Picking Cotton: Our Memoir of Injustice and Redemption

Registered by wingAceofHeartswing of Mississauga, Ontario Canada on 3/23/2009
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3 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by wingAceofHeartswing from Mississauga, Ontario Canada on Monday, March 23, 2009
Amazon Editorial Review:

Jennifer Thompson was raped at knifepoint by a man who broke into her apartment while she slept. She was able to escape, and eventually positively identified Ronald Cotton as her attacker. Ronald insisted that she was mistaken-- but Jennifer's positive identification was the compelling evidence that put him behind bars. After eleven years, Ronald was allowed to take a DNA test that proved his innocence. He was released, after serving more than a decade in prison for a crime he never committed. Two years later, Jennifer and Ronald met face to face-- and forged an unlikely friendship that changed both of their lives.

In their own words, Jennifer and Ronald unfold the harrowing details of their tragedy, and challenge our ideas of memory and judgment while demonstrating the profound nature of human grace and the healing power of forgiveness.

Journal Entry 2 by wingAceofHeartswing from Mississauga, Ontario Canada on Sunday, March 29, 2009
Jennifer Thompson was a senior in college planning to get married when the unthinkable happened. One evening a man broke into her apartment and raped her at knifepoint. Jennifer memorized his face and her quick thinking allowed her to escape. She was able to come up with a composite drawing with the police and later was able to pick out Ronald Cotton in a lineup. Her testimony put him away in jail for a life sentence. A later re-trial would give Ronald two life sentences.

After eleven years Cotton was allowed to take a DNA test which cleared him. Under overwhelming evidence, the perpetrator eventually confessed.

Two years later Jennifer met Ronald and forged a friendship. This may all seem like a great plot for a fiction book but this is an amazingly true story.

Jennifer and Ronald come together to tell their sides of the story. Jennifer's account shows how frail eyewitness accounts can be. She was totally convinced she had the right man. The justice system unfortunately does have flaws and Jennifer and Ronald are aiming to fix some of them. Jennifer's account also shows how hard it is to find 'closure'. Even though the trial is done, there are appeals and appeals and it never goes away.

This book is about faith and forgiveness. Ronald had faith he would be found innocent and his forgiveness of Jennifer is uplifting and touching. He does speak about his initial rage but he overcomes this and never loses hope. I was amazed by the forgiveness by Ronald. He is an unbelievable person. Both Ronald and Jennifer speak of being the victims of the perpetrator. Jennifer and Ronald show us all what human grace is all about.

Journal Entry 3 by HoserLauren from Burlington, Ontario Canada on Sunday, April 12, 2009
Reading now!

Journal Entry 4 by HoserLauren from Burlington, Ontario Canada on Friday, April 17, 2009
When Jennifer Thompson woke up to find a stranger in her house and realized that this man was going to rape her, she promised herself that she was going to survive and do everything she could to catch this guy. She memorized his face and all his features before making a run for it. She identified Ronald Cotton as her rapist in both a photo and physical line up. Ronald Cotton was put in jail for his crimes. Except, Ronald Cotton was not the man that committed the crime. While Ronald Cotton was in jail, he learned that a man named Bobby Poole was confessing to the crime in jail, so Cotton tried to get this submitted to a judge to overturn his conviction. Instead, he got another rape charge tacked onto his sentence. Cotton spent 11 years in jail before DNA finally proved his innocence. He was let out of jail and tried to get on with his life. Meanwhile, Jennifer was consumed by guilt.

The story is told from both Jennifer and Ronald's perspective and portrays an extremely wide array of emotions. It also opens your eyes to the fallacies of eye witness testimonies and shows you how biased lineup picks can be. Our memories are not concrete, we can shape them around what we think/want them to be. This is an amazing story and reads very quickly, partially because the writing is so simplistic (I believe this detracts from the book a bit), and partially because it is such a captivating story. Hopefully some of the changes that have been made to how lineups are conducted in North Carolina will become common practice in all states and provinces.

Journal Entry 5 by wingAceofHeartswing from Mississauga, Ontario Canada on Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Mailed today to VeganMedusa who won this in a NF swap

Journal Entry 6 by VeganMedusa from Invercargill, Southland New Zealand on Wednesday, April 14, 2010
Thanks Ace!

Journal Entry 7 by VeganMedusa at Invercargill, Southland New Zealand on Thursday, June 14, 2018

Released 11 mos ago (6/14/2018 UTC) at Invercargill, Southland New Zealand


I read this in a day because I couldn't put it down (feel so stupid leaving it on the shelf for so long, but oh well). A harrowing read at times, but ultimately I'll remember it as a heartwarming and inspiring story. For such a young guy, Cotton had such a mature and wise approach to his imprisonment. Not many people would be able to let go of anger at the world for what he went through. And similarly, not many people would have been able to forgive themselves for what she mistakenly put him through.

I'm now passing this on to a friend.

Released 9 mos ago (8/7/2018 UTC) at Library Cancelled Bookshelves in Invercargill, Southland New Zealand


Returned by my friend, now released at the library.

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