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Jeffrey Sprung Blog Post for 11/9

The movie Just Mercy details the extremely emotional and inspirational real-life story of Walter McMillian’s exoneration from Alabama’s death row prison, Holman State Prison. Just Mercy stars the phenomenal actors Michael B. Jordan, who plays Bryan Stevenson, and Jamie Foxx, who plays Walter “Johnny D.” McMillian. Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx’s outstanding acting exposed the racist and corrupt criminal justice system in America and enhanced the movie’s powerful message of hope. After watching the movie, I gained a tremendous amount of respect for Bryan Stevenson, Walter McMillian’s lawyer and founder of the Equal Justice Initiative. Stevenson, a Harvard law school graduate, overcame many obstacles in order to ultimately free Walter McMillian, an African American man from Monroeville, Alabama who was wrongly sentenced to death for a murder he did not commit. 

In the beginning of Just Mercy, Michael B. Jordan meets with an Alabama District Attorney in hopes of gaining more information surrounding the case of Walter McMillian. Michael B. Jordan opens up the meeting by asserting to the Alabama District Attorney that he has very serious doubts about the reliability of Walter McMillian’s criminal record as he claims that McMillian’s conviction was based on false testimony. The Alabama District Attorney refutes Michael B. Jordan’s beliefs and claims that McMillian, “…Caused a lot of pain for folks around here, and if you go digging in those wounds, you are going to make a lot of people very unhappy.” Michael B. Jordan is unfazed and responds, “Well it isn’t my job to make people happy, it is to achieve justice for my client.” Bryan Stevenson’s relentless pursuit for the justice of Walter McMillian, which is depicted by Michael B. Jordan in this scene, ultimately leads to the miraculous release of Walter McMillian from death row at the conclusion of the movie. Bryan Stevenson should be recognized as a hero in the United States as he put himself at risk in order to combat the racist and corrupt criminal justice system in Alabama to exonerate Walter McMillian and so many other wrongfully convicted prisoners.

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  1. Alexander Dimedio Alexander Dimedio

    Stevenson also gained my complete respect. He went through all kinds of trouble when he could have stayed home and lived his relatively comfy lifestyle with the exception of his race. He pushed himself, so he could help others. I love Stevenson’s quote here. It is inspirational to see someone stand up to these racist people and achieve some sort of justice for these helpless black people. Stevenson truly is a hero, and I love how Michael B Jordan portrays him.

  2. Michael Stein Michael Stein

    I think the story of Stevenson’s work is heroic and also leaves a hopeful message about failures in the justice system. While prisoners like McMillan and Richardson have their lives ruined by a corrupt justice system, it is still possible for Stevenson to help them. The fact that it is even possible for someone to help these men — both of whom have been convicted for a serious crime — shows that change is possible, even if it is extremely difficult.

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