Countdown: Enter Goodreads Giveaway for Chance to Win Copy of “Lethal Intent”

Time is running out on this Goodreads Giveaway! Goodreads  members (and membership is free) — enter by 11.59 p.m. March 9 for the chance to win LETHAL INTENT, the definitive biography of executed serial killer Aileen Wuornos. Had she lived, this Leap Year baby would have turned 60 on February 29. Instead, after a decade on Florida’s Death Row, she was executed in 2002.

She was both victim and victimizer. She killed 6 men; all strangers and a seventh victim. She confessed to killing him but in a drunken state and could not recall where she left him. His remains have never been found.

Best-selling author John Douglas, a former FBI Special Agent and one of the first criminal profilers, calls the book: “Shocking, sad, revealing, and deeply researched, this true account of the life and crimes of serial killer Aileen Wuornos will fascinate true-crime fans.”   https://www.goodreads.com/giveaway/show/173286-lethal-intent

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The Michigan house where Aileen spent her early childhood years.

Leap Year Baby Aileen Wuornos Would Have Turned 60 This Month. Enter Goodreads Giveaway for Chance to Win Autographed Copy of “Lethal Intent”.

AWonBikeHard to believe that had she lived, executed female serial killer Aileen Wuornos — a Leap Year baby — would have turned turn 60 on February 29, 2016.

This truly rare murderer spent a decade on Florida’s Death Row before her 2002 execution. She killed 6 men; all strangers. Another victim’s remains were, by her own account, still out in the woods. She could not recall the location. To this day, they have not been discovered.

Best-selling author John Douglas, a former FBI Special Agent and original criminal profiler, calls Lethal Intent “Shocking, sad, revealing, and deeply researched, this true account of the life and crimes of serial killer Aileen Wuornos will fascinate true-crime fans.” Listed on Business Insider’s “11 True Crime Books you should read if you’re obsessed with Serial,” It takes readers deep inside Wuornos’s life and crimes.

Was Wuornos a cold-blooded killer? A victim? A robber who killed to avoid capture? If you haven’t yet read the book, you decide. (2013 updated edition.) Visit Goodreads (Lethal Intent link at https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18759543-lethal-intent) to enter or Sue’s Lethal Intent webpage. Goodreads is free to join.
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http://www.suerussellwrites.com/lethal.html

In which I’m pleasantly surprised that we’re again noticing incarceration is still violence.

Rebel With A Bar Card picks up on a theme dear to my heart — the way we treat incarcerated youth will revisit us down the road, so we’d better be paying attention. The idea should be to give us a safer future, not a more perilous one, and to redeem youngsters whenever and wherever possible during “formative years.”
In which I’m pleasantly surprised that we’re again noticing incarceration is still violence.
August 5, 2014Prison Industrial ComplexCarcerality, Crime and punishment, Criminal justice, Dehumanization, Empathy, Injustice, Prison Industrial Complex, Violence

[[Content Note: Carcerality, violence, both in this post and at the link.]]

A US Attorney in Manhattan has released the results of an inquiry into civil rights violations against teenagers at Riker’s Island. The report concludes that the guards at Rikers engaged in regular, routine and violent abuse of teenage inmates.

Rebel With a Bar Card

[[Content Note: Carcerality, violence, both in this post and at the link.]]

A US Attorney in Manhattan has released the results of an inquiry into civil rights violations against teenagers at Riker’s Island. The report concludes that the guards at Rikers engaged in regular, routine and violent abuse of teenage inmates.

I was struck by this quote in particular:

“For adolescent inmates, Rikers Island is broken,” Mr. Bharara said at a news conference announcing the findings. “It is a place where brute force is the first impulse rather than the last resort, a place where verbal insults are repaid with physical injuries, where beatings are routine, while accountability is rare.”

I imagine that accountability will be the byword for addressing the horrendous actions cataloged in the report, but accountability is only half the story.  I find it incredibly frustrating that the other half will be almost entirely ignored.

Accountability is…

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How Harper Lee Saved Me

Writers Affecting Readers, Readers Affecting Writers… I was warmed this morning by a couple of notes from readers. Believe me, folks, we really cherish such missives. Hours later, this post about a blogger’s powerful exchange with Harper Lee crossed my line of vision. So, it is also true for the greats, I thought. And sometimes, as here, it becomes a pretty wonderful two-way street.

Exile on Pain Street

Several people have pinged me about the announcement of Harper Lee’s new novel. It’s based on a recently-discovered manuscript that she wrote in mid-50’s and takes place 20 years after To Kill A Mockingbird.

I think just about everyone has already read and commented on this post but I thought I’d rerun it. It’s the reason why people are reaching out to me with this wonderful news. It explains who I am and why I’m typing these words right now. I’d be a hot mess if it weren’t for her.


Today is the 50th anniversary of the publication of To Kill a Mockingbird. It’s the single most important book in my life.

I didn’t read a book until I was 20 years old. It’s true! They attempted to force-feed me while attending my below-average schools, but I made it clear that I would only read a book under protest…

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A Major Cause of Wrongful Convictions …….. POLITICS !?

Good piece today by Phil Locke on Wrongful Convictions, and a good comment by fellow Wrongful Convictions Blog blogger Martin Yant. Made me think of a story I wrote a couple of years ago about reasons prosecutors and LEOs have a hard time admitting error. In it, Santa Clara County, California, Special Assistant District Attorney David Angel hit, I thought, on some other points relevant to Phil’s post. Angel spoke of the need for a shift. Snip <“…it needs to really shift from this kind of highly moralistic, punitive view. Maybe it’s a cause for embarrassment, but it’s not a cause for shame.” He believes prosecutors have drawn the short straw in language, noting that defense attorneys who err are called “ineffective” and judges are “reversed” while prosecutorial error alone is labeled “misconduct,” with all the attendant negative connotations. Angel believes that most prosecutors are willing to admit to mistakes but that “people are very hesitant to admit to something that’s called ‘misconduct,’ because it makes you feel like you did something morally wrong.”> Something else to consider. http://www.psmag.com/legal-affairs/why-cant-law-enforcement-admit-when-its-wrong-48329

Wrongful Convictions Blog

[Editor’s note: this piece has been very difficult to write.  I’ve been working on it for months, and have deliberated about publishing it at all; I think because the objective it advocates is so daunting.  But I do think it goes to the heart of so much that is wrong with the justice system. I do not have hard data to support my position, and I doubt such data will ever exist, but I do have decades of study and careful observation.  I only report what I observe. Please read it, and just think about it.]

This article will be both editorial and somewhat philosophical, at least to the extent that it expresses conclusions on my part, so please bear with me. But it does address an issue that I believe is one of the key flaws in the justice system – and one that seems to be universally overlooked…

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Get To Know Acclaimed Court Artist Bill Robles Whose Work Is A Standout in “The Illustrated Courtroom: 50 Years of Court Art”, My Book with Artist/Co-author Elizabeth Williams

manson guilty nixon declaresWitness to History When No Cameras Allowed: Artist Bill Robles has built a career on drawing courtroom dramas and bringing them to life. As KCRW writes, “Bill Robles has the mellifluous baritone of a broadcaster, but he’s made a living for over 40 years with his eyes — and his hands.” See some of his spectacular work in this article and related interview here: http://blogs.kcrw.com/whichwayla/2015/02/no-cameras-allowed-artist-bill-robles-makes-a-career-drawing-courtroom-dramas. And please see the eBook and print book versions available via http://www.amazon.com/The-Illustrated-Courtroom-Years-Court-ebook/dp/B00JMV2ZVU  Thanks for your support of these great artists.

“Lethal Intent” makes “Business Insider” List for Those With Withdrawal from Podcast Phenom “Serial”

I’d heard of “Serial”, the podcast series centered on a reporter’s journey covering a real life crime investigation, and was just gearing up to watch it when I had a nice surprise. Very jazzed that Business Insider’s Emmie Martin named “Lethal Intent”, my Aileen Wuornos biography, to her “11 True Crime Books You Should Read If You’re Obsessed With ‘Serial'”. Surrounded by some of my most admired books and authors, no less. Forgive the drooling but now and again, it’s permissible, right? What a kick! Here’s the list: http://tinyurl.com/lalc8bj

Win a Copy of “The Illustrated Courtroom” in Our Goodreads Giveaway Contest!

Goodreads Book Giveaway

The Illustrated Courtroom by Elizabeth  Williams

The Illustrated Courtroom

by Elizabeth Williams

and Sue Russell

Giveaway ends January 09, 2015. Four copies to be won, signed by both authors. Free to enter. Amazon price: $30.

“The Illustrated Courtroom: 50 Years of Court Art” is in an 8×10 format with 140 iconic illustrations – many in color – from five of the nation’s top, award-winning courtroom artists. These illustrators go where cameras can’t. Recently chosen as a Times Literary Supplement Book of the Year 2014 and named to Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books of 2014. (eBook version available on Amazon.) Cover illustration by Bill Robles: Charles Manson tries to leap over the defense table to stab Judge Older with a pencil.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter to win

“The Illustrated Courtroom” Named to Kirkus Reviews’ “Best Books of 2014”

best_of_2014_kirkus-image+textMarthaStewartHot on the heels of the excitement about being named as one of the Times Literary Supplements’ “Books of the Year 2014” comes this nod from Kirkus Reviews, known to all authors. My co-author, courtroom artist Elizabeth Williams, and I are very jazzed about both. “The Illustrated Courtroom: 50 Years of Court Art”, which spans trials from Jack Ruby’s and the New York Black Panthers’ to Bernard Madoff and Michael Jackson’s, is available at a special price of $30. Great gift idea, if we do say so ourselves! (Above, Elizabeth Williams’ portrait of Martha Stewart during her trial. Elizabeth spent hours – no, make that days – waiting for Martha to turn her head enough to grab this image, created at warp speed.)

Wrongful Convictions Blog looks at Open Records Policies & Justice

A disturbing case out of Texas once again puts the spotlight on Open Records policies and how critical they are to justice. The case also highlights the perils of allowing jailhouse informants’ words to replace solid evidence. Dennis Lee Allen’s and Stanley Orson Mozee’s murder convictions were overturned last week after the two served 15 years in prison. They were convicted of the 1999 murder of Rev. Jesse Borns, Jr. The convictions were based on Mozee’s unrecorded – and immediately recanted – confession (he claims he was pressured to confess) and the word of two jailhouse informants. No DNA since tested ties either man to the murder.

As Nancy Petro writes on the Wrongful Convictions Blog:
“Law enforcement and prosecutors who have not yet fully supported the practice and spirit of open records should follow the lead of Dallas District Attorney Craig Watkins and others. Providing transparency places them on the side of both truth and history.”

Amen to that.

Wrongful Convictions Blog

Dallas County (TX) District Judge Mark Stoltz issued findings of fact and conclusions of law last week before recommending that the murder convictions of Dennis Lee Allen and Stanley Orson Mozee be overturned. The two men were subsequently released after each had served 15 years in prison. The judge’s findings will now go before the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals for review. ABC News WFAA 8 reported (here) that the two are expected to be exonerated.

Allen and Mozee were convicted of the 1999 murder of Reverend Jesse Borns Jr., who was found stabbed outside his workplace, a retail store. No physical evidence linked the men to the crime. The conviction was won on the unrecorded confession of Mozee — who immediately recanted and claimed he was coerced into signing the police-written statement — and the testimony of two jailhouse informants. The informants denied under oath at trial…

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