Anatomy of Injustice: A Murder Case Gone Wrong

Raymond Bonner, Author
Raymond Bonner. Knopf, $25.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0307700216
Reviewed on: 11/28/2011
Release date: 02/21/2012
MP3 CD - 978-1-4551-5634-4
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Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-299-17740-6
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-0-307-94854-0
Open Ebook - 201 pages - 978-0-307-95736-8
Hardcover - 501 pages - 978-1-4104-4901-6
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This is a lucid, page-turning account of the trials and death row appeals of Edward Lee Elmore, a quiet and mentally challenged African-American man accused of the brutal murder of an elderly white woman in South Carolina in 1982, and the remarkably dedicated legal team that fought for him to have fair representation in court after three separate, grossly mismanaged jury trials. Led by Diana Holt, a lawyer whose own turbulent youth contributed to a fierce commitment to her client, Elmore’s defense winds through nearly three decades of legal maneuverings as suspenseful as the investigation of the mysterious crime itself. Painstakingly researched by Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist Bonner (Weakness and Deceit: U.S. Policy and El Salvador), the case illustrates in fascinating and wrenching specificity the widely acknowledged inequality and moral failings of the death penalty, while illuminating the less understood details of a criminal justice system deeply compromised by race and class. Indeed, Bonner’s ability to succinctly and vividly incorporate the relevant case history and explain the operative legal procedures and principles at work—including the bizarre way in which court-acknowledged innocence is not necessarily enough to spare a life on death row—makes this not only a gripping human story but a first-rate introduction to the more problematic aspects of American criminal law. Agent: Gloria Loomis, Watkins Loomis. (Feb.)
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