Synopsis of The Innocent Man
In the baseball draft of 1971, Ron Williamson was the first player chosen from Oklahoma. Signing with Oakland, he said goodbye to his small home town and left for California to pursue his dreams of glory.
Six years later he was back, his dreams broken by a bad arm and bad habits – drinking, drugs and women. He began to show signs of mental illness. Unable to keep a job, he moved in with his mother and slept 20 hours a day on her sofa.
In 1982, a 21 year-old cocktail waitress, Debra Sue Carter, was raped and murdered. And for five years the crime went unsolved. Finally, desperate for someone to blame, police came to suspect Ron Williamson and his friend Dennis Fritz. The two were finally arrested in 1987 and charged with murder.
With no physical evidence, the prosecution’s case was built on junk science and the testimony of jailhouse snitches and convicts. Dennis Fritz was found guilty and given a life sentence.
Ron Williamson was sent to Death Row.
But as Grisham methodically lays out, there was no case against him. Ron Williamson was wrongly condemned to die.
If you believe that in America you are innocent until proven guilty, this book will shock you. If you believe in the death penalty, this book will disturb you. And if you believe the criminal justice system is fair, The Innocent Man will infuriate you.
The Innocent Man by John Grisham Review
I read the book after watching the Netflix show with the same title. I liked the book better, as always, but the show is very good too.
After reading The Innocent Man and watching the show, my question is this: how is it possible that there are juries that sentence people just because? It’s not only in this case, I’m also talking about many others who have been shown to be wrong. In fact, there are many innocent people in the prisons of the United States.
The Innocent Man perfectly demonstrates the mistakes that are made in the US sentencing people.
I have seen many documentaries and read many books about innocent people being released: The Staircase, the one about the West Memphis Three, the one about Pablo Ibar (though he is still in jail), etc. and the conclusion is that in the US they sentence, to life in prison or death row (it doesn’t really matter), for anything that occurs to them. And let’s not even talk about the juries.
Where was that “innocent until proven guilty”? The reasonable doubt thing?
Since when does the defense have to prove the innocence of the accused? Wasn’t it on the contrary, the prosecution would have to prove their guilt?
How can someone be found guilty on evidence that’s only circumstantial and doesn’t clearly show that someone committed a crime?
How can this be?
Luckily there is the Innocence Project. I wish all countries had something similar.
Well, I didn’t say much about The Innocent Man but I think my opinion is clear.
I recommend it.