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

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

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$24.95

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781607144342
Publisher: Kaplan Publishing
Publication date: 01/05/2010
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 9.20(w) x 6.32(h) x 1.00(d)

About 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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Angel of Death Row 3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 171 reviews.
Kristen81 More than 1 year ago
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.
SquareGal More than 1 year ago
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.
MrsG-EnglishTeacher More than 1 year ago
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.
TooBusyReading on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ms. Lyon was a public defender, is a defense attorney, a thankless job representing the people we love to hate. Her specialty -- getting people off death row.In theory, I have been against the death penalty. It seems barbaric to kill someone in response to killing someone. I'm just not that eye-for-an-eye. But my theory is often tested when I hear of some truly heinous crime, something that makes someone seem so cruel that they do not seem human. Someone who should never walk the streets again. Ms. Lyon believes everyone capable of redemption. I am not sure I believe that.But, and this is a big "but," I always had faith that our legal system was fair, with the occasional mistake as the exception. I know of the unreliability of eye witness testimonies and of coerced false confessions. What I didn't know is how much politics enters into judgments. How racist, misogynist, corrupt judges are allowed to rule and preside in cases they should never touch. How appeals can be denied even when important new evidence is discovered and presented. In short, I never knew how flawed our legal system is.The cases in this book all show these people sentenced to death row as people, often disenfranchised, often with violent backgrounds, often desperately poor, but people. The statistics of who is sent to death row are astounding. If you are African-American and poor, don't expect the justice system to work for you. Some of these stories are truly heartbreaking. Imagine spending years of your life in 23-hour a day lockup, waiting for someone to legally kill you, for something you didn't do.I still have faith that most judges are honest and fair. Whether that is true, I don't know. But there has to be a better way to get the dishonest ones, the racists and corrupt ones, off the bench. There has to be a way to make representation fair and not about politics, not just about "the kill" of winning.Ms. Lyon was part of the defense team for Casey Anthony. That one is hard for me. She left the team. Why do I think this book deserves five stars? Ms. Lyon has a job I would absolutely hate, yet she has done it for years, never giving up on justice, in the right to a fair trial. In her personal life, she has made some of the same bad decisions her clients have made but to a much lesser degree. She is real, she is believable. The most important part of this book is that it will cause discussion, it will cause open-minded people who believe in the death penalty to see the other side of the coin. Perhaps it will lead to some reform of the legal system. It will help us know that there is another side to the coin, what we hear isn't always the truth, isn't always the whole story. As Ms. Lyon says at the end of her book:"It takes enormous effort to drag the courts, sometimes against staggering opposition, toward what is fair and humane. And to me, fair and humane is the definition of justice. We may never arrive at a state that perfectly balances these two concepts, but we affirm our own humanity in the attempt."The quote may have changed in the published edition. I read an Advanced Readers Edition given to me by a friend. Thank you, Tara, both for the recommendation and for your copy of the book. I highly recommend reading this one.
Soniamarie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have always been for the death penalty, but after reading this book, I no longer see it as such a quick solution to America's crime rate. My eyes have been opened to a surprising world of corruption hiding behind the law. Innocent people get wrongly accused and underdogs (minorities and people of low financial means) often fail to get their side of the story heard. Wealth and social status play too large a role in determining who lives behind bars and who merely pays a fine. Ms. Lyon begins her tale with a brief look at her childhood and her aspirations and how she became a D.A. Her cases over fourteen years include battered wives, ex police officers, a man that wanted the death penalty in hopes it would ban divorce in the long run, a gang member possibly mis identified in a line up, an innocent man that spent four years in jail anyway, a pcp murderer, and more. To top that off, Ms. Lyon also had to deal with prejudice judges not only making comments about her sex, but also about her weight. A major issue under scrutiny throughout the book is racism and how race determines one's treatment in court and how judges, lawyers, and jurors often cannot see behind the skin tone. An amazing woman with an amazing career to tell about. I liked how gutsy Ms. Lyon was towards many a sexist judge. I also liked how she kept her personal life to minimum and did not overburden readers with too much personal details. You know she is having a baby and going thru a tough relationship, but there is no lurid details or word for word conversations. Great book. I plan on reading it again one day.
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Ok book.
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openeyesKS More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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!
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I loved this book, i can read it over and over
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This was an interesting read.
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