This story was related to the Innocent Man by John Grisham that I previously reviewed. Its about another set of men that the same prosecutors and detectives decided were guilty of rape and murder despite a lack of evidence AND evidence to the contrary. Like the "confession" in the Innocent man, the detectives convinced two poor men with less than average intelligence that a crime had been committed the way that they apparently believed. Initially the detectives got the two men to implicate a third, but it was literally impossible that the third man was involved in the rape and murder because he had broken his arm in a fight with Ada's finest only two dates before the crime occurred. The detectives were undeterred by that inaccuracy-despite the fact that the third gentlemen was purportedly the aggressor who actually killed the woman. The detectives left the third man in jail claiming he had been arrested on an unrelated charge.
The detectives refused to follow up on any other leads. The crime itself was a kidnapping and murder of a convenience story clerk. The detectives literally ignored the string of kidnapping/murders of other convenience story clerks and the evidence that indicated that the defendants could not have done it. In the end, not a SINGLE part of the dream confessions were true..the woman had been shot in the head and left in the woods-not stabbed and left in the field, as the defendants "confessed." Neither the prosecutors nor the detectives cared.
There are so many disturbing aspects of this story, I had to wait awhile before I could review it. It scares me that the detectives and prosecution want a certain set of people to be guilty, they ignore the truth and valid evidence and let a SERIAL KILLER roam free. Just like in the Innocent Man, the mob mentality of people who refused to think for themselves prevailed.
The main difference between this book and the Innocent Man is that this really is an epic failure of the system. The defendants are still in jail, despite the fact that it is abundantly obvious that neither of the defendants could have committed this crime. The difference? THese defendants were sentenced to life, not to be executed. They dont get the automatic appeals and extra review processes that those on death row get. Who would ever think it's actually better to be sentenced to death, then to life in prison, if you are an innocent man.
After I finished the book, I started pondering if the death penalty SHOULD be abolished given all the checks and balances in place. I truly believed that the defendants would walk free if they were afforded more appeals. THere is just too much evidence that they could not have committed this crime. But I guess the greater question I have now is-should it matter how the court system ends a life before you are afforded the appeals that those on death row are afforded? Isnt your life over whether you live it out in prison or are eventually executed after at least a decade, and maybe more, on death row? Shouldnt we have the same checks and balances in place for an innocent man sentenced to life in prison in his twenties? The abuse of power and mob mentality apparently rampant in Ada, Oklahoma ended these men's lives...just in a different way.
The Innocent Man left me angry. The Dreams of Ada left me feeling feeling sad and hopeless and like our system really doesnt work. Reply