“I’m Holding the System Accountable:” Marvin Cotton Jr. Speaks on Wrongful Conviction, Exoneration   

Marvin Cotton Jr.’s “Better Not Broken” details his wrongful imprisonment and eventual exoneration. 


“Let me show you how to overcome pain and leverage life’s opportunities. Be great, be strong, be better, not broken.”  

Author Marvin Cotton Jr. is a walking testimony with a story to tell, which he tells others every chance he gets.  

After being falsely accused of murder, prosecuted and wrongfully convicted, the local resident (who spent 19 years behind bars) is taking his experiences into the next chapter of his life, literally.  

In Cotton’s newest book, “Better Not Broken,” (an Amazon best-selling book) the author speaks about his imprisonment journey.  

“I did 19 years, seven months, and 12 days in prison for a crime I didn’t commit. I was able to prove my innocence and was eventually exonerated. Most people say, ‘I could never do 20 years.’ Well, my ‘Better Not Broken’ book is how I survived, thrived and became better in the process,” Cotton said. “Although this book is centered around my lived experience of suffering through a wrongful conviction and a natural life sentence without the possibility of parole that I had, I wrote it in a way where everyone can use it to overcome whatever they are going through. It’s a self-help book with an autobiography feel.”   

His book is described as an interactive, self-help blueprint specially curated for those who are determined to improve their lives and choose to:  

  • Stay optimistic when their life has been shattered by lies.  
  • Learn who to trust when life’s challenges are designed to crush you.  
  • Understand how to activate the tools to reset emotional intelligence and discipline after trauma.  


Since his release, Cotton has become an advocate for other innocent people released and those that are still incarcerated.  

“I co-founded a nonprofit, Organization of Exonerees, that focuses on wrap-around services for newly released exonerees and we travel the country to advocate for policy and law changes that would protect innocent people from being convicted of crimes they didn’t do, and to provide for them after a wrongful conviction,” he said.  

Cotton also put “action behind” his advocacy work, and he ran for Michigan State Representative in the 11th House District in 2022. While he didn’t win the momentum is still behind the message.   

“I hoped to use the pen to push some much-needed legislation and to encourage people that the criminal justice system has directly impacted to get involved,” Cotton said.   

Cotton’s case was reopened in 2018 by the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office Conviction Integrity Unit.   

“They re-investigated and when they had enough to overturn my wrongful conviction, they did,” he told the Michigan Chronicle.  

Michigan Liberation, a non-profit organization, previously endorsed Cotton among others during last year’s primary election based on his commitment to end cash bail, advocate for racial, social and economic justice and fight for those currently incarcerated and those impacted by mass incarceration.  

Michigan Liberation is a nonprofit organization that works to end mass incarceration and mass policing through campaigns and the leadership development of those directly impacted by the criminal legal system. The organization was formed in 2018 and conducted grassroots organizing, lobbying, and supporting candidates that share their vision for the state of Michigan.   

Michigan Liberation is organizing to end the criminalization of Black families and communities of color in Michigan.   

“We envision a transformation of our criminal justice system that will no longer produce mass incarceration or mass policing,” the organization states.  

For more information visit amazon.com and search “Better Not Broken.”  



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