Deadly Injustice

Deadly Injustice: Trayvon Martin, Race, and the Criminal Justice System
edited by Devon Johnson, Particia Y. Warren, & Amy Farrell

HV 9950 .D425 2015

“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. Combined with intense outrage at New York City’s Stop and Frisk program and escalating anger over the effect of mass incarceration of 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 Trayvon Martin case as a springboard to examine race, crime, and justice in our criminal justice system. Contributors explore how race and racism inform how Americans think about criminality; how crimes are investigated and prosecuted; and how highly publicized criminal cases go on to shape public views about offenders and the criminal process. With a foreword by Lawrence D. Bobo, the W. E. B. Du Bois Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard University, Deadly Injustice is a timely, well-argued collection that illuminates the tragic and consequential death of Trayvon Martin.”
– publisher description

Unfair: The New Science of Criminal Injustice

Unfair

Unfair: The New Science of Criminal Injustice by Adam Benforado

HV 7419 .B46 2015

“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 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 most vulnerable 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.”
– publisher description

Manson

Manson

Manson: The Life and Times of Charles Manson by Jeff Guinn

HV 6248 .M2797 G85 2013

“More than forty years ago Charles Manson and his mostly female commune killed nine people, among them the pregnant actress Sharon Tate. It was the culmination of a criminal career that author Jeff Guinn traces back to Manson’s childhood. Guinn interviewed Manson’s sister and cousin, neither of whom had ever previously cooperated with an author. Childhood friends, cellmates, and even some members of the Manson Family have provided new information about Manson’s life. Guinn has made discoveries about the night of the Tate murders, answering unresolved questions, such as why one person on the property where the murders occurred was spared.

Manson puts the killer in the context of his times, the turbulent late sixties, an era of race riots and street protests when authority in all its forms was under siege. Guinn shows us how Manson created and refined his message to fit the times, persuading confused young women (and a few men) that he had the solutions to their problems. At the same time he used them to pursue his long-standing musical ambitions, relocating to Los Angeles in search of a recording contract. His frustrated ambitions, combined with his bizarre race-war obsession, would have lethal consequences as he convinced his followers to commit heinous murders on successive nights.

In addition to stunning revelations about Charles Manson, the book contains family photographs never before published.” – publisher description

The Killer of Little Shepherds: A True Crime Story and the Birth of Forensic Science

The Killer of Little Shepherds: A True Crime Story and the Birth of Forensic Science by Douglas Starr

KJV 131 .V33 2011

“At the end of the nineteenth century, serial murderer Joseph Vacher terrorized the French countryside, eluding authorities for years, and murdering twice as many victims as Jack the Ripper.  Here, Douglas Starr revisits Vacher’s infamous crime wave, interweaving the story of the two men who eventually stopped him – prosecutor Emile Fourquet and Dr. Alexandre Lacassagne, the era’s most renowned criminologist.  In dramatic detail, Starr shows how Lacassagne and his colleagues were developing forensic science as we know it.  Building to a gripping courtroom denouement, The Killer of Little Shepherds is a riveting contribution to the history of criminal justice.” – publisher description