An Official Junior Library Guild Selection, Adult Crossover Nonfiction
“A shocking tale of wrongful conviction . . . that brings general conditions into cruelly sharp focus.” —Kirkus Reviews
Justice Failed is the story of Alton Logan, an African American man who served twenty-six years in prison for a murder he did not commit. In 1983, Logan was falsely convicted of fatally shooting an off-duty Cook County corrections officer, Lloyd M. Wickliffe, at a Chicago-area McDonald’s, and sentenced to life in prison. While serving time for unrelated charges, Andrew Wilson—the true murderer—admitted his guilt to his own lawyers, Dale Coventry and Jamie Kunz. However, bound by the legal code of ethics known as the absolutism of client-attorney privilege, Coventry and Kunz could not take action. Instead, they signed an affidavit proclaiming Logan’s innocence and locked the document in a hidden strong box. It wasn’t until after Wilson’s death in 2007 that his lawyers were able to come forward with the evidence that would eventually set Alton Logan free after twenty-six years in prison.
Written in collaboration with veteran journalist Berl Falbaum, Justice Failed explores the sharp divide that exists between commonsense morality—an innocent man should be free—and the rigid ethics of the law that superseded that morality. Throughout the book, in-depth interviews and legal analyses give way to Alton Logan himself as he tells his own story, from his childhood in Chicago to the devastating impact that the loss of a quarter century has had on his life—he entered prison at twenty-eight years of age, and was released at fifty-five.