By: Bryan Stevenson
So in all honesty I was just going to wait for the movie on this one. Because important subject and Michael B. Jordan but then Twitter had a Twitter-Tantrum only this time it was big time authors acting up and I decided to give Just Mercy- one of the books sort of involved, a read.
Bryan Stevenson founded the Equal Justice Initiative while one of its main causes was to provide legal counsel to death row inmates its branched out over the decades to deal with all kinds of important issues relating to our criminal justice system.
Including juvenile punishments, race and poverty discrimination in the justice system, and disabled defendants amongst other things.
While the movie trailer concentrates on the Walter McMillian
case frame job and the book does deal with that a great deal including Stevenson’s on-going friendship with the man there’s a lot of stuff in here that I feel just by nature is going to be missed in the movie.
Some of these cases McMillian’s included are so shocking that it makes you question whether Alabama (in the main case) should even have its own criminal courts- although Stevenson does wind up talking about cases he represented all over the country. Just Mercy does make you think a lot about our system of trial and punishment and what it says about us and our country.
Although I have to say Stevenson is definitely an excellent passionate defense attorney. Walter McMillian was not just wrongly convicted he was purposefully framed and I have to ask myself why we couldn’t punish the people in power who did so. Some of them were still in power when this book was written decades after they screwed Walter over. There were other cases where try as Mr. Stevenson did I could not really feel any sorrow for the defendant; i.e. the war veteran who blew up a twelve-year old girl and maimed another for life because he planted a bomb in an attempt to scare his ex-girlfriend into coming back to him.
I’ve always said that, leaving all the outside forces out of it, I consider myself a victims rights person, for personal reasons. But you can’t leave those other things out of the equation it’s not a balanced system. So where do we go from there?
Anyway I’ve rambled a ton in order to say there’s a lot to think about and a lot of worthy discussion in Just Mercy and I feel like I learned a lot. I’m very glad I picked it up and gave it a read.