Perhaps no legal case has done more to reshape America's debate over the death penalty than Illinois's prosecution and conviction of Rolando Cruz. This updated and significantly expanded edition of Victims of Justice tells the pivotal story of Cruz and his two co-defendants after the 1983 murder of ten-year-old Jeanine Nicarico of Naperville, Illinois. The book follows the story from the day the crime occurred to the groundbreaking trial of seven law officers accused of conspiring to deny Cruz a fair trial.
The kidnapping of Jeanine Nicarico from her quiet suburban home and her brutal slaying sparked a public demand for justice. But the longer authorities strove to execute Cruz and the two other men, the more evidence emerged that the defendants were innocent-and that the death penalty process in America itself was deeply flawed.
Here is the start of a chain reaction that led to a moratorium on the death penalty in Illinois and the clearing out of Death Row, as Illinois Governor George Ryan-worried about unfairness in death penalty convictions-granted clemency to all those awaiting execution. This is a detailed study of a nationally known case that should be cited whenever serious scholars examine how capital cases are prosecuted in America. Here is the most thorough investigation yet published into the background of the man who-after Cruz already was on Death Row-claimed to be the real killer.