Just Mercy

Just Mercy

A Story of Justice and Redemption

Book - 2014 | First edition
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The founder of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama recounts his experiences as a lawyer working to assist those desperately in need, reflecting on his pursuit of the ideal of compassion in American justice.
"Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn't commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, and legal brinksmanship--and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever. Just Mercy is at once an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer's coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of true justice"--Amazon.com.
Publisher: New York : Spiegel & Grau, [2014]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2014
ISBN: 9780812984965
9780812994520
0812994523
Call Number: 345.7305 S8472j 2014
Characteristics: x, 336 pages ; 25 cm

Opinion

From Library Staff

""You can't effectively fight abusive power, poverty, inequality, illness, oppression, or injustice and not be broken by it," he writes. Yet he would emerge from despair, believing that it was only by acknowledging brokenness that individuals could begin to understand the importanc... Read More »


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k
kaseybreda
Aug 22, 2020

336 pages

u
usersjpl
Jun 12, 2020

"Just Mercy" is a true story about the injustices in the American criminal justice and prison systems in the 1980s. Author Bryan Stevenson recalls his time as a lawyer defending those falsely accused and harshly convicted. His most memorable case was his first; Walter Macmillian, a black man wrongly sentenced to death row for the murder of a white woman. Macmillian’s case along with many others stated in the story demonstrates the racial bias, corruption, and brutality of the legal system. It is a powerful and moving novel for all interested in American society and equity. It will open the minds of anyone willing to delve into the cracks of our broken justice system. I recommend this book to one prepared to face the cold, sad truth.
Star Rating: 4 stars
Age Rating: 14+

l
LucasHill
Jul 28, 2019

"Why do we want to kill all the broken people?" Attorney Stevenson relates that, especially in capital punishment legal cases in which people of color, people with disabilities, and people with meager means are involved, it is tremendously difficult to "unring" legal bells, even when injustice and grave errors have been done.

b
bethgarza24
Jul 26, 2019

Difficult Reads - Feb 2019

Hillsboro_JenF Jun 28, 2019

The United States has the highest rate of incarceration in the world, and sometimes it’s hard to sympathize with prisoners who are just faces behind bars. Stevenson manages to humanize them and help us to understand how the system has failed these people again and again. This is such an important, illuminating, and inspiring book. Bryan Stevenson is the real Atticus Finch!

c
cannotbeheard
Jun 16, 2019

This is a must-read! This book has many examples and stories of Bryan Stevenson and his team working hard to right the wrongs of the justice system. He has such a positive attitude, strong faith, and enthralling stories. I listened to the audiobook, read by the author.

r
reader925
Apr 19, 2019

What a powerful and moving book! It should definitely be read by law students and police academy students alike. Our justice system needs a big revamping. I learned so much and my heart was pulled out of my chest so many times during my reading of the book. God bless you, Mr. Stevenson, and give you strength for the battle!

n
nnaspinski
Mar 22, 2019

I was assigned Just Mercy to read for a peer tutoring class I am in, where one of my all-time favorite teachers was hoping to educate us on social justice issues in our country. Not only did Just Mercy educate us, it really opens your eyes and heart to injustices that have survived in our country for way too long. I recommend this book for anyone who is looking to learn more about the world around them, it is an amazing book. I would also recommend this book for teachers to bring into the classroom and expose students to ideas and facts they may have never heard of before.

c
cknightkc
Nov 06, 2018

JUST MERCY is one of the most powerful and thought-provoking books I have ever read. This heartbreaking and inspiring memoir by Bryan Stevenson deals with multiple issues that still affect our country today. These include: race, class, poverty, mental illness, education, and a broken justice system. I defy anyone to read JUST MERCY and not be moved.

b
becker
Oct 23, 2018

This book uses a series of case studies to explore the practice of incarceration in the United States. It is written by a lawyer - Bryan Stevenson, who works with Death Row prisoners in Alabama. Reading this book was an eye-opening experience that left me in an almost constant state of outrage from cover to cover. I would have even questioned much of it if it weren't for the well documented notes in the back. I have since gone on to watch several talks and speeches he has made about his work and I have found him to be a smart, gentle, compassionate man who has really interesting things to say about justice and mercy in society. The book is not overly technical or filled with legal jargon. It is very readable and packed full of information.

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c
cknightkc
Nov 06, 2018

“You can’t understand most of the important things from a distance, Bryan. You have to get close,” - p. 14

c
cknightkc
Nov 06, 2018

“…the true measure of our commitment to justice, the character of our society, our commitment to the rule of law, fairness, and equality cannot be measured by how we treat the rich, the powerful, the privileged, and the respected among us. The true measure of our character is how we treat the poor, the disfavored, the accused, the incarcerated, and the condemned.” - p. 18

c
cknightkc
Nov 06, 2018

“The power of just mercy is that it belongs to the undeserving. It’s when mercy is least expected that it’s most potent—strong enough to break the cycle of victimization and victimhood, retribution and suffering. It has the power to heal the psychic harm and injuries that lead to aggression and violence, abuse of power, mass incarceration.” - p. 294

DBRL_ReginaF Mar 10, 2018

“Each of us is more than the worst thing we’ve ever done.”

s
shayshortt
Nov 03, 2016

My work with the poor and the incarcerated has persuaded me that the opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice.

o
OutsideTheBox
Apr 16, 2016

"...capital punishment means 'them without the capital get the punishment.'" -- p. 6 Steve Bright, director of Southern Prisoners Defense Committee

Summary

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k
Kerguelen
Oct 07, 2020

The American prison system has critical flaws, and in combination with the racial prejudices in the American South, it has created the perfect storm to sentence Walter McMillian, an innocent black man, with the death penalty. Bryan Stevenson is the founder of the Equal Justice Initiative, a non-profit organization with the intent of advocating for both prisoners’ rights and pushing for softer sentences on dehumanized criminals, and defending Walter McMillian is no exception. Although proving McMillian’s innocence is the key case in the book, it is not the only topics; Stevenson also covers the lack of support for mentally disabled people in America, the double-edged sword that is the American media, and his ideas on why the American justice system has been biased against African Americans for decades. Overall, the book is a greatly emotional read, but much of the scenes in the book can be sensitive and/or disturbing, ranging from lynching to rape.

s
shayshortt
Nov 03, 2016

As a young law student, Bryan Stevenson was somewhat adrift at Harvard Law School, unsure of his direction or his future. He wanted to do something that would help people, but he was having trouble connecting his theoretical education with meaningful action. Then, an internship at the Southern Prisoner’s Defence Committee led to work helping inmates on death row in the Deep South. Most of these prisoners were indigent, and could not afford legal counsel to help review or appeal their cases. The experience made a profound impression, and led him to found the Equal Justice Initiative in Alabama in 1994. Stevenson would go on to appeal countless death sentences, and challenge the practice of sentencing minors to life without parole. Just Mercy recounts his experiences representing people who have been written off by society.

Age

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Kerguelen
Oct 07, 2020

Kerguelen thinks this title is suitable for 13 years and over

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