The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row

The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row

In 1985, Anthony Ray Hinton was arrested and charged with two counts of capital murder in Alabama. Stunned, confused, and only twenty-nine years old, Hinton knew that it was a case of mistaken identity and believed that the truth would prove his innocence and ultimately set him free.But with no money and a different system of justice for a poor black man in the South, Hint...

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Title:The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row
Author:Anthony Ray Hinton
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Edition Language:English

The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life and Freedom on Death Row Reviews

  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

    Anthony Ray Hinton was convicted of murder and spent 30 years on Death Row in Alabama. His cell was close enough to the execution block that all his senses knew when someone’s time had come.

    Hinton’s public defender was incompetent and so was the star witness in ballistics who happened to be blind in one eye and asked for help in doing his job. Add to that a district attorney with an axe to grind, an all white jury and judg

    🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

    Anthony Ray Hinton was convicted of murder and spent 30 years on Death Row in Alabama. His cell was close enough to the execution block that all his senses knew when someone’s time had come.

    Hinton’s public defender was incompetent and so was the star witness in ballistics who happened to be blind in one eye and asked for help in doing his job. Add to that a district attorney with an axe to grind, an all white jury and judge, and racial tensions in Alabama, and Hinton was convicted of a crime he did not commit.

    While each day and year ticked by, Hinton never lost hope, and he was able to convince well-known attorney, Bryan Stevenson, to represent him. After jumping through all the hoops of our justice system, and several years later in doing so, the Supreme Court overturned the false conviction.

    At the very heart of this book is Hinton’s merciful, steadfast spirit. In prison, he was known for his kindness and ability to make others laugh. Outside of prison, he spends his time advocating so that this doesn’t happen to anyone else.

    If you need to feel uplifted, Hinton indomitably delivers.

    Thank you to Anthony Ray Hinton, St. Martin’s Press, and Netgalley for the ARC for this inspiring book. The Sun Does Shine is available now!

  • Nancy

    Last year I read Bryan Stevenson's book Just Mercy. It was crushing to read about a justice system based on convictions and political gain at the expense of innocent men. It led me to read I Can't Breathe by Matt Taibbi about the death of Earl Garner and also to Michelle Ko's Reading with Patrick. Each book is a moving account of the stories behind the Black Lives Matter movement.

    So when I saw that one of the Death Row inmates represented by Stevenson had written his own book I had to read it.

    R

    Last year I read Bryan Stevenson's book Just Mercy. It was crushing to read about a justice system based on convictions and political gain at the expense of innocent men. It led me to read I Can't Breathe by Matt Taibbi about the death of Earl Garner and also to Michelle Ko's Reading with Patrick. Each book is a moving account of the stories behind the Black Lives Matter movement.

    So when I saw that one of the Death Row inmates represented by Stevenson had written his own book I had to read it.

    Ray Hinton had a record and had paid his dues. He was working in a guarded facility when a murder took place, but an enemy in romance told police that he had seen Ray at the crime scene.

    Ray was poor. Ray was black. Ray had a record. With lousy representation, a partially blind expert witness in munitions, and the system stacked against him, he was convicted and sent to prison for murders he did not commit.

    The Sun Does Shine tells of his struggle for justice, his decline into anger and hatred, and how he found hope and acceptance. He became a model prisoner, befriending the other inmates and working to improve their lives. He asked for their food to be covered to keep out dust and insects. He asked for books to keep the inmates from dwelling on their problems. He started a book club. He kept up morale.

    Ray changed lives. A former KKK member who killed a black teenager called Ray his best friend.

    It was the continuing love of his mother and support of his best friend that kept Ray going for thirty years. Even after his mother passed, he heard her inspiring voice to keep fighting. Ray knew he had what many others on Death Row had lacked: a loving family and abiding faith.

    Bryan Stevenson was overworked but took on Ray's case. They had to fight the Alabama court system that would not accept the evidence that would prove Ray's innocence.

    When Ray was finally released he had lived on Death Row longer than he had been free. It was a shock; the world had changed. The first night of freedom he slept in the bathroom because the bedroom was too large and strange. He was given no compensation. He had no Social Security or pension or savings built up. He would have to work to support himself the rest of his life.

    I was devastated and I was inspired by Ray's story.

    Meet Mr. Hinton in a video at

    I received a free ebook from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.

  • Diane S ☔

    I am not sure where to put my feelings after finishing this book. I am appalled, angry, sad but also filled with admiration for this inncent man on death row for over thirty years, who managed to retain hope and love. Not that he never got angry, he did, but he still hung on, didn't give up. He had a best friend, Lester a childhood friend who never missed visits, a mother to whom he was her baby boy, always asking him when he would be coming home, and he had his faith in God. His first lawyer in

    I am not sure where to put my feelings after finishing this book. I am appalled, angry, sad but also filled with admiration for this inncent man on death row for over thirty years, who managed to retain hope and love. Not that he never got angry, he did, but he still hung on, didn't give up. He had a best friend, Lester a childhood friend who never missed visits, a mother to whom he was her baby boy, always asking him when he would be coming home, and he had his faith in God. His first lawyer incompetent, fighting against a system prejudice that despite evidence to the contrary, would do anything for a conviction. He would also, eventually have Bryan Stevenson, the author of Just Mercy and his lawyers in the Equal justice initiative. In fact, Stevenson writes the forward in this book.

    That the criminal justice system in this country is evident just from what we see on our televisions. It seems always weekly men who have been in prison, serving long sentences are found innocent and released. This book makes this point perfectly clear. Even when the evidence was found to be faulty in his first trial, Hintons case was passed from Court to court. The amount of years this happened was beyond ridiculous, to me it was unconsciousable.

    During his time on death row, he started a book club, daydreamed his way out, to travel, pretend, allowing him the opportunity to escape mentally if he couldn't physically. Many books have left me teary eyed, but reading this book affected me so much I had tears running down my face more than once. All the things this man missed, the sorrows he endured, on being released the realization that the world had moved on in technology, and in other ways. Yet, he never lost his humanity, held on to his faith, but what he lost is beyond measure.

  • Erin

    Until we have a way of ensuring that innocent men are never executed. Until we account for the racism in our courts, in our prisons, and in our sentencing. The death penalty should be abolished.

    Anthony Ray Hinton is an amazing and Godly man. He's a much better person than I am. Anthony Ray Hinton spent nearly 30 years on death row for a murder he didn't commit. This innocent man could have been put to death, for the crime of being black & poor. His trial was a sham, his court appointed lawy

    Until we have a way of ensuring that innocent men are never executed. Until we account for the racism in our courts, in our prisons, and in our sentencing. The death penalty should be abolished.

    Anthony Ray Hinton is an amazing and Godly man. He's a much better person than I am. Anthony Ray Hinton spent nearly 30 years on death row for a murder he didn't commit. This innocent man could have been put to death, for the crime of being black & poor. His trial was a sham, his court appointed lawyer couldn't have cared less, the police told him to his face they didn't care if he was innocent because "If you didn't do it some other nigger did", the prosecutor Robert McGregor, I will only say that I hope he enjoys heat because he's burning in Hell.

    As I said before Anthony Ray Hinton is a better person than me, because he's forgiven all the people who wronged him. Well guess what I haven't, one of my great talents is the ability to hold grudges. Anthony Ray Hinton is a special sort of person, he never gave up hope or lost his enthusiasm for life. He started a death row bookclub, he prayed for the souls of his fellow death row inmates(even the guilty ones), he befriended a Klansman on death row for the brutal murder of a black man and he married both Halle Berry & Sandra Bullock(in his head of course).

    I don't believe in the death penalty. I know that there are people who have committed truly heinous crimes and should probably die for that but what about the Anthony Ray Hinton's of the world. 1 out of every 10 people on death row are innocent. Anthony Ray Hinton was lucky, he wasn't wrongfully executed but every year at least 5 innocent people are. I just can't stomach that.

    A must read!

    Oprah's Bookclub

    2018 Popsugar Reading Challenge: A book about a problem facing society today.

    Hooked On Books July Read-A-Thon.

  • Lola

    Can you imagine?

    Can you imagine being convicted of multiple murders you never committed and sentenced to death by electrocution?

    Can you imagine spending thirty years of your life in a tiny room next to the Death Room where they electrocute men and women, always wondering when the guards will show up in front of your cell to let you know the date of your own execution?

    Hoping, praying that the truth will come out, that you will have a chance to prove your innocence, but being told again and again

    Can you imagine?

    Can you imagine being convicted of multiple murders you never committed and sentenced to death by electrocution?

    Can you imagine spending thirty years of your life in a tiny room next to the Death Room where they electrocute men and women, always wondering when the guards will show up in front of your cell to let you know the date of your own execution?

    Hoping, praying that the truth will come out, that you will have a chance to prove your innocence, but being told again and again that no one wants to even hear what you have to say, no one wants to believe you? No one wants to even consider you might be innocent. After all, due to your skin colour, it doesn’t matter if you’ve done the deed or not, you were guilty the moment you were born.

    Can you imagine such hate, such prejudice?

    Anthony Ray Hinton’s story is unlike any I have ever read, and if you find my words unoriginal – after all, we’ve all said that a hundred times before about the books we’ve read – then so be it. Actually, I hope it becomes like many stories I have read, because I want to know more about mass incarceration, death penalty, and prejudice against minorities.

    I want to know more about Love, Hope and Truth. I want to learn to forgive, like Anthony Ray Hinton has, and to get rid of my sometimes inflamed ego. I don’t want to lose my confidence – no one ever should – but I want to be capable of admitting I am wrong without feeling like I am losing a battle.

    Before I read this book, I didn’t have an opinion on the death penalty, but now I do. I am lucky enough to be living in a country where the death penalty was abolished decades ago, but I didn’t realize how grateful I should be about that before today.

    Thank you for sharing your story with us, Ray. I hope that one day love will win, too.

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  • Rose (Traveling Sister)

    I feel extremely disingenuous rating nonfiction books that deal directly with individual hardship, and never has that been more true than with

    I feel extremely disingenuous rating nonfiction books that deal directly with individual hardship, and never has that been more true than with

    . While reading this, my jaw hung open for so long that my mouth went dry. I hardly blinked except to force away the tears.

    While the book can be summed up in just a few words – an all-white jury sends a black man to death row, where he spends 30 years – the man himself is so much more. Though lawyers, judges, and the state of Alabama tried for decades to reduce Ray to those words – indeed, to nothing at all – he wouldn’t give up. He was and is innocent. For each of the 3 years he has now spent free, he spent 10 behind bars.

    Hinton was sentenced to death for crimes that echoed one another: store managers forced into their coolers, robbed, and shot. Two died and one, the man who would mistakenly identify Hinton as his attacker, survived. While Ray was imprisoned, the crimes kept happening, but did anyone in power care enough to do anything about it? No.

    Hinton’s family was poor, and the onus was on them to hire effective experts. A polygraph cost them $350, almost an entire year’s rent for his mother. Ray passed the test, but it was inexplicably dismissed by the courts. The state-hired defense lawyer (a shitbag named Perhacs) was friends with the prosecutor (a shitbag named McGregor). Hinton couldn’t afford anything better, but did anyone in power care enough to do anything about it? FUCKING NOPE.

    Not until Bryan Stevenson came along like an ACTUAL ANGEL. This man and his team at the Equal Justice Initiative worked pro bono for years, throwing evidence of neglect and prejudice and Hell itself at the State of Alabama in the hopes of exonerating Mr. Hinton. While all of this legal noise is as hectic as a zoo on fire, the soul of

    comes from the stillness within Ray’s cell and the monotony of

    Hinton realizes that he can use his wit and kindness to improve his environment. He manages to start a book club with other death row inmates. He befriends a former KKK member who had lynched a young black boy. Regardless of their guilt or innocence, they were all going to die soon, and they only had each other left.

    The way that Hinton organized his thoughts and presented the facts in all their horrendous chronology was sheer brilliance. If you're thinking this will be another book about bland prison meals and evil guards, think again. Those elements take a back seat to fresh takes on forgiveness, redemption, and faith, all narrated with Hinton's unique insight and biting humor.

  • Brandice

    In

    Anthony Ray Hinton provides a first person account of his 30 years on Death Row - An innocent man served 30 -

    - years in prison for a crime he did not commit - That’s my entire life.

    Hinton talks about his life growing up in Alabama, but most of the book focuses on his time spent on Death Row because sadly, that’s where he was forced to spend the majority of his life. He is 62 today.

    There are some real disgus

    In

    Anthony Ray Hinton provides a first person account of his 30 years on Death Row - An innocent man served 30 -

    - years in prison for a crime he did not commit - That’s my entire life.

    Hinton talks about his life growing up in Alabama, but most of the book focuses on his time spent on Death Row because sadly, that’s where he was forced to spend the majority of his life. He is 62 today.

    There are some real disgusting people in this story - Hinton’s first lawyer, Perhacs, and McGregor, the prosecutor in the case, at the top of the list. It was infuriating to read especially because there were no consequences noted for their ignorant and negligent behavior in botching the case. This is not a fiction book with characters created to be intentionally dislikable - These are men who had it out for Hinton for no reason, and as a result, cost him a huge portion of his life. Lazy, racist and immoral are just a few top of mind words to describe them.

    Despite the infuriating elements, which remain throughout most of the book, I enjoyed reading Hinton’s story - His optimism, hope, and ability to escape Death Row’s terrible conditions on a daily basis, through his vivid imagination, were incredible. I honestly don’t know if I’d have it in me to persist and keep fighting after

    long! I also admired Hinton’s ability to forgive people, both those involved in his case, and other inmates in prison with him, who committed violent crimes - Everyone on death row isn’t innocent. Hinton’s consistent optimism is admirable, and a good reminder that the things we frequently consider problematic on a daily basis often aren’t, and are things we too often take for granted, when our situation could actually be much worse.

    I read

    a few years ago and it remains one of my favorite books today because it changed my perspective and challenged many of my thoughts on what I considered to be a pretty firm opinion regarding the death penalty. In

    , Hinton shares that he strongly opposes the death penalty and provides many reasons to support his position against it.

    Henry Hays, the son of a KKK leader was on Death Row with Hinton and ultimately executed for the lynching of a 19 year old African-American, Michael Donald, in Alabama in 1981. I already disliked Hays because of this while reading the book, and reading about the incident elsewhere after finishing the book didn’t change my opinion of him. It’s hard for me to believe Hays didn’t deserve the death penalty or feel any sympathy toward him after he committed such an immoral, heinous crime.

    Hinton states this, summarizing a pro- death penalty argument he read while in prison, and I’d be lying if I said this did not resonate with me, at least partially.

    That said, I agree the justice system is seriously flawed and in dire need of immediate improvement - The below statistic Bryan Stevenson cites in an article that is also included in this book is alarming:

    ”.

    Change is needed, and needed now. Hinton missed out on so much - time with his mom, his 30s, 40s and much of his 50s, the world - drastically changed by advanced technology over the last 30 years, and the opportunity to have children, among other things. It’s truly a tragedy. Today, Hinton travels, speaking out against the death penalty and for justice and prison reform. I hope he has the opportunity to enjoy everything he still wants to experience.

    is a heavy read, but one well worth reading.

  • Esil

    If you haven’t read

    by Bryan Stephenson , it’s a must read for anyone interested in the criminal justice system in the US and especially the death penalty. Strike that — it’s a must read for everyone.

    The Sun Does Shine has a foreword by Bryan Stephenson, but it is written by Anthony Ray Hinton, an inmate who was on death row in Alabama for 30 years. Hinton was sentenced to death for murders he did not commit. He is black and was too poor to afford a

    If you haven’t read

    by Bryan Stephenson , it’s a must read for anyone interested in the criminal justice system in the US and especially the death penalty. Strike that — it’s a must read for everyone.

    The Sun Does Shine has a foreword by Bryan Stephenson, but it is written by Anthony Ray Hinton, an inmate who was on death row in Alabama for 30 years. Hinton was sentenced to death for murders he did not commit. He is black and was too poor to afford a lawyer who could properly represent him. And it took thirty years before he was able to convince the US Supreme Court that his first trial was unfair and hadn’t allowed him to present clearly exculpatory evidence.

    What makes the book worth reading is Hinton himself. He is a force of nature. In his foreword, Stephenson mentions that even the guards were supportive of Hinton’s plea for a new trial. And it’s easy to see why. Despite being on death row, Hinton found a way to make the best of a terrible situation. He took the high road in difficult circumstances and looked for the humanity in everyone, including his fellow inmates. As just one example, he started a book club that led inmates who could barely read to talk about race and justice and other topics. He even became friends with the son of a well known white nationalist who was on death row for killing a black man.

    Hinton is very self reflective, and his book doesn’t just share his story, but many of his thoughts about faith, his love for his mother and close friends who stuck by him, how to stay strong in difficult situations, the failures of the criminal justice system and the inhumanity of the death penalty.

    There is also a fair amount of humour in Hinton’s book. Hinton clearly does this on purpose, at one point explaining that starting with humour is often a good way to put people at ease and get them to listen.

    Hinton is now 60 years old. He had a lot to say. His book is well worth reading. I don’t share the depth of his religious faith, but it clearly has kept him going and fuelled his admirable ability to look forward.

    I listened to the audio version, which was really well done. Hinton doesn’t read it, but it’s read in a voice that is full of life and expression.

  • Emer

    Imagine being an innocent man incarcerated on death row for thirty years. How do you stomach the hate and racism fired at you from the beginning of your arrest and trial when the only thing they have to say you're guilty is your skin colour and socioeconomic background? Imagine your polygraph being ignored, the ballistics "expert" your state-appointed lawyer can afford being legally blind in one eye...

    There are so many wrongs in this memoir of Anthony Ray Hinton's. So many injustices carried out against him. But the most wrong of all to me is the death penalty itself. I have never supported it, I do not support it and I will never support it. Everyone deserves the chance for redemption and to live out their days. Taking a life for a life is never okay.

    This book is utterly moving. I read it through falling tears and stirred up feelings of anger and frustration... Highly recommended.

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