"Picking Cotton," the best-selling new book by Jennifer Thompson-Cannino and Ronald Cotton, has raised the level of conversation across America about wrongful convictions and eyewitness misidentification. Today, the Innocence Project announced a chance to win a signed copy of the book –
make an online donation before April 30 and you’ll have a chance to win
"Picking Cotton" tells the story of the horrible circumstances under which Thompson-Cannino and Cotton met, and the extraordinary path that brought them together again to work for criminal justice reform. Thompson-Cannino was raped in her home in 1984, and she identified Cotton in a photo lineup – and then a live lineup and at trial – as the perpetrator. He was convicted of the crime and sentenced to life in prison.
Eleven years later. Thompson-Cannino got a knock on her door. Police officers told her DNA testing has been conducted in Cotton’s case and had proven him innocent and implicated the real perpetrator, a man named Bobby Poole. She was shocked at first, but soon came to realize that eyewitness misidentifications aren’t at all uncommon.
Cotton was exonerated and released, and today the two are close friends. They travel around the country working to raise awareness of wrongful convictions and criminal justice reforms – especially to eyewitness identification procedures – that can prevent future injustice. Their story shows how eyewitnesses testimony can lead to wrongful convictions and it makes the case for simple changes to identification procedures that are proven to decrease inaccurate identifications.