Hours pass, then days, maybe even years. Until one day there is a knock at your door, and the police take you in for questioning. Do you remember what happened? Do you have an alibi? Can you take countless hours of interrogation without breaking? Can this happen to you?
It can happen, and it happens more than you think.
From The Fixer to The Shawshank Redemption to Orange Is the New Black, books, films, and TV shows have, for decades, fed the public’s endless hunger for nitty-gritty details about prison life. Stolen Years will not deny listeners those details, but it will also offer something more satisfying: the stories of ten former inmates who fended off the blackest kind of despair so they could keep fighting for freedom; the years they spent waiting for an appeal; and their struggles to get back to living after losing so many years behind bars.
Intense, startling, and utterly compelling, Stolen Years will take readers into the stories of the ones who didn’t do it.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Reuven Fenton has been covering murder and scandal for the New York Post since 2007. He has earned national recognition for his exclusive reporting on national stories, such as the resignations of political powerhouses Eliot Spitzer and Anthony Weiner; Hurricane Sandy and the devastation
it brought on New York and New Jersey; the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School; and
the Boston Marathon bombing. Mr. Fenton was inspired to write Stolen Years after covering an unforgettable court hearing in 2013 in which a Brooklyn judge freed David Ranta, a man who’d been wrongfully convicted twenty-two years earlier of murdering a rabbi. The sensational story sparked an investigation into misconduct by both the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office and the lead detective in the case. Mr. Fenton is a graduate of Columbia Journalism School and lives in New York City with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at reuvenfen.
I have to give it 5 stars, and I don't do that very often. This isn't a book for someone who likes to view the world through the proverbial rose-colored glasses or who only likes to read good, happy things. Reading this book actually made me mad and a bit scared. That's a good thing! As a social worker, I like the awareness that this book brings to the public. It's sad that these people's lives were taken away from them. Of course this book focuses on the ones who were wrongfully accused of criminal acts and sent to prison, and it raised many questions in my mind. One was, if they didn't do it, who did? That means the killer is still on the loose! That means the crooks are getting away with what they did. Since someone is behind bars for the crime, nobody is looking for them anymore. Case closed.
My other thought was about the family law system. In a criminal arrest, the person who is accused has the right to a lawyer. If people are being sentenced to prison who did not do the crime, they have a lawyer given to them, and they are supposedly innocent until proven guilty by a court of law, and these kinds of mistakes still happen, what do you think is happening in domestic issues? Divorces, custody battles, and things like that? I have experience with this myself and I see how corrupt the system is. Many, many good parents have lost their children to the other parent, or have had to live in poverty because nobody will enforce child support payments, or have had to endure years of stalking and abuse because they can't afford a lawyer, and if they are lucky enough to get one, in a lot of cases unless they can continue to pour money into their lawyer's pockets, nothing gets done on their case. This book is a definite eye-opener to exactly how flawed the American Justice System really is, and not just when it comes to criminal prosecution. I'm glad this book exists.