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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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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is about more than capital punishment, 24 July 2012
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This review is from: Injustice: Life and Death in the Courtrooms of America (Kindle Edition)
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 murder he was given life imprisonment. For the murder of Duane he was sentenced to death. Clive Stafford Smith takes us through the whole story of Kris's involvement with the Moo Youngs, and how he came to be convicted; in doing so he lifts the lid on every aspect of the American legal system and what can go wrong with it, including the Defenders, the Prosecutors, the Police, the Witnesses (including the Experts), the Jury and the various legal processes, from arrest through trial and appeal to execution. And we get an insight into how illicit drugs are trafficked, and how (in all likelihood) they led to the conviction of Maharaj for murders which (in all likelihood) he did not commit. I have to say "in all likelihood" because all of his appeals have failed, and he long ago reached the end of the legal road, despite the fact that Clive Stafford Smith has produced enough evidence to convince any reasonable person that Kris Maharaj is an innocent man. (And, in case you're wondering, not just innocent of these murders, but also innocent of any other criminal offence.)

As a UK citizen, what appalls me is the strong similarity which Clive Stafford Smith points out between the US legal system and ours in the UK. We no longer indulge in judicial killing, but there are many depressing ways in which the UK matches the US in promoting injustice, and as a result keeps people in prison who really should not be there. Just one example: the procedural bar, which is applied in the UK appeal system as strictly as in the US. If your lawyer had access (or could have had access, if he were bright enough) to information which he then failed to use at the time of your trial - for whatever reason, with or without your knowledge - you may not use that information in any subsequent appeal: so, as Clive Stafford Smith says, "if you have an inept lawyer, your chances of a fair result at trial are slim, and you have little or no chance of winning a new trial on appeal: your lawyer 'waived' the claims by failing to raise them during the original trial, so you are 'procedurally barred'." The US appeals system does not want to hear about evidence that proves you innocent, yet it is comparatively easy for a person, whether innocent or guilty, to win an appeal on the grounds of a technical impropriety in the original trial. Read Michael Naughton's book The Criminal Cases Review Commission: Hope for the Innocent? for proof that the procedural bar works equally effectively (?!) in the UK.

Clive Stafford Smith follows the history of Kris Maharaj almost up to the present. His is a case that went wrong in every conceivable way from start to finish. Before we even start on Chapter 1, we learn that he escaped the death penalty and is still in jail after 26 years, but the reader is left wondering whether death would have been the kinder option. If you are interested in discovering how the "justice" system simply doesn't work, this book will be an eye-opener.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not sure enjoyable is the right word... very powerful., 2 April 2014
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This review is from: Injustice: Life and Death in the Courtrooms of America (Kindle Edition)
This is not an easy book to read. It's hard work. And the subject matter is challenging. I was bought to tears more than once. Clive writes with an honesty that is quite startling at times. I can't say I enjoyed the book, and I'm not sure that is it's aim anyhow. I was moved, provoked to anger, sorrow, action and shame all at once. Well worth a read and I'm pleased I've done so.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Totally fascinating, 10 Jan 2014
By 
traveller (stirling, scotland) - See all my reviews
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This book provides an insight into the workings of the justice system in the USA using a specific trial as the focus for the narrative. It is meticulously researched and written and holds your attention page after page. It also highlights how the justice system can be less than objective - maybe not so surprising given it involves a wide range of people with their own perceptions, opinions and agendas.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars US OR UK JUDICIAL SYSTEM ?., 6 Jan 2014
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The book highlights the huge difference between the legal system in operation between our two countries.
The law applied in the uk i think would on the evidence provided have cleared Kris Maharaj of the charge of murder
The law applied in the different states of the USA has left this man languishing on death row.
The author has explained these differences in great detail using his personal expertise in the British legal system.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Pity and terror, 24 July 2012
By 
T. Vicary "Tim Vicary" (York, England) - See all my reviews
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This is a wonderful, shocking, compelling book. I have read many legal thrillers, including those by John Grisham (who endorses this book) but it is one thing to read about injustice, legal corruption and police incompetence in a fictional setting, and quite another to see it ruthlessly, thoroughly exposed, in a real case which has led to the British defendant, Kris Maharaj, spending 26 years of his life in an American prison, much of it under the threat of the electric chair; and all of this for a crime which, as the author explains in compelling detail, he almost certainly did not commit. 'Almost certainly' is a feeble phrase, but I use it to point out that at the very least there is reasonable doubt here, and that in itself should have been more than enough to set this man free a quarter of a century ago. Any reasonable system would have done just that.

But as the author explains, in well researched, shocking detail, the American legal system just doesn't work that way. Take just one appalling detail among hundreds: when an appeal is finally arranged before a new jury, that jury is forbidden to hear any suggestions that the man making the appeal might possibly be innocent. That's right - the word 'innocent' cannot be used in court! So when a British MP, Peter Bottomley, tells the jury 'This is a miscarriage of justice' his video link is cut off and the defence lawyer threatened with jail!

What has that got to do with justice? Exactly. That is the question that comes up again and again, throughout this terrible story. As I was reading, I often laughed out loud, not because what I read was funny in an amusing way, but because it was totally absurd, unbelievable, like a tale from Alice in Wonderland or a justice system designed by Franz Kafka. All the way through I kept thinking, 'this is absurd, it's terrible, it can't possibly get any worse'. But it does. Why? Because every absurdity, every injustice, has its own logic, its own level of humanity. There are very few really evil people in this story; just a system that with a maze of rules which, as everyone follows them, leads to a result that it totally inhumane.

And Clive Stafford Smith, who has spent much of his life working for pitifully small rewards for clients on Death Row, describes exactly how and why all this happens. He is like the little guy in John Grisham's stories - the lawyer who cares more about justice than money - but Stafford Smith, and few others like him, are actually real, thank goodness. God send me a lawyer who cares, if I ever get into trouble.

It would be nice to think things are better in Britain; and certainly some things are different. We don't have the death penalty, or judges and prosecutors who stand for election, campaigning on how harsh they can be. But we've had our own scandals: the Birmingham Six, the Guildford Four; the strange business (also involving Stafford Smith) of the courts and Binyam Mohammed.

And on a smaller scale, this book reminded me of another British case, less well known, not quite so cruel or nearly lethal as the injustice suffered by Kris Maharaj, but still similar in the sense of an innocent man trapped in a legal spider's web which he cannot resist or escape: the case of of John Bartlett, well described in his book Chequered Justice. Here too I kept thinking: 'this can't really happen, can't get any worse.' But it does.

Read Clive Stafford Smith's book, 'superbly written' as John Grisham says, and then, for a comparison, read John Bartlett's book too. Both endorsed by Michael Mansfield QC.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A great read, 11 May 2014
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This review is from: Injustice: Life and Death in the Courtrooms of America (Kindle Edition)
I originally downloaded the sample thinking it would be the same nonsense. I was immediately gripped by the sad, unjust story that unravelled. A must read!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful and well written, 30 April 2014
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I can't say that this was enjoyable due to the subject matter, but it opened my eyes to this practice and I learned a lot. Well written and not too "technical" so that the average person (like me) was able to read and understand. Be prepared to flick back and fore to the courtroom and legal explanations of practice and case histories. These are important though as it puts in the context.
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5.0 out of 5 stars brilliant analysis, 28 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Injustice: Life and Death in the Courtrooms of America (Kindle Edition)
forensically (but with emotion too) analyses the excellent antidote to the normal unthinking sycophancy normally given by UK opinion formers. confirms the corruption and bigotry inherent in the US system and society. and the lack of intelligence in this third world country with first world money.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must read, 25 Feb 2014
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This review is from: Injustice: Life and Death in the Courtrooms of America (Kindle Edition)
Such an eye opener into justice and injustice! So sad that a clearly innocent man is still suffering today despite all the evidence his incredible lawyer has uncovered. Only in America!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Chilling, 31 Oct 2013
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Not sensational in presentation, but revealing unpalatable truths about the "legal" system of our greatest ally. A study which no-one should miss.
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