If wrongful convictions and the death penalty concern you, Anatomy of Injustice – A Murder Case Gone Wrong is required reading. Author Raymond Bonner displays gifted storytelling and keen insight into the frailties of the U.S. criminal justice system. He uses the wrongful conviction and capital case of Edward Lee Elmore to do so.
The setting is South Carolina.
Edward Lee Elmore – a black man with limited mental capacity – was convicted in 1982 of the murder of Dorothy Lee Edwards, a well-to-do white woman. After three trials, Elmore’s conviction was upheld and he was sentenced to death.
In many ways Edward Elmore’s story is a classic case of wrongful conviction. It involves the usual factors – poor defense counsel, lousy police investigation, snitch testimony, and prosecutorial misconduct. The injustice dealt Mr. Elmore was facilitated by a climate of racial prejudice. And the condemned man’s only hope was defense attorney Diana Holt, who wrestled with personal demons as she doggedly fought for justice in America’s courts.
But Elmore’s case also illustrates a horrific flaw in the way “justice” is defined in the United States. Evidence of El