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  • Published: 5 July 2012
  • ISBN: 9781448113101
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 432


Life and Death in the Courtrooms of America

A man wrongly convicted of murder, a crusading lawyer determined to overturn the death penalty and an investigation that reveals corruption at every turn. This remarkable book reads like a page-turning detective story, with one crucial difference: can we be sure that justice will be served?


In 1986, Kris Maharaj, a British businessman living in Miami, was arrested for the brutal murder of two ex-business associates. His lawyer did not present a strong alibi; Kris was found guilty and sentenced to death in the electric chair.

It wasn't until a young lawyer working for nothing, Clive Stafford Smith, took on his case that strong evidence began to emerge that the state of Florida had got the wrong man on Death Row. So far, so good - except that, as Stafford Smith argues here so compellingly, the American justice system is actually designed to ignore innocence. Twenty-six years later, Maharaj is still in jail.

Step by step, Stafford Smith untangles the Maharaj case and the system that makes disasters like this inevitable. His conclusions will act as a wake-up call for those who condone legislation which threatens basic human rights and, at the same time, the personal story he tells demonstrates that determination can challenge the institutions that surreptitiously threaten our freedom.

  • Published: 5 July 2012
  • ISBN: 9781448113101
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 432

About the author

Clive Stafford Smith

Clive Stafford Smith is a lawyer specialising in defending those accused of the most serious crimes, and is founder and Director of UK legal charity Reprieve. Based in the US for twenty-six years, he now works from the UK where he continues to defend prisoners on Death Row, and challenges the continued incarceration of those held in secret prisons around the world. He has secured the release of 65 prisoners from Guantánamo Bay and still acts for fifteen more. His book Bad Men (shortlisted for the 2008 Orwell Prize) described this campaign. Alongside many other awards, in 2000 he received an OBE for 'humanitarian services'. His second book Injustice was shortlisted for the 2013 Orwell Prize and the CWA Non-Fiction Dagger.

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Praise for Injustice

True stories of wrongful convictions are by their nature utterly compelling. In Injustice, Clive Stafford Smith details a spectacular example of a bogus conviction, and the many lives ruined by it...A superbly written account of only one case, but one of thousands.

John Grisham

Clive Stafford Smith is an extraordinary lawyer, but he is also a great storyteller and his account of the Kris Maharaj death row case is a powerful thriller, beautifully told.

Helena Kennedy Q.C.

Stafford Smith is a true hero and this book helps explain why.

Jon Ronson

If you believe in the death penalty, read this book. It will change your mind and change your life. A book that zaps through you at 2,000 volts – just like the current used to execute a man in the electric chair.

Susan Hill

An empowering read for anyone who cares about the humane implementation of justice - no matter where it is.

Colin Firth

A terrific read. Stranger than any fiction and much more exciting than Miami Vice.

Geoffrey Robertson Q.C.

Impressive and moving… Until you know how the trial went wrong, how the death penalty is actually carried out, how redress is remote, it is impossible to make a difference. But we can, and we must. Inaction by any one of us is the handmaiden of injustice.

Michael Mansfield Q.C.

When you need to inspire yourself for the return to work

Kirsty Brimelow, The Times

A forensic examination of the murder trial in America of British businessman Kris Mahraj


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