False Convictionsby Tim Green
In bestselling author Tim Green's latest thriller, Casey Jordan returns-seeking justice in a small town riddled with . . . FALSE CONVICTIONS Casey is counting on an open-and-shut case, a sure success for her first effort with the Freedom Project, the renowned charity group dedicated to helping exonerate wrongfully convicted prisoners. Not only is the Freedom Project giving Casey the chance to help innocent people, but its founder, Robert Graham, is offering Casey a one-million-dollar annual pledge to her legal clinic for taking on just two jobs a year. Her first assignment is to revive the case of Dwayne Hubbard, an indigent black man serving a life sentence for the rape and murder of a college student seventeen years ago. Using DNA evidence, Casey expects to easily prove Hubbard's innocence. Yet when she arrives in rural Auburn, New York, she meets immediate and aggressive resistance.
Tormented by death threats and assassination attempts, Casey investigates a prosecution apparently rife with lies. From the judge, the lawyers, the jury, to the police, she traces a web of corruption surrounding the destruction of one young man. But in all the chaos, Casey's hardest challenge may be just staying alive.
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By Green, Tim
Grand Central PublishingCopyright © 2010 Green, Tim
All right reserved.
Auburn, New York
BEFORE THE STORM passed, the rain had washed clean most of the blood from Dwayne Hubbard’s hand, but the streetlight revealed its red stain on the sleeve of his shirt. The duffel bag over his shoulder contained only dirty socks, underwear, and a T-shirt, so he covered the stain and rubbed at his sleeve as he climbed the hill, searching the shadows of a street-corner tavern named Gilly’s Trackside Pub, wary at the sound of country music pulsing from beneath moldy green shingles and a battered white door. A train whistled and clacked down the nearby tracks, causing him to jump and urging him on so that he might not miss the 10:05 bus to New York City. Instead of crossing the puddle-soaked street to avoid the roadhouse, he doubled his pace, breathing hard now from the long hike and the violence he left in his wake.
When the small fist of men spilled out the door and onto the sidewalk, Dwayne stopped short and they turned to stare.
“Hey, look,” one of them said, staggering forward. “Don’t he look just like that nigger on television? Family Matters? The one with the high pants? Where you headed, Urkel?”
“Catching the bus,” Dwayne mumbled, eyeing the way around them. Dwayne was tall and thin and wore glasses. It wasn’t the first time he’d been called Urkel but the first time he’d been called a nigger at the same time.
“I said, ‘Where you headed, Urkel?’ ” the man repeated, his lips quivering beneath a handlebar mustache. He wore a tank top that read BOOTY HUNTER and a pair of acid-washed jeans with sneakers. “You ever hear of sundown rules?”
Dwayne averted his eyes and stepped off the sidewalk.
“Look at that, Chuck,” said a fat man missing two upper teeth. “He got some blood on his shirt.”
“That’s a mess of blood,” Chuck said, laughing drunkenly and reaching for Dwayne’s sleeve. The man smelled of old onions and urine. “What’s up, homeboy?”
Dwayne snatched his arm free and bolted. The fat man kicked at his shin and sent him tumbling, glasses falling from his face. They were on him as if he’d spit in their faces, punching and kicking, and him fighting to his feet until he could free the blade from the small of his back and swing wildly, cutting until a scream sent them off in flight.
Dwayne ran, too, running in a blurred haze, ditching the knife in a culvert along the way. His lungs burned and his head pounded. He pulled up short beneath a streetlamp adjacent to the bus terminal, straightened his duffel bag, and assessed himself. A compact car came from nowhere and buzzed past him, pulling into the station. He rolled up the sleeve, hiding the stain in its folds, gasping for breath and trying to calm himself. He forced his legs to walk across the street and kept his eyes on the small car that had passed him as he mounted the steps of the bus. The driver took the waterlogged ticket and examined him warily before handing it back.
Dwayne held the man’s gaze and said, “Some mean storm, huh?”
The driver reached over without reply and pulled the lever, closing the door. Dwayne found a seat in the back, refusing to make eye contact with anyone. He slumped in the corner against the window as the bus eased away from the station and swung wide onto the road. They passed the roadhouse and Dwayne breathed in relief at the empty sidewalk and street. His spirit flew as they cruised past a rectangular sign marking the city limits of Auburn and rose to new heights when they passed through the tollbooth and wound their way down the ramp and onto the New York State Thruway.
Somewhere on the other side of Syracuse he fell asleep with the rumbling belly of the bus and woke only briefly during the stop in Albany. At quarter after four in the morning, they rolled up into the Port Authority, easing to a stop amid the throng of buses. Groggy and rubbing his eyes, Dwayne stepped down into the crowd, struck by the smell of cleaning solution and urine, awash in a sea of human flotsam, and pushed his way toward the escalators and the streets of Hell’s Kitchen.
In an instant, hands grabbed either arm and his feet flew out from beneath him. He went face-first onto the floor, smashing his nose so that blood gushed into a pool he choked on.
“Stay down!” someone shouted.
Dwayne felt a hand grip his neck and the cold muzzle of a pistol against his temple. Around him a widening circle of nameless faces gaped and shrieked and the cold edges of handcuffs—something he’d felt before—bit into his wrists.
“We got him! We got the son of a bitch!”
Beneath the overpowering smell of Old Spice, Dwayne’s nose caught the distinct sharp edge of Black Velvet. Tiny red and purple veins webbed Jeremiah Potter’s cauliflower ears and nose, and a dusting of dandruff coated the shoulders and collar of his old blue suit coat. From where he sat, Dwayne could see the lint and spatters of food obscuring the lenses of his lawyer’s thick round glasses. The judge repeated Potter’s name, and Dwayne nudged him with an elbow so that the lawyer let out a snort and jerked upright to life. While his eyes had never closed, Dwayne felt certain the public defender had grown so skillful at his craft that he could sleep through court without ever being accused of it.
Potter stood and examined his notes, flipping back through the pages of doodling while his caterpillar eyebrows convulsed. So far he’d drawn a Viking, two nude mermaids, and a lion smoking a cigarette.
He scowled and stared at the prosecution’s witness for a moment with his own lips trembling before he said, “Detective Billick, isn’t it possible that the blood on my client’s knife came from someone other than the victim?”
The detective pursed his lips, then leaned forward and said, “As I said, since B positive is pretty uncommon, it’s highly unlikely, but I guess it’s possible.”
“Objection, Your Honor!” Potter said.
The judge glanced at the DA, sighed, and said, “Detective Billick, please just answer the counsel’s question.”
“I’m not going to be impeached by him.”
The judge leaned over his bench toward the witness and said, “Work with me here, Dick. No one’s impeaching you. Just answer the questions he asks. No extras.”
“So, it is possible, yes?” Potter asked, tilting his head back and closing one eye to better see the witness through the cleanest spot in his lens.
The detective looked up at the judge, then the jury, then at Potter, and said, “Yes.”
Potter slapped his hand on the corner of the defense table.
“And just because no one has been able to find the person outside Gilly’s Trackside Pub who my client did cut with a knife doesn’t mean that person couldn’t be the one whose blood was on my client’s knife, does it? Yes or no, sir. Yes or no.”
“Yes or no what?” the detective asked.
Potter coiled himself up a like a spring, as if the ill-conceived brown rug on his head might pop right off, his face reddening further as he looked to the judge.
“Just rephrase the question, Mr. Potter,” the judge said patiently, “so the witness can give you your answer.”
“I don’t have time for this,” Potter said, his pale blue eyes igniting as a yellowed forefinger popped up in the air. “I don’t like being played.”
“No one’s playing you, Jeremiah, just ask him again and cut to it, please,” the judge said. “I’m even confused by what you just said.”
Potter closed his eyes and mouth as if in prayer and stayed that way while he asked through pinched lips, “Is it possible the blood on my client’s knife came from a man outside the bar?”
Detective Billick sighed and waited until Potter opened his eyes before he said, “Yes. Possible.”
“Thank you,” Potter said. “I have no further questions.”
Dwayne felt hope glimmer like an unsteady match flame, but the district attorney was as sleek and mean as a battleship in her dark gray skirt and jacket, cruising forward without concern for anything around her. She was big boned, thick, and tall, but not unattractive at all, with short dark hair and bright red lipstick. Her voice was booming and strong, as certain as a concrete wall that steered you in its own direction.
The flame flickered out when the battleship maneuvered toward the bench and asked the judge if she could redirect the witness.
“You did damn good,” Dwayne whispered to Potter as the defense lawyer sat and slouched down low, still fuming. “What’s she doing now, though?”
“Piddling,” Potter said, snatching up his pen and resuming his doodles. Soon the image of the district attorney took shape, but instead of the dark serious suit, she wore a bikini made out of animal skins.
Dwayne rumpled his brow but didn’t ask more because the DA had begun to speak.
“How many knife fights a year in this town?” she asked.
“About three or four,” Billick said.
“Any at Gilly’s Trackside?”
“Not in the eighteen years I’ve been on this force. It’s not that kind of place.”
“Did you go down there, to Gilly’s, and ask questions about a knife fight?” the DA asked.
“Of course. Yes.”
“Anyone know anything?”
“No,” Billick said, shaking his head and trying not to smile. “Just Chuck Willis, who said he saw a black man running past who ditched something in that culvert.”
“Anyone even hear about a possible knife fight? Maybe that same man running past and slashing out at someone?”
“Nope, and no one showed up at the hospital with a knife wound.”
“How about any kind of fight at all that night in or outside of Gilly’s?”
“I have no further questions.”
Excerpted from False Convictions by Green, Tim Copyright © 2010 by Green, Tim. Excerpted by permission.
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Meet the Author
Tim Green has written twelve previous thrillers and the nonfiction New York Times bestseller The Dark Side of the Game. He played eight years in the NFL and is a member of the New York State Bar. Today he is a featured commentator on NPR and Fox Sports. He lives with his wife and five children in upstate New York. For more information about the author, visit his website www.timgreenbooks.com
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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Dallas attorney Casey Jordan works with the not for profit Freedom Project, who handle wrongful conviction cases. Billionaire Robert Graham, founder of the Freedom Project, offers Casey one million dollars annually for use by her legal clinic if she works a couple of well known cases a year. Casey agrees. In 1989 in Auburn, New York black man Dwayne Hubbard was convicted of the murder of a white female college student; DNA analysis proves his innocence and implies a massive conspiracy by all those involved in the original prosecution. At the same time that Casey proves Dwayne did not commit the murder that he went to jail for, TV reporter Jake Carlson investigates Graham. He brings some concerns to Casey, who partners with him into looking at the philanthropist's business transactions and other past dealings. The third Jordan legal thriller (see Above the Law and The Letter of the Law) is a terrific tale because the audience sees deep inside the heroine's soul as her passion for the law and helping the impoverished ring genuine. Thus Casey is lucid in her belief that Graham is wasting his money on the Hubbard case, but it is his cash though she still questions him why. Fans will enjoy the exciting False Convictions though some might question the fascinating climatic twists. Harriet Klausner
He is one of those autheor's that it is a thrill to find on the "New Arrivals table. The pace is quick, the plot beliebable and the Characters endearing. Wonderful book......Again!
False Convictions is a legal thriller, full of suspense and plot twists. Casey Jordan is a seasoned lawyer who has survived the scandal of having been duped by a former client. She'd once represented a serial killer, helped win his freedom, and then discovered he wasn't just guilty but that he was prepared to kill again. She was able to rectify the mistake and found herself the star of a movie on Lifetime. She rehabilitated her career and heads a nonprofit law clinic in Texas. When Robert Graham, a billionaire and the head of the Freedom Project, offers her $1 million for her nonprofit in exchange for handling the appeal of a black man accused of raping and murdering a young college student in Upstate New York. Casey agrees to take Dwaynne Hubbard's appeal and flies with Robert Graham and discovers that the town of Auburn, New York is still very much a small town. Through the assistance of Marty, a local lawyer, Casey is able to wade through much of the social and political hurdles - and focus on solving the mystery behind the twenty-year-old murder. Casey, Robert, and Marty, and a TV reporter named Jake work together, digging through the deception and searching for the true killer while facing pressure from the town's leaders. As one cover up leads to another, Casey wonders whether she has finally discovered the truth. Tim Green's False Convictions is a fast-paced legal thriller, full of twists and interesting characters. ISBN-10: 0446401528 - Hardcover Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; 1 edition (February 10, 2010), 304 pages. Review copy provided by the publisher.
FALSE CONVICTIONS Tim Green Grand Central Publishing ISBN: 978-0-446-40152-4 $25.99 - Hardback 304 pages Reviewer: Annie Slessman DNA testing plays an active role today in proving the innocence or guilt of people serving time in our penal institutions. Daily we hear of people who have served years in prison for crimes they didn't commit. This fact is the basis of Tim Green's latest novel, FALSE CONVICTIONS. Casey Jordan is a well-known attorney whose work has been immortalized in a Lifetime movie with Susan Lucci playing her role. She is easily recognized and known for her success with tough cases. She is approached by the Freedom Project to represent them in the case of Dwayne Hubbard, a prisoner accused of rape and murder some seventeen years prior. For her services, the Project has offered a million dollars to support her legal clinic for women. Hardly an offer she can turn down. From the moment Casey arrives in Auburn, NY, the location of the crime, she sees this case as one of her simplest. All she has to do is find the owner of a white van, get a DNA sample from both Dwayne and the owner of the white van and the case is solved. Or, so she thinks. The case becomes more complicated as she digs deeper into the case and with the help of a television reporter she seeks to find the truth with Dwayne's charges. Nothing is what is seems and the story is full of twists and turns that will keep its reader guessing. A fantastic who-dunnit, the reader of this work will not be disappointed. Tim Green has written thirteen previous works and two have been among the New York Times bestseller list. A member of the New York State Bar, he also served as a player in the NFL. He now lives in upstate New York with his wife and five children.
Following on the heels of his well received Above The Law, Tim Green spins another suspenseful tale reminding us that oftentimes little is as it appears to be. Once again starring feisty, tough but beautiful attorney Casey Jordan FALSE CONVICTIONS takes us into the worlds of billionaire Robert Graham who believes money can buy anything and is willing to spend plenty to get what he want, and to a prison where an indigent African-American, Dwayne Hubbard, is serving a life sentence for the horrible rape/murder/mutilation of a 17-year-old girl some 20 years ago. When Casey receives a call from Graham asking to have dinner with her she doesn't hesitate a second before dropping other plans - The Freedom Project, a charity that uses DNA to prove the innocence of those found guilty, is dear to Casey's heart, and she believes Graham may be interested in helping it. As she says, "Robert Graham isn't just some billionaire. He's a philanthropist." Right? The promise of a million dollar pledge to Casey's legal clinic in return for her legal services is something she can't refuse. So, she heads for Auburn, NY to free Hubbard. Casey gets a lot of flack because of a recent movie made about her in which she's portrayed by Susan Lucci, but even more disturbing than flack is the niggling suspicion that someone is blocking her efforts. Suspicion grows closer to reality after she meets and compares notes with handsome TV journalist Jake Carlson who has been assigned to do a piece on Graham. Carlson is good at his job; he knows how to pander to a rich man's ego, so much so that during the interview Graham became red-faced and teary-eyed from telling humorous stories about eating ketchup sandwiches as a child and building toys out of used Popsicle sticks...." A believable story? To many but not to Jake and soon Casey has more than doubts - corroborated when both have to run for their lives. FALSE CONVICTIONS is a taut, fast paced thriller that keeps readers on tender hooks until the final pages. Enjoy! - Gail Cooke
Casey Jordan turned her celebrity legal status into a thriving law clinic for under privileged women. This notoriety while a mixed blessing at times turns into a financial bonanza when Robert Graham a philanthropic billionaire funds the Freedom Project which underwrites the legal teams he pulls together to get unjustly convicted prisoners set free. He arrives at her door with a case of total abuse by the legal system to imprison an innocent man and Casey feels in her bones that this is a good use of her legal talent and a means to support her clinic. Casey reads the file on Dwayne Hubbard who is Roberts latest project and finds herself leaving her home in Texas to land in New York to begin the battle against the system that wrongly imprisoned Dwayne 20 years ago. Everything falls into place rather quickly despite the bigotry she fights and the racial undertones of small town America. Robert seems to be able to provide the right answers to all the questions and backs up the problems she is challenged with by obtaining necessary updated tests and opens doors Casey could not unlock. Perhaps too many answers too quickly may have Casey questioning the results and when reporter Jake Carlson shows up and starts to question all the perfect factors that have made this case fall into place Casey starts to wonder if in fact the innocent man she is about to get released is really guilty as convicted. While Jake makes some valid points and tries to show that Robert is not all that he appears Casey works through her doubts and starts to while she investigates the back story she pieces together the possibility that in fact this was a tremendous scheme set up to take down one judge who is on the fast track to the Supreme Court. Allot of questions, way too many answers and a mix of old school bad guys add up to an equation that Casey does not like and before she can reveal her discovery she finds herself defending herself against an arrest when someone turns the entire plan on her. Tim Green is a well rounded, extremely diverse writer who leaves you looking for the next book. He knows how to bring in interesting characters into a mix with a developed plot and keep the action moving and the reader guessing about what is going to happen next and unable to put the book down. This particular book has so many amazing subplots going on that at times you have remind yourself what the main storyline is and once all the different aspects come together you sit back with a huge gasp and make sure the doors are locked. Mary Gramlich ~ ("The Reading Reviewer") ~ www.marygramlich.com