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Friday, December 7, 2007

Book Review - The Innocent Man



I love reading fiction. I have a few of my own favourite authors. Among them are Michael Crichton, John Grisham and James Peterson. I have read all of MC and JG's books and still trying to get some of JP's books.

Anyways, I finally finished reading John Grisham's latest titled the Innocent Man. Unlike his previous books, this one is a non-fiction. Its about 2 men (Ron Williamson and Dennis Fritz tho Ron is the main character in this book) who were wrongly accused and convicted for murder and were given death sentences.

This happened in a small town called Ada in Oklahoma. Population, 16,000. Ron, who anybody in the right mind can see is not mentally stable and Dennis Fritz, was sent to the death row and spent 11 years there while fighting for an overturned. Twice he was told that he was to be put to death and has only 30days left. I just cannot even began to imagine how it felt like when one is innocent and about to be put to death for something that they didnt do. What more if you're mentally unstable. He was getting a bad deal and nobody from the cops, the so-called experts, prosecutors, judge or even his own lawyer did anything.

After 11 years in death row and with the help of DNA, he was finally exonerated and released and so did Dennis but neither had been ruled out as suspects. To add insult to injury, they receive no apologies. For that, they fought back and sued everybody. I mean, EVERYBODY. From the city of Ada, Pontotoc County, the prosecutors, the 'witnesses", the experts and etc. The case was settled out of court and the sum paid was undisclosed. Who actually had to pay for that? Of course the tax payers. As mentioned in the book, several million dollars were wasted because of their cases. Sigh ....

But when you lose 11 years of your life, no amount of money can buy back those time. For Ron, instead of getting medical help, he was sent to prison and because of that, his health (physical and mental) deteriorate. He passed on 5 years after his release on Dec 04, 2004 (the day of our wedding reception in Malaysia). He was 51 years old. The prosecutor? He is still the Disctrict Attorney though he is retiring after Jan 01.

"With every visit and every conversation, the story took a different twist. I could've written 5000 pages.
The journey also exposed me to the world of wrongful convictions, something that I, even as a former lawyer, had never spent much time thinking about. This is not a problem peculiar to Oklahoma, far from it. Wrongful convictions occur every month in every state in this country, and the reasons are all varied and all the same - bad police work, junk science, faulty eyewitness identifications, bad defence lawyers, lazy prosecutors, arrogant prosecutors" - John Grisham.


** John Grisham and Dennis Fritz are now being sued by Bill Peterson for 'emotional distress'. Errrr...?????

If you would like to get into more details, please visit Barbara's Journey Toward Justice . Please hold on to your jaw cause the more you read her blog, the more your jaw will drop.

9 comments:

Barbara's Journey Toward Justice said...

Thank you for your mention of my blog, Barbara's Journey Toward Justice. I find your blog very interesting also. I tried clicking on my blog from your site the url does not work. You can try this http://barbarasblogspot.blogspot.com or http://www.barbarasblogspot.blogspot.com
Thanks very much again. More news to come - Barbara's Journey Toward Justice

PrincessJournals said...

Thanks for dropping by Barbara. I have fix the url blunder. Apparently there was an extra \ there. sorry. ;)

kl_gal said...

Sadly, as the saying goes" Money talks and bullsh*t walks". Add in the race,socio economic and education factors and the mix gets more volatile. O.J, Robert Blake and the most recent, Phil Spector ( who told his driver that he thought he'd killed somebody and who had a hung jury..duh)wouldnt have seen the light of day if they hadnt had Millions to hire top gun attorneys to represent them.Unfortunately,justice isnt blind.

Tembam said...

Hi Princess. Gosh the behind the scenes story after the book is even more intriguing. I never realised how difficult it is to write a book based on a true story. Gotta go get this book. Thanks for info and the link. You do have a mixed bag of marbles in this blog. One day we are baking buns and another we are analysing crime fact and fiction. I see you have been keeping those brain cells from dying of boredom.

Cheers, and happy holidays!

PrincessJournals said...

Gurdeep, its sad isnt it when u see how money can buy freedom even when tht person is damn guilty? yet those without money are sent away even when theyr innocent. :(

tembam, yelah. reading the book alone makes u angry and then comes barbara's blog telling u abt the lawsuit. grr..

Kerp (Ph.D) said...

whoaa...here and there and everywhere,everybody seems to be reviewing books. being a non-avid reader, i feel so out of place. i need somebody that i can tease on, but not gonna bug everyone from doing their reading. so i'll just make my way and get the hay outta here...shhhhhh...

PrincessJournals said...

Kerp, u can always give a review on fhm. lol! anywas, the reason i wrote abt this particular book is because of the story (true one summore) and then the lawsuit for writing abt it.

Kerp (Ph.D) said...

thats totally gay, mannnnnnnn.....

PrincessJournals said...

lol kerp!