In Bryan Stevenson’s Just Mercy, he writes to illustrate the injustices of the judicial system to its readers. To do so, Stevenson utilizes multiple writing styles that provide variety and helps keep the reader engaged in the topic. Such methods of his include the use of anecdotes from his personal experiences, statistics, and specific facts that apply to cases Stevenson had worked on as well as specific facts that pertain to particular states.
Have you ever had an experience that altered or shifted your understanding of something? Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson examines the experience of Bryan as he fights cases for people on Death Row, including those who have been wrongly imprisoned and/or have a mental illness. Through his interaction with Henry, Marsha, and Jim, Bryan’s level of understanding redemption and hopefulness was altered.
Bryan Stevenson knew the perils of injustice and inequality just as well as his clients on death row. He grew up in a poor, racially segregated area in Delaware and his great-grandparents had been slaves. While he was a law student, he had interned working for clients on death row. He realized that some people were treated unfairly in the judicial system and created the Equal Justice Institute where he began to take on prisoners sentenced to death as clients since many death row prisoners had no legal representation of any kind. In Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson focuses on some of these true stories of injustice, mainly the case of his client, Walter McMillian.
The article forced me to ponder about the existence of unfairness and injustice which inevitably and constantly hinders society because the individual discussed in the article experiences these factors in an unusual and rather extreme circumstance. William Goldman, the author of The Princess’ Bride once rhetorically questioned, “Who says life is fair, where is [this statement] written?”, which summarizes the outcomes of life itself. Humans frequently face adversity throughout daily lives, whether minor challenges or major hurdles; these problems include unretainable lost objects or the death of a beloved individual. To others, injustice may appear judicially and politically; Ivan Henry and David Milgaard were both wrongfully convicted of sexual
When you look out at the world today; it won’t take you long to point out all the tragic and horrific things that are occurring daily which include: terrorism, the current refugee situation, genocide, poverty, and mass murders among many others tragedies. Currently in the world today, people desperately need more love than hate, more compassion than judgment, more grace than harshness, and more justice than inequity. These qualities are important (love, compassion, grace) in order to making a difference in the world today, but I want to focus on justice and how it affects people with disabilities. The online English-Oxford Dictionary defines justice as, “a concern for justice, peace, and genuine respect for people” I do not agree with this definition entirely; I believe the word justice is more accurately defined as, “respect and compassion for all people no matter what situation they are in.”
In Bryan Stevenson’s “Just Mercy,” there is an underlying sense of hope that is seen in spurts through the constant stories of injustice and unfairness that take place. Throughout the book there are multiple people that are wrongly condemned and have to suffer on the dreaded death row. All of the inmates of the row know they will eventually be executed, but only a select few stay positive and give the reader a sense of hope in such a negative situation. Mr. Jenkins is one of those men. The mentally ill man was in and out of foster care as a child, and his terrible experiences lead to more serious brain damage. The trauma lead to him stabbing a man without even knowing it, which brought him to the death row. Not only does he have to deal with
Innocent people who are being condemned have negative effects on them. Being arrested for a crime that they did not commit looks bad on their record. Even though they are not guilty, people “... label them ‘criminal,’ ‘murderer,’ ‘rapist,’ thief,’ ‘drug dealer,’ ‘sex offender,’ [and] ‘felon’...” (Stevenson 15). These labels can not be removed, and people have to live with them for the rest of their life. Those unfamiliar with this school of thought may be interested to know that it basically boils down to not listen to what other says about them; although, it is easy to say than done. The government is doing wrong by disturbing, even destroying in some cases, people’s everyday life. The author wants the help from the Americans, especially lawyers who are willing to help the incapable. They are in the best position to save innocent lives by helping them fight their case in court. This book was also intended to persuade American taxpayers. Essentially, Stevenson wanted the taxpayers to be worried about where their money is going. The government funding for prisons has risen from $6.9 billion in 1980 to nearly $80 billion today; as a result, America now have to face the unprecedented economic crisis (Stevenson 16). The money spent on jail is suppose to be used for public services, education, health , and welfare. This is the reason
Working closely with people placed on death row, incarcerated children and many others; Bryan Stevenson is able to provide some clarity as to how unjust the criminal justice system truly is. Mr. Stevenson graduated from Harvard University Law School and is currently a Professor of Law at the New York University of Law. He is the founder and Executive Director of Equal Justice Initiative, with the help of his team he has been able to successfully “relief or release over 115 wrongly condemned prisoners on death row.” As well as establishing “life-without-parole sentences for all children 17 or younger are constitutional” through various cases handled by the United States Supreme Court. The cruelest of acts are those committed under the false
The Equal Justice Initiative set up by Bryan Stevenson has brought about many changes to the court system and the lives of many people. Stevenson has represented many different people, the majority of which were on death row for unjust reasons. Herbert Richardson, a Vietnam veteran with mental disabilities, was sentenced to death row after a bomb he made accidentally went off killing a child. Another man named Avery Jenkins, a man born with mental disabilities, stabbed a man to death believing the man was a demon trying to kill Avery. Although these cases have similarities and differences, they both show how flawed the judicial system is. Bryan Stevenson seeks to bring justice to those who have been wrongfully convicted due to their race and
Prison reform has been an ongoing topic in the history of America, and has gone through many changes in America's past. Mixed feelings have been persevered on the status of implementing these prison reform programs, with little getting done, and whether it is the right thing to do to help those who have committed a crime. Many criminal justice experts have viewed imprisonment as a way to improve oneself and maintain that people in prison come out changed for the better (encyclopedia.com, 2007). In the colonial days, American prisons were utilized to brutally punish individuals, creating a gruesome experience for the prisoners in an attempt to make them rectify their behavior and fear a return to prison (encyclopedia.com, 2007). This practice may have worked 200 years ago, but as the world has grown more complex, time has proven that fear alone does not prevent recidivism. In the 19th century, Dorothea Dix, a women reformer and American activist, began lobbying for some of the first prison reform movements.
The book Just Mercy written by Bryan Stevenson focuses and discusses justice and redemption. This book discusses the author’s life and how Stevenson grew up in a poor and racially segregated neighborhood in Delaware. The settlement he grew up in was very small and most families suffered from lack of water, indoor plumbing, and chickens and pigs surrounded their play space. Stevenson attended college in Pennsylvania and perused a degree in Public Policy. This book is about getting a better understanding of mass incarceration and cruel punishment in America. The author describes how people are easily condemned in our justice system and how we allow fear and anger to control our perceptions and actions towards others. Stevenson is an attorney who runs a project called “The Equal Justice Initiative”,
On May 21, 1924 Bobby Franks is abducted, and stabbed in the head several times with a chisel. It is the result of seven months of planning a “perfect crime” by nineteen year old Nathan Leopold and eighteen year old Richard Loeb (Leopold and Loeb). These young men were represented in court by Mr. Clarence Darrow, a distinguished attorney known for only losing one out of over a hundred death penalty cases (Clarence Darrow). Fittingly, Leopold and Loeb were facing capital punishment. In Darrow’s closing argument he gives his famed “A Plea for Mercy” to the judge. This plea not only acted as a conclusion to his defense, but it also acted as an introduction the eradication of the death penalty. Darrow uses a mix of ethos, pathos, logos, and other rhetorical devices to impose a merciful effect on his audience in hopes to reduce his clients punishment and the use of capital punishment.
The search for justice is never ending. Justice may be delayed, denied, or postponed, however, the search is timeless. To be just is to argue for fair rights for all. It is to be someone that will help the people of the community. However, many times justice is not sought and not given to those who need it most. In the play Antigone by Sophocles, he demonstrates the many ways an unjust leader can overpower those who fight for what is right (Adams 1). In Antigone’s case, she fought for the just treatment of her brother in his afterlife and for giving him a proper burial. In her fight for justice, Antigone exhibits strong beliefs of fairness to her community regarding family, rights and morality in her battle against a seemingly unjust leader, Kreon.
Justice is an underlying idea that humans revolve around. It is our sole concept that constructs how we think and behave. Justice creates morals and therefore how we judge those around us. If we didn’t have justice, our society would be in chaos and completely unruly. When identifying what is just, there are quite a few traits that can be clearly spotted. Most important of those, is determination. Justice would never prevail and come to light if it was not the most persistent concept around. In Sophocles’ Antigone, the title characters continued determination moves her to do what she thinks is just in the face of death.
The Eumenides confronts two contradictory perspectives: the Furies of the ancient order against Apollo of the young generation of Gods. Aeschylus introduces spiritual conflict within the human and universal realms. There is a lack of understanding of justice within the individual, producing an interrelational struggle amongst citizens, and resulting to the incomplete human identity in correspondence to their community. The justice system conquers upon an arbitrary verdict, providing little insight of the positions of good or evil. Aeschylus, through Athena, offers a compromise between two opposing radical ideas, balancing the neutrality of logic and sentiment within the individual, to strengthen unity of a society, and to stimulate the transcendance of humanity.