What were your initial impressions of Ron Williamson? How did your attitudes toward him shift throughout The Innocent Man?
What are the most significant factors in getting a fair trial, or an intelligent investigation? Does personality matter more than logic in our judicial system? How would you have voted if you had heard the cases against Ron and Dennis?
How does new crime-lab technology make you feel about the history of convictions in America? What might future generations use to replace lie-detector tests or fingerprint databases? What are the limitations of technology in solving crimes?
How did Ron’s mental health contribute to his conviction/defense? Is society somehow responsible for the care and well-being of its citizens?
How did the descriptions of Oklahoma’s death row compare to what you had previously believed? What distinctions in treatment should be made between death-row inmates and the rest of the prison population?
What is the status of the death penalty in the state where you live? What have you discovered about the death penalty as a result of reading The Innocent Man?
Discuss the aftermath of Ron’s and Dennis’s exoneration. How did you balance your reaction to the triumph of Ron’s large cash settlement (a rare victory in such civil suits) and the fact that it would have to be paid for by local taxpayers? Could this travesty been prevented?
To what extent do you believe mental health should be a factor in determining someone’s competence to stand trial, or in determining guilt or innocence? Who should pay for the treatment of the mentally ill?