Edward Lee Elmore — a black man who faced execution after he was wrongly convicted of killing a white woman in South Carolina — was released from prison on March 2 after serving nearly thirty years. His release comes after numerous appeals and as the direct result of a plea deal negotiated by his attorney, Diana Holt.
Holt said, “Eleven thousand days of injustice ended today.”
Elmore’s story is the subject of a new book ANATOMY OF INJUSTICE by Ray Bonner. Bonner, who was present at the Greenwood SC courthouse at the time of the announcement, said “It can hardly be called justice when, in order to obtain his freedom, a man had to plead guilty to a crime he did not commit.”
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“A gripping human story,”
says Publishers Weekly in a starred review of the book.
“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 Bonner, 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.
“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.”
ANATOMY OF INJUSTICE:
A Murder Case Gone Wrong
by Raymond Bonner.
Published by Knopf Feb. 22, 2012
336 pages. $26.95 ISBN 978-0-307-70021-6
Michelle Somers | 212-572-2082 | firstname.lastname@example.org