Real Justice

Real Justice

Sentenced to Life at Seventeen : the Story of David Milgaard

Book - 2012
Average Rating:
Rate this:

David Milgaard was a troubled kid, and he got into lots of trouble. Unfortunately, that made it easy for the Saskatoon police to brand him as a murderer. At seventeen, David Milgaard was arrested, jailed, and convicted for the rape and murder of a young nursing assistant, Gail Miller. He was sent to adult prison for life.

Throughout his twenty-three years in prison, David maintained that he was innocent and refused to admit to the crime, even though it meant he was never granted parole. Finally, through the incredible determination of his mother and new lawyers who believed in him, David was released and proven not guilty. Astonishingly, in hindsight the real murderer was obvious from the start.

This is the true story of how bad decisions, tunnel vision, poor representation, and outright lying and coercion by those within the justice system caused a tragic miscarriage of justice. It also shows that wrongs can be righted and amends made.

Publisher: Toronto : James Lorimer & Co., c2012.
ISBN: 9781552774335
Branch Call Number: 364.1523 FARYO
Characteristics: 115 p. : ill., ports. ; 22 cm.
Alternative Title: Sentenced to life at seventeen


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
MickyT_13 Apr 21, 2015

this book was very touching and emotional. it made me question the relationship i had with my friends and how they might have acted in such a situation. It's really sad to think that our justice system used to be this way, to make an innocent person stay in person for 23 years. I would have went crazy. Davids optimistic views were very laudable, how he didn't blame his friends although it was mostly their fault.

Justin_Nitsuj Apr 19, 2015

This book was very short and at times I felt like this book had a lot of fillers. I compared this book to The Last Train and I found The Last Train a lot more engaging with a longer story where it needed to be. This book however is short read that teaches us about the flaws in our law system. I did not enjoy this book as much.

Owl_Feathers Apr 06, 2015

This was quite a heart-touching story. As we see where the trial went wrong, we really think about the flaws in our law and justice system. I've read a few stories like this and in all of them, there was some witnesses who lied unconvincingly and got away with it and there was always evidence pointing to the real criminal that was not taken into account.
The book shows how our society is quick to judge those who get into trouble easily. I doubt that the police would have arrested David so readily if he had been a nice, cooperative person. It also shows that officials are very reluctant to admit to making a mistake. For example, all the times in prison when David applied for an appeal, he was refused. And when his mother found new evidence and wanted another trial, she was refused as well, partly because the law system didn't want to be proven wrong.
Somethings that I am wondering are :
There are many stories like this, why did the author choose to tell David's story and not the story of someone that had a worse experience.
Also, how are advanced technologies used to prevent this from happening again?

katylikeskats Mar 26, 2015

This book evoked so much emotion! I felt so bad for David, he lost the prime years of his life, yet he never blamed his friends, or anyone around him, like he was justified to. I'm glad that in the end the jury came to "true justice", and actually found the actual criminal, however, there are countless stories like this.
This reminds me of a guy who got accused for murder, they put him in jail,. He was in there for so long, his kids grew up to have their own kids, and then he even got cancer. When they let him out and found the real murderer, they wouldn't even pay him a compensation fee of $3000.
Overall, I enjoyed the book, and it was a real page turner with the characteristics of fiction mystery, yet with a mix of non-fiction facts.

loljilydoe Mar 25, 2015

Really suspensful, i literally could not put this book down. Amazing. It really shows children like us that "Hey, Guess what? Adults in positions of responsibility can be wrong" and to fight for whats right and in the end, if you don't give up, the light pulls through. This mothers determination is inspiring. Hiring lawyers, having a documentary filmed, private investagators. Incredible. She is amazing. And David. Never giving up that shred of hope that someone would prove him innocent because he really and truely was. Heart touching. The injust was truely heart breaking and the way it was written was heart stopping

extreme_fangirl Mar 21, 2015

Amazing book filled with strong messages. Loved it! "Real Justice" really makes you question the legal system, especially when the court and police did not double check their information and shot an unarmed man. I, as a reader, kept thinking, "How could they miss such obvious evidence?" At the same time, this book shows the maternal love Joyce has for her son. She was so determined to get David released; the entire family payed lawyers, hired private investigators and tracked down witnesses all because they knew, without a doubt, that David was innocent. Truly touching to read about. Finally, learning about David's life in prison made me admire his persistence that he was innocent. Although he hated prison, he refused to lie and say he was guilty, even at the cost of his own mental health. I think that is extremely commendable.

In conclusion, "Real Justice" is eye opening and inspiring and a splendid book.

ariagolpa Mar 15, 2015

This book is amazing really makes you question the justice system. you feel bad for david the entire time and you really get angry at his 2 friends.

ejaza Mar 06, 2015

This book is heart touching and overwhelming. Mr. Milgaard and his Mother thirst for justice proves that there is endless boundaries for determination. This text also shows that if there is a suspect, never arrest till you have solid proof.

ariag Feb 24, 2015

Heart touching story makes you feel bad for David even if you don't want to read for the facts the story is also very interesting you truly doubt the Canadian justice system after this book. did anyone else not get surprised at the end when Davids friend was sent to a mental institute (the one that gave the false lead to the cops) because he thought he was the 2nd coming of Christ.


Like other books in this series this is a true crime story designed for a young audience. David Milgaard was wrongfully convicted for the rape and murder of Gail Miller when he was 16 and sentenced to life in prison when he was 17. This book weaves together the details of David Milgaard's trial and wrongful conviction with the parallel story of the man who was eventually convicted for Gail's murder. A fascinating introduction to the Canadian legal system this book is also the story of how an innocent man eventually found justice for himself and others involved with a terrible tragedy.

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

MERLEY WHEATON thinks this title is suitable for 10 years and over


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number

Subject Headings


Find it at JMS

To Top