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“The Innocent Man” by John Grisham Essay

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Updated: Mar 29th, 2022


The Innocent Man is a book written by John Grisham concerning the misery and injustice in the town of Ada, Oklahoma. John Grisham narrates a shocking story of Ron Williamson and his friend Fritz. The two friends were arrested under false charges and convicted without trial. Williamson is a baseball star who ends up a dissolute mentally unstable and the two were faced with charges of rape and murder. Grisham’s book gives a shocking tale of how Williamson led his life in judicial crime injustice until the time of his death row sentence. Ron Williamson was a sportsman in the town of Ada, Oklahoma before he left to work on his dreams. Years later, he joined a life of drinking, drug abuse and women. The book analyses the hash and mishandled mission of the police in Ada. He reports on how the police and prosecutor used confession, false witnesses and baseless evidences to convict Williamson. Ron Williamson faced deep and permanent psychological wounds during this time of torture. After suffering in a conviction and detention for eleven years on a death row, Williamson and Fritz were guilty of the crimes according to DNA test evidence (Grisham, 2010).


Grisham’s book gives an analysis of the false convictions, poor police work and corrupt prosecutions that requires serious alerts on judicial reforms. He gives a transparent picture of the legal system and reflects how the judicial systems are so unfair to the poor and the middle-level people in the United States. It is quite shocking to read the story of Williamson’s mental decline and the way the society are failing to deal correctly with this disorder. Williamson’s life story before and after the imprisonment is extremely tormenting. His lifetime encounters from the time as a young professional baseball player until the time the court took him to a death row, shows how the judicial system in the United States is far from justice. Out of the four suspects, Williamson turns to be the centerpiece of police investigations. He eventually finds himself in a death row sentence in the Oklahoma Criminal court whose target seems to reduce the inmate’s rights to zero. This is evident in the case where Fritz also faces arrest and charges with the same crime just because he is a friend of Williamson (Grisham, 2010).

The key issues reflected in The Innocent Man covers a complete picture of the criminal injustice practiced in the United States. The first case in reference is the police abuse of power. This comes in when the police are under pressure from their seniors and the public to arrest and torture the suspects on a serious public crime even before trying them. The suspects could not face justice even after the media had provided a videotape on how the police were violating the law by committing the brutal acts. The community has a misleading belief that the police only arrest guilty parties. The second case of injustice in the judicial system is evident in the way the criminal justice system fails to recognize and deal with the mentally ill inmates in a humane sense. Although Williamson was able to resume back into the ball clubs by 1980, he had developed a condition of drugs addiction, alcoholism and mental disorder. A third case is the worst instance of judicial injustice in their prosecutors arrogance and the mishandling of evidence provided against the suspects in court.

A witness gave a statement of having been with Williamson and his friend Fritz in the eve of Debbie’s murder. He narrated how he had spent the previous night with Williamson and his friend Fritz in the flashlight. However, police ignored this statement and instead arrested and convicted the two suspects of Debbie’s murder. The suspects had to face a death penalty and life imprisonment without trials, which is a serious case of humans’ right violation according to the constitution. The final case of judicial injustice was when the false persuasive expert witnesses used baseless science to blind the jury during their judgments. The police, the jailhouse informers and the prosecutors’ panel employed expert witnesses to provide false testimony and baseless science to nail the suspects. These baseless sciences acted as substitutes for evidence in trying the suspects in court. The two friends receive death sentence without any physical evidence of their guilt. Their prosecution case could not face justice because of the junk Science and false expert witnesses framed against them (Grisham, 2010).


The Innocent Man brings into light the dark and shocking information on judicial injustice experienced in the US. It gives a picture of how the small towns within the cities in the United States still face the unbelievable truth of injustices. Judges in these towns still operate in mind that they can run free and regulate the U.S. Supreme Court in their own constitutional guidelines. It is evident that one cannot get justice if he/she does not have money and the right connection. It is clear evidence that only the rich can challenge these bloated injustices. It is sad to note that those who have money in the society are most likely not falling victims of these challenges of injustice. If they do, then they bribe their ways out of this situation without minding their constitutional rights.

Work Cited

Grisham, John. The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town, 7th Ed. NY: Random House, 2010.

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