Guy Reel Unequal Justice

ISBN 13: 9780879758417

Unequal Justice

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9780879758417: Unequal Justice
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In 1985, handyman Wayne Dumond was accused of raping the daughter of a prominent Arkansas businessman. Not long after Dumond was released on bail, two masked gunmen broke into his home, bound and castrated him, and left him to die. His school-aged sons returned home in time to save Dumond's life, but he was later convicted and imprisoned for life.

Jack Hill, a Jonesboro, Arkansas television newsman who had been looking into the shenanigans of the sheriff of St. Francis County, began investigating the Dumond case. He found an appalling trail of evil and corruption so widespread that even then-Governor Bill Clinton was forced to address it. Hill discovered that Dumond's severed testicles were taken by the sheriff, who displayed them like a trophy. After DNA tests proved Dumond was not the rapist, Hill pressed Clinton for clemency. The governor refused, even after his own parole board recommended that Dumond be released. It turned out that Clinton was a cousin of the rape victim and a political ally of the prosecutor who put Dumond away. When Clinton ran for president, he turned the case over to the lieutenant governor, who reduced Dumond's sentence.

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From the Back Cover:

"Welcome to Forrest City... named for the Confederate hero and Ku Klux Klan founder Nathan Bedford Forrest... Forrest City was what the Chamber of Commerce claimed was a 'big little city in the U.S.A.', as business leaders desperately tried to counteract the horrifying publicity generated by the events recounted in these pages. Before Bill Clinton, the biggest national news for Forrest City came from its election of a gambler sheriff... "Get off the 1-40 exit that takes you into Forrest City and you might notice the Planter's Bank, the bank that lent the sheriff more than half a million dollars. Near the dirty downtown... is a stodgy funeral home with a neat lawn. That was where men looked at another man's cut-out body parts. "Down the street is the courthouse, where the sheriff and his deputies shot high-stakes craps. Out on the highway was a crop-dusting business, owned by the sheriff, which burned down mysteriously in the middle of the night... "There is a lane with fashionable homes and well-trimmed lawns. It was there that a local girl said she was kidnapped by a man and taken out to the woods, where he forced her to perform oral sex... "Had a traveler peeked into one of several houses in Forrest City in early 1985, he might have seen... a policeman selling dope, or - on Barrow Hill Road along Crowley's Ridge - men tying up another man and mutilating him into unconsciousness... "Sound like Peyton Place on the farm? Maybe it was - except every word you are about to read is true". These words from the prologue of Unequal Justice set the stage for Guy Reel's dramatic account of the appalling corruption in Arkansas' St. Francis County. Here County Sheriff Coolidge Conlee manipulatedthe entire political system for his own gain, while crowing, "I run this county". Reel vividly reconstructs the terrifying sequence of events that brought together two very different men in a struggle for justice: handyman Wayne Dumond - falsely convicted of rape and horribly disfigured by vigilante hit men - and investigative reporter Jack Hill, who exposed the evil perpetrated by the sheriff at great personal risk and sacrifice. Conlee was finally brought to trial and imprisoned for multiple felonies. But Wayne Dumond is still waiting for the justice that is his due. Despite DNA evidence proving that Dumond could not have been the rapist, then Governor Bill Clinton - a distant cousin of the rape victim - refused to grant Dumond clemency. Unequal Justice is a frightening tale of victimization and the failure of the constitutional protections that all Americans take for granted.

From Kirkus Reviews:

Captivating but flawed crime story attempting to link a crooked Arkansas sheriff, a shady prosecutor, and then-Governor Bill Clinton in a criminal conspiracy. Forrest City, Arkansas, home to 14,000, sits hard by the Mississippi and was, in the mid-80's, run under the aegis of county sheriff Coolidge Conlee. According to Memphis Commercial Appeal reporter Reel, Conlee apparently also ran a high-stakes gambling operation; oversaw drug distribution; and was closely allied to district prosecutor Gene Raff, who ``some said'' was appointed as a political favor by Clinton. The trouble began when the daughter of a prominent citizen (and lifelong friend of Raff's) was raped. Her second cousin once removed was Clinton--and on this hinge Reel hangs his indictment of the President. After identifying as her rapist a man who turned out to have an airtight alibi, the victim fingered a handyman named Wayne Dumond. Unable to pick out Dumond at lineup, the victim, ``some said,'' was told by Conlee who to choose. Awaiting trial, Dumond was attacked in his trailer by two men who forced him into fellatio, then hog-tied and castrated him. At his trial, Raff contended that Dumond had castrated himself (``Was that before or after I tied myself up?'' Dumond asked), and the man was sentenced to life plus 20 years. Turned away by Arkansas courts despite apparent irrefutable evidence of his innocence (including DNA matching), Dumond approached the parole board, who recommended to Clinton that the prisoner be released immediately. Clinton refused, and the board, without precedent, ruled that Dumond serve time. Reel quotes a local attorney as saying that Raff destroyed the putative attacker of Clinton's family as a political favor to Clinton. An engrossing story that should appeal to true-crime fans undaunted by its tabloid-style insinuations about the President. The Clinton name, though, may supply enough fuel to shoot this book into a wide readership and 15 minutes of fame. (First printing of 30,000) -- Copyright ©1993, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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