unfair the new science of criminal injustice

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Unfair

Author : Adam Benforado
ISBN : 9780770437770
Genre : Psychology
File Size : 51. 45 MB
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"A law professor sounds an explosive alarm on the hidden unfairness of our legal system." —Kirkus Reviews, starred A child is gunned down by a police officer; an investigator ignores critical clues in a case; an innocent man confesses to a crime he did not commit; a jury acquits a killer. The evidence is all around us: Our system of justice is fundamentally broken. But it’s not for the reasons we tend to think, as law professor Adam Benforado argues in this eye-opening, galvanizing book. Even if the system operated exactly as it was designed to, we would still end up with wrongful convictions, trampled rights, and unequal treatment. This is because the roots of injustice lie not inside the dark hearts of racist police officers or dishonest prosecutors, but within the minds of each and every one of us. This is difficult to accept. Our nation is founded on the idea that the law is impartial, that legal cases are won or lost on the basis of evidence, careful reasoning and nuanced argument. But they may, in fact, turn on the camera angle of a defendant’s taped confession, the number of photos in a mug shot book, or a simple word choice during a cross-examination. In Unfair, Benforado shines a light on this troubling new field of research, showing, for example, that people with certain facial features receive longer sentences and that judges are far more likely to grant parole first thing in the morning. Over the last two decades, psychologists and neuroscientists have uncovered many cognitive forces that operate beyond our conscious awareness. Until we address these hidden biases head-on, Benforado argues, the social inequality we see now will only widen, as powerful players and institutions find ways to exploit the weaknesses of our legal system. Weaving together historical examples, scientific studies, and compelling court cases—from the border collie put on trial in Kentucky to the five teenagers who falsely confessed in the Central Park Jogger case—Benforado shows how our judicial processes fail to uphold our values and protect society’s weakest members. With clarity and passion, he lays out the scope of the legal system’s dysfunction and proposes a wealth of practical reforms that could prevent injustice and help us achieve true fairness and equality before the law. From the Hardcover edition.

Unfair

Author : Adam Benforado
ISBN : 9780770437763
Genre : LAW
File Size : 50. 47 MB
Format : PDF, ePub, Docs
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"A crusading legal scholar exposes the powerful psychological forces that undermine our criminal justice system--and affect us all Our nation is founded on the notion that the law is impartial, that legal cases are won or lost on the basis of evidence, careful reasoning and nuanced argument. But they may, in fact, turn on the temperature of the courtroom, the camera angle of a defendant's taped confession, or a simple word choice or gesture during a cross-examination. In Unfair, law professor Adam Benforado shines a light on this troubling new research, showing, for example, that people with certain facial features receive longer sentences and that judges are far more likely to grant parole first thing in the morning. In fact, over the last two decades, psychologists and neuroscientists have uncovered many cognitive forces that operate beyond our conscious awareness--and Benforado argues that until we address these hidden biases head-on, the social inequality we see now will only widen, as powerful players and institutions find ways to exploit the weaknesses in our legal system. Weaving together historical examples, scientific studies, and compelling court cases--from the border collie put on trial in Kentucky to the five teenagers who falsely confessed in the Central Park Jogger case--Benforado shows how our judicial processes fail to uphold our values and protect society's weakest members, convicting the innocent while letting dangerous criminals go free. With clarity and passion, he lays out the scope of the problem and proposes a wealth of reforms that could prevent injustice and help us achieve true fairness and equality before the law"--

Deadly Injustice

Author : Devon Johnson
ISBN : 9781479873456
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 53. 47 MB
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The murder of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin and the subsequent trial and acquittal of his assailant, George Zimmerman, sparked a passionate national debate about race and criminal justice in America that involved everyone from bloggers to mayoral candidates to President Obama himself. With increased attention to these causes, from St. Louis to Los Angeles, intense outrage at New York City’s Stop and Frisk program and escalating anger over the effect of mass incarceration on the nation’s African American community, the Trayvon Martin case brought the racialized nature of the American justice system to the forefront of our national consciousness. Deadly Injustice uses the Martin/Zimmerman case as a springboard to examine race, crime, and justice in our current criminal justice system. Contributors explore how race and racism informs how Americans think about criminality, how crimes are investigated and prosecuted, and how the media interprets and reports on crime. At the center of their analysis sit examples of the Zimmerman trial and Florida’s controversial Stand Your Ground law, providing current and resonant examples for readers as they work through the bigger-picture problems plaguing the American justice system. This important volume demonstrates how highly publicized criminal cases go on to shape public views about offenders, the criminal process, and justice more generally, perpetuating the same unjust cycle for future generations. A timely, well-argued collection, Deadly Injustice is an illuminating, headline-driven text perfect for students and scholars of criminology and an important contribution to the discussion of race and crime in America.

Criminal Justice At The Crossroads

Author : William R. Kelly
ISBN : 9780231539227
Genre : Social Science
File Size : 55. 77 MB
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Over the past forty years, the criminal justice system in the United States has engaged in a very expensive policy failure, attempting to punish its way to public safety, with dismal results. So-called Òtough on crimeÓ policies have not only failed to effectively reduce crime, recidivism, and victimization but also created an incredibly inefficient system that routinely fails the public, taxpayers, crime victims, criminal offenders, their families, and their communities. Strategies that focus on behavior change are much more productive and cost effective for reducing crime than punishment, and in this book, William R. Kelly discusses the policy, process, and funding innovations and priorities that the United States needs to effectively reduce crime, recidivism, victimization, and cost. He recommends proactive, evidence-based interventions to address criminogenic behavior; collaborative decision making from a variety of professions and disciplines; and a focus on innovative alternatives to incarceration, such as problem-solving courts and probation. Students, professionals, and policy makers alike will find in this comprehensive text a bracing discussion of how our criminal justice system became broken and the best strategies by which to fix it.

Forensics Under Fire

Author : Jim Fisher
ISBN : 9780813544243
Genre : Law
File Size : 56. 19 MB
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Television shows like CSI, Forensic Files, and The New Detectives make it look so easy. A crime-scene photographer snaps photographs, a fingerprint technician examines a gun, uniformed officers seal off a house while detectives gather hair and blood samples, placing them carefully into separate evidence containers. In a crime laboratory, a suspect's hands are meticulously examined for gunshot residue. An autopsy is performed in order to determine range and angle of the gunshot and time-of-death evidence. Dozens of tests and analyses are performed and cross-referenced. A conviction is made. Another crime is solved. The credits roll. The American public has become captivated by success stories like this one with their satisfyingly definitive conclusions, all made possible because of the wonders of forensic science. Unfortunately, however, popular television dramas do not represent the way most homicide cases in the United States are actually handled. Crime scenes are not always protected from contamination; physical evidence is often packaged improperly, lost, or left unaccounted for; forensic experts are not always consulted; and mistakes and omissions on the autopsy table frequently cut investigations short or send detectives down the wrong investigative path. In Forensics Under Fire, Jim Fisher makes a compelling case that these and other problems in the practice of forensic science allow offenders to escape justice and can also lead to the imprisonment of innocent people. Bringing together examples from a host of high-profile criminal cases and familiar figures, such as the JonBenet Ramsey case and Dr. Henry Lee who presented physical evidence in the O. J. Simpson trial, along with many lesser known but fascinating stories, Fisher presents daunting evidence that forensic science has a long way to go before it lives up to its potential and the public's expectations.

Minding The Law

Author : Anthony G. AMSTERDAM
ISBN : 9780674020207
Genre : Law
File Size : 55. 60 MB
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In this remarkable collaboration, one of the nation's leading civil rights lawyers joins forces with one of the world's foremost cultural psychologists to put American constitutional law into an American cultural context. By close readings of key Supreme Court opinions, they show how storytelling tactics and deeply rooted mythic structures shape the Court's decisions about race, family law, and the death penalty. Minding the Law explores crucial psychological processes involved in the work of lawyers and judges: deciding whether particular cases fit within a legal rule ("categorizing"), telling stories to justify one's claims or undercut those of an adversary ("narrative"), and tailoring one's language to be persuasive without appearing partisan ("rhetorics"). Because these processes are not unique to the law, courts' decisions cannot rest solely upon legal logic but must also depend vitally upon the underlying culture's storehouse of familiar tales of heroes and villains. But a culture's stock of stories is not changeless. Amsterdam and Bruner argue that culture itself is a dialectic constantly in progress, a conflict between the established canon and newly imagined "possible worlds." They illustrate the swings of this dialectic by a masterly analysis of the Supreme Court's race-discrimination decisions during the past century. A passionate plea for heightened consciousness about the way law is practiced and made, Minding the Law/tilte will be welcomed by a new generation concerned with renewing law's commitment to a humane justice. Table of Contents: 1. Invitation to a Journey 2. On Categories 3. Categorizing at the Supreme Court Missouri v. Jenkins and Michael H. v. Gerald D. 4. On Narrative 5. Narratives at Court Prigg v. Pennsylvania and Freeman v. Pitts 6. On Rhetorics 7. The Rhetorics of Death McCleskey v. Kemp 8. On the Dialectic of Culture 9. Race, the Court, and America's Dialectic From Plessy through Brown to Pitts and Jenkins 10. Reflections on a Voyage Appendix: Analysis of Nouns and Verbs in the Prigg, Pitts, and Brown Opinions Notes Table of Cases Index Reviews of this book: Amsterdam, a distinguished Supreme Court litigator, wanted to do more than share the fruits of his practical experience. He also wanted to...get students to think about thinking like a lawyer...To decode what he calls "law-think," he enlisted the aid of the venerable cognitive psychologist Jerome Bruner...[and] the collaboration has resulted in [this] unusual book. --James Ryerson, Lingua Franca Reviews of this book: It is hard to imagine a better time for the publication of Minding the Law, a brilliant dissection of the court's work by two eminent scholars, law professor Anthony G. Amsterdam and cultural anthropologist Jerome Bruner...Issue by issue, case by case, Amsterdam and Bruner make mincemeat of the court's handling of the most important constitutional issue of the modern era: how to eradicate the American legacy of race discrimination, especially against blacks. --Edward Lazarus, Los Angeles Times Book Review Reviews of this book: This book is a gem...[Its thesis] is easily stated but remarkably unrecognized among a shockingly large number of lawyers and law professors: law is a storytelling enterprise thoroughly entrenched in culture....Whereas critical legal theorists have talked among themselves for the past two decades, Amsterdam and Bruner seek to engage all of us in a dialogue. For that, they should be applauded. --Daniel R. Williams, New York Law Journal Reviews of this book: In Minding the Law, Anthony Amsterdam and Jerome Bruner show us how the Supreme Court creates the magic of inevitability. They are angry at what they see. Their book is premised on the conviction that many of the choices made in Supreme Court opinions 'lack any justification in the text'...Their method is to analyze the text of opinions and to show how the conclusions reached do not always follow from the logic of the argument. They also show how the Court casts its rhetoric like a spell, mesmerizing its audience, and making the highly contingent shine with the light of inevitability. --Mitchell Goodman, News and Observer (Raleigh, North Carolina) Reviews of this book: What do controversial Supreme Court decisions and classic age-old tales of adultery, villainy, and combat have in common? Everything--at least in the eyes of [Amsterdam and Bruner]. In this substantial study, which is equal parts dense and entertaining, the authors use theoretical discussions of literary technique and myths to expose what they see as the secret intentions of Supreme Court opinions...Studying how lawyers and judges employ the various literary devices at their disposal and noting the similarities between legal thinking and classic tactics of storytelling and persuasion, they believe, can have 'astonishing consciousness-retrieving effects'...The agile minds of Amsterdam and Bruner, clearly storehouses of knowledge on a range of subjects, allow an approach that might sound far-fetched occasionally but pays dividends in the form of gained perspective--and amusement. --Elisabeth Lasch-Quinn, Washington Times Reviews of this book: Stories and the way judges-intentionally or not-categorize and spin them, are as responsible for legal rulings as logic and precedent, Mr. Amsterdam and Mr. Bruner said. Their novel attempt to reach into the psyche of...members of the Supreme Court is part of a growing interest in a long-neglected and cryptic subject: the psychology of judicial decision-making. --Patricia Cohen, New York Times Most law professors teach by the 'case method,' or say they do. In this fascinating book, Anthony Amsterdam--a lawyer--and Jerome Bruner--a psychologist--expose how limited most case 'analysis' really is, as they show how much can be learned through the close reading of the phrases, sentences, and paragraphs that constitute an opinion (or other pieces of legal writing). Reading this book will undoubtedly make one a better lawyer, and teacher of lawyers. But the book's value and interest goes far beyond the legal profession, as it analyzes the way that rhetoric--in law, politics, and beyond--creates pictures and convictions in the minds of readers and listeners. --Sanford Levinson, author of Constitutional Faith Tony Amsterdam, the leader in the legal campaign against the death penalty, and Jerome Bruner, who has struggled for equal justice in education for forty years, have written a guide to demystifying legal reasoning. With clarity, wit, and immense learning, they reveal the semantic tricks lawyers and judges sometimes use--consciously and unconsciously--to justify the results they want to reach. --Jack Greenberg, Professor of Law, Columbia Law School

Just Mercy

Author : Bryan Stevenson
ISBN : 9780812994537
Genre : Law
File Size : 50. 22 MB
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#1 New York Times Bestseller | Named one of the Best Books of the Year by The New York Times • The Washington Post • The Boston Globe • The Seattle Times • Esquire • Time Winner of the Carnegie Medal for Nonfiction | Winner of the NAACP Image Award for Nonfiction | Winner of a Books for a Better Life Award | Finalist for the Los Angeles Book Prize | Finalist for the Kirkus Reviews Prize | An American Library Association Notable Book A powerful true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to fix our broken system of justice—from one of the most brilliant and influential lawyers of our time Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, and legal brinksmanship—and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever. Just Mercy is at once an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer’s coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of true justice. Praise for Just Mercy “Every bit as moving as To Kill a Mockingbird, and in some ways more so . . . a searing indictment of American criminal justice and a stirring testament to the salvation that fighting for the vulnerable sometimes yields.”—David Cole, The New York Review of Books “Searing, moving . . . Bryan Stevenson may, indeed, be America’s Mandela.”—Nicholas Kristof, The New York Times “You don’t have to read too long to start cheering for this man. . . . The message of this book . . . is that evil can be overcome, a difference can be made. Just Mercy will make you upset and it will make you hopeful.”—Ted Conover, The New York Times Book Review “Inspiring . . . a work of style, substance and clarity . . . Stevenson is not only a great lawyer, he’s also a gifted writer and storyteller.”—The Washington Post “As deeply moving, poignant and powerful a book as has been, and maybe ever can be, written about the death penalty.”—The Financial Times “Brilliant.”—The Philadelphia Inquirer “Not since Atticus Finch has a fearless and committed lawyer made such a difference in the American South. Though larger than life, Atticus exists only in fiction. Bryan Stevenson, however, is very much alive and doing God’s work fighting for the poor, the oppressed, the voiceless, the vulnerable, the outcast, and those with no hope. Just Mercy is his inspiring and powerful story.”—John Grisham “Bryan Stevenson is one of my personal heroes, perhaps the most inspiring and influential crusader for justice alive today, and Just Mercy is extraordinary. The stories told within these pages hold the potential to transform what we think we mean when we talk about justice.”—Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow

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