Lew's AUTHOR BLOG

* Lew’s review of JUST MERCY by Bryan Stevenson

Posted by Lew Weinstein on March 20, 2016

just mercy + 2

***

JUST MERCY is a ringing denunciation of the way prosecutors, police officers and judges conspire to get convictions without having the evidence.

How do they do this? They cheat.

They make up evidence. They create and intimidate witnesses by threats and bribes. They hide exculpatory evidence they are required by law to give to the defense attorney.

These public officials are a disgrace to American law enforcement and they are almost never punished for their behavior, even when those they wrongly sent to prison are released 10, 20 or more years later, their lives ruined.

Bryan Stevenson writes as well as the top mystery novelists, except his stories are true. He is the executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama. (http://www.eji.org/) which works to help correct the horrors of children sent to prison without possibility of parole, people on death row whose convictions are a travesty of justice, and minorities who do not get anything close to fair and equal treatment. The book presents examples of each of these kinds of cases. Stevenson’s cases take place in the south, but the problems he describes are found everywhere in America. Meeting these people will make you cry. It could happen to you.

I have studied and written about these matters in my novel A Good Conviction. John Grisham’s Rogue Lawyer covers much of the same territory. Our fiction is based on real cases, but Bryan Stevenson gives it to you straight, from real life, recent cases, still happening.

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