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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is about more than capital punishment
Clive Stafford Smith is a name I know and respect, but I didn't know what to expect from this book. What I found was a compelling read, a book I didn't want to put down until it was finished.

The core of the book is the story of Kris Maharaj, a British businessman convicted in Miami of the murder of Derrick Moo Young and his son Duane in 1986. For Derrick's...
Published on 24 July 2012 by Maggie

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0 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Injustice by Clive Stafford Smith
Having not read the paperback edition I am unable to comment on that, but from my researches into the saintly figure of Clive Stafford Smith I have no doubt that it is more of the same.

This book professes to be an investigation into a miscarriage of justice; in reality it is both a ludicrous conspiracy theory and a polemic against the death penalty. Stafford...
Published 7 months ago by Mr. A. Baron


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5.0 out of 5 stars A mind-blowing experience, 29 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Injustice: Life and Death in the Courtrooms of America (Paperback)
This lively book tapped into all the reasons why the American justice system is so seriously flawed. Yes, it concentrated on just one particular case, but this case demonstrated the problem areas with the American system at so many levels. The author, at first hand, has dealt with countless cases over the past twenty years and demonstrates the flaws simply and factually, leaving the reader to pick up any legalistic additions by reading the copious numbered notes that were made available. This, of course, adds to the considerable story of Kris Maharaj who has undoubtedly been unjustly treated. Sadly this case is yet to be completed which also demonstrates the depth of flaws that the convicted have to undertake in the American system.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, 18 Oct 2013
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This review is from: Injustice: Life and Death in the Courtrooms of America (Paperback)
Very detailed description of the inadequacies of the US justice system. Amazingly, if fresh evidence is found to prove innocence the courts of appeal will not consider it and are happy to let innocent people rot in prison because they have not produced the evidence within an arbitrary period of time. A convincing destruction of the case for the death penalty.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting reading, 6 Oct 2013
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I am always interested in court drama books and was not disappointed in this one but found there was a lot of past information as well
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4.0 out of 5 stars Human stories www.reprieve.org.uk, 24 Sep 2013
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An interesting insight into a complicated world by an author, lawyer & human rights activist dedicated to fairness over an ability to pay...
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5.0 out of 5 stars Memorable, 22 Sep 2013
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By giving a detailed, poignant insight into the individual, we develop an understanding of the whole. Memorable. I strongly urge others to read a book that should change lives.
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5.0 out of 5 stars By times gripping and informative, 30 May 2013
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P. J. Coffey - See all my reviews
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Clive Stafford Smith takes us through the murky processes that make up the American legal system, we follow the case of one poor chap and take diversions to see how even the most clearly innocent amongst us can spend decades banged up for crimes. I know I took away the lesson that you should hire a good lawyer, ESPECIALLY if you're innocent.

Chilling stuff.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Question of Justice, 26 Sep 2012
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Antenna (UK) - See all my reviews
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I was drawn to this book through admiration for lawyer Clive Stafford Smith's dedication to fighting and exposing injustice. It focuses on the case of Kris Maharaj who was sentenced to death for the murder of two business associates in 1986, and as at 2012 has spent a quarter of a century in security gaols, his sentence having been commuted to life on a technicality. As a formerly successful businessman, a British subject whose racehorse once beat the Queen's at Royal Ascot, Maharaj is a far cry from the usual Death Row inmate: poor, black and ill-educated.

By covering the case from every aspect, witness, prosecution, defence and so on, Stafford Smith shows in detail how a man who appears to be innocent could have been found guilty. Maharaj's main error seems to have been that, overconfident of acquittal, he hired a cheap fixed fee defence lawyer. To get a reasonable hourly return, this man cut corners e.g. failing to call vital witnesses to prove an alibi, giving prosecution witnesses an easy ride, not digging out evidence held by police which would have indicated that Maharaj was framed for murders actually committed by a Colombian drugs cartel. There is a also a suspicion that the defence lawyer himself may have been intimidated. Add to this a corrupt judge and police at various points, and a prosecution "conditioned" to regard defendants as guilty and determined to "refashion the evidence to fit their view of the truth", and we see how the guilty verdict was a foregone conclusion.

Stafford Smith also explains how the appeal system is loaded against the defendant. For instance, evidence which was not challenged in the first trial cannot be raised on appeal. This practice is meant to discourage appeals which diminish the public's regard for the legal system, leading the author to observe, "Yet presumably the state should only be allowed to impose punishment if the punishment is just." A further problem is the lack of state funding, to finance either fair trials for penniless defendants in the first place or their appeals.

The author cites the chilling statistic that on average judges he canvassed would accept an 83% level of belief in a person's guilt as sufficient for a conviction "beyond all reasonable doubt". This is enough to lead to the execution of more than 500 innocent people currently on Death Row. Since an academic study shows that two-thirds of "capital cases" feature serious errors leading to a new trial, a fifty-fifty coin toss procedure would lead to a more reliable outcome!

Without undue sensationalism, the author makes a powerful case against the death penalty, but even if you support it, he raises clear concerns over the operation of the justice system in the US, where lawyers, politicians and police are tarnished by shoddy practice and too many have lost sight of the example they should be setting as a large and powerful democracy. We cannot know to what extent his case may be biased in favour of Maharaj, and explanations are at times too compressed when he is trying to present arcane arguments in a book which sets out to be more gripping than many courtroom crime novels. Yet, more than a hundred pages of small-print notes at the end add weight to his evidence.

Overall, "Injustice", which should disturb everyone who reads it, is a major contribution to the cause of keeping alive what freedom and democracy ought to be about.
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5.0 out of 5 stars An important book, 5 Sep 2012
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D. E. Condon "Hector" (Shaftesbury, Dorset) - See all my reviews
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An intelligent, readable account of the Injustice in the justice system, specifically in Florida. The unfairness and savage brutality will take your breath away. The backbone of the book is the heartbreaking account of Kris Maharaj, held on Death Row for over 25yrs now, for a double murder of which the author, his lawyer, is convinced he was framed. Read this book out of an interest in the legal system and for love of humanity.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Injustice - a lawyer speaks out, 31 Aug 2012
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Injustice: Life and Death in the Courtrooms of America

A controversial, thought-provoking book by someone who knows only his subject only too well. Makes the shocking assertion that innocence is no guarantee of escaping a death sentence or life-without-parole 'reprieve' in the US justice system.
For a fuller review, see my blog [...] - Injustice - and, if the subject interests you, keep an eye out for 'Survivor on Death Row,' soon to be published as an e-book. Details will be on the same website.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating insight into American justice, 26 Aug 2012
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I don't think I ever want to live in America as this book explicitly demonstrates that the legal system there is flawed especially in terms of capital cases. Be in the wrong place at the wrong time and if the police/district attorney want to convict you, they shalll! The use of one of clive's cases as the thread to the book helps to give a continued story to it but allows him to add in examples of other cases.

I still remember watching. "Fourteen days in May" documentary, in my mid teens, when he tried, but failed, to save a young man from the gas chamber. It doesn't seem an awful lot has changed since then in terms of legal processes. For example how can a legal system in a free and democratic system allow a judge to rule that "yes the defence lawyer did fall asleep during the trial but not during important moments"!! Just one of the main examples that Clive highlights but he also goes into the underpinning philosophy of the legal system to try to explain why such ridicoulos moments can occur.
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Injustice: Life and Death in the Courtrooms of America
Injustice: Life and Death in the Courtrooms of America by Clive Stafford Smith (Paperback - 22 Aug 2013)
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