Injustice: Life and Death in the Courtrooms of America
A man wrongly condemned to death for murder, a crusading lawyer determined to free him, an investigation that reveals corruption at every turn… This remarkable book reads like a page-turning detective story, with one crucial difference: can we be sure that justice will be served at the end?
In 1986, Kris Maharaj, a British businessman living in Miami, was arrested for the brutal murder of his ex-business associates Derrick and Duane Moo Young. His lawyer did not present a strong alibi; Kris was found guilty and sentenced to death in the electric chair. Immediately he began the process of appeal.
But it wasn’t until a young lawyer working for nothing, Clive Stafford Smith, took on his case that strong evidence began to emerge that the state of Florida had got the wrong man. So far, so good — except that, as Stafford Smith argues here so compellingly, the American justice system is actually designed to ignore innocence. Twenty-six years later, now aged 73, Maharaj is still in jail. Step by step, from the botched trial to the ludicrous logic of the appeal courts, Stafford Smith untangles the Maharaj case and the system that makes disasters like this inevitable. His conclusions will appal and, hopefully, act as a wake-up call to those who condone legislation that threatens basic human rights.