The New York Times Sunday Book Review contained, "'Just Mercy,’ by Bryan Stevenson." It's by Ted Conover, a journalism professor and nonfiction author. Here's the beginning:
Unfairness in the Justice system is a major theme of our age. DNA analysis exposes false convictions, it seems, on a weekly basis. The predominance of racial minorities in jails and prisons suggests systemic bias. Sentencing guidelines born of the war on drugs look increasingly draconian. Studies cast doubt on the accuracy of eyewitness testimony. Even the states that still kill people appear to have forgotten how; lately executions have been botched to horrific effect.
This news reaches citizens in articles and television spots about mistreated individuals. But “Just Mercy,” a memoir, aggregates and personalizes the struggle against injustice in the story of one activist lawyer.
Bryan Stevenson grew up poor in Delaware. His great-grandparents had been slaves in Virginia. His grandfather was murdered in a Philadelphia housing project when Stevenson was a teenager. Stevenson attended Eastern College (now Eastern University), a Christian institution outside Philadelphia, and then Harvard Law School. Afterward he began representing poor clients in the South, first in Georgia and then in Alabama, where he was a co-founder of the Equal Justice Initiative.
TIME posts, "10 Questions With Bryan Stevenson," by Belinda Luscombe.
Just Mercy is about getting legal help for poor people in Alabama. What are the biggest impediments?
We have a criminal-justice system that treats you better if you’re rich and guilty than if you’re poor and innocent. I don’t believe that America’s system is shaped by culpability. I think it’s shaped by wealth. The poor are very vulnerable in a system that relies so heavily on skilled advocates, then doesn’t provide skilled advocates. Until recently, [court-appointed] lawyers in Alabama could only be paid $1,000 for their out-of-court time. A lawyer could make more defending a traffic ticket than a capital case.
You say that 1 in 3 black men in the U.S. under 30 is in jail, on probation or on parole. Is this the scariest stat?
I think the newer statistic that 1 in 3 black males born in 2001 is expected to go to jail or prison during their lifetimes is more astonishing because it’s about the future. And 1 in 6 Latino boys. That wasn’t true in the 20th century.
The Huntsville Times posts, "'Slavery didn't end; it evolved,' Bryan Stevenson of Equal Justice Initiative tells 'Daily Show' host Jon Stewart," by Kay Campbell.
Because Americans have never understood the myths of their own history that made it possible to have slavery, "Slavery didn't end; it evolved," Alabama's Bryan Stevenson told Jon Stewart during the Oct. 16, 2014, "Daily Show."
Stevenson, the founder-director of the Montgomery-based Equal Justice Initiative, is one of the keynote speakers for the upcoming conference in Huntsville, Exploring Faith Intersections, Nov. 2-3, 2014. Stevenson is also the author of "Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption," which will be released from Random House on Tuesday, Oct. 21. Stevenson told Stewart about a few of the cases he has been involved in with the EJI in freeing people who had been unjustly accused in were blatant disregards for legal procedure.
Earlier coverage of Bryan Stevenson's book begins at the link.