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The Sing Sing Files by Dan Slepian
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The Sing Sing Files

One Journalist, Six Innocent Men, and a Twenty-Year Fight for Justice

$20.99

Available for pre-order
September 03, 2024

Narrator Daniel Slepian

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Length TBA
Language English
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An NBC Dateline producer's cinematic account of his two-decade journey navigating the broken criminal justice system to help free six innocent men

In 2002, Dan Slepian, a veteran producer for NBC’s Dateline, received a tip
from a Bronx homicide detective that two men were serving twenty-five years
to life in prison for a 1990 murder they did not commit.

Haunted by what the detective had told him, Slepian began an investigation
of the case that eventually resulted in freedom for the two men and launched
Slepian on a two-decade personal and professional journey into a deeply
flawed justice system fiercely resistant to rectifying—or even acknowledging—
its mistakes and their consequences.

The Sing Sing Files: One Journalist, Six Innocent Men, and a Twenty-Year
Fight for Justice is Slepian’s account of challenging that system. The story
follows Slepian on years of prison visits, court hearings, and street reporting
that led to a series of powerful Dateline episodes and eventually to freedom
for four other men and to an especially deep and lasting friendship with one of
them, Jon-Adrian “JJ” Velazquez. From his cell in Sing Sing, JJ aided Slepian
in his investigations until his own release in 2021 after decades in prison.

Like Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy, The Sing Sing Files is a deeply personal
account of wrongful imprisonment and the flaws in our justice system, and a
powerful argument for reckoning and accountability. Slepian’s extraordinary
book, at once painful and full of hope, shines a light on an injustice whose
impact the nation has only begun to confront.

Dan Slepian is an award-winning journalist at NBC News and a veteran producer of its signature newsmagazine, Dateline. Over more than two decades at NBC, Slepian has spearheaded dozens of documentaries and hidden-camera investigations, and is known for his in-depth reporting about the criminal legal system and, specifically, wrongful convictions. He has received three Edward R. Murrow Awards, more than a dozen Emmys, and has been recognized by multiple justice organizations across the country. Slepian was the host of Letters from Sing Sing, a podcast that was #1 on Apple's true crime charts and a finalist for the 2024 Pulitzer Prize in audio reporting.

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Reviews

"Dan Slepian has written a book that is as informative as it is enraging. In these gripping case studies of innocent men wrongfully convicted, you learn how and why the truth often does not prevail in the American justice system. You also get a glimpse of the strength of the human spirit and of heroic efforts to right these wrongs. The stories are inspiring and so is the author. He has spent a career 'given the buried voice sound,' as one incarcerated man put it. This volume is on full blast with this tour-de-force. This is a must-read for anyone who cares about criminal justice, mass incarceration, or humanity."
—Rachel Barkow, author of Prisoners of Politics: Breaking the Cycle of Mass Incarceration and Professor at NYU, School of Law

"This passionate, gripping, and moving chronicle of a skeptical journalist’s twenty year journey investigating injustice leads him, remarkably, to six innocent men, close friends, and a nuanced understanding of the humanity, resilience, and limitless potential of those we imprison, guilty or innocent. Dan Slepian’s engrossing insider’s narrative lays bare the infuriating incapacity and willful blindness of New York prosecutors, police, defense lawyers, and judges to recognize and correct wrongful convictions. The Sing Sing Files is a vitally important book that inspires hope that we can and will do better."
—Barry Scheck, Co-Founder and Special Counsel, the Innocence Project

“While recounting his heroic efforts to free six wrongfully convicted men,
Dan Slepian uncovers the tremendous obstacles to truth and justice that plague our
criminal legal system. He shows that the problems are both systemic and personal, as
institutions and actors protect their own reputations rather than fix the egregious mistakes and wrongdoings that have ruined the lives of countless people and their
families. The Sing Sing Files should inspire readers to create a new generation of
leaders who will genuinely pursue justice.”
—Marc Howard, director of the Prisons and Justice Initiative at Georgetown
University


“Twenty years, hundreds of visits to prison, thousands of hours investigating
to fight for a few men’s freedom. Dan Slepian’s uncommon determination,
willingness to believe, and refusal to look away leaps from these spellbinding pages.
But is the miracle of Slepian’s obsessiveness required to unmask the brute force of the
criminal justice system’s machinery, the moral corruption, and the malign negligence
that often lubricates it?

I am grateful to Slepian for bearing witness, but I am also shocked and
enraged by the story he tells. I would—as I know he would—trade this Olympian
effort for one in which thousands of others activate to fight not just for the innocent,
but for all the souls who are unnecessarily ground down by what we call the criminal
justice system. For those who yearn to be part of this army, this is required reading.”
—Nicholas Turner, president and director of the Vera Institute of Justice

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