Kate's Reviews > The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town

The Innocent Man by John Grisham
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Jan 01, 2008

really liked it
bookshelves: non-fiction, books-i-own, true-crime, favorite-writers
Read in January, 2007

Grisham's first foray into the world of true crime/non-fiction writing is a stunner. Literally, we could not stop reading it. The book is the story of a mentally ill young man in Oklahoma who is accused and convicted of a murder he did not commit. There is no doubt from the first that he and his friend are innocent, but due to inept defense lawyers, crooked prosecutors and investigators, and a skewed system of justice, two men are convicted of the murder and sent to prison. Ron Williamson awaits the death penalty in a penal system that makes his schizophrenia worsen, while Dennis Fritz serves his life sentence actively trying to learn the law and get an attorney to take his case. Enter the Innocence Project. Until I read this book, while I was leaning away from supporting the death penalty, I couldn't say firmly that I was opposed to it. This book really tipped the scales (pardon the pun) for me. An excellent read.
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Rosie I really liked the book, because it was true. And being true, made it very scarey. The justice system failed Ron Williamson (and some others). Ron had been in a lot of trouble. He was an alchoholic. He was loud-mouthed and weird and a trouble maker. But I think what everyone needed to realize was that Ron was a sick man with a severe mental illness. He was an "easy target" for a murder everyone wanted solved. It was also a very sad story. What happened to Ron could happen to anyone if the prosecutor wants it to bad enough.


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