". . . our stories are what make the difference, and if we can tell them honestly we can hope to help each other. In the end, we have nothing to offer each other but our stories." ~ Emma Lou Thayne

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Awareness: Innocence Project, The Death Penalty, and The Innocent Man

I finally finished The Innocent Man 
by John Grisham 
The research for The Innocent Man (which is a NONfiction book)  brought The Innocence Project near and dear to John Grisham's heart!
Here is a snippet from my friend Karen's post:
"A few years ago, John Grisham wrote his first (and, so far, only) non-fiction book, THE INNOCENT MAN. It's the true story of Ron Williamson, a mentally ill man who went from minor league baseball player to convicted death row inmate within a few short years. The book takes you through the entire case, from Ron's tumultuous, drug-hazed teenage years through his (SPOILER ALERT) eventual release. At one point, Ron was just days from execution before a court clerk decided that a judge really needed to review the facts of the case.

The Innocence Project learned of Ron Williamson and stepped forward to help prove his innocence as well as that of his "co-conspirator," Dennis Fritz. After serving 11 years in prison, both were released and the real killer was ultimately brought to justice."
Find out more on Karen's post and at The Innocence Project website
She sums this up well. I would like to add that I did find it a little monotonous, though. Some things were repeated A LOT. I think that's why it took me so long to get through it. However, I DO find the story interesting and sad... and Ron dealing with bipolar as well as other mental disorders in prison without the proper medication and treatment is heart breaking... 

I did yearn for more closure in the end. I'd have liked a bit more on the man that gave the false confession that Ron was so sure of... as well as a bit more on the Glen Gore story. You also can't help but ache for the families of victims.  

I am appalled that someone can be convicted, much less sentenced to death with no hard physical evidence and questionable testimonies. Come ON!! It's pretty disgusting when those that should be searching for truth and justice are just hung up on pinning it on someone... anyone! ?? 

I find it difficult to review without spoilers. My feelings get wrapped up in details... I'm probably not the best source for reviews, just my opinion. 

Here's a tidbit from Mystery Crime Scene

I DO believe in The Innocence Project! I believe that cases such as this, with DEFINITE DOUBT, should NEVER even go to trial. There MUST be overwhelming evidence beyond a doubt... not being fabricated... There are corrupt individuals in the system and if THEY were held accountable, perhaps that would be cut down. I am glad The Innocence Project fights for those wrongfully prosecuted. 

On the other hand, I also believe in the death penalty. So I may have just offended a large percentage of you. BUT, not as it is currently. The system is definitely in need of a major overhaul. I believe that it should never be considered unless the ACTUAL PHYSICAL evidence is so overwhelming and that the crime is heinous/violent and the threat of continued violence is CLEAR. I will go into this further when I discuss The Confession by John Grisham in a couple weeks.

Awareness Wednesday Button


Karen Peterson said...

I'm glad you finished!

I agree that there are times when the book starts to feel monotonous, but I think that was done to drive home the point that this case NEVER should have gone to trial.

I think the thing that struck me the most was the devotion of Ron's sisters and how tirelessly they worked to get him out of prison. Such an amazing story of family love.

Holly said...

Very true! On both points. I just felt a bit of overkill of some of the repetition. As for the love of the sisters, they did so admirably! It would have been easy for them to turn their backs on him due to the ongoing inconvenience of his mental illness. There are many that would justify that they did all they could for him and let it be. In that instance, I am glad that it was true life... to show how it should be. So glad things turned out better for Dennis. All in all, such a sad story, especially knowing it's true.

[SPOILER ALERT]I also was saddened at his ending of cirrhosis of the liver. I know this was made worse by the dosing as given in custody. No doubt that wasn't the only factor, but a contributor. I can't help but look at my prescription cocktail and wonder... Thank goodness I don't top it off with recreational drugs and/or alcohol! My sister, 8.5yrs my younger is in grave danger, I'm afraid.

I would have liked to have seen more closure in the end. At least a summary of the outcome to the real murderer/s.

Cheeseboy said...

I really hate Grisham novels, but that is one I could probably actually read.

Mya said...

I too think that we almost have to have a death penalty, and yet I do have trouble with it - always wondering if the lawyers did their job, if there were no legal entanglements that prevented the facts to emerge, and did the jury get it right.

Gifts By Katherine said...

Thank you for being a follower of Katherines Gifts. I recently merged the blog and the website into GiftsByKatherine.com. I extend my hand and invitation for you to join me there. Wishing you a lovely weekend. Hugs from Katherine

Jules said...

Okay since I was responding to your comment on my blog I just came right over.

Not to write a book on this wonderful post I will just comment on the death penalty. First, it is easy to say you believe in something until you are the one forced to carry that something out. I was a candidate for that while working with the Federal Prison system.

I do believe in it but I think the guilty should have the option to do good with that sentence. Like being a medical Guinea pig, or study on mental dis-orders, etc...

I hope this makes sense and does not offend back.

Have a great weekend :)
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

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