AN AMERICAN RAPE: A True Account of the Giles-Johnson Case by A. Robert & James V. Giles Smith

AN AMERICAN RAPE: A True Account of the Giles-Johnson Case

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A true account of the legal proceedings that first sentenced to death, then freed, six years later, three black Maryland youths accused of raping a sixteen-year-old white girl in 1961. The case was legally significant because it led to a controversial Supreme Court ruling on the suppression of evidence by the state; morally it functions as a condemnation of an adversary legal system in which the cleverest or most powerful (usually the state, but in this case, finally the defense) generally win. It took defense committees, a battery of lawyers and legal statagems, and several amazingly committed supporters--not to mention vast sums of money--to free the Giles Brothers and their friend: certainly a rarity amidst thousands of instances of injustice and causes not quite so celebre. A disturbing aspect of the book is the strange anti-feminist bias of the civil libertarians, whose clients, in rape cases, are always men. Their true story is presented (the book is co-authored by one of the defendants) but not the story of the pseudonymous victim (presented as a typical village slut), now in the middle of a new life and unwilling to rake up the past. As the much-maligned district attorney of the case stated in the original trial, even a prostitute can be raped. Otherwise, an engrossing (and depressing) look into the endless labyrinthine processes of trial and conviction find appeal and pardon that are supposed to ensure justice but more often simply support rich lawyers.

Pub Date: Oct. 13th, 1975
Publisher: New Republic Book Co.