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* Lew’s review of JUST MERCY by Bryan Stevenson

Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 20, 2016

just mercy + 2

***

JUST MERCY is a ringing denunciation of the way prosecutors, police officers and judges conspire to get convictions without having the evidence.

How do they do this? They cheat.

They make up evidence. They create and intimidate witnesses by threats and bribes. They hide exculpatory evidence they are required by law to give to the defense attorney.

These public officials are a disgrace to American law enforcement and they are almost never punished for their behavior, even when those they wrongly sent to prison are released 10, 20 or more years later, their lives ruined.

Bryan Stevenson writes as well as the top mystery novelists, except his stories are true. He is the executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama. (http://www.eji.org/) which works to help correct the horrors of children sent to prison without possibility of parole, people on death row whose convictions are a travesty of justice, and minorities who do not get anything close to fair and equal treatment. The book presents examples of each of these kinds of cases. Stevenson’s cases take place in the south, but the problems he describes are found everywhere in America. Meeting these people will make you cry. It could happen to you.

I have studied and written about these matters in my novel A Good Conviction. John Grisham’s Rogue Lawyer covers much of the same territory. Our fiction is based on real cases, but Bryan Stevenson gives it to you straight, from real life, recent cases, still happening.

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* A GOOD CONVICTION … special ebook price of $3.99 until Dec 31 … a thank you for my Facebook and Goodreads friends

Posted by Lew Weinstein on December 10, 2013

Good Con viction - cover for blog

***

Joshua Blake went to New York expecting to enter law school. Instead, he has been arrested and convicted of a murder he did not commit. He wakes up in Sing SIng prison with a cellmate name Spider and desperately seeks to regain his once promising life.

Purchase ebook edition for $3.99 until Dec 31 …

http://www.amazon.com/Good-Conviction-Lewis-M-Weinstein-ebook/dp/B0035WU3VQ/ref=sr_1_1_bnp_1_kin?ie=UTF8&qid=1386668309&sr=8-1&keywords=weinstein+a+good+conviction

Wrongful prosecution of a young man for a murder he did not commit is at the core of A Good Conviction. Joshua Blake has been sent to Sing Sing by a prosecutor who may have known he was innocent. Josh struggles to survive in an environment completely alien to anything he has ever known or even imagined. He befriends some inmates, and has brutal exchanges with others, as he is inescapably corrupted by prison life. All the while he tries to understand how this could have happened to him, and what he can now do to restore his once promising future. Josh is aided in his quest by his cellmate Spider, by the NYPD detective who arrested him, by two defense attorneys and a New York Daily News reporter who are infuriated by the miscarriage of justice perpetrated against him, and by Darlene, a hooker he meets on his first day in New York. He is forcefully opposed by Manhattan ADA Roger Claiborne, and by an uncaring criminal justice system that is loathe to admit a mistake. A Good Conviction is set in Manhattan, Rikers Island and Sing Sing.

***

Wrongful prosecution could happen to anyone.

It could happen to you.

Most Americans are comfortable in the belief that if they don’t commit a crime, they have no risk of going to jail. Unfortunately, that’s not always the way things are.

In addition to writing a compelling novel, Mr. Weinstein has put forth a wakeup call about a problem which plagues the American criminal justice system. While most prosecutors are honest and try to afford all defendants the fair trial to which they are entitled, far too many prosecutors fail to uphold this sacred obligation.

Most often, those prosecutors who cheat to get a conviction do so by suppressing evidence that goes against their case, evidence that would produce `reasonable doubt’ in a juror’s mind. Sometimes, they even conspire to make up evidence which alleges guilt, for instance by planting a “stoolie” who will then testify about admissions by the defendant which never happened.

Don’t believe it? Think it can’t happen in America, the land of justice for all?

Consider these damning reports by very credible organizations …

* The Chicago Tribune reported that 381 murder convictions were reversed because of police or prosecutorial misconduct. * Columbia Law School documented “chronic prosecutorial suppression of evidence of innocence.” * Barry Scheck et al (in Actual Innocence: When Justice Goes Wrong and How to Make it Right ) report numerous cases of prosecutorial misconduct, usually by suppression of evidence that would have proven innocence. * The book In Spite Of Innocence: Erroneous Convictions in Capital Cases , published by Northeastern University Press, cites 400 wrongful convictions. * The heart-wrenching play The Exonerated presents the true stories, in their own words, of seven persons who were wrongfully convicted

How likely is it there are many more such cases that have never come to significant public attention? Is it possible that what we do know is but the tip of the iceberg?

When you have read A Good Conviction, you will know that wrongful prosecution could happen to anyone. It could happen to you.

 ***

ENTHUSIASTIC READER COMMENTS

* This gripping story demonstrates how one’s life can take a 180 degree turn in a moment. Innocent actions can be misinterpreted and unfortunate consequences result. Weinstein is a great story teller and this is a very well crafted story.

* The characters and their emotions were so vividly portrayed that I still think about them as if I knew them. Lovers of New York City will walk the streets of the city and visualize “A Good Conviction” happening. You will walk past a certain news-stand and wonder if the owner remembers Josh. When you read a book that you don’t want to end….that is a good book. “A Good Conviction” is a good book.

* This is a “page turner” and I loved every minute of it. This author avoids the common fault I find with many mysteries: not having a good ending that leaves you satisfied. The main character is entirely believable and his circumstances are chilling: something that could happen to any one of us. The research behind this book and the author’s familiarity with legal procedures (which are not hard to follow in the book) are evident.

* Once I started reading, I couldn’t put the book down until it was finished – and that was in the wee hours of the morning! Weinstein allows the reader to feel the same anger, scare and frustration that Josh experiences, as we watch him become a victim of a corrupt DA. At the same time that we root for Josh to get justice, we are brought into the world of incarcerated criminals who fill their days with ways to survive. It’s a wild ride, and a story that I highly recommend.

* Having spent two years of a twenty year career with the NYPD transporting prisoners to and from Manhattan Central Booking, I read much of Mr. Weinstein’s book holding my breath. During those long 24 months I never got used to the sound of the cell doors sliding closed with a loud CLANG! Even knowing full well I would be leaving, it induced instant claustrophobia. Well, the scenes in this novel that take part on Riker’s Island brought that sound and more back to me with amazing clarity. If you want a glimpse into the hell that is American prison life, read this book.

* I am amazed at the research that Weinstein has done for both of his books. A Good Conviction, like The Heretic, is a real page turner with a lot of suspense. However, the book is more than just suspenseful. Weinstein illuminates an issue that is very serious and through a fictional account he sensitizes the reader to the plight of the many people who are incarcerated for crimes that they did not commit. I recommend the book highly and cannot wait for his next book.

* What a ride! A scary, yet thoroughly believable, journey through the police and court systems of New York City. Lewis Weinstein captures the tensions and fears of prison life so well, it’s hard to believe he hasn’t done hard time himself. It certainly makes you wonder how many innocent people are behind bars. Highly recommended!

* this is one of the few books that I could not put down and always looked forward to the next chapter! So many books have the tendency to be drawn out in the middle, but this one kept you on the edge throughout and you really did get to know every character. I love a book that when I read it I feel like I am living it and that can only be done by a talented writer. Thank You for the experience!

***

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* Lew’s 4 published novels

Posted by Lew Weinstein on February 19, 2013

Lew's 4 novels rev Feb 2013

* The Heretic    * A Good Conviction    * Case Closed    * The Pope’s Conspiracy

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* the Jeffrey MacDonald case and Lew’s novel “A Good Conviction”

Posted by Lew Weinstein on September 2, 2012

Jeffrey MacDonald in prison 1983 … he’s still there

******

  • A new book by Errol Morris re-opens the Jeffrey MacDonald case … A Wilderness of Error: The Trials of Jeffrey MacDonald
  • DID Jeffrey MacDonald, an Army doctor and Green Beret stationed at Fort Bragg, stab and bludgeon his family to death early on the morning of Feb. 17, 1970?

******

LMW NOTE …

I have long believed that MacDonald was wrongly convicted by prosecutors who may have had an agenda to protect the “military brats” who were the likely killers. Evidence was ignored and some was lost, perhaps purposely.

The MacDonald case was part of what stimulated me to write my novel, A Good Conviction, which tells the story of a young man convicted of a murder he did not commit by a prosecutor who had come to know he was innocent. … (read about  A Good Conviction on amazon.com)

In the real world, the issue of wrongful conviction, including hiding and fabrication of evidence, is a cancer on the American justice system.

For a complete and convincing review of the travesty of the MacDonald case, I recommend … Fatal Justice: Reinvestigating the MacDonald Murders  by Jerry Allen Potter and Fred Bost (Apr 17, 1997)

.******

  • “A Wilderness of Error,” which will be released Tuesday by Penguin Press, is a reinvestigation of a case that many thought they knew, written by an obsessive who never leaves well enough alone. With his book Mr. Morris is reopening a lurid, deep wound that preoccupied much of the nation for years after the crime took place.

“A Wilderness of Error” may not exonerate MacDonald,

but it makes a forceful argument that

his conviction was riddled with shortcomings.

  • The case will be the subject of a new hearing on Sept. 17 in United States District Court in Wilmington, N.C., after the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last spring that the lower court had failed to consider the entire body of evidence.

“I believe he is innocent.

I don’t see any evidence to suggest that he is guilty,” said Mr. Morris.

  • “One thing we do know is that evidence was lost, some of it went uncollected, and some of it was contaminated.

One of the reasons we can’t prove he is innocent

is that so much of the evidence is unavailable to us.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/02/books/errol-morris-takes-on-macdonald-murder-case.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1&ref=arts&pagewanted=print

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* A Good Conviction

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 28, 2012

read the prologue … 

NEWS FROM THE REAL WORLD OF PROSECUTORs hiding evidence TO GET FALSE CONVICTIONS

reviews of A Good Conviction

5/26/12 … 

3/15/12 … 

* 12/19/11 … Texas man exonerated after 25 years … judge rules prosecutor had withheld significant evidence

.

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* A Good Conviction – Prologue

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 27, 2012

A Good Conviction … PROLOGUE

 Sing Sing Correctional Facility 

Disjointed memories haunt me, as they do every night, shattering my once great expectations and leaving me to share a cold clammy cell listening to a guy named Spider jerk off.

The darkness emits a rumbling undercurrent of sounds, pierced randomly by eerie howls. Inmates yell obscenities to one another, or worse, to no one.

Doors clang, footsteps echo and fade away, angry music blares in short bursts. Odors of urine, decaying food, stale smoke, and sweaty unwashed bodies assault the air. Mice and roaches scurry.

The longer I’m here, the harder it is to imagine being anywhere else.

Giving in and allowing myself to cry would be suicidal. Others would observe my fear, and act on it. Predatory others. “Hey, white boy, they gonna’ love you’ ass in here.”

How long before I lose my mind? And will that be better or worse? Is it already happening? Every day, the person who was Joshua Blake recedes further from reality. Is this process irreversible? Will there be a point when I can never again be who I was?

There’s a sudden movement close to me and I cringe. I’m going to be hurt. Relief. It’s just my cellmate, stirring in the bunk below me. The fact that his presence is actually comforting shows how much my life has changed.

Spider rolls out of his bunk and slides into view. In the dim light, I make out hairy legs, dark crotch, gray prison shirt. He settles his muscled bulk onto the toilet. More sounds and smells. When he’s done, I roll off the upper bunk, take his place, feel his sweat. I remember what it used to be like in a bathroom with a door and a seat on the toilet.

I climb up, careful not to step on Spider’s arm, crawl under my thin blanket, shiver in the chill. Spider’s bulk shifts in the bunk below me. He settles into a slow steady rhythm which pulses my bunk as well as his. Spider is once again masturbating.

I strain for diversion.

A familiar burr grinds at the edges of my mind. I force myself to focus, visualizing each distinct moment of my arrest and trial.

I see a look in a man’s eye. I grab for it, but once again it slips away, and  I’m sinking, gasping, a deep eternal coldness filling my body.

Spider finishes with a grunt and a sudden lurch just as I slide into my personal bottomless lake of despair.

Deep in the murky water, the man’s face reappears, staring at me intently, a puzzled expression in his eyes.

And – finally – I know the face.

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* prosecutors who withheld evidence in the Senator Stevens case receive “pathetic” 15 days and 45 days suspension

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 26, 2012

Senator Stevens … a victim of prosecutor misconduct (withholding of evidence) … similar to the misconduct of the prosecutor in Lew Weinstein’s novel “A Good Conviction”

as reported in the NYT (5/26/12) …

  • The legal team that defended Senator Ted Stevens in his corruption trial has harshly criticized as “laughable” and “pathetic” the punishment that the Justice Department handed out to two prosecutors found to have engaged in reckless professional misconduct in the case.
  • “No reasonable person could conclude that a mere suspension of 40 and 15 days for two of the prosecutors is sufficient punishment for the wrongdoing found in the report,” the Stevens legal team said in a written statement after the report was released Thursday.
  • Mr. Stevens, a Republican, was convicted in 2008 of seven felony counts of lying on Senate financial disclosure documents.

The judge in the case dismissed the conviction in April 2009 after the Justice Department admitted misconduct.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/26/us/politics/penalties-for-stevens-prosecutors-called-pathetic.html?partner=rss&emc=rss&pagewanted=print

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Lew’s COMMENT …

Misconduct by prosecutors is a cancer on the American justice system.  Far more often than we would like to admit prosecutors either withhold evidence that tends to prove the defendant’s innocence or actually make up evidence to prove guilt (think jailhouse snitch). In most cases, even when a conviction is overturned due to prosecutor misconduct, the prosecutor is not charged or disciplined in any way. What prosecutor wants to prosecute a colleague?

In the Stevens case, an investigation was made, misconduct was proven, the guilty verdict was overturned, and the penalties given to the prosecutors were utterly ludicrous.

I wrote about this problem in a novel called “A Good Conviction,” where a young man is convicted of a murder he did not commit by a prosecutor who knew he was innocent. If you want to understand what it feels like to be in prison for a crime you did not commit, read “A Good Conviction.”

read the PROLOGUE of “A Good Conviction” here …  

 * A Good Conviction – Prologue

see what readers think at  … 

* praise for A Good Conviction

purchase  in paper or kindle at …

* A GOOD CONVICTION

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* 12/19/11 … Texas man exonerated after 25 years … judge rules prosecutor had withheld significant evidence

Posted by Lew Weinstein on May 25, 2012

  • A Texas man wrongfully convicted in 1987 of murdering his wife is scheduled to be officially exonerated on Monday.
  • lawyers for the man, Michael Morton … are expected to file a request for a special hearing to determine whether the prosecutor broke state laws or ethics rules by withholding evidence that could have led to Mr. Morton’s acquittal 25 years ago.
  • The prosecutor (in Mr. Morton’s case), Ken Anderson, a noted expert on Texas criminal law, is now a state district judge.
  • The filing by Mr. Morton’s lawyer, John Raley, and attorneys from the Innocence Project …will ask the court to determine that there is probable cause to believe that Mr. Anderson withheld reports that the judge in the 1987 trial had ordered him to turn over.
  • In August (2011), however, a different judge ordered the record unsealed, and Mr. Morton’s lawyers discovered that Mr. Anderson had provided only a fraction of the available evidence.
  • Missing from the file was the transcript of a telephone conversation between a sheriff’s deputy and Mr. Morton’s mother-in-law in which she reported that her 3-year-old grandson had seen a “monster” — who was not his father — attack and kill his mother.
  • Also missing were police reports from Mr. Morton’s neighbors, who said they had seen a man in a green van repeatedly park near their home and walk into the woods behind their house.
  • And there were even reports, also never turned over, that Mrs. Morton’s credit card had been used and a check with her forged signature cashed after her death.
  • If the court of inquiry ends with a finding that Mr. Anderson committed serious acts of misconduct by concealing material evidence, it could lead to disciplinary action by the state bar association and possibly even a criminal prosecution.
  • Experts, however, are skeptical that Judge Anderson could face serious punishment or disbarment, even if the court were to decide that he had committed malfeasance.
  • While withholding material evidence intentionally can get a lawyer disbarred, Ms. Klein said, “It’s extremely unlikely.”

read the entire article at … http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/19/us/texas-man-seeks-inquiry-after-exoneration-in-murder.html?_r=1&partner=rss&emc=rss

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* Becky’s review of “A Good Conviction” (on Goodreads)

Posted by Lew Weinstein on April 8, 2012

Wow this is an incredible book! 

I feel this book should definitely

be made into a movie.

I am thoroughly enjoying this author and his writing style. This novel really makes a person wonder how many innocent people are in prison. I am about half way through it and I recommend this book to anyone who enjoys mystery books & legal books

Finished this book a few days ago. I must admit that I have always supported the death penalty. Although after reading this novel(although the main character was NOT sentenced to death)my opinion has altered.

To read and understand how an innocent person can be convicted & sentenced to life in prison is harrowing. It could happen to any of us. 

******

purchase  * A GOOD CONVICTION  in paper or kindle

******

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* prosecutors hide evidence to get conviction … again!!! … real life imitates Lew’s novel “A Good Conviction”

Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 15, 2012

** purchase A GOOD CONVICTION by Lew Weinstein at amazon.com

from the NYT – 3/15/12 … 

  • “The investigation and prosecution of U.S. Senator Ted Stevens (by Federal prosecutors) were permeated by the systematic concealment of significant exculpatory evidence which would have independently corroborated Senator Stevens’s defense and his testimony, and seriously damaged the testimony and credibility of the government’s key witness,” wrote Henry F. Schuelke, the investigator assigned to the case.
  • The report “confirms that the prosecution of Senator Ted Stevens was riddled with government corruption involving multiple federal prosecutors and at least one F.B.I. agent,” said Mr. Sullivan in a written statement.
  • they worked together to win at all costs in an attempt to convict a sitting United States senator in an ill-conceived prosecution.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/16/us/politics/report-details-inner-workings-of-troubled-ethics-trial-of-senator-ted-stevens.html?_r=1&adxnnl=1&partner=rss&emc=rss&adxnnlx=1331841685-L/xLH6iKvbRPc2Ykt+C31g

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LMW COMMENT …

This sort of cheating by prosecutors and police happens far more often than most Americans suspect. It is a cancer on the U.S. judicial system. And it will never be corrected until those prosecutors and cops are themselves prosecuted and held accountable for their actions, which almost never happens except in a few high-profile cases like this one and the Duke case.

If this issue concerns you, you might like my novel A Good Conviction which tells the story of a young man found guilty of a murder he didn’t commit by a prosecutor who knew he didn’t do it and hid the evidence from the defense.

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* praise for A Good Conviction

Posted by Lew Weinstein on January 27, 2012

READERS’ COMMENTS …
Wow! That’s some story. It’s scary to think how many like Josh are trapped in our legal system. My heart is breaking for this kid.

  • I couldn’t put A Good Conviction down until it was finished – and that was in the wee hours of the morning! Weinstein allows the reader to feel the same anger, scare and frustration that Josh experiences, as we watch him become a victim of a corrupt DA. At the same time that we root for Josh to get justice, we are brought into the world of incarcerated criminals who fill their days with ways to survive. It’s a wild ride, and a story that I highly recommend.
  • What a ride! A scary, yet thoroughly believable, journey through the police and court systems of New York City. Lewis Weinstein captures the tensions and fears of prison life so well, it’s hard to believe he hasn’t done hard time himself. It certainly makes you wonder how many innocent people are behind bars.
  • A Good Conviction is a well written, well paced, and fascinating tale of prosecutorial abuse in the Manhattan DA’s office. Makes one wonder how many other times something like this has occurred and just how high the abuse is actually sanctioned … Judge (ret.) Leslie Crocker Snyder, former Manhattan Assistant District Attorney, first sex crimes prosecutor in the U.S.:
  • This gripping story demonstrates how one’s life can take a 180 degree turn in a moment. Innocent actions can be misinterpreted and unfortunate consequences result. Weinstein is a great story teller and A Good Conviction is a very well crafted story.
  • A Good Conviction is an unusually gripping story of an erroneous conviction and the passionate fight to correct that injustice. Weinstein’s account of what a bad prosecutor does to Joshua Blake provides a frightening and realistic parallel to many of the true life cases we documented in our study … Michael Radelet, one of the authors of In Spite of Innocence, a study of over 400 cases of persons wrongly convicted of crimes carrying the death penalty
  • I am an avid reader of fiction, especially thrillers, and I can tell you that Weinstein holds his own among his peers including Baldacci, Grisham & Patterson. Do yourself a favor and add “A Good Conviction” and “The Heretic” to your reading list and discover this truly talented writer.
  • Having spent countless hours working with detectives, courts, attorneys, and wrongly convicted inmates I was most impressed with how well researched and accurate your narrative was. You really nailed it. In addition, it was a great read. … Dan Slepian, NBC Frontline producer of many crime and legal news shows
  • I am amazed at the research that Weinstein has done for both of his books. A Good Conviction, like The Heretic, is a real page turner with a lot of suspense. However, the book is more than just suspenseful. Weinstein illuminates an issue that is very serious and through a fictional account he sensitizes the reader to the plight of the many people who are incarcerated for crimes that they did not commit. I recommend the book highly and cannot wait for his next book.
  • A Good Conviction is one of the few books that I could not put down and always looked forward to the next chapter! So many books have the tendency to be drawn out in the middle, but this one kept you on the edge throughout and you really did get to know every character. I love a book that when I read it I feel like I am living it and that can only be done by a talented writer. Thank You for the experience!
  • A Good Conviction would be a great book for a reading group/book club. The characters were real and the circumstances of the main character’s life – from a great future to no future were heart wrenching.
  • The characters and their emotions were so vividly portrayed that I still think about them as if I knew them. Lovers of New York City will walk the streets of the city and visualize “A Good Conviction” happening. You will walk past a certain news-stand and wonder if the owner remembers Josh.
  • When you read a book that you don’t want to end….that is a good book. “A Good Conviction” is a good book.
  • Fraught with emotion and spot-on depiction of everyone from the lawyers to the hardened criminals, the reader experiences all the perils of life behind bars. With the surety of a jury handing down a life sentence, Weinstein confidently guides the reader through the complicated maze of our legal system and the politics within to a conclusion that is both uplifting and staggering in its depth.
  • A Good Conviction strikes home like no other book I have read. It could happen to any of us or those we care about. Takes the phrase “no good deed shall go unpunished” to a whole new level.
  • Having spent two years of a twenty year career with the NYPD transporting prisoners to and from Manhattan Central Booking, I read much of Mr. Weinstein’s book holding my breath. During those long 24 months I never got used to the sound of the cell doors sliding closed with a loud CLANG! Even knowing full well I would be leaving, it induced instant claustrophobia. Well, the scenes in A Good Conviction that take part on Riker’s Island brought that sound and more back to me with amazing clarity. If you want a glimpse into the hell that is American prison life, read this book.
  • A Good Conviction is a page turner and I loved every minute of it. The main character is entirely believable and his circumstances are chilling: something that could happen to any one of us. The research behind this book and the author’s familiarity with legal procedures (which are not hard to follow in the book) are evident.
  • I am really into this story! I feel so bad for Josh. I love to read books that I feel close to the characters and that’s how I feel with this one!
  • I love crime novels and this one doesn’t disappoint. The stark contrast in the opening chapters between Joshua Blake’s, until then, seemingly charmed life and the brutal reality of Sing Sing prison is chilling. You can’t help but think ‘What if that were me?’
  • The story is gripping. It keeps you turning the pages with twists and turns to the plot.
  • The characters engage you. Watch them develop – not just Josh as he is forced to face unimaginable challenges just to survive in jail, but those who take up the challenge of trying to prove his innocence. What motivates them? Why does NYPD Lieutenant Kerrigan put himself on the line? What drives Darleen to stand by Josh? And look out for Josh’s defense lawyer – he may not inspire confidence to begin with but develops as a quiet force.
  • I like the style, the way the story moves from Joshua being at Sing Sing to his free days and then to his time at Rikers Island. Makes for interesting reading that way.
  • I absolutely love this book. I read a lot of mysteries by Michael Connelly and James Patterson and Len Deighton. A Good Conviction is right up there. This should definitely be on the NY Times best reads.
  • I abhor ADA Claiborne. You made him into a villain but did it in a way that did not make him a caricature. I cannot think of a character in your book who was not drawn well. The best thing I can say about any book is that I am sorry to see it end. I was sorry to reach the end of your book.
  • Having anxiously awaited this novel after reading The Heretic with our book club in South Jersey, I have been gripped by the A Good Conviction’s reality and intensity. We’d like to think such injustices don’t happen, but recent advances in forensics have proven that many innocents are incarcerated. What’s scary about Josh Blake’s situation is that it strikes you as being entirely plausible.
  • Loved the attention to detail about the story’s New York locations – provided a reality foundation which made the story more startling.
  • Every page of A Good Conviction forces me to confront the very real issue in our society of someone who lives the horror of a wrongful conviction and life in the realities of prison.… Your attention to detail is great — I feel I am in New York with Josh!
  • I liked the court room scene and thought it moved quickly in a compelling manner
  • A Good Conviction just grabs your attention and compels you to read on and on.


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* A Good Conviction … reader comments

Posted by Lew Weinstein on February 6, 2009

Readers have posted comments about “A Good Conviction” on amazon.com.

* Reader Comments (on amazon.com) for “A Good Conviction”

in addition, the following comments were received from readers of a pre-publication serialized version of “A Good Conviction”

… I am really into this story! I feel so bad for Josh. I love to read books that I feel close to the characters and that’s how I feel with this one!

… I love crime novels and this one doesn’t disappoint. The stark contrast in the opening chapters between Joshua Blake’s, until then, seemingly charmed life and the brutal reality of Sing Sing prison is chilling. You can’t help but think ‘What if that were me?’

… The story is gripping. It keeps you turning the pages with twists and turns to the plot.

… The characters engage you. Watch them develop – not just Josh as he is forced to face unimaginable challenges just to survive in jail, but those who take up the challenge of trying to prove his innocence. What motivates them? Why does NYPD Lieutenant Kerrigan put himself on the line? What drives Darleen to stand by Josh? And look out for Josh’s defence lawyer – he may not inspire confidence to begin with but develops as a quiet force.

… You’ve got me hooked me now! I started reading the 2nd segment last night, and couldn’t put it down until I was done. Are you going to let that poor guy out of jail, or what? (please, don’t answer that) Please send me the next segment !

… More, more, send me more, please. What a teaser this first segment was.

… Well, you’ve got me hook, line and sinker after Segment 1. So…..would you please send me Segment 2 so I can continue this adventure. Thanks for the opportunity!

… I like the style, the way you change back and forth from Joshua being at Sing Sing to his free days and then to his time at Rikers Island. Makes for interesting reading that way.

… I absolutely love this book. I read a lot of mysteries by Michael Connelly (all he has written so far) and James Patterson and Len Deighton and just finished last week a book by Nicholas Evans called The Divide. This book of yours is right up there. I am intrigued by it and once I begin reading, I remain until I have read the final word of the segments you have sent. This should definitely be on the NY Times best reads. I anxiously await more. Thank you so much for giving me this opportunity.

… I finished the book a few days ago. I very much enjoyed A Good Conviction. You made Josh and Darlene very sympathetic yet real characters. I liked them. You also did a good job of manipulating the tension level in the book so that I was extremely worried that Darlene would get hurt and was quite pleased when she was rescued by Detective Watson. That alone should indicate how well you reached this reader. I abhor ADA Claiborne. You made him into a villain but did it in a way that did not make him a caricature. I cannot think of a character in your book who was not drawn well. The best thing I can say about any book is that I am sorry to see it end. I was sorry to reach the end of your book.

… I am ready for Segment 3! I read Segment 2 the same day I got it.

… Having anxiously awaited this novel after reading The Heretic with our book club in South Jersey, I have been gripped by the story’s reality and intensity. We’d like to think such injustices don’t happen, but recent advances in forensics have proven that many innocents are incarcerated. The old saw about everybody in jail professing innocence is not so humorous today. What’s scary about Josh Blake’s situation is that as it unfolds it strikes you as being entirely plausible. Loved the attention to detail about the story’s New York locations – provided a reality foundation which made the story more startling. I am thoroughly enjoying this serialized email format – keeps the reader on the edge of his/her seat – or should I say, at the edge of his/her keyboard.

… Every page forces me to confront the very real issue in our society of someone who lives the horror of a wrongful conviction and life in the realities of prison.

… Your attention to detail is great — I feel I am in New York with Josh! Next segment please !

… I liked the court room scene and thought it moved quickly in a compelling manner.

… I am ready for the next segment of A Good Conviction. I read it all in one swoop – I could not stop. I found it thoroughly readable with all the “parts” in the right places. Thank you so much; I look forward to my next read.

… I am really enjoying this book. Please send the next part ASAP.

… I just finished Segment 2 and I’m really looking forward to receiving the next segment. Nothing like being kept in suspense. Poor Joshua Blake, he can’t get a break I just know there has to be a point where this poor guy’s luck, or lack of it, has to change! Please send along the next segment as soon as you can. Thank you very much!

… Just want you to know that my eyes were riveted to each sentence in your book. I can’t get to each segment fast enough; my other emails can wait, the book I was reading can wait, I just want to read your story. It just grabs your attention and compels you to read on and on. Thank you so much – I look forward to reading more.

… Wow! That’s some story. I am ready for segment 3.

… Can you send me #3. It’s really good and so scary that this could actually happen!

… I’m back again in search of Segment 5 this time. I really am enjoying the story and all the suspense that it holds.

… It’s scary to think how many like Josh are trapped in our legal system. I’m ready for Segment 5.

… Quick, send me Segment 2, I’m on the edge of my seat.

… Finished segment 2. I am loving it. The poor kid. I feel like I am watching Law & Order where you recognize so many of the places. Can you forward the next installment??

… Time for segment 6. You do tell a good story.

… The tension is increasing. Send me Segment 8.

… My heart is breaking for this kid, but I’m ready for more.

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** A Good Conviction … blurbs

Posted by Lew Weinstein on January 20, 2009

BACK COVER BLURBS …

Judge (ret.) Leslie Crocker Snyder, former Manhattan Assistant District Attorney, first sex crimes prosecutor in the U.S.: A Good Conviction is a well written, well paced, and fascinating tale of prosecutorial abuse in the Manhattan DA’s office. Makes one wonder how many other times something like this has occurred and just how high the abuse is actually sanctioned

Michael Radelet, one of the authors of In Spite of Innocence, a study of over 400 cases of persons wrongly convicted of crimes carrying the death penalty.: A Good Conviction is an unusually gripping story of an erroneous conviction and the passionate fight to correct that injustice. Weinstein’s account of what a bad prosecutor does to Joshua Blake provides a frightening and realistic parallel to many of the true life cases we documented in our study

Dan Slepian, network producer of many crime and legal news shows: Having spent countless hours working with detectives, courts, attorneys, and wrongly convicted inmates I was most impressed with how well researched and accurate your narrative was. You really nailed it. In addition, it was a great read.

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** A Good Conviction – prologue

Posted by Lew Weinstein on January 20, 2009

Sing Sing Correctional Facility … Wednesday, January 21, 2004 

Disjointed memories haunt me, as they do every night, shattering my once great expectations and leaving me to share a cold clammy cell listening to a guy named Spider jerk off. 

The darkness emits a rumbling undercurrent of sounds, pierced randomly by eerie howls. Inmates yell obscenities to one another, or worse, to no one. Doors clang, footsteps echo and fade away, angry music blares in short bursts. Odors of urine, decaying food, stale smoke, and sweaty unwashed bodies assault the air. Mice and roaches scurry.

The longer I’m here, the harder it is to imagine being anywhere else. Giving in and allowing myself to cry would be suicidal. Others would observe my fear, and act on it. Predatory others. “Hey, white boy, they gonna’ love you’ ass in here.”

How long before I lose my mind? And will that be better or worse? Is it already happening? Every day, the person who was Joshua Blake recedes further from reality. Is this process irreversible? Will there be a point when I can never again be who I was?

There’s a sudden movement close to me and I cringe. I’m going to be hurt. Relief. It’s just my cellmate, stirring in the bunk below me. The fact that his presence is actually comforting shows how much my life has changed. Spider rolls out of his bunk and slides into view.

In the dim light, I make out hairy legs, dark crotch, gray prison shirt. He settles his muscled bulk onto the toilet. More sounds and smells. When he’s done, I roll off the upper bunk, take his place, feel his sweat. I remember what it used to be like in a bathroom with a door and a seat on the toilet.

I climb up, careful not to step on Spider’s arm, crawl under my thin blanket, shiver in the chill. Spider’s bulk shifts in the bunk below me. He settles into a slow steady rhythm which pulses my bunk as well as his. Spider is once again masturbating.

I strain for diversion. A familiar burr grinds at the edges of my mind. I force myself to focus, visualizing each distinct moment of my arrest and trial. I see a look in a man’s eye. I grab for it, but once again it slips away, and  I’m sinking, gasping, a deep eternal coldness filling my body.

Spider finishes with a grunt and a sudden lurch just as I slide into my personal bottomless lake of despair. Deep in the murky water, the man’s face reappears, staring at me intently, a puzzled expression in his eyes.

And – finally – I know the face.

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