Anatomy of Injustice

Anatomy of Injustice

A Murder Case Gone Wrong

Book - 2012
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Random House, Inc.
The book that helped free an innocent man who had spent twenty-seven years on death row.

In January 1982, an elderly white widow was found brutally murdered in the small town of Greenwood, South Carolina. Police immediately arrested Edward Lee Elmore, a semiliterate, mentally retarded black man with no previous felony record. His only connection to the victim was having cleaned her gutters and windows, but barely ninety days after the victim’s body was found, he was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death.

Elmore had been on death row for eleven years when a young attorney named Diana Holt first learned of his case. After attending the University of Texas School of Law, Holt was eager to help the disenfranchised and voiceless; she herself had been a childhood victim of abuse. It required little scrutiny for Holt to discern that Elmore’s case—plagued by incompetent court-appointed defense attorneys, a virulent prosecution, and both misplaced and contaminated evidence—reeked of injustice. It was the cause of a lifetime for the spirited, hardworking lawyer. Holt would spend more than a decade fighting on Elmore’s behalf.

With the exemplary moral commitment and tenacious investigation that have distinguished his reporting career, Bonner follows Holt’s battle to save Elmore’s life and shows us how his case is a textbook example of what can go wrong in the American justice system. He reviews police work, evidence gathering, jury selection, work of court-appointed lawyers, latitude of judges, iniquities in the law, prison informants, and the appeals process. Throughout, the actions and motivations of both unlikely heroes and shameful villains in our justice system are vividly revealed.

Moving, suspenseful, and enlightening, Anatomy of Injustice is a vital contribution to our nation’s ongoing, increasingly important debate about inequality and the death penalty.

Baker & Taylor
A Pulitzer Prize-winning foreign correspondent presents an impassioned critique of the American justice system as reflected by the murder case of Edward Lee Elmore, revealing how he was wrongly convicted and sentenced to death during an unfair trial influenced by racism, prosecutorial misconduct and inexperienced defense lawyers. 25,000 first printing.

& Taylor

Presents the murder case of Edward Lee Elmore, a man wrongly convicted and sentenced to death during an unfair trial influenced by racism, prosecutorial misconduct, and inexperienced defense lawyers.
This book is an incisive investigation into the many shortcomings of the justice system brought to light in the story of a grievously mishandled murder case in South Carolina that left an innocent man facing execution. At the age of twenty-three, EdwardLee Elmore, a black man, was arrested after the body of a white widow was found, brutally beaten, in the closet of her home. Elmore was an unlikely killer: semiliterate, mentally retarded with a fifth-grade education, gentle and loving with his family. His connection to the victim was minimal, but barely ninety days after the victim's body was found, he was tried, convicted, and sentenced to death. The author gives us an exhaustive account of the particulars of racism, prosecutorial misconduct, inept defense lawyers, and injustice in Elmore's case, which, the author makes clear, occur in courts throughout America. He carefully examines each stage of the initial trial, jury selection, the role of the lawyers and judge, the appeal process, and introduces us to the spirited young female lawyer who, for two decades, fought to get Elmore a fair trial. It is a vital contribution to our nation's ongoing, increasingly vehement debate about justice and inequality.

Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2012
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 9780307700216
Branch Call Number: 345.75702 B7168a 2012
Characteristics: 298 p.; 22 cm


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NYPLRecommends Sep 04, 2014

NYPL Staff Pick
"What would happen if you were a young black man in the wrong place at the wrong time when a 76 year-old white, middle-class widow has just been murdered in a sleepy South Carolina town?

Raymond Bonner tells a chilling tale of racism, inept lawyers and a town afraid to admit to mistakes in this saga of one lawyer's efforts to bring justice to a case gone horribly wrong. A thoughtful and frightening tale of our legal system and capital punishment. "
Maura Muller, Volunteers Office

patienceandfortitude May 30, 2014

This book raises real doubts about how just the Justice System really is. It makes an incredibly strong case against Capital Punishment and explains how the innocent can wind up executed by the state. Heaven help us.


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