The Injustice System: A Murder in Miami and a Trial Gone Wrong

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9780143124160: The Injustice System: A Murder in Miami and a Trial Gone Wrong

An Atlantic Book of the Year and finalist for the Orwell Prize: a riveting true crime tale from the defense attorney who inspired John Grisham’s The Chamber

Legendary criminal defense attorney Clive Stafford Smith has devoted his career to helping save penniless defendants from a justice system whose goal is not so much to find the right man as to get a conviction.

Miami, 1986. Kris Maharaj is arrested, tried, and sentenced to death for the brutal murder of his ex–business partner, Derrick Moo Young, and Derrick’s son, Duane. Suspecting Kris may be innocent, as he claims, Stafford Smith begins his own investigation, which takes him from Miami to Nassau in the Bahamas to Colombia in search of the real killer. Interweaving the author’s inspiring personal story with a spellbinding page-turner, The Injustice System exposes our broken legal process—and drops a bombshell that should reopen a long-closed case.

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About the Author:

Clive Stafford Smith is a criminal defense lawyer and founder of Reprieve, an organization that provides legal support to low-income prisoners accused of the most extreme crimes. He lives in London.

Review:

Praise for The Injustice System

“A complicated whodunit . . . In the course of recounting the crime, trial, and appeals, Smith paints a bleak picture of criminal justice in America—this is Miami after all, not some backwater town. There are dishonest cops, smug prosecutors, a feckless defense lawyer (now a judge), and venal witnesses. . . . A moving tale of devotion by an extraordinary lawyer who nearly bankrupted himself and his fledgling public-interest law office to fight for his client’s life and liberty, The Injustice System reveals the deep gap between cherished ideals and harsh reality in a country addicted to incarceration.”
—The New York Times Book Review

“True stories of wrongful convictions are by their nature utterly compelling, but most Americans don’t believe them. How can our vaunted system break down so miserably? In The Injustice System, Clive Stafford Smith details a spectacular example of a bogus conviction, and the many lives ruined by it. It is a superbly written account of only one case, but one of thousands.”

—John Grisham

“An empowering read for anyone who cares about the human implementation of justice.”

—Colin Firth


 “Clive Stafford Smith is an extraordinary lawyer, but he is also a great storyteller . . . a powerful thriller, beautifully told.”

—Helena Kennedy


 “A terrific read. Stranger than any fiction and much more exciting than Miami Vice.”

—Geoffrey Robertson


 “If you believe in the death penalty, read this book. It will change your mind and change your life.”

—Susan Hill


  “Clive Stafford Smith is a true hero and this book helps explain why.”

—Jon Ronson


“A well-researched book about a suspected wrongful conviction . . . The tension within the pages is relentless. . . . Based on his own investigation, Stafford Smith alleges evidence was cooked by an overzealous homicide detective, prosecutors bending the principles of justice they are sworn to uphold, forensic examiners providing biased readings of evidence, witnesses committing perjury, a trial judge who was less than devoted to evenhandedness, and appellate justices dismissing powerful new evidence suggesting Maharaj’s innocence. . . . As in so many alleged wrongful conviction cases—and in so many documented exonerations—it is puzzling to calculate how a dozen jurors all failed to find ‘reasonable doubt.’”

Atlanta Journal-Constitution


“Smith packages this revealing analysis of the broader justice system in a true-life legal thriller about one particularly egregious case. . . . He shines a harsh light on the conventional belief that the innocent rarely go as far as trial and are seldom convicted, and the immunity of prosecutors from accusations of wrongdoing, including withholding evidence that could prove defendants innocent.”Vanessa Bush, Booklist

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