Analysis Of Bryan Stevenson's 'Just Mercy'

1386 Words 6 Pages
Fight the System! (or Not)
Throughout the history of the United States of America, the justice system and the opinions of citizens on how the system should work have vastly developed and varied. Many US citizens currently believe that the justice system has been fair since the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, but Bryan Stevenson, author of Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption, has a different view. Stevenson believes that being equal under the law did not actually fix the legal system. Stevenson argues that minorities and the poor are marginalized by the American justice system. Therefore, Stevenson thinks “the opposite of poverty is not wealth; the opposite of poverty is justice” (18). Stevenson is a bit misguided by his personal
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Stevenson claims “black and brown boys… are targeted by police, presumed guilty” although “many of these children have done nothing wrong” (155). He argues that “random stops, questioning, and harassment dramatically increase… arrest for petty crimes” (155). Stevenson believed he was targeted by police one night after getting out of his idling car, parked near his apartment, He was extremely livid with the officers that searched him and his car before releasing him (42). On one hand, the police abused their power while “conducting an illegal search” of his car when they “had no probable cause” (41). He was completely right that he wanted “an apology” from the officers and “suggested training to prevent similar incidents” (44). These two individuals clearly overstepped their boundaries and should have been reprimanded for not following the law. On the other hand, the end result of the incident completely disproves that “the opposite of poverty is justice” (18). Throughout the beginning of the text, Stevenson constantly complained how he had trouble getting by financially and hiring new employees since he could not afford to pay them; his “$14,000 annual salary didn’t leave [him] with much money for rent,” let alone discretionary income (35). Since Stevenson was poor, and “the opposite of poverty is justice,” why was Stevenson not unjustly arrested (18)? He was not …show more content…
Since he only defended poor black people in the cases presented in the text, Stevenson may be seen as provincial. He constantly speaks of how the “political and social rights for African Americans” were denied by “Southern Democrats” through racist laws (192). Based on his language, it does not seem that Stevenson believes many advances were made during the Civil Rights movement of the 1960s, and he believes the USA is just as bad as it was prior to the movement. He never mentions how poor white people receive injustice in courts. Stevenson makes it seem that black people are to white people in court as women are to men in Sharia law, where the testimony of a woman is worth half that of a man. Stevenson also discusses the lack of mercy by the justice system for people with mental disabilities. He mentions how many mentally disabled people were put to death before “Atkins v. Virginia,” where the Supreme Court deemed “the practice as unconstitutional” (71). Several of the clients of Stevenson, such as Horace Dunkins, would have been saved had the Supreme Court made the ruling earlier. According to Stevenson, the group most victimized by the American justice system is poor, mentally disabled black

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