ADAMS V. TEXAS by Randall Adams


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 In a shocking and absorbing narrative, Adams, a former inmate on death row, recounts his wrongful conviction for murder in 1976, his 13 years in a Texas prison, and the protracted legal and political battle to free him. Straightforwardly and without bitterness, Adams--writing with the help of the Hoffers (Freefall, 1989, etc.)--tells how casual acquaintance David Harris, the juvenile murderer of a police officer, identified Adams as the murderer. Although Harris already had an extensive record of serious crime and Adams had no criminal record, and although there was considerable evidence that Adams was not at the crime scene, the press and police regarded Adams's guilt as a foregone conclusion. Adams was convicted and sentenced to death. The prosecutor, Doug Mulder, emerges here as a profoundly unethical man, willing to suppress exculpatory evidence in order to achieve the conviction and death sentence he so desired. Ultimately, it took a decision of the Supreme Court to get Adams off death row (the court ruled that Texas jury-selection procedures predisposed the jurors to condemn Adams to death); however, it took years of further legal wrangling and a confession from Harris (as well as publicity, especially from Earl Morris's film The Thin Blue Line) to persuade Texas authorities to drop the charges against Adams and free him. Adams's description of life in prison is harrowing, and the story of his long ordeal makes one wonder how he did not succumb to despair. A chilling, forthright account of a Kafkaesque nightmare, rendered with a remarkable lack of resentment.

Pub Date: June 18th, 1991
ISBN: 0-312-05811-X
Page count: 400pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 1991


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