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Bill Kurtis, anchor of the wildly popular true-crime TV series Cold Case Files and American Justice , used to support the death penalty. But after observing the machinations of the justice system for thirty years, he came to a stunning realization that changed his life: Capital punishment is wrong. There can be no real justice in America until it is abolished.
In The Death Penalty on Trial , Kurtis takes readers on his most remarkable investigative journey yet. Together, we revisit murder scenes, study the evidence, and explore the tactical decisions made before and during trials that send innocent people to death row. We examine the eight main reasons why the wrong people are condemned to death, including overzealous and dishonest prosecutors, corrupt policemen, unreliable witnesses and expert witnesses, incompetent defense attorneys, bias judges, and jailhouse informants. We see why the new jewel of forensic science, DNA, is revealing more than innocence and guilt, opening a window into the criminal justice system that could touch off a revolution of reform. Ultimately we come to a remarkable conclusion: The possibility for error in our justice system is simply too great to allow the death penalty to stand as our ultimate punishment.
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Bill Kurtis passed the Kansas Bar in 1966, but instead of practicing law he embarked on a thirty-year career as a correspondent and anchorman with CBS Television. In 1985, he formed his own production company, Kurtis Productions, which produces A & E's award-winning Investigative Reports and television's original forensic series, Cold Case Files. Kurtis also anchors A & E's American Justice . He lives in Chicago and Sedan, Kansas.Review:
"A carefully crafted perspective on the current state of the death penalty in America..." -- Booklist, September 15, 2004
"Bill Kurtis has turned out an important message and a gripping read." -- Walter Cronkite
"Every book in the vein of Kurtis' combination expose/philosophical tract deserves a wide readership..." -- Houston Chronicle, November 12, 2004
"Kurtis manages to breathe an element of suspense and keep the reader's interest with informative writing." -- Nashville Tennessean
"Kurtis offers his own courageous act in crafting a persuasive book, significant for its potential to educate a wide audience." -- New York Law Journal
"No matter where you stand on capital punishment, The Death Penalty on Trial is required reading." -- Chicago Sun-Times, November 7, 2004
"[Kurtis] argu[es] eloquently.... Kurtis puts his reportorial skills to work." -- Publishers Weekly, September 27, 2004
"a powerful indictment of the death penalty by a man who once supported it... most compelling." -- Huntington News (WV), October 28, 2004
"engrossing... exhibits the classic hallmarks of the best journalism... and makes addictive reading." -- Scott Turow
AAA warning of what can go wrong in a death penalty case, the lessons hit home like a hammer. -- Trial, July 2005
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