1st Ref Ann Bib

Part 1: Bibliographic Entry

Stevenson, Bryan. Just Mercy: Adapted for Young Adults: A True Story of the Fight for Justice. Thorndike, A Part of Gale, A Cengage, 2020. Print.

Part 2: Background and Credibility of Author & Source

Bryan Stevenson is a criminal justice attorney, lawyer, advocate, and professor at New York University. He works at a nonprofit institution called the Equal Justice Initiative (EJI). He works with other attorneys to freed wrongfully convicted men off death row. He is concerned about people that have been placed on death row and children that are prosecuted and sentenced like adults. Stevenson earned a J.D. degree from Harvard Law School and a master’s degree from the John F. Kennedy School of Government.

Part 3: Précis

In his book, Stevenson recalls cases of wrongful imprisonment and wrongful sentencing to death row. He explains the cases in a fair amount of detail. One of his first and biggest cases as being part of the EJI, was the case of Walter McMillian. Walter McMillian was a black man that lived in Alabama. A white teenage victim names Rhonda Morrison was murdered, and McMillan was blamed for her murder. Despite there being many discrepancies regarding the case and faulty testimony given by “eyewitnesses,” McMillan was still convicted and placed on death row. Stevenson suggests that the reason why McMillan was blamed for this girl’s murder despite not being at the site of the murder at that time was that the police were frustrated that they weren’t able to solve the case. Even though the evidence presented in court was very shaky, the jury found him guilty and sentenced him to death. Stevenson makes reference to other many other cases in his book but this one was one of the biggest cases he has fought for. Stevenson successfully fought back against this conviction and after 6 years on death row, Walter McMillian was a free man. However, traumatized from the experience, he developed dementia and died in 2013.


Part 4: Reflection

The McMillian case specifically shows what I want to prove in my essay. Due to race and pressure from the public, the police thought that McMillian would be the perfect scapegoat to tie up the loose ends on this case. First, he was black. Second, he had an affair with a white woman some time ago which in the police’s eyes in Alabama was something that should be forbidden. There is reason to believe that he was arrested because he was involved with a white woman. This might just be one of the most twisted wrongful imprisonment cases. This book gives not one but multiple examples of where race played a factor in the court’s ruling. This case is a real-life example that can contribute to the logos and pathos appeal to my readers.


Part 5: Quotables

“One in every fifteen people born in the United States in 2001 is expected to go to jail or prison; one in every three black male babies born in the century is expected to be incarcerated” (Stevenson 14).

“Emotional and frail, Ralph craved attention- his skills lay in manipulation and misdirection… He was a tragic outcast who lived on the margins. So he tried to compensate by pretending to have inside knowledge about all sorts of mysteries” (Stevenson 29).

“‘We’re going to keep all of you from running around with these white girls. I ought to take you off and hang you like we done in Mobile,…’” (Stevenson 47).

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