Just Mercy

by Bryan Stevenson
A book that screams we need to re-evaluate our racial and sociopolitical injustice. A must-read for anyone interested in justice for all.  A beautiful quote from book: We must reform a system of criminal justice that continues to treat people better if they are rich and guilty than if they are poor and innocent. Cartel. Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson.  #nonfiction, #reading, #books to read, #books #bookclub

Discussion Questions

1. How did Stevenson's background prepare him for law school?

2. Why was Ralph Myers considered to be so trustworthy by the Monroe County police department?

3. Stevenson wished he had been more assertive with the police while they were illegally searching his car. Do you think that would have been effective? How would you recommend someone respond in a similar situation?

4. Do you think the police officers acted appropriately? How else might they have approached the situation? Likewise, did their supervisors respond fairly to Stevenson's official complaint?

5. Who were some of Walter McMillian's most important allies?

6. Walter was both poor and black. Do you think his story would have played out the same if he had been a wealthy black man? What if he had been poor and white? What examples of similar trials can you use to support your thinking?

7. Describe the 1989 Supreme Court ruling related to death penalty appeals. What impact did that have across the country?

8. Duncan was a U.S. war veteran who suffered tremendous mental trauma while serving our nation. How should that be factored into his defense?

9. How is the relationship between Stevenson and Walter changing? What does the author cite as an important activity for lawyers to do when defending death row prisoners? Why?

10. Why does it annoy Stevenson that To Kill a Mockingbird is a point of pride in Monroeville?

11. In what ways has the judicial system failed to protect Charlie?

12. What is your opinion of Mr. and Mrs. Jennings?

13. What evidence did criminologists have in 1991 to support their "super-predator" theory

14. How would you have changed the ruling in each of Trina, Ian, and Antonio's sentencing?Each one of them came from difficult home situations. Should that make a difference in their sentencing?

15. Is justice being served when minors receive life-in-prison sentences?

16. Walter's unfair incarceration took a permanent toll on his family. Can you relate to Walter's wife's reaction?

17. Was justice finally served to Walter? Do you find this case to represent the best or the worst-or something else-of our justice system?

18. In what ways are female inmates more at risk than male inmates?

19. Stevenson is concerned about Walter returning to his life in his hometown. Are those concerns realistic? Should wrongfully imprisoned people receive financial restitution from the state? If so, how should the amount be determined? What impact does the conservative majority in Congress have on Stevenson's work?

20. Discuss the ways in which the system failed Jimmy Dill.

21. Why are wrongful convictions and illegal trials involving young children very common?

Discussion questions by the publisher

Book Club Talking Points: A book that gives an in-depth look at a seriously flawed justice system, delving into all aspects. It's inspirational and informative. Should rich people be treated differently than the poor? How do we fix it? Is capital punishment ok? A powerful read that will spark a lot of discussion.

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