'Ghost Of The Innocent Man' Chronicles Justice Too Long Delayed

Benjamin Rachlin's crisply-written new book tells the story of Willie Grimes, who spent 24 years in prison for a crime he didn't commit — and the tortuous legal struggle that eventually freed him.

Martha Anne Toll is the Executive Director of the Butler Family Fund; her writing is at

Innocence cases spotlight the many corruptions of our justice system: Mistakes beget mistakes — some intentional, some not. An epic bureaucracy protects a deeply flawed system. Thousands are wrongfully convicted. The National Registry of Exonerations calculates that over 18,000 years have been lost by innocent people serving time.

How totackles this challenge through the case of Willie J. Grimes. A crisply written page turner, Rachlin's book reports from two perspectives: Grimes' personal tragedy, and the story of North Carolina's criminal justice system sluggishly lumbering toward the acknowledgment that innocent people might be incarcerated.

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