Thursday, July 17, 2008

Sort of a book review

I just finished reading one of the most disturbing books I have ever encountered, John Grisham's The Innocent Man. Normally I don't read true crime books, but my sister (another bookworm) recommended it, so I gave it a chance. I read a lot and I read some pretty macabre fiction, but this is one of the few books that has given me nightmares.

For the uninitiated, it is the story of several men wrongly convicted of capital crimes in Ada, Oklahoma, and their struggle to be released from prison. The main character, Ron Williamson was innocent and had also previously been declared mentally incompetent by the state, yet he was still tried for capital murder (with no real evidence) and given the death penalty. He spent ten years on death row before finally being released.

I have always thought along the same lines that all the men in this book did: if you are innocent and you tell the truth, everything will work out in the end. Not so, apparently. Even after DNA evidence cleared two of these men, the district attorney was still working on ways to re-convict them. How could it possibly be better to the DA to have the wrong person in prison rather than to just admit he was wrong? What a twisted logic.

I am glad that I read the book and it is definitely a story that needed to be told, but I can't say that I enjoyed it. I do have a renewed respect for The Innocence Project and the people in the legal system who were willing to stand up and do what was right. But my belief that justice will eventually prevail has definitely been shaken.

Lawyer up, if you ever find yourself being questioned. Lawyer up fast. That is what I learned.

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