Fresh Air: One Lawyer’s Fight For Young Blacks And ‘Just Mercy’…


Date: October 20, 2014

…One Lawyer’s Fight For Young Blacks And ‘Just Mercy’…

“Bryan Stevenson takes on cases to exonerate people wrongfully convicted. “One of the things that pains me is we have so tragically underestimated the trauma, the hardship we create in this country when we treat people unfairly, when we incarcerate them unfairly, when we condemn them unfairly,” he says.”

“[It] just reinforced what I had known all along, which is that we have a criminal justice system that treats you better if you’re rich and guilty than if you’re poor and innocent,” Stevenson tells Fresh Air’s Terry Gross.”

“Stevenson is a Harvard Law School graduate and has argued six cases before the Supreme Court. He won a ruling holding that it is unconstitutional to sentence children to life without parole if they are 17 or younger and have not committed murder.”

“His clients are people on death row — abused and neglected children who were prosecuted as adults and placed in adult prisons where they were beaten and sexually abused, and mentally disabled people whose illnesses helped land them in prison where their special needs were unmet.”

The more I look…the more convinced I become, that the biggest villain of them all…is the system…

At one point, Bryan talks about going to meet with a fourteen year old boy…and having to console him as he broke down and cried for an hour…He was held and charged, because he shot and killed the man who beat his mother unconscious [potentially killing her]…and for this he spent his institutionalized time being repeatedly gang raped, by more inmates than he could recall…

Who is responsible for this?…I agree with Bryan, that we all are responsible to bring an end to this…but the guilt for this belongs to the system, and to those running it…and those responsible for the system.

When is there going to be any amount of accountability, for those who take young kids and subject them to this?

That is not part of “paying your debt to society”…It is insidious torture.

…There is no such thing as a person who you can throw away to the system, wash your hands of, and forget that they ever existed.

…Yet we find that some people, even kids, are treated just like that.

The true criminals here, are those running and controlling the system.

Well…I’ve spoken my piece, with regards to what really hit me hardest in this interview…The whole thing is worth listening to…It’s mostly about people on death row, and corruption in the “justice system”…But it touches on kids who’ve been sentenced to life without parole, sentenced to die in prison.

…It is easy to see why vulnerable and outcast groups get a raw deal from the “justice system”, when these sorts of things [and the people behind them] are allowed to achieve controlling power within the “justice system”.

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