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
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.
Shocking, emotional, triumphant
When the coauthors fell in love with Javon
The passion and determination she had for bringing this young man home!
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