The novel, Just Mercy, by Bryan Stevenson is his detailed narrative as a legal advocate for wrongly convicted and harshly sentenced individuals, particularly minorities. The book mainly focuses on the organization Steverson was co-founder of, “The Equal Justice Initiative” and Walter McMillian, a black man wrongfully accused of murder and put on death row in Alabama in the late 1980’s. McMillian was a successful businessman who lost his reputation after an affair with a white woman named Karen Kelly. Karen was involved in criminal activities with Ralph Myers, a mentally unstable white man who accused “Karen Black Boyfriend” of Ronda Morrison, a beloved local woman who was killed. Just Mercy really impacted me, unfairness in the justice system the predominance of racial minorities in jails and prisons suggests systemic bias. This book aggregates and personalizes the struggle against injustice in minorities.
The message of this book, hammered home by dramatic, I myself im a minority as Hispanic female and had family members that were affected with the unfairness in the justice system. I recently had an uncle that was deported to The Dominican Republic after being unfairly accused of sexual accusations that occurred about 5 years ago. After 5 years,the accuser recanted, however, nothing but anger and sadness to my family due to the fact that my uncle was not guilty, but due to how the justice system works he was claimed guilty for it all. Just like McMillian my uncle left behind his three kids and wife by themselves.
Unfairness in the Justice System is still happening to this day, just the other day Rodney Reed an African American convicted murderer who was sentenced to death for the abduction, rape and strangulation of Stacey Stites a white women on April 23, 1996, he was on Texas death row since 1998. The only evidence presented was the sperm collected from inside her, and the DNA was tested against Reed. Reed and Stites had an affair and the two had sex just days before Stites was found dead, which explains the DNA found inside her. Thanks to massive pressure, the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals ordered an indefinite stay of execution of Rodney. With this being said, just like the situation with my uncle, and McMillian, he was being accused for actions being done to white women without enough incriminating evidence.
Some of the legal topics in the book reminded me of a legal concept we discussed in class. One in particular was the Intentional Torts that can be described as the defamation of character which is what Ralph did to Walter when he was innocent. Also after Ralph accused Walter of the murder of a town racist sheriff persued Walters conviction and even suppressed evidence and bribed witnesses into false testimony. To sum it all up, it is obvious that “Just Mercy” presented a lot of the issues that are currently happening in this generation, racism is something that we are still fighting even though some people think that it ended decades ago.
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