Kalief's background, from his mother's poverty to his felony conviction for joyriding, works against him during a fateful deposition.
Refusing to plead guilty, Kalief endures the brutality of Rikers Island's adolescent unit, including repeated abuse by the prison's corrupt officers.
Kalief's mental state begins to deteriorate as multiple trial delays by the prosecution force him to spend months in solitary confinement at Rikers.
Shoddy police work and the prosecutors' inability to locate the main witness leave Kalief facing more agonizing delays.
Following his release, Kalief struggles psychologically to reintegrate, even as he files a lawsuit against the city and becomes a media sensation.
Though grief-stricken and in poor health, Kalief's mother fights for justice, while city officials attempt damage control as the civil case proceeds.