JUSTICE FAILED by Alton  Logan


How “Legal Ethics” Kept Me in Prison for 26 Years
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A shocking tale of wrongful conviction and an argument for “a more responsive, sensitive, humane, and just legal system.”

In 1983, Logan was sentenced to a life term, without parole, for a murder he did not commit. With journalist Falbaum, he tells how the murderer’s lawyers’ commitment to protect their client’s confidentiality kept him in jail for 26 years. Two public defenders, Dale Coventry and William Kunz, were in possession of evidence of Logan’s innocence from the beginning. They represented Andrew “Gino” Wilson, who was already in custody for murdering two Chicago police officers. Wilson confessed to them that he had also killed the security guard that Logan was convicted of murdering. Wilson repeatedly refused to free his defenders from their obligations to him under the legal system’s code of ethics. The lawyers crafted an affidavit testifying to their knowledge and locked it away until Wilson’s death in 2007 freed them from their obligation. Logan’s tribulations involve much more than the concealment of the real murderer’s confession. He had been framed by a unit of the Chicago police under the leadership of Jon Burge, who was later accused of torturing more than 200 suspects between 1972 and 1991. Dismissed from the police, Burge was eventually convicted of perjury and sentenced in 2010 to four years in jail. Even with the revelation of the affidavit, Logan’s lawyers still had to rebut the original prosecutor’s case and also reverse decisions made in earlier attempts at appeal. The suit, which ultimately prevailed and secured Logan’s freedom, proved that “there was never any physical evidence tying me to the crime.” Furthermore, exculpatory evidence—a gun owned by Wilson—was known to police but not disclosed, and police failed to reveal that Wilson told a friend about the murder. Evidence was made up, and witnesses whose evidence was helpful to Logan were not called.

A terrible personal case that brings general conditions into cruelly sharp focus.

Pub Date: Oct. 10th, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-61902-992-7
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: Counterpoint
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1st, 2017


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