Bryan Stevenson had no idea what to expect when he met and agreed to represent his first death row prisoner.
The young lawyer was quickly set on a steep learning curve as he championed the cause of many hundreds of clients who were either wrongly convicted or wrongly imprisoned, or both.
Stevenson’s work with the Equal Justice Initiative, a non-profit organisation he set up in Montgomery, Alabama, has led to him winning many accolades and awards.
None other than Desmond Tutu describes Stevenson as “America’s Young Nelson Mandela” and the many he has helped would echo that sentiment.
Just Mercy is Stevenson’s frank account of the injustices he has faced and the wrongs he has helped overturn, some leading to landmark rulings in the Supreme Court which have sent legal shockwaves around America, particularly its anarchic Southern States.
Stevenson has encountered many prejudices in his fight to help the innocent and poor who’ve seen justice stolen away from them by the guilty and rich, aided and abetted by those empowered to uphold justice who have been more interested in seeking retribution regardless of guilt.
In a country still plagued by segregation, where vested interests have allowed racism to rule long after slavery was thought to be a thing of the past, Stevenson and his colleagues have been a shining light for truth and justice.
Just Mercy makes the reader stop and think what injustices are allowed to be perpetrated in the American justice system, particularly those against children.
The ‘Land of the Free’ comes at a very high price if your life is blighted by poverty or racism.