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University of Iowa News Release


Oct. 13, 2008

Lawyer of man falsely accused of murder will speak at UI Oct. 20

Jovan Mosley walked away to avoid a gang fight that resulted in a brutal murder. But six months later, he was accused of killing the victim, coerced into a confession and tossed into Chicago's most dangerous prison, SuperMax.

His police file disappeared, and Mosley sat in a holding cell awaiting trial for six years until two attorneys discovered his plight and agreed to defend him for free.

Now one of the attorneys, Laura Caldwell, is writing a book about the experience and visiting the University of Iowa to tell their story. She will speak at the UI at 4 p.m. Monday, Oct. 20 in the Gerber Lounge, Room 304 English Philosophy Building. The free, public talk is sponsored by the Nonfiction Writing Program, part of the Department of English in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

When she took the case, Caldwell, an alumna of the UI Department of Communication Studies, had traded in her legal career to write. Research for a book led her to Mosley, and she realized she was the last hope of an innocent man failed by the legal system. As a former civil litigator specializing in medical malpractice defense and entertainment law, she'd never worked in a criminal courtroom. She accepted the death penalty case anyway.

The book, "Unlikely" will be published by Simon and Schuster. It details an unlikely friendship between an affluent 30-something white woman from Chicago's Northside and an underprivileged 20-something black man from city's worst neighborhood. Part legal thriller, part memoir, the book follows the tumultuous trial, which started with an empty courtroom but ended with a not guilty verdict read to a standing-room-only crowd. It describes the personal sacrifices the attorneys made to deliver a defense that saved their young client's life.

Caldwell is a distinguished scholar in residence at Loyola Law School whose writing has been published in 10 languages and over 20 countries. She is the author of "Burning the Map," selected by Barnes & as one of The Best of 2002, and "A Clean Slate," which received a starred review from Booklist. She began publishing suspense novels in 2005, receiving critical acclaim for her debut mystery "Look Closely," and "The Rome Affair," the novel that pulled her into the Mosley case. Her latest thriller is "The Good Liar."

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