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Anatomy of Injustice: A Murder Case Gone Wrong
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Published:
Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group 2012
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Description
The book that helped free an innocent man who had spent twenty-seven years on death row.
 
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.
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Format:
Adobe EPUB eBook, Kindle Book, OverDrive Read
Street Date:
02/21/2012
Language:
English
ISBN:
9780307957368
ASIN:
B005IEH8AS
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Citations
APA Citation (style guide)

Raymond Bonner. (2012). Anatomy of Injustice: A Murder Case Gone Wrong. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Author Date Citation (style guide)

Raymond Bonner. 2012. Anatomy of Injustice: A Murder Case Gone Wrong. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.

Chicago / Turabian - Humanities Citation (style guide)

Raymond Bonner, Anatomy of Injustice: A Murder Case Gone Wrong. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2012.

MLA Citation (style guide)

Raymond Bonner. Anatomy of Injustice: A Murder Case Gone Wrong. Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2012. Web.

Note! Citation formats are based on standards as of July 2010. Citations contain only title, author, edition, publisher, and year published. Citations should be used as a guideline and should be double checked for accuracy.
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      • role: Author
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      • bioText: Raymond Bonner practiced law for a decade and taught at the University of California, Davis, School of Law. He later became an investigative reporter and foreign correspondent for The New York Times, where he was a member of a Pulitzer Prize–winning team in 1999, and a staff writer at The New Yorker. He has also written for The Economist and The New York Review of Books, and blogs at the Daily Beast and theatlantic.com. He is the author of Weakness and Deceit: U.S. Policy and El Salvador, which received the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award; Waltzing with a Dictator: The Marcoses and the Making of American Policy, which received the Cornelius Ryan Award from the Overseas Press Club and the Hillman Prize for Book Journalism; and At the Hand of Man: Peril and Hope for Africa’s Wildlife. He lives in London.
      • name: Raymond Bonner
imprint
Vintage
publishDate
2012-02-21T05:00:00+00:00
isOwnedByCollections
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title
Anatomy of Injustice
fullDescription
The book that helped free an innocent man who had spent twenty-seven years on death row.
 
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.
reviews
      • premium: False
      • source: Michael Massing
      • content: "Reading Raymond Bonner's compelling account of a grossly botched murder case, I was overcome by outrage at the state of our criminal justice system. Rigorously researched and powerfully told, Anatomy of Injustice could--and should--change the national debate on the death penalty."
      • premium: True
      • source: Publisher's Weekly
      • content:

        Starred review from November 28, 2011
        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.

      • premium: True
      • source: Kirkus
      • content:

        December 1, 2011
        A veteran journalist focuses on a grizzly murder case to explore the legal issues that commonly arise in our ongoing national debate about capital punishment. In 1982, the stabbed, beaten and bloodied body of widow Dorothy Edwards was discovered stuffed in a closet in her Greenwood, S.C., home. Within 90 days, a local African-American handyman, Edward Lee Elmore, was arrested, tried, convicted and sentenced to death. The dim-witted, mentally retarded 23-year-old insisted from the beginning on his innocence. However, following appeals, two more juries said he was guilty. A talented, relentless handful of appellate attorneys--including one, Diana Holt, whose turbulent life story is book-worthy by itself--argued over a period of 22 years that Elmore had been deprived of a single fair trial. Aside from the defendant's minority race and poverty, predictable constants on any state's death row, the lawyers turned up a series of disturbing irregularities, some of which occur in any capital case, all of which applied to Elmore: the sloppy crime-scene investigation by law-enforcement officials; their mishandling, mischaracterizing and perhaps even planting of evidence; the ineffective assistance of trial counsel, who failed to interview key witnesses and to vigorously test the state's evidence; the inexperience or imperiousness of judges failing properly to instruct the jury; the zeal of prosecutors, more desirous of victory than of doing justice, who withheld possibly exculpatory evidence. The story also features jailhouse snitch testimony (recanted), arguments over DNA testing and a tantalizing, circumstantial case against an Edwards neighbor. Pulitzer Prize winner Bonner (At the Hand of Man: Peril and Hope for Africa's Wildlife, 1993, etc.) weaves all this together with discussions of pertinent Supreme Court opinions, capsule tales of other, relevant capital cases and sharp mini-portraits of the case's lawyers and judges. A last-minute stay of execution and a 2005 writ of habeas corpus that successfully argued Elmore could not be killed under the Supreme Court's 2002 Atkins decision, prohibiting execution of the mentally retarded, spared him from the electric chair. He remains in prison. A powerfully intimate look at how the justice system works--or doesn't work--in capital cases.

        (COPYRIGHT (2011) KIRKUS REVIEWS/NIELSEN BUSINESS MEDIA, INC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.)

      • premium: True
      • source: Library Journal
      • content:

        September 15, 2011

        In early 1980s South Carolina, a white widow was found beaten to death, and young Edward Lee Elmore--African American, mentally retarded, and a sweet soul beloved by his family--was quickly convicted and sentenced to death. Bonner, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who also has a law degree--examines this miscarriage of justice and the appeals process, led by a young female lawyer who fought for two decades to get Elmore a fair trial. Another wake-up call about the inadequacies of our legal system.

        Copyright 2011 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

      • premium: True
      • source: Booklist
      • content:

        January 1, 2012
        Bonner, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his foreign correspondence for the New York Times, turns his considerable reportorial gifts to the issue of wrongful conviction as seen through the lens of a particular, outrageously mishandled case. The case, from 1982, centered on the conviction of a young black man for the murder of a white widow in South Carolina. Although the trial dates back decades, Bonner reanimates the wrongs of racism, inept defense, and prosecutorial misconduct seen in this case and also in cases across the U.S. The narrative, which moves through the initial trial and eventual freeing of the convicted prisoner, Edward Lee Elmore, is given a face and a voice through Bonner's focus on the young female lawyer who never gave up on trying to free her client. Far-ranging in its implications, thoughtful, and utterly absorbing, this book is a fine example of involving narrative nonfiction.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2012, American Library Association.)

popularity
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shortDescription
The book that helped free an innocent man who had spent twenty-seven years on death row.
 
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...
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