Crisis books usually follow a predictable pattern: first a searing depiction of the problem at hand, then some broad and sweeping assessments of how great changes in attitude might begin to address the issue, and then some piddling and timid policy proposals that clearly won’t begin to meet the challenge. The authors are then charged with failing to provide solutions, and they in turn take refuge in the idea that at least they have diagnosed the problem.
A. M. Stroud III, a former prosecutor in Louisiana, expresses regret for the role he played in sending Glenn Ford to death row in 1984. “I was 33 years old. I was arrogant, judgmental, narcissistic and very full of myself. I was not as interested in justice as I was in winning.” Stroud says he presented dubious evidence from a forensic pathologist, precluded black jurors from the trial (Ford, since exonerated, is black), and ignored the fact that the appointed defense attorney had never before tried a criminal or capital case. “I . . . hope that providence will have more mercy for me than I showed Glenn Ford,” Stroud said in a letter to the editor of the Times of Shreveport. “But, I’m also sobered by the realization that I certainly am not deserving of it” (ABA Journal, March 25).