Libel Suit Against Grisham Dismissed
Bill Peterson, the former district attorney of Pontotoc County, Oklahoma, and two investigators who were involved with Peterson in the trial and conviction of Ron Williamson and Dennis Fritz, didn't like the way they were portrayed in John Grisham's book, "The Innocent Man." Williamson and Fritz were convicted of murdering cocktail waitress Debbie Sue Carter. Twelve years later, DNA evidence exonerated them.
Peterson and the investigators sued Grisham for libel. They also sued "Barry Scheck, founder of the New York-based Innocence Project and an attorney for one of the men falsely accused in the murder." U.S. District Judge Ronald White has wisely dismissed the lawsuit. [More...]
In his ruling, the judge wrote that it was important to be able to analyze and criticize the judicial system "so that past mistakes do not become future ones." "The wrongful convictions of Ron Williamson and Dennis Fritz must be discussed openly and with great vigor," White wrote.
Absolutely true, as is Scheck's comment: "This is a victory for free speech and for holding officials publicly accountable for their role in wrongful convictions."
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