The focal point of this essay is to prepare a reaction paper for the book May God Have Mercy: A True Story of Crime and Punishment by John C. Tucker. This 368 page paperback was written by the author to look into the death penalty of Roger Coleman in 1992 who was convicted for a murder case in spite of the evidences being placed on a soft ground. As a defense attorney of criminal activities John C. Tucker indulges himself in investigation and analyzes and criticizes the loopholes of the judiciary system and the prevailing criminal justice process.
Wanda Fay McCoy, a young woman of 19 years of age, was found raped and murdered in her bedroom in March 1981. The prime suspect was Roger Coleman, brother-in-law of the victim. Roger Coleman had a history of sexual assaults in past thus he was the logical suspect for the small town police officials who were investigating the case. This was a perfect example of the ‘catch first, prove later’ fallacy rather than the rational approach to the case. The Grundy police suspected Roger Coleman for the rape and murder, caught him and them tried to arrange the case in accordance to prove Roger Coleman guilty.
The entire approach was a short cut to success for the investigating cops and the entire scenario was close to an act of travesty. Therefore, as a result, though there was not much evidence against Roger Coleman to prove him guilty the convict was tried in a double quick manner and was thus found guilty. The verdict against him was death penalty.
May God Have Mercy: A True Story of Crime and Punishment by John C. Tucker narrates the buildup and eventual conclusion of this legal battle and a man’s struggle to be free against legal system’s strangling notions. The author presents the documentations in a chilling mode where it becomes evident that something was going wrong somewhere. The defense lawyers knew this. The media knew this and so was the general mass. But for the judicial system Roger Coleman was guilty without doubt.
The case of Roger Coleman as narrated by John C. Tucker appears to us as a frightening denunciation of political affairs as customary that is clear to confront the conjectures of a person who considers that the justice system of America is concerned first and foremost with righteousness. Roger Coleman’s account is convincing, distressing, and awesomely wearisome.
While reading May God Have Mercy: A True Story of Crime and Punishment by John C. Tucker it is virtually impossible for a person to be move away completely unaffected. This is because the author has done a remarkable job by presenting the rules and the process of multifaceted legal conceptions in a simple and clear language. Otherwise any such proceedings would have been bound to be confusing and rather dull. Tucker also incorporates many stories dealing with the personal parameters of the convict’s life to present a moving and powerful humane account.
As for the settings of the case it should be mentioned that in general the judiciary system is arranged in such a manner that an innocent person is hardly ever convicted especially in the circumstances of a possible death penalty. But it was proved wrong in case of Roger Coleman’s account of trial. It is not that Tucker advocates blindly with irrational suspicion that Roger Coleman’s case was not guilty. But he simply points at the sustainable evidences that indicated that the convict was not to be blamed. Substantial evidence is what tucker is more concerned about and he tends to follow the proceedings of the law and identifies the evidences hardly proved the convict guilty with a full proof assurance.
It is true that any judicial system should be rigid in some way or the other to pursue criminals into justice but it should always be remembered that justice as an individual objective is extremely volatile if it is not handled with proper care and common human sense of truth and rightfulness. Roger Coleman’s account of a mishandled human being is the prime example of justice becoming a curse for the society and failing to follow the basic norms of a civilized human society.
This basic norm of a society is undoubtedly a profound humane approach to any problem where solutions would be acquired with benevolent advance towards rational behaviors and accomplishments. It is not about the fact that whether truly Roger Coleman actually guilty or not but the main concern over here is the nature of the proceedings that were followed. This is the main issue of the book and the author has incorporated that needful doubt within the readers that should have been present within the faiths of judicial personnel in the first place.
It is evident that if anybody commits to memory about the case not so far away from the media coverage it is obvious that he or she would be traumatized and horror struck at this chronicle with its deficiency of concern, ordinary logical conclusions and fundamental compassion towards human values of the legal system American government can acquire.
Tucker, John C; August 10, 1998; May God Have Mercy: A True Story of Crime and Punishment; Delta Publications
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