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Monday, March 5, 2012

Anatomy of Injustice

Anatomy of Injustice: A Murder Case Gone Wrong by Pulitzer Prize-winning Raymond Bonner who is sure to be considered for yet another with this glorious piece of work.

Anatomy investigates in depth the case of Edward Elmore, a man convicted of and sentenced to death for the rape and murder of an elderly woman in 1982.  The only problem is he didn't do the crime, but once a person has been convicted and sentenced to death it is near impossible to overturn the verdict even with physical evidence proving innocence.  This piece takes us through the crime, the conviction, and the years of appeals by Elmore's lawyers to just simply get him off death row--and to prove his innocence.

I could not put this book down.  It is no secret that I am wary of the death penalty for many reasons, and I thought this book would educate me further on the process of appeals.  It did more than that--it angered me and it roused my sense of injustice to a point where I want to go to law school and fight this myself.  Bonner has clearly spent a great deal of time researching this case and putting his heart and soul into this book, and it shows in the detail and in the arguments.  He doesn't argue against the fact that most people on death row are, in fact, guilty of their crimes--however, there are those on death row who never got a fair chance to begin with.  Elmore, being black and intellectually slow and one who wishes to please, didn't have a chance in court against a small Southern town and judges who need to get reelected.

I think you need to read this book--and you, and you, and you, and you.  Bonner's argument against the death penalty is not that there are men and women who don't deserve, but rather that we are humans who are flawed and therefore can't justifiably administer this punishment without bias and with a clear head.  Read it for yourself and make your own judgment--and let's chat.  Because this is a book that requires a coffee date and in-depth discussion late into the evening.

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