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. Read more...
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Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks$29.95
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."
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2011-11-28
- Reviewer: Staff
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.)