Nineteen-year-old Jovan Mosley, a good kid from one of Chicago's very bad neighborhoods, was coerced into confessing to a crime he didn't commit. Charged with murder, he spent five years and eight months in a prison for violent criminals. Without a trial.
Jovan grew up on the rough streets of Chicago's Southeast Side. With one brother dead of HIV complications, another in jail for arson and murder, and most kids his age in gangs, Jovan struggled to be different. Until his arrest, he was. He excelled in school, dreamed of being a lawyer, and had been accepted to Ohio State. Then on August 6, 1999, Jovan witnessed a fight that would result in a man's death. Six months later, he was arrested, cruelly questioned, and forced into a confession.
Sent to a holding jail for violent criminals, he tried ceaselessly to get a trial so he could argue his case. He studied what casework he could, rigorously questioning his public defenders. But time after time his case was shoved aside. Amiable, bright, and peaceable, he struggled to stay alive in prison. As the years ground on, he'd begun to lose hope when, by chance, he met Catharine O'Daniel, a successful criminal defense lawyer. Although nearly all cases with a signed confession result in a conviction, she was so moved by him, and so convinced of his innocence, that Cathy accepted Jovan as her first pro bono client. Cathy asked Laura Caldwell to join her and together they battled for Jovan's exoneration.
Here is Laura's firsthand account of their remarkable journey.This is a harrowing true story about justice, friendship, failure, and success. A breakdown of the justice system sent a nice kid to one of the nation's nastiest jails for nearly six years without a trial. It would take a triumph of human kindness, ingenuity, and legal jousting to give Jovan even a fighting chance.
Deeply affecting, Long Way Home is a remarkable story of how change can happen even in a flawed system and of how friendship can emanate from the most unexpected places.
©2010 Story Avenue LLC (P)2011 Story Avenue LLC
Avid reader of history, biography, and true crime.
This is a compelling book in many ways: the tragedy of years lost from the life of a promising and very likeable young man, the glimpse it provides of the process from the point of arrest by police, the brutality of the prison system, the legal system in which a case can stagnate, the incompetence of many professionals, day-to-day life in prison. There appears to be little or no hope until the chance meeting which eventually sees the wronged young man released to pick up the pieces of his shattered life. The role played by the two lawyers is heartwarming, as is his mother's dedication and the support of friends who help him as he begins to put together a new life. The section dealing with research on false confessions and other related matters helps to explain what happens to individuals who are caught up in the system: the accused, those who investigate, and the lawyers who prosecute and defend.
Laura Caldwell is an excellent writer but I initially found her rather monotone delivery off-putting. But before long I felt that it suited the matter-of-fact business-like nature of her work. I agree with other commenters that the third person/first person inconsistency is confusing: it just shouldn't happen - where were the editors? However, that is my only criticism and I found the book rivetting from start to finish.
I listened to this on audio, which I do not recommend. The author is the narrator and this is one example of why authors don't necessarily make good narrators. Despite being close to the events, the narration was monotone. Also, it's told from the author's perspective but there were some points where she was referred to in the third person. It may be clear in printed form that the point of view had changed, but it was not clear in audio.
That being said, the story was excellent! It is an interesting and heart wrenching story of what happened to Jovan: the glaring problems with the penal system in this case, information about false/forced confessions; and courtroom tactics. As someone who works in the area of civil rights, I am not surprised that these kinds of things still happen, but am appalled that they do. I am surprised that I had not heard of his story before; it seems like this should been plastered all over the court tv shows and internet. I feel awful for Jovan, his family and the family of Mr. Howard Thomas - none of this should ever have happened.
A 51-year-old African-American parking attendant was kicked from behind, punched by several kids and ultimately beaten to death with a baseball bat. This book is the story of one of the Youths Who was there but who did not participate. Jevon Mosley was tricked and coerced into saying that he threw two punches which meant he was guilty of murder in the eyes of the law. It's an interesting story about the legal system and what can happen if you are poor, uninformed, and utterly without resources.
Throughout the book, the author repeatedly refers to the incident as a "fight". Mosley, she says was at the fight but not involved. Many teenage boys have been in the vicinity of a fight and did not get involved, she says. This is an important misperception. Four or five young men attack a single, older man in order to rob him and, proceed to beat him to death with a bat that Jevon's friend "always had with him". This is not a fight. It's a robbery and wanton murder. Calling it a fight is outrageous and diminishes the power of the book.
There's plenty of injustice to showcase without minimizing. Jevon is not guilty of murder but he's not innocent either. To do nothing while a man gets his head bashed in is something no matter what neighborhood you are from. The author argues that doing nothing was the prevailing ethic in the neighborhood. Even if that's true, most young men have not hung out with kids who rob people and beat them with bats in order to get their money.
Jevon was a part of the incident. A man lost his life. Jevon didn't call police or check to see if the man was OK. He was callous and indifferent.
The author's lack of empathy for this victim was disturbing to me. A merciless, predatory, one-sided beating is not a fight. And Jevon was not just a good kid doing the best he could.
That being said, this account is worthwhile, insightful, and ultimately personally compassionate. Definitely a worthwhile read.
Moving story about a fight for justice and the lack of it in the legal system. Good performance by the author.
shows how over zealous cops can be too focused on one suspect severely mishandled a case and years of a young man's life are gone. it also shows how over taxed the public defenders office is and how quickly a young man can be passed over and over. compassion is always needed even for the accused and the convicted add compassion can make a great silence in any life.
yes, the justice system, although negligent in some cases, is quite interesting. This book has given me a different view on the roles of prosecutor and defender as well as the jurors role.
Jovaughn receiving the verdict.The way his lawyer team supported him. I could only imagine the feeling he experienced with his life in the balance.
The moment Jovaughn stepped off the curb.
The author is also the narrator. I have read reviews where they point out how you should not buy an audiobook if the author reads it, too. This is definitely one of those cases. The first two parts were pretty boring because of the way it was read. The actual story, the concept of the book, is relevant. Because I wanted to know the outcome, I kept listening. Finally, in the last part of the book she started to add some personality to the recitation. What the story is about is important for people to know. If you can figure out who the story is about and just Google the topic, you may save yourself from spending hours of time being frustrated while listening to a mundane presentation.
Shocking story of a young man caught in the dysfunctional police, jail & court system of Chicago and two heroic lawyers who saved him.
Reaffirming story of the vital role lawyers can play; and depressing 'inside' look at the shortcomings of our crowded urban jails & courts and police departments.
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