The libel lawsuit against John Grisham and his book The Innocent Man was dismissed yesterday. In his book Grisham described the wrongful convictions of two men for the murder and their exoneration using DNA evidence twelve years later.
The plaintiffs were Melvin Hett, a state criminologist, Pontotoc County District Attorney Bill Peterson and Gary Rogers, a former agent for the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation. They originally filed suit in September 2007 against Grisham and others, claiming libel, generating publicity for self interest by placing them in a false light, and intentionally inflicting emotional distress.
In dismissing the case, the judge wrote that to avoid the same mistakes in the future it is important that the legal system and "the wrongful convictions...be discussed openly and with great vigor."