Wow. Just Wow! I don’t even think I can do a proper book review because a book like this, shouldn’t be reviewed. So I will just talk about it.
The last book that really wrecked me was Mornings in Jenin. You can read that review HERE But Just Mercy literally brought me to tears because as I was reading, I was wrecked.
Author, Bryan Stevenson is an attorney and the founder of Equal Justice Initiative and a professor at New York University. While in law school he did a clinic that introduced him people on death row and from there he basically made it his life mission to represent people on death row and juveniles that are tried as adults who could not afford the proper legal representation.
I’ve always known the American justice system was corrupted and didn’t really deliver on justice but reading the accounts of all these people: some who died in prison; spend years in prison only for them to be found innocent; and some who were victims of inhumane killings via electric chair, I am shocked us to the level of corruption.
The scariest part about this book for me what that people were willing to concoct stories knowing very well they weren’t true and unshaken of how the lies could ruin the lives of other individuals. I find it terrifying that people are capable of that, that the heart of people can be that cold and evil. This leads me to Walter’s case, that was what the majority of this book was about.
Walter was accused of killing a white woman and then was framed by the police including the whole attorney generals office, thus was subject to death row. As Stevenson told the story it was quite clear that had a defender and prosecutor done their job correctly, Walter would have been found to be innocent. There was so much evidence that would have exonerated Walter had it been presented to begin with.
Stevenson writes about people who have mental issues being treated us though they were sane people by the justice system. Which is clearly against the law because a person’s mental state needs to be considered in accordance with the crime they’ve committed, in most cases.
I also found it painful how the criminal justice system attack black Americans harsher than other races. The treatment of black Americans in comparison to the treatment of white Americans have always been unequal in this country, but I would think the justice system is where those wrongs were right. I don’t even think I need to go into how differently Blacks are punished more severe than whites for the same crime, because if you live in the USA, you already know.
I was in such a rut after reading this book but stories like these just makes my heart ache even more for the Kingdom of God to come. When God’s Kingdom is fully established on earth, justice and peace will be present. But in the mean time, I am so thankful for people like Bryan Stevenson who show us glimpses of the coming Kingdom. It is such a beautiful sight.
have you read Just Mercy?