This book The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life, Freedom, and Justice by Anthony Ray Hinton, is as Bryan Stevenson said, “reading his story is difficult, but necessary.”
If you don’t want to read this book, at least click on the link above and click on Audible Sample under the book cover and listen to Bryan Stevenson, founder and Director of Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama.
Anthony Ray Hinton spent thirty years on Death Row for a crime he did not commit. He was at work in a secure warehouse (had to check-in and out with a security guard and the warehouse surrounded by a tall fence and several miles away) in Alabama when a horrible crime took place. There had been other murders committed in the area and on this particular night, the victim lived and mistakenly identified Anthony Ray Hinton as the person who tried to kill him. After reading about the trial, a reader can deduce there was no way that Hinton could have left work to commit the crime, nor did his mother’s gun match the crime evidence, yet he was arrested, charged, put on trial, and sentenced to death. He was found guilty because of racism and poverty.
Once on Death Row, Hinton’s cell was thirty feet from the electric chair/death chamber. While in prison fifty-four inmates walked past his cell to the chamber.
Think about this: The correctional officers would bring prisoners their three meals, let them out for an hour or so, let them know when they had a telephone call, let them know when they had a visitor, and tried to strike up polite conversations with them, all the while practicing to march the prisoners to the death chamber. What must that do to the minds of the correctional officers and prisoners?
For the thirty years, Hinton was on Death Row, his friend Lester never missed one visiting day.
Hinton writes about using his imagination, humor, faith, and forgiveness to survive thirty years on Death Row. This book also shows just how broken the justice system is in the United States.
Some questions to think about:
Should it take thirty years for an innocent person to prove their innocence?
Do you have a friend that would visit on every visitation day, if you were on Death Row for thirty years?
Anthony Ray Hinton was never compensated for his time on Death Row. Do you think the State of Alabama owes him anything?
Hinton started a book club while in prison, what books do think they read?