As a Texas death row in-mate trying to prove himself innocent of a rape and murder in Tyler, KERRY MAX COOK was reminded of his fate every time another con made the death walk. CHASING JUSTICE is a hellish tour of a criminal justice system whose officers allegedly railroaded Cook for personal and political gain. The litany of professional malfeasance was sufficiently egregious to inspire the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals to write, with unprecedented frankness, that “prosecutorial and police misconduct has tainted this entire matter” and that the “conviction was obtained through fraud and in violation of the law.” But the Kafka-esque courtroom episodes are small beer compared with the nightmarish conditions of Cook’s twenty-year incarceration; he was left naked in solitary confinement and victimized by prison predators. That he survived is astounding; the circumstances that finally freed him by means of DNA evidence are nearly miraculous.
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