• Thu
  • Dec 18, 2014
  • Updated: 3:28pm

The Innocent Man

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 22 July, 2007, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 22 July, 2007, 12:00am

The Innocent Man

by John Grisham

Arrow Books, HK$208

This month's Harper's Magazine Index says 201 prisoners in the US have been freed since DNA was permitted as evidence in 1989. One of those freed, Ronald Keith Williamson, was five days away from receiving a lethal injection by the state of Oklahoma. Williamson is the subject of John Grisham's non-fiction book The Innocent Man, which tells how he was wrongly convicted of the 1982 rape and murder of Debbie Carter. Grisham is furious at the behaviour of all the officers of the law involved in the case, and deeply disturbed about the failings of the US system of capital punishment. It's also worth reading Scott Turow's Ultimate Punishment (2003), on Illinois' moratorium on executions. Turow has argued that if the death penalty is to be used, then there needs to be proper training for everyone involved in a capital crime. An execution tax might not be a bad way to pay for it. Opponents of the death penalty could well see their numbers swell. Grisham has done a good job pulling the strands of the story together, but there's nothing from those who remain convinced of Williamson's guilt. That would have made for a rounder story.


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