Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption

Epub ➞ Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption Author Bryan Stevenson – Johndore.co.uk
  • Hardcover
  • 336 pages
  • Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption
  • Bryan Stevenson
  • English
  • 14 December 2018
  • 0812994523

About the Author: Bryan Stevenson

Librarian Note There isthan one author in the Goodreads database with this name.Bryan Stevenson is the executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama, and a professor of law at New York University Law School He has won relief for dozens of condemned prisoners, argued five times before the Supreme Court, and won national acclaim for his work challenging bias against the poor and people of color He has received numerous awards, including the MacArthur Foundation Genius Grant.


Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and RedemptionA Powerful True Story About The Potential For Mercy To Redeem Us, And A Clarion Call To Fix Our Broken System Of Justice From One Of The Most Brilliant And Influential Lawyers Of Our Time Bryan Stevenson Was A Young Lawyer When He Founded The Equal Justice Initiative, A Legal Practice Dedicated To Defending Those Most Desperate And In Need The Poor, The Wrongly Condemned, And Women And Children Trapped In The Farthest Reaches Of Our Criminal Justice System One Of His First Cases Was That Of Walter McMillian, A Young Man Who Was Sentenced To Die For A Notorious Murder He Insisted He Didn T Commit The Case Drew Bryan Into A Tangle Of Conspiracy, Political Machination, And Legal Brinksmanship And Transformed His Understanding Of Mercy And Justice Forever Just Mercy Is At Once An Unforgettable Account Of An Idealistic, Gifted Young Lawyer S Coming Of Age, A Moving Window Into The Lives Of Those He Has Defended, And An Inspiring Argument For Compassion In The Pursuit Of True Justice

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10 thoughts on “Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption

  1. John Grisham says:

    Not since Atticus Finch has a fearless and committed lawyer made such a difference in the American South Though larger than life, Atticus exists only in fiction Bryan Stevenson, however, is very much alive and doing God s work fighting for the poor, the oppressed, the voiceless, the vulnerable, the outcast, and those with no hope Just Mercy is his inspiring and powerful story.

  2. Jennifer Masterson says:

    Re read This time via audio Bryan Stevenson is in the Netflix documentary the 13th I just watched it I highly recommend it I m late to the party so there is not much for me to say about this book that has not already been said What I will say is that This is a Very Important Book If you have not read it you must It should be required reading for high school I had no idea the injustice that occurred in this country when it came to death row I live in a state in which the death penalty Re read This time via audio Bryan Stevenson is in the Netflix documentary the 13th I just watched it I highly recommend it I m late to the party so there is not much for me to say about this book that has not already been said What I will say is that This is a Very Important Book If you have not read it you must It should be required reading for high school I had no idea the injustice that occurred in this country when it came to death row I live in a state in which the death penalty was abolished I still can t get it out of my head that a judge in Alabama can override a jury s verdict for life in prison to a death sentence to this very day Bryan Stevenson is an incredible man for all that he has done for death row inmates They are making this into a movie I m so glad they are Put it at the very very top of your to read list It s that important

  3. Elyse Walters says:

    UPDATE.I just stepped out of the theater seeing this film It s absolutely extraordinary Incredible I can t recommend it highly enough I hope it wins best picture of the year Best actors Best everything Bring Kleenex HONESTLYit was DEEPLY POWERFUL We must reform a system of criminal justice that continues to treat people better if they are rich and guilty than if they are poor and innocent Capital murder requires an intent to kill, and there was a persuasive argume UPDATE.I just stepped out of the theater seeing this film It s absolutely extraordinary Incredible I can t recommend it highly enough I hope it wins best picture of the year Best actors Best everything Bring Kleenex HONESTLYit was DEEPLY POWERFUL We must reform a system of criminal justice that continues to treat people better if they are rich and guilty than if they are poor and innocent Capital murder requires an intent to kill, and there was a persuasive argument that there was no intent to kill in this case and that poor healthcare had caused the victims death Most gunshot victims don t die after nine months, and it was surprising that the state was seeking the death penalty in this case INJUSTICE Bryan Stevenson s book JUST MERCY A Story of Justice and Redemption is written by a sincere caring man HE WALKS THE WALK THAT HE TALKS A couple of years ago I read The New Jim Crow MASS INCARCERATION in the Age of Colorblindness It was maybe the most revolutionary book an opening for transformation ,to date on the subjectbut I had such a challenging time getting past the authors style of writing Her delivery was very harshvery cold and she seemed to be bitching half the timeof not wanting to writ the book busy with her kids at home , and making me feel wrong I felt attacked at times and didn t appreciate her delivery At the same time 80% of the people in my local book club, 30 people , thought her book was the greatest book to date on this subject Maybe it was Yet I think THIS book shows MUCH MORE sincere heart and compassion Barry Stevenson is Sensitive caring..and there is nothing egotistical about itThe stories in here can make you tremble and cry It s a sad disturbing fact of our lifePeople have been sexually and physically abused as children, poor medical care for victims, drug addictions, trauma, humiliation, wrongly accused dangers dysfunctions in our prisons We live in a society still , with injustice, ignorance, and bigotry People are fearful and angry Many blessings THANK YOU THANK YOU. Bryan , for your life dedication and work Not many people would do the work that he does It s not only this book which is AMAZING AMAZING very easy engaging to read , but it s Bryan s life work that must be acknowledged Once again WE MUST REFORM A SYSTEM OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE THAT CONTINUES TO TREAT PEOPLE BETTER IF THEY ARE RICH AND GUILTY THAN IN THEY ARE POOR AND INNOCENT Thank you to my several Goodreads friends who read this book before me and sharing your Thoughts feelings pain passion on this subject

  4. Justin Tate says:

    Compared to average white folk, I would consider myselfaware of, and sensitive to, the relentless injustices that plague our country Still, this book got me fired up.It s pretty straight forward Bryan Stevenson, a lawyer for Equal Justice Initiative, casually describes some of the situations he s been in and cases he s represented His legal practice focuses on defending the wrongly condemned, unusually condemned, or otherwise victims of the state Many of the cases described are the res Compared to average white folk, I would consider myselfaware of, and sensitive to, the relentless injustices that plague our country Still, this book got me fired up.It s pretty straight forward Bryan Stevenson, a lawyer for Equal Justice Initiative, casually describes some of the situations he s been in and cases he s represented His legal practice focuses on defending the wrongly condemned, unusually condemned, or otherwise victims of the state Many of the cases described are the result of intentional racism, but many others are just examples of the disgusting criminal justice laws that continue to exist Race isn t always a factor Children, women, poor whites, and many others are also mixed up in this world of capitalist imprisonment.This isn t a book solely on the bygone errors of 50 years ago, although some history certainly plays into it By and large it s extremely current, extremely relevant, and horrifying.Major kudos to Stevenson, by the way, for not degrading these accounts with personal rants He doesn t shy away from pointing out the blatant errors of our nation s laws, but overall the book reads very calm And I suppose that makes sense For him, this is his daily life Representing innocent people who may have spent decades behind bars or on death row is his bread and butter It s probably not even all that shocking to him anythat this happens.To be fair, it s probably not that shocking to persons of color either These injustices are so common in marginalized communities that this isn t new information It s just life The best thing about this book is probably that it got popular enough that privileged classes are reading it I think we probably all know that our criminal justice system is a joke, but until you start reading about the individual people destroyed by it, it s hard to understand how deep the problems run.The only slight negative I ll say is that, structurally, it s somewhat difficult to keep track of everyone Walter is the main story, and I suspect the central focus in the movie although I haven t seen it yet , but intermixed with him are many others who sometimes jumble together Listening to the audio version made it easier to keep track I think, and Bryan does a flawless job narrating his own book But I have read some others critique the structure, and I would tend to agree with them on that.Still, overall, a must read Even for those who think they already know how bad our system is

  5. Lawyer says:

    Just Mercy Following the Road Less Taken Just Mercy A Story of Justice and Redemption was chosen as a Group Read for June, 2015, by On the Southern Literary Trail My special thanks to Jane, my good friend who nominated this selection. Bryan Stevenson Bryan Stevenson has written a compelling memoir with Just Mercy A Story of Justice and Redemption This is an important work which should be read by any individual who is concerned with the concept of Justice and incidents of Injustice Just Mercy Following the Road Less Taken Just Mercy A Story of Justice and Redemption was chosen as a Group Read for June, 2015, by On the Southern Literary Trail My special thanks to Jane, my good friend who nominated this selection. Bryan Stevenson Bryan Stevenson has written a compelling memoir with Just Mercy A Story of Justice and Redemption This is an important work which should be read by any individual who is concerned with the concept of Justice and incidents of Injustice that merit compassion and mercy.Stevenson, the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, and its Executive Director, is a committed advocate opposed to the imposition of the death penalty, an advocate for unjustly imprisoned children, and an iconic American citizen at the forefront of discussing racism as reflected in the Judicial System It is a book that will surprise you, shock you, and appall you Simply put, read this book, one of the Ten most noted books of 2014 by the New York Times, the Washington Post, and numerous other literary reviews My work with the poor and the incarcerated has persuaded me that the opposite of poverty is not wealth the opposite of poverty is justice Finally, I ve come to believe that the true measure of our commitment to justice, the character of our society, our commitment to the rule of law, fairness, and equality cannot be measured by how we treat the rich, the powerful, the privileged, and the respected among us The true measure of our character is how we treat the poor, the disfavored, the accused, the incarcerated, and the condemned Bryan Stevenson Just Mercy A Story of Justice and Redemption revolves around the case of an innocent man, Walter McMillian, a black man who had a white girl friend in Monroe County, Alabama, framed by the Sheriff, the District Attorney, and convicted by a Jury for the murder of a clerk in a dry cleaner s shop Condemned to die The Sheriff and the District Attorney ignored the evidence that exonerated him Manufactured the dirty evidence that convicted him and placed him on death row Incredibly, though no law provided for it, the Sheriff succeeded in McMillian being held on death row prior to trial within the Alabama penitentiary system McMillian was held on death row for a total of six years Walter McMillian, Exonerated Although the case occurs in the home town and county of Harper Lee, the community which has gained fame from Lee s To Kill a Mockingbird, there is no Atticus Finch to implore the Jury, For the love of God, do your duty Bryan Stevenson surfaces as a real life Atticus Finch who ultimately gathers the evidence, uncovers the chicanery and political machinations that imprisoned McMillian Stevenson who was a young fledgling attorney not long out of law school He has argued cases before the United States Supreme Court five times Walter McMillian is a man to cheer for Stevenson is a man to be emulated by so many others in the Justice System But Stevenson does not gleefully celebrate his victories, the exoneration of the innocent A bubbling anger appears to roil within him at the injustices he has continued to attempt to right in those years following McMillian s exoneration That anger, for me, is understandable yet disturbing I have to wonder if Stevenson bears a burden that prevents him from having faith in any system responsible for the administration of justice Whether it is difficult for him to approach any adversary opposite the court room without feeling there is the possibility of fairness.I was a prosecuting attorney for almost twenty eight years I spoke for vulnerable populations Abused children, victims of sexual assault, both women and men who were undeniable victims of domestic violence I directed our County s Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Program for almost four years I began the private practice of law and for nearly two years, represented children as a Guardian Ad Litem, and Adults charged with Criminal Offenses The years finally took their toll I am thankfully retired The Equal Justice Initiative Office is only ninety odd miles away I owe Bryan Stevenson a vist Maybe a little volunteer work Alabama s Electric Chair, currently stored in the attic of Holman Prison Sunday Morning Coming Down a Reader s Reflection I m having a most unusual Sunday morning I m listening to the music of Dale Watson, led there while contemplating Capital Punishment I m having a cup of coffee I ve been thinking A lot.Reading takes you on strange journeys Yellow Mama was the name given to Alabama s Electric Chair Although the Alabama Legislature had authorized death by electrocution in 1923, there was no way to carry out that sentence until 1927 Kilby Prison, 1922 1969, Montgomery County, Alabama Alabama needed a way to electrocute Horace DeVaughan for a double murder committed in Birmingham Inmate Ed Mason, an English cabinet maker by trade who was serving 60 years for theft and grand larceny, built Yellow Mama The chair was painted with yellow paint from the nearby Highway Department The same paint used to paint lane indicators on State roads The inmates named the new chair.While well built, the chair didn t work too well On April 8, 1927, Horace DeVaughn was the first human being to experience riding the lightning It was a long ride He prayed to Jesus for hours beforehand, and accepted no food, drink or cigarettes on the night of the execution In his final statement he expressed that he had been forgiven and had no hard feelings toward anyone, and asked for someone to tell his mother goodbye and that his soul was saved DeVaughan underwent three 2,000 volt discharges between 12 31 and 12 42 AM At the first 40 second jolt his body surged forward, a thin gray smoke flowed from under the electrode over his head, and the odor of burning flesh was apparent After the second discharge, flames were seen on his leg, but he was still alive After the third jolt, he was pronounced dead Twenty were present as witnesses, included Moore s brother, George, who traveled from Coffeyville, Kansas and claimed a piece of DaVaughn s belt as a souvenir of his visit The Montgomery Advertiser, Montgomery, Alabama, 2002 Horace Devaughn was a black man Two weeks later, Virgil Murphy, a veteran of World War I who was convicted in Houston County of murdering his wife, became the first white man electrocuted in the chair Before the state s use of the electric chair, executions generally were carried out in the counties by hanging The Alabama Department of History and Archives Tuscaloosa County Old Jail, where the gallows wereSo here I am listening to music by a Birmingham, Alabama, native singing about sitting in that chair Most of my professional career it was my duty to uphold the imposition of the death penalty No easy burden It s a lot to think about when you ask a man s jury of his peers to kill him I have the utmost respect for Stevenson, though we would have been on opposite sides of the court room had we ever met in one.I have tried my share of Capital cases The verdicts in each case was guilty However, the Jury s sentencing recommendation in all but one Life in Prison Without Parole Those Defendants will never walk out of prison alive Unless the Legislature changes the law regarding Life Without Parole It s quite possible The State is going broke The prisons are overcrowded There is a growing geriatric population in our prisons.The law prevents an Alabama Prosecutor from telling a Jury that the Legislature could one day allow the possibility of parole in a Capital case Were a Prosecuting Attorney do that, it would be reversible error.In each Capital case I have tried, the Judge presiding followed the Jury s sentencing recommendation In each case, I did not ask the Judge to override the Jury s recommendation In my opinion the Jury had spoken The verdict was Just When the Jury recommended Mercy, I believed Justice had been done.There is that one case, though The case where I sought the death penalty, the verdict was guilty I strenuously argued to the Jury that the only appropriate sentence was death The Jury s recommendation was death The Judge presiding imposed the death sentence That was fourteen years ago The case remains somewhere in the seemingly endless series of Appeals.The Defendant murdered his two month old son Beat and shook him to death The child had two rib fractures on his chest The child had eight rib fractures on his back Picture holding a baby in front of you Your thumbs gently resting on his chest, your fingers cradling each side of his back The weight of the baby supported underneath his arms by the flesh between your thumbs and forefingers.Think of the amount of force necessary to break the cartilaginous ribs of a two month old child Consider it the same degree of force as the impact of two vehicles colliding each travelling at sixty miles an hour Consider that the baby s brain was shaken so hard that his brain swelled within his soft skull to the degree the pressure became so great his brain shut down all autonomous nerve processes.The verdict was just I have no, absolutely no reason, to be ashamed of the verdict I sought, the sentence I sought Yet I live with the fact I asked twelve men and women to kill another human being It will bring you down But it the life denied a child who will never have the opportunity to grow up that haunts me I do believe there are cases where the denial of mercy is just.But There is always the possibility of a But I agree with almost every word Bryan Stevenson wrote.Surprised Two Diverging Roads I shall be telling this with a sighSomewhere ages and ages hence Two roads diverged in a wood, and I I took the one less traveled by,And that has made all the difference.Robert Frost, The Road Not Taken Bryan Stevenson and I started out on the same road Neither of us intended to become lawyers.Each of us felt the compulsion to do something meaningful As Mr Stevenson decided he could not help others by continuing his studies in philosophy by philosophizing, I decided not to be a teacher of history, a professor of Classical languages, or even a psychologist, though I took my undergraduate degree in that field.Actually, I attempted to bluff the Chair of the Department of Psychology into allowing me to undertake my graduate studies in his department a semester earlier I told him, Well, if no assistance ships are available, I ll apply to Law School It seemed a good idea at the time I had been tutoring the daughter of a Law Professor in her Latin studies When the Chair smiled and answered, We must all do what we must do, Mr Sullivan, I nodded, swallowed, left his office and applied for entrance to Law School.I was offered a Graduate Assistant ship by the Department of Psychology the same day I received my acceptance to the School of Law In my youthfulness and arrogant pride I turned down the offer and entered the study of Law.Bryan Stevenson and I also agree about the traditional Law School curriculum It is esoteric, It is a tortuous experience being the victim of the Socratic method of teaching Students of the law are drilled in the art of confrontation and argument To me, the desire to Win and not Lose is instilled in the student of Law And, therein, lies the danger of Hubris in an adversarial process where the possibility of pride overtakes principle.Perhaps, I have greater faith in our Judicial system that Stevenson Or, perhaps I have too much.There is the point at which we took the road the other did not.The Tragedy of Walter McMillanThe behavior of two Monroe County District Attorneys primarily contributed to Walter McMillian s conviction and unlawful imprisonment There should be consequences Sanctions The paramount duty of a District Attorney is not to secure a conviction, but to do the right thing As prosecutors, we are lawyers just as those who are engaged in the private practice of law I sport a tee shirt that defines a Prosecutor as a lawyer held to a higher standard I personally always believed that, practiced that.On June 11, 2015, retired District Attorney Charles J Sebesta, Jr was disbarred by State Bar Association of Texas for professional misconduct in obtaining a conviction of Robert Graves for a Capital Murder of six people on the basis of testimony he knew to be perjured Further, Sebesta flagrantly withheld evidence proving Graves innocence As a result Graves, an innocent man, was imprisoned for eighteen years for a crime he didn t commit.It has been fundamental constitutional law since 1963 that prosecutors have an absolute duty to disclose evidence exculpatory to the Defendant In other words, evidence which might be favorable to the Defendant See Brady v Maryland, 373 U.S 83 83 S.Ct 1194, 10 L.Ed.2d 215 its opinion disbarring Sebesta, the Texas Bar Association found he had violated his ethical duty by eliciting false testimony from Robert Carter, a Co Defendant failing to disclose the exculpatory evidence of Carter s statement the night before trial, clearing Graves of involvement in the crime eliciting false testimony from a Texas State Ranger regarding Carter s statements about Graves involvement threatening an alibi defense witness with prosecution for the same murders, when he had no evidence to support her involvement, apparently causing her to decide not to testify on Graves behalf failing to disclose that a prosecution witness was under felony indictment by Sebesta s office at the time of his testimony.See 2015.That s simply as it should be Stevenson s blistering memoir makes me cringe Bryant Stevenson attributes many of the problems he confronted to the lingering affects of slavery Statistics do not lie That racism exists is undeniable Stating racism is the primary cause for the manner of imposition of Capital Punishment doesn t work for me I initially intended to be a Defense Attorney I cut my chops on the cases of Sacco and Vanzetti, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg My legal literary mentors were Clarence Darrow, Louis Nizer, Melvin Belli and allen dershowitz My take on McMillian s case hinges on the base instinct to win at all costs The very instinct to which law students are subjected throughout their education, whether that is the intent of Law Schools or not It is a weakness of human nature to submit to the will to win whatever the cost Just Mercy isn t perfect Following is an excerpt from the Sunday Review of Just Mercy, Ted Conover, The New York Times, October 17, 2014Just Mercy has its quirks, though Many stories it recounts arethan 30 years old but are retold as though they happened yesterday Dialogue is reconstituted scenes are conjured from memory characters thoughts are channeled la true crime writers McMillian, being driven back to death row, was feeling something that could only be described as rage Loose these chains Loose these chains He couldn t remember when he d last lost control, but he felt himself falling apart Stevenson leaves out identifying years, perhaps to avoid the impression that some of this happened long ago He also has the defense lawyer s reflex of refusing to acknowledge his clients darker motives A teenager convicted of a double murder by arson is relieved of agency a man who placed a bomb on his estranged girlfriend s porch, inadvertently killing her niece, had a big heartWilliam Faulkner sums it up for me Some things you must always be unable to bear Some things you must never stop refusing to bear Injustice and outrage and dishonor and shame No matter how young you are or how old you have got Not for kudos and not for cash your picture in the paper nor money in the back either Just refuse to bear them Gavin Stevens, Intruder in the Dust, 1948.Extras Yellow Mama, Dale Watson, The Death of the Death Penalty, DAVID VON DREHLE, Time Magazine, May 28, 20i5 The Death Penalty Information Center, The Equal Justice Initiative,

  6. Lindsay - Traveling Sisters Book Reviews says:

    4 stars What a powerful and inspiring book Please note, if this was a review of the author, Bryan Stevenson s, career and life story, my rating would be 5 stars Words cannot adequately describe how I feel about this selfless man who has spent his career fighting for justice for those who need it most My rating of 4 stars is simply my review of this book which is obviously what this site is about My impression of and respect for Bryan Stevenson as an individual is extremely high and would 4 stars What a powerful and inspiring book Please note, if this was a review of the author, Bryan Stevenson s, career and life story, my rating would be 5 stars Words cannot adequately describe how I feel about this selfless man who has spent his career fighting for justice for those who need it most My rating of 4 stars is simply my review of this book which is obviously what this site is about My impression of and respect for Bryan Stevenson as an individual is extremely high and would go well beyond a 4 star rating.I felt like I was in a constant state of shock while reading the never ending examples of case law describing people being mistreated and wrongly convicted due to racism and or to appease law enforcement personnel and goals I felt sickened reading about the abuse that happens to men, women and children within the prison system The prison personnel sometimes doing things considered way worse in my opinion to these prisoners than what the prisoners were actually incarcerated for I had a hard time accepting the statistics of how many children under the age of 18 get life sentences without parole for non homicide crimes and end up being abused in adult prisons some children only 13 or 14 years old Add onto this, the overwhelmingly high percentage of prisoners who are mentally ill without a chance of getting the proper help they need within the prison system And one of the main themes of the book, proved with endless examples, is the criminal justice that continues to treat people better if they are rich and guilty than if they are poor and innocent While all of these examples and stories are shocking and upsetting, it was inspiring to learn that Bryan Stevenson was working toward making changes He founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system Bryan Stevenson s attitude, work ethic and goals were the light and positivity shining throughout this book People like him are what make this world a better place I had to be in full concentration mode while reading this book as it is very factual, with a lot of statistics and examples I needed time to fully absorb the details While I felt these examples provided an eye opening experience of how extremely unjust the U.S Justice System can be, I also felt it was slightly overwhelming and hard to keep track of At times, I felt lost in the case examples as they are referenced back to throughout the book I understand why Bryan Stevenson would choose to bombard the reader with endless examples this is what proves and solidifies his points and theories It s just a lot to take in.Overall, this was an informative, well written account by a caring, driven and compassionate man I think everyone could learn a thing or two from Bryan Stevenson

  7. Carol says:

    I often think that my grandparents and parents lived in interesting times They saw so many things come about in their day Theirs were exciting times Women won the right to vote, slaves were freed, and medical advancements were plenty It was the time of The Industrial Revolution, electricity, the telephone, planes, trains, and automobiles so to speak I tend to downplay the important breakthroughs of my life and times, Television, Computers, a second industrial revolution of Technology, sever I often think that my grandparents and parents lived in interesting times They saw so many things come about in their day Theirs were exciting times Women won the right to vote, slaves were freed, and medical advancements were plenty It was the time of The Industrial Revolution, electricity, the telephone, planes, trains, and automobiles so to speak I tend to downplay the important breakthroughs of my life and times, Television, Computers, a second industrial revolution of Technology, several wars, the quest for Space, and The Civil Rights Movement I have always gone back and forth in my opinion about capital punishment and the death penalty The older I get, theI read, theI lean to the correctness and reasoning for its abolishment in our state I haven t come to this decision lightly it s a real struggle for me Perhaps this conflict of soul is why books such as Just Mercy A Story of Justice and Redemption interest me so much.Bryan Stevenson didn t start out walking the path to where he is today While a student at Eastern University in Pennsylvania, he thought he might choose a career in music or sports He majored in political science and philosophy and eventually decided on law school While a student at Harvard in the early 80 s, Stevenson participated in an internship in Atlanta, Georgia with The Southern Prisoners Defense Committee SPDC , relating to race and poverty During this time he spent many hours seeking appeals for inmates on death rowI wasn t prepared to meet a condemned man I had never seen the inside of a maximum security prison and certainly had never been on death row Steve Bright, the head of the project, met his plane He told BryanCapital punishment means them without the capital get the punishment We can t help people on death row without help from people like you It came time for Stevenson to meet one of the men in a case they were working on Can you imagine this inexperienced, twenty three year old driving himself to this high security prison to meet with a man convicted of murder and sentenced to die Stevenson knew little about capital punishment and had not taken a class in criminal procedure He wasn t even certain he wanted to be a lawyer or confident that he could make a difference in the race or poverty issues that motivated him thus far It is here that his course is set and his lifetime work begins, even if he was not quite aware of the full impact as yet His mission was to be to assure the inmate that he could not be executed anytime soon He meets Henry and ends up apologizing, admitting he is just a law student After the initial awkwardness they go on to talk for three hours about anything and everything When it s time to leave Henry just asks that Stevenson come back again As Henry leaves the visitation room he sings a part of the hymn On Higher Ground I m pressing on the upward way,New heights I m gaining every day Still praying as I m onward bound, Lord, plant my feet on higher ground Lord, lift me up and let me stand,By faith, on Heaven s tableland,A higher plane than I have found Lord, plant my feet on higher ground.After finishing his degree, Stevenson begins taking on cases One that is documented in detail is that of Walter McMillan, a black man accused of murdering a white woman There are many others In my experience of listening to the author narrate his book I couldn t help but shake my head at the wrongness of many of the convictions There were times when I had to stop listening and needed to wipe away the tears at man s inhumanity to man Mental illness, children tried as adults, poverty and race played a large part in many of the cases explored Joe Sullivan was one of the cases of a sentence of life imprisonment without parole given to a juvenile Joe was just 13 when convicted in Florida to death His case did not involve a killing, though it was a serious crime In preparing Joe for his appeal trial Joe wants to recite a poem but can t remember the last line After much time he finally saysOh wait I think the last line actually, uh I think the last line is just what I said I think the last line is just I m a good personSo is Bryan Stevenson.Another case reviewed is that of Louis Taylor, just 16, in a moment of poor choice visits a happy hour in a local hotel An article in The Washington Post The State of Equality and Justice in America The Presumption of Guilt outlines what happens after Taylor serves 42 years in prison.Bryan Stevenson establishes The Equal Justice Initiative, a non profit in Montgomery, Alabama that represents wrongful convictions and has won many exonerations This is a book that will stay with me It is an important book Though I listened, I plan to purchase a hardbound edition for our local library It is one we should own I also plan to make a donation to The Equal Justice Initiative That just seems right In the end it becamea matter of just justice than just mercy for me That is all I wanted, Just Justice

  8. Snotchocheez says:

    Well, I suspect it ll drag you kicking and screaming from your happy place, but I defy you to read Bryan Stevenson s remarkable Just Mercy and not come away affected in some way If you are at all interested in racial and or sociopolitical injustice, specifically as it applies to our country s andspecifically, my adoptive home state, Alabama s seriously flawed justice and penal systems, this is the book for you Absolutely haunting, heartbreaking, and unforgettable.

  9. Liz says:

    Mercy is just when it is rooted in hopefulness and freely given Let me be honest I would never have picked this book to read on my own But it was my church book club selection This is a powerful, scary book A young black lawyer takes on death penalty appeal cases in Alabama And he does this because Alabama didn t provide public defenders for those appeal cases The book delves into all the aspects of the legal system It also speaks poignantly on the effects of the larger community when s Mercy is just when it is rooted in hopefulness and freely given Let me be honest I would never have picked this book to read on my own But it was my church book club selection This is a powerful, scary book A young black lawyer takes on death penalty appeal cases in Alabama And he does this because Alabama didn t provide public defenders for those appeal cases The book delves into all the aspects of the legal system It also speaks poignantly on the effects of the larger community when someone is unjustly found guilty When evidence, logic and common sense are ignored it makes everyone question whom could be next It puts to lie the idea we are a democracy as opposed to an elitist society And don t think it s just the south My home state, Pennsylvania, is cited for its laws on sentencing juveniles to life in prison Even after the US Supreme Court ruled life without parole couldn t apply to juveniles, Pennsylvania said it didn t apply to those already convicted The State Supreme Court didn t reverse that ruling until 2017 Stevenson even describes his own run in with the Atlanta police department for doing nothingthan sitting in his car outside his apartment I read The Cadaver King and the Country Dentist earlier this year These two books will shock and dismay you when you read the total incompetence or corruption of the southern police force The fact that men can be found guilty when numerous witnesses place them somewhere else boggles the mind In the past, I have struggled with whether capital punishment was the correct outcome for the guilty Too often, when a horrific crime happens, my attitude towards the killer is to hang them high But this book has cemented in my mind that there are too many reasons that require me to be opposed to it As Stevenson says, the real question of capital punishment in this country is Do we deserve to kill This is a sad book and it is not an easy read But I still highly recommend it The existence of the Equal Justice Initiative does provide a bit of hope that there are individuals willing to give up a lucrative job to work on behalf of Justice and Mercy They are the stonecatchers

  10. J.L. Sutton says:

    Highly recommended reading for anyone interested in the U.S justice system or curious about why some people don t feel they receive equal treatment under the law In Just Mercy A Story of Justice and Redemption, Bryan Stevenson presents what could be dry statistics or empty outrages as stories about real people However, these stories aren t just about people, but the towns and cities where horrible crimes were committed sparking cries for justice and the flawed mechanisms we have for deli Highly recommended reading for anyone interested in the U.S justice system or curious about why some people don t feel they receive equal treatment under the law In Just Mercy A Story of Justice and Redemption, Bryan Stevenson presents what could be dry statistics or empty outrages as stories about real people However, these stories aren t just about people, but the towns and cities where horrible crimes were committed sparking cries for justice and the flawed mechanisms we have for delivering justice from law enforcement to our courts How can we as a country improve our justice system This is something we should all consider if we care to strive for the ideals under which our country was founded First, though, prepare to be angry If you read this book and you should , anger is nearly unavoidable What to do with that anger is another question entirely I would urge hope over fatalism and do everything possible to hold lawmakers accountable to fix our broken system