FALSE ARREST: The Joyce Lukezic Story by Joyee & Ted Schwarz Lukezic

FALSE ARREST: The Joyce Lukezic Story

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KIRKUS REVIEW

False arrest and false conviction--for murder one, no less, spinning innocent Arizona housewife Lukezic into a two-year-long cyclone of brutal imprisonment and wearying courtroom maneuvers. As told with Schwarz (also coauthor of McRay's Kept Women, reviewed below), however, Lukezic's potentially incandescent tale burns at low wattage--but does offer some rare and shocking scenes of life within the big cage. On New Year's Eve, 1980, Lukezic's husband's business partner and his family were shot dead in their Phoenix home. Months later, largely due--according to this obviously biased account--to incompetent police work and lying by a ""street hustler,"" Joyce Lukezic was arrested: the prosecution's story went that, after arranging for the murder of the business partner, Lukezic planned to ice her wealthy husband. An unsympathetic, closed-in woman, Lukezic made a poor impression at trial (where, again according to the authors, she was represented by less than competent counsel), and was found guilty. She served heavy time until a retrial ordered on appeal ended in a favorably hung jury; a second retrial exonerated her. Lukezic/Schwarz relate the murder, the probable conspiracies behind it (they coyly point to Lukezic's husband as the prime suspect), the police investigation, and the trials in third-person voice, at times flipping into flashback: it's convoluted, self-serving stuff. Of far greater interest are Lukezic's frank first-person tales of her time behind bars, an agony of rape, forced drug-taking, tensions, and interminable waiting; but also, as related here, a fascinating netherworld with its own economy (cigarettes as the main currency), communications network (prisoners converse via bailed-out toilet bowls and piping), and morality (to snitch is to die). Uninspired, but carried along by the sheer outlandishness of Lukezic's amazing trip to hell and back; and it'll make a terrific movie.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1989
Publisher: New Horizon