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TW: Rape, sexual assault.
Between jury duty and working the polls, I’ve had some time to read quite a variety of books!
After Adnan Syed was released from prison, I started thinking a lot about people who’ve been wrongfully convicted. Then, I realized I had a book on my shelf that covered this exact topic: “Picking Cotton” by Jennifer Thompson Cannino and Ronald Cotton.
This book is the story of Jennifer, who was raped at knife-point, in her apartment one night after a break-in. She escaped physically unharmed, and went to police.
From there, she was presented with a lineup of possible suspects. She picked Ronald Cotton, without a doubt.
But, Ronald Cotton said he was innocent — and he swore it for years.
In fact, during his time in prison for a crime he says he didn’t commit, he met the man who willingly admitted to raping Jennifer, along with other women in the area.
Ronald fought for exoneration, and after 11 years behind bars, a DNA test cleared him from the scene of the crime.
Cotton’s exoneration was actually the first time DNA testing was used to exonerate someone, instead of convict them.
When he was released from prison, there was a lot of press surrounding his story. But, he really wanted to meet Jennifer.
She eventually came around, and they became fast friends — writing the book together and touring the country to talk about sexual assault, along with the justice system.
This book was so educational but also easy to read. If you’re looking to learn more about racism within the justice system, I’d definitely recommend this book!
For more book recommendations, be sure to subscribe to the blog (look to the right) and follow me on Goodreads @thebitterlemon – where I share more of my book picks. Also, check out my printable bookmarks and Book Club Journal Pages in my Etsy Shop.