The book that I selected is called “Getting Life” by Michael Morton, who is a man that was wrongfully convicted of killing his wife in Texas in 1986. This book takes us from a happy young couple to the day of the murder, through the investigation into his wife’s murder, Michael’s trial and conviction, 25 years in prison, appeals, release from prison, and reintegration into society. One unique fact about this case is that is the first case where the prosecutor in a wrongful conviction case was subsequently convicted of prosecutorial misconduct, stripped of their law license and sentenced to serve time in jail.
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.
Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption. By Bryan Stevenson. Spiegel & Grau, 2015. Pp. 368.
There are many victims of unfortunate circumstances in the world today, yet some of these results could have been easily avoided. In the novel, Just Mercy, the author Bryan Stevenson addresses many cases in which children under the age of 18 are incarcerated within the adult criminal justice system. By treating children as adults in the criminal justice system their innocence and undeveloped person, become criminalized. These children become dehumanized and only viewed as full-fledged criminals and as a result society offers no chance sympathy towards them. Stevenson argues that children tried as adults have become damaged and traumatized by this system of injustice. His claim that children should not be tried as adults is agreeable because
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.
I am 21 and for as long as I can remember I have heard many stories about innocent people being accused of and being punished for crimes they did not commit. On Monday, March 20th of this year, I met Anthony Ray Hinton and learned about his story. Arrested on suspicion of two capital murders at age 29. He was convicted and sentenced to death despite having a reliable alibi and passing a polygraph test. It was only after repeated efforts by the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI) team that the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously overturned his conviction based on his attorney’s deficient representation and he was eventually exonerated after 30 years in solitary confinement on Friday, April 3rd, 2015.
Although she ended up spending months in jail, the arguments against her conviction on the legal terms of a change in jury member were not only heard out, but accepted, resulting in her freedom. (122). Although she faced unideal consequences under the law, as the jail time and fear of execution were certainly detrimental, they were far less severe than those that would have been expected. Compared to other women accused in other areas, Disborough’s legal consequences were notably light. She did, however, face more harsh consequences from her peers and fellow citizens. Regardless of legal acquittals, the public opinion is not easily changed, and so even after attaining freedom, Mercy Disborough found herself facing consequences from the people of Connecticut, including defamation by James Redfin (127). Such attacks, however, were conquerable through the law yet again and still paled in comparison to what could have befell Disborough in a less careful legal
“There is a strength, a power even, in understanding brokenness, because embracing our brokenness creates a need and desire for mercy, and perhaps a corresponding need to show mercy (Stevenson 109) .” This bold statement is one of many as Bryan Stevenson sets the tone for his renowned award winning novel Just Mercy. As a young lawyer from Georgia, built the foundation for his company, SPDC (Southern Prisoners Defense Committee) to help convicts that are on death row or in need a second chance. Bryan Stevenson, a young lawyer from Georgia who fought for justice on the behalf of inmates on death row, showed tremendous intelligence in becoming a successful lawyer, demanding for not backing down in moments of refusal, and was an overall advocate
In Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson concludes “the opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice,” and by this he means that when there is no justice, most people will live in poverty, despair, and fear. Despair is the complete loss of all hope, and each of these characters felt that feeling. Bryan Stevenson was stopped and searched by the police, and he was full of fear because one officer had pulled a gun on him. Fear, Police rely on fear to break the law and do as they wish, because they know a majority of people are scared to go against the police. In chapter 3, Walter McMillian was in jail awaiting his trial and eventual execution, this alone drove him into a pit of despair. Walter didn 't get justice, and in prison
Being just in the American criminal justice system is a topic that is highly debated. Some believe the system is just, while others believe it is a flawed. The truth however, is that humans are not always right. God is the only who can practice justice in complete perfection, because humans are not perfect. Although many people in the American criminal justice system have good intentions, sadly that does not necessarily mean they are always just. The American criminal justice system tries to be truly just and has been before, but humans are not perfect and cannot always be truly just.
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
In The Farm: Angola, documentary filmmakers Jonathan Stack and Liz Garbus follow the lives of six prisoners in a maximum-security state penitentiary in Louisiana. Known as 'The Farm ' because it has fertile soil for crops and was once a former plantation where slaves worked its 18,000 acres-slaves from Angola, Africa. Of the six prisoners mentioned in the film, I felt the most compassion for Eugene ‘Bishop’ Tannehill, an elderly inmate who preaches eternal salvation as he awaits a parole that never comes. I also felt the least compassion for Vincent Simmons, accused of raping two women, but he says he didn 't commit the crimes. Later down the road, Wilbert Rideau lectured as the advocate for the reform of the criminal justice system and against the death penalty.
It would be nice to be able to choose where we die, how we die, and why we die. Now we can with assisted suicide, but not all agree on the terms that come with this subject. Many agree that aid-in-dying should be available to those suffering from a terminal illness, but is this process of assisted suicide constitutional? Aid-in-Dying should not be practiced in hospitals because it has a negative effect on others and their families.
“Thirty years ago, prosecution seemed deemed to take my life from me. They didn’t just take me from my family and friends. They had every intention of prosecuting me for something I didn’t do.” –Anthony Ray Hinton. On October 12, 2016 I attended a speech by Anthony Ray Hinton at the Johnson Fine Arts Center on Northern State University’s Campus in Aberdeen, SD. Anthony Hinton spoke to us about his time on death row, and the events leading up to arrest, conviction, and being exonerated. He was there to inform us on his experience and the injustice that can come with the death penalty. This eventually leads to him trying to persuade the audience to take action to get rid of the death penalty. As a strong believer of the death penalty, Hinton’s
Twenty-seven stab wounds. A gunshot to the face. Throat slashed from ear to ear. These are not examples of multiple murders, but rather the gruesome details of Travis Alexander’s death (Archer, 2013). Jodi Arias, charged with his murder, consistently lied throughout the ordeal, changing her story three different times and demonstrating a history of deceiving people on even the smallest of details (Archer, 2014). To some, Arias came across as a manipulative psycho, while to others, she was a bit more understandable as a scorned and potentially abused lover. Because of these complications, the jury relied heavily on the expert testimony of two forensic psychologists to explain the facts behind the deception (Perrotti, 2012). Forensic psychology,