Andrew Fleischman is a salaried appellate lawyer with Ross & Pines in Atlanta—which handles criminal defense, personal injury and immigration law. But the firm gave him the time off to sign on as pro bono counsel with the defense team for a murder retrial that, as it turned out, never took place.

The story includes years of work by public defenders, innocence project lawyers and medical experts. But the final drama turned on long phone calls between the lawyers and a new district attorney.