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Angel of Death Row: My Life as a Death Penalty Defense Lawyer

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Overview

Nineteen times, death penalty defense lawyer Andrea D. Lyon has represented a client found guilty of capital murder. Nineteen times, she has argued for that individual’s life to be spared. Nineteen times, she has succeeded.

Dubbed the “Angel of Death Row” by the Chicago Tribune, Lyon was the first woman to serve as lead attorney in a death penalty case. Throughout her career, she has defended those accused of heinous acts and argued that, no ...

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Overview

Nineteen times, death penalty defense lawyer Andrea D. Lyon has represented a client found guilty of capital murder. Nineteen times, she has argued for that individual’s life to be spared. Nineteen times, she has succeeded.

Dubbed the “Angel of Death Row” by the Chicago Tribune, Lyon was the first woman to serve as lead attorney in a death penalty case. Throughout her career, she has defended those accused of heinous acts and argued that, no matter their guilt or innocence, they deserved a chance at redemption.

Now, for the first time, Lyon shares her story, from her early work as a Legal Aid attorney to her founding of the Center for Justice in Capital Cases. Full of courtroom drama, tragedy, and redemption, Angel of Death Row is a remarkable inside look at what drives Lyon to defend those who seem indefensible—and to win.

There was Annette who was suspected of murdering her own daughter. There was Patrick, the convicted murderer who thirsted for knowledge and shared his love of books with Lyon when she visited him in jail. There was Lonnie, whose mental illness made him nearly impossible to save until the daughter who remembered his better self spoke on his behalf. There was Deirdre, who shared Lyon’s cautious optimism that her wrongful conviction would finally be overturned, allowing her to see her grandchildren born while she was in prison. And there was Madison Hobley, the man whose name made international headlines when he was wrongfully charged with the murder of his family and sentenced to death.

These clients trusted Lyon with their stories—and their lives. Driven by an overwhelming sense of justice, fairness, and morality, she fought for them in the courtroom and in the raucous streets, staying by their sides as they struggled through real tragedy and triumphed in startling ways. Angel of Death Row is the compelling memoir of Lyon’s unusual journey and groundbreaking career.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781607144342
  • Publisher: Kaplan Publishing
  • Publication date: 1/5/2010
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 9.20 (w) x 6.32 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Andrea D. Lyon is Director of the Center for Justice in Capital Cases and Clinical Professor of Law, Associate Dean for Clinical Programs, at DePaul University College of Law. She began her career at the Cook County Public Defenders' Office, working her way up to Chief of the Homicide Task Force, a 22-lawyer unit that represents people accused of homicide.

Lyon has tried more than 130 homicide cases, both within the public defender's office and elsewhere. She has defended more than 30 potential capital cases at the trial level. Of these, she has taken 19 through the penalty phase, and won them all. She lives in Chicago, Illinois.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 169 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(58)

4 Star

(37)

3 Star

(33)

2 Star

(23)

1 Star

(18)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 170 Customer Reviews
  • Posted July 21, 2011

    so painfully dry

    I don't think all judges are he-man women haters, nor are all police officers racist, and for heavens sake not all prisoners are innocent. After praising herself for being a women, then pating herself on the back for being multicultural, the author felt it important to add DOZENS of dry facts. This is a book you can flip ahead 3 to 5 pages and miss nothing. I forced myself to read it because I waisted my money on it.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 1, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Didn't hold my interest

    I was disappointed when I started reading this book. It was all over the place. I skimmed the book and one or two of the chapters appealed to me the others did not.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 25, 2011

    Must read if you question Death Row ethics

    Ms. Lyon related her history clearly and without overwrought emotionalism-a skill I respected as she told stories that were devastating to read. As unimaginable as it must be to be the person on whom so many lives weigh upon, the narrative remained well written and compelling.

    I've just ordered A Mother Accused by Ms. Lyons. Earlier this year I read An Autobiography of an Execution, equally compelling.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 28, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Recommened

    This was a lend book for me i was thinking about buying it but borrowed it instead. Was a really good book gave me alot of appreciation of the work a defense attorney does to defend his or her clients as well as being a lady and working out of the leagal court system. I recommened for friends to read.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 28, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A Fascinating Look At The Legal System

    Nineteen times, Andrea Lyon was appointed as the defense attorney in a death penalty case. Nineteen times she was successful in avoiding the death penalty for her clients. In Angel Of Death Row, a name given to her by the Chicago Tribune, Andrea Lyon takes the reader through twelve of these death penalty cases. Along the way, the reader learns of Lyon's legal philosphies, the intense and engrossing work that defending a capital case involves, and the scary misperceptions and misjustices that make being charged with a capital offense such an overwhelming perception.

    There was the case of the mother on trial for killing her daughter. The truth was, however, that the police coerced a confession from her by telling her that confessing was the only way she could go to her baby's funeral. When the case was reinvestigated, it turned out that someone else entirely was responsible. Another case involved a woman on death row for killing her husband. Her issue? Her original defense attorney decided that the case against her was so flimsy that no one would believe she did it, and did no investigation of his own, and put up very little defense. Since the prosecution came to court prepared with his version, the woman was convicted and served behind bars for years before Ms. Lyon was able to help her gain her freedom.

    Lyon doesn't pretend that everyone she defends is blameless. She is willing to have a guilty client serve a reasonable term, but one of her core beliefs is that it is imperative that the whole story comes out so that the jury can determine if there are mitigating factors that would lead toward a long jail term rather than a death sentence. Several of the cases illustrate this tenet. Others show defendants that she saved from a death sentence in spite of themselves, when they were to mentally ill to provide much help.

    This book is fascinating for those who follow crime and legal tactics. They are taken behind the closed doors of a defense attorney at the top of her game, and given an illustrative look at what really decides many court cases. If one is charged with a crime, that doesn't necessarily mean that they won't be convicted if innocent. It takes an attorney willing to investigate and determine the truth and also one competent enough to get enough points raised that an effective appeal is possible. This book is recommended for readers interested in legal matters or those who enjoy hearing about someone at the top of their game relate their experiences.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 6, 2010

    Enlightening

    It seems that many people determine a defendant's guilt before they're proven innocent instead of finding a defendant innocent until proven guilty. This book paints a very clear and enlightening picture of the mistakes that can be made by making such assumptions.

    I was also touched by many of the stories behind what caused some of the defendants to be in the predicament they were in. Regardless of the amount of trouble one can get in, even enough trouble to put them on death row, they are still people. Andrea D. Lyon clearly articulated the personal side of these defendants very well. It's not common for members of the general public to catch a glimpse inside the hearts and minds of felony offenders. I loved reading the opposing side, the defendant's side, and I found it very enlightening. Not only that, I have high esteem for Andrea D. Lyon after reading her book.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2013

    Like

    Ok book.

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  • Posted May 30, 2012

    This is a must read

    Andrea Lyon is my new hero. This book says so much about how
    much a person could be in jepordy without a lawyer who truly cares
    about their cause. I could never imagine myself in need of an defense attorney, but if I did I would definetly want Andrea Lyon.

    This book will have you in tears and make you truly see how our
    judicial system is very political. Andrea presents several cases
    and you will feel such emotion and the heatache her clients have
    gone through.

    Everyone should read this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 30, 2012

    Before We Hang Em High...

    Bought this book because my daughter is in this field. Never thought I would like it or learn so much about the behind the scenes of the court room. Once I started it I couldn't put it down! Easily readable (without tongue twisting legal jargon) & fascinating, the author draws u into the real life stories of deathrow. Once u read this u will always think twice about the death penalty!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 2, 2012

    Amanzing

    I loved this book, i can read it over and over

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2011

    Interesting read!

    This was an interesting read.

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  • Posted June 26, 2011

    Must read

    I read maybe one or two books a year, and this book was a great choice!!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 2, 2011

    Highly Recommended- True crime fans...check this out!

    Great read! Very well written and interesting.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2011

    An eye opening book!

    This book was amazing. I learned a lot about how a great defense works.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2011

    Great

    I really liked this book. I found the writing to be top-notch! Definately worth the price.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 16, 2011

    Great

    You'll remember and think about this book for a lomg time.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 24, 2011

    Great read!

    I picked up this book because of the interesting title and was so glad I did. The defense lawyer's perspective was very enlightening not only as concerned her clients, but also being a woman in the legal world.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 5, 2011

    Couldn't put this one down.

    Each chapter is like its own short story. The book gave me a deeper appreciation of the work a defense attorney does to defend his or her client.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 1, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    great book

    I did not expect to like this book so much. It was awesome. I highly recommend it.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 31, 2011

    Omg!

    What a book! Definitely makes you think about the other side and how ass-backward and corrupt our judicial system is.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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