Grave Injustice


Grave Injustice

Unearthing Wrongful Executions

Richard A. Stack
Foreword by Benjamin Todd Jealous

288 pages


April 2013


$29.95 Add to Cart
eBook (PDF)
Ebook purchases delivered via Leaf e-Reader

April 2013


$29.95 Add to Cart

About the Book

On September 21, 2011, the controversial execution of Georgia inmate Troy Davis, who spent twenty years on death row for a crime he most likely did not commit, revealed the complexity of death penalty trials, the flaws in America’s justice system, and the rift between those who are for or against the death penalty. Davis’s execution reignited a long-standing debate about whether the death penalty is an appropriate form of justice. In Grave Injustice Richard A. Stack seeks to advance the anti–death penalty argument by examining the cases of individuals who, like Davis, have been executed but are likely innocent. By telling the stories of Jesse Tafero, Ruben Cantu, Carlos DeLuna, Cameron Todd Willingham, Larry Griffin, and others, Stack puts a human face on the ultimate and irrevocable tragedy of capital punishment. Although polls indicate Americans favor death sentences approximately three to one, many respondents change their position when presented with the facts about capital punishment. Stack’s compelling descriptions of nineteen wrongful executions illustrate the flaws of the death penalty, which, he argues, is ineffective in deterring crime and costs more than sentences of life without parole. He demonstrates that racial disparities in implementation, procedural errors, incompetent defense attorneys, and mistaken eyewitness identification lead to an alarming number of wrongful convictions. But influencing public opinion is only part of the battle to end state-sanctioned killing. Stack profiles six anti–death penalty warriors, demonstrating the range of what can be done, and what remains to be done, to move toward a more compassionate society.

Author Bio

RICHARD A. STACK serves on the faculty of the School of Communication at American University in Washington, DC. He is the author of three previously published books, including Dead Wrong: Violence, Vengeance & the Victims of Capital Punishment (Praeger, 2006). He lives in Silver Spring, Maryland.


"Stack . . . takes readers into the lives of 18 inmates who were executed despite persistent doubts about their guilt and consistent evidence to prove innocence."—Colman McCarthy, National Catholic Reporter

“In addition to revealing that, in all likelihood, the United States has executed innocent men, Grave Injustice exposes the fundamental defects in capital punishment that produce such fatal mistakes. By focusing on these particular cases, the book brings to vivid life the two basic arguments for abolition—that the death penalty affects, and is carried out by, real flawed human beings, and that an irreversible punishment has no place in an imperfect system.”—Brian Evans, Campaigner for Amnesty International USA’s Death Penalty Abolition Campaign

“Professor Stack has written a smart and engaging book on capital punishment. Using the unforgettable stories of real people, he drives home the many ways in which the death penalty system is broken in the United States. He then inspires us with examples of six very different people who have turned hope and vision into reality, tragedy into triumph, and forever changed the landscape of the capital punishment debate.”—Diann Rust-Tierney, Executive Director of the National Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty

“Richard Stack’s book Grave Injustice is the tombstone for the death penalty.”—Kirk Noble Bloodsworth, Advocacy Director for Witness to Innocence and the first death row inmate exonerated by DNA