In 1986, Kris Maharaj, a British businessman living in Miami, was arrested for the brutal murder of his ex-business associates Derrick and Duane Moo Young. His lawyer did not present a strong alibi; Kris was found guilty and sentenced to death in the electric chair. Immediately he began the process of appeal. But 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. So far, so good – except that, as Stafford Smith argues so compellingly in his latest book, the American justice system is actually designed to ignore innocence. Twenty-six years later, now aged 73, Maharaj is still in jail. Step by step, from the botched trial to the ludicrous logic of the appeal courts, Stafford Smith untangles the Maharaj case and the system that makes disasters like this inevitable.
Clive Stafford Smith is the founder and Director of Reprieve (www.reprieve.org.uk). He oversees Reprieve’s casework programme, as well as the direct representation of prisoners in Guantánamo Bay and on death row as a Louisiana licensed attorney at law. In 2000 he was awarded an OBE for ‘humanitarian services’. He was made a Rowntree Visionary and Echoing Green Fellow in 2005 and was previously a Soros Senior Fellow. He is the author of Eight O’Clock Ferry to the Windward Side, Bad Men: Guantánamo Bay and the Secret Prisoners and Injustice: Life and Death in the Courtrooms of America.
If you would like to subscribe to our RSS Comments feed, please click on the orange XML logo below (click here to read more about our RSS feeds).
** Should you wish to retract a comment, or if you experience technical difficulties, please email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org. We reserve the right to delete posts containing offensive language or content.