Exit to Freedom

Front Cover
University of Georgia Press, 2003 - Political Science - 286 pages
2 Reviews
"With God as my witness, I have been falsely accused of these crimes. I did not commit them. I'm an innocent man." In 1983 Calvin C. Johnson Jr. spoke these words to a judge who later handed down a life sentence for rape and related crimes. Johnson spent sixteen years behind bars before he was freed in 1999 after DNA testing conclusively ruled out the possibility of his guilt.

Exit to Freedom is the unforgettable story of Johnson's unrelenting quest for justice against incredible odds and under circumstances that threatened to shred his dignity and hope. As Johnson recalls his trial and long journey toward freedom through five Georgia prisons, he also speaks candidly about everything from his middle-class childhood in Atlanta to the reasons he came to be a rape suspect to the steadfast support of his family. This is also a story of faith: how Johnson found it in prison and how, he believes, it played a role in his release.

At the point in his prison term when Johnson thought that he had exhausted all avenues of appeal, DNA-based forensics began to make headlines. Eventually his case was taken up by the Innocence Project, the nonprofit legal clinic renowned for overturning convictions through DNA testing of evidence. Years of delay followed, but Johnson eventually became the sixty-first convict to be exonerated with the Innocence Project's help. His is the only first-person account of a wrongful conviction overturned through DNA testing.

However disturbed readers may become by this portrait of a justice system undermined by its own cynicism, Johnson himself feels no bitterness toward his accusers. In a book that offers many lessons about freedom, that may be the most important one of all.

  

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Review: Exit to Freedom

User Review  - Danny - Goodreads

I loved this book on a personal level. I know Calvin and was in some of the same places he was. Reading his story was like reading my own. God bless you Calvin. Buy this book and read it! Read full review

Review: Exit to Freedom

User Review  - Fleshia Campbell - Goodreads

This is a true story and that is what makes it so great. I would love to have an update on how Mr. Johnson is doing. Read full review

Selected pages

Contents

The Swamp
1
The Years of Innocence
18
Innocence Lost
37
Paying the Price
50
Trapped
65
Jury of My Peers
80
The Verdict
103
A Last Chance for Justice
129
Anger
189
Joy
195
DNA the Key to Freedom
205
The Innocence Project
220
Spiritual Growth
227
The Last Judgment
234
Free World
245
Epilogue
262

Care of the Body
134
River State Rebellion
145
The Board of Pardons and Paroles
163
Prison Industry
166
Sex Offenders Program
183
Afterword
269
DNA and the Science of Justice
275
Coauthors Notes and Acknowledgments
283
Copyright

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About the author (2003)

Calvin C. Johnson Jr. lives and works in the Atlanta area. He is on the board of the Georgia Innocence Project. Greg Hampikian is a professor at Boise State University with a joint appointment in the biology and criminal justice departments. He is also director of the Idaho Innocence Project. Barry Scheck is cofounder of the Innocence Project.

 

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