1. The novel opens showing Cell Block D of the Manhattan Detention Center with Steve Harmon on a cot listening to the sounds of the cell block at night. He is obviously very scared.
2. Steve talks to his attorney, Kathy O'Brien, about the case. He asks her if they are going to win and she replies that it all depends on his definition of win.
3. Petrocelli (the prosecutor), O'Brien (Steve's lawyer), and Asa Briggs (King's attorney) all give their opening statements.
4. Petrocelli begins with the defense of the trial- calling Jose Delgado, Salvatore Zinzi, Wendell Bolden, Detective Karyl, Osvaldo Cruz, Dr. James Moody, Lorelle Henry, and Richard "Bobo" Evans as witnesses for the state.
5. All defense lawyers cross-examine the witnesses called by the state prosecutor.
6. Asa Briggs begins her defense. She calls two witnesses: Dorothy Moore and George Nipping.
7. Both Petrocelli and O'Brien cross examine King's defense witnesses.
8. O'Brien calls Steve and his art teacher, Mr. Sawaski. They are both cross-examined by the other lawyers.
9. Throughout the novel, Steve questions himself as a person and a "monster".
10. Limited perspectives of those around him are given showing the lack of apathy for those on trial.
11. Steve has flashbacks to his life before the trial- time with friends, a conversation with King, and a moment with his brother where they talk about superheros.
12. The lawyers present their closing statements trying to persuade the jury to find the men either innocent of guilty based upon specific side.
13. Steve admits that the night before the verdict is given, he cannot sleep. He thinks that if he closes his eyes he will die.
14. James King is found guilty and sentenced to 25 years to life.
15. Steve Harmon is found innocent, his lawyer turns away from him when he goes to hug her, his father moves away, and Steve is left with the search to find out who he really is.