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The Fear of Too Much Justice: Race, Poverty, and the Persistence of Inequality in the Criminal Courts By Stephen Bright, James Kwak, Bryan Stevenson (Preface by) Cover Image

The Fear of Too Much Justice: Race, Poverty, and the Persistence of Inequality in the Criminal Courts (Hardcover)

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A legendary lawyer and a legal scholar reveal the structural failures that undermine justice in our criminal courts

"An urgently needed analysis of our collective failure to confront and overcome racial bias and bigotry, the abuse of power, and the multiple ways in which the death penalty's profound unfairness requires its abolition. You will discover Steve Bright's passion, brilliance, dedication, and tenacity when you read these pages."--from the foreword by Bryan Stevenson

Glenn Ford, a Black man, spent thirty years on Louisiana's death row for a crime he did not commit. He was released in 2014--and given twenty dollars--when prosecutors admitted they did not have a case against him.


Ford's trial was a travesty. One of his court-appointed lawyers specialized in oil and gas law and had never tried a case. The other had been out of law school for only two years. They had no funds for investigation or experts. The prosecution struck all the Black prospective jurors to get the all-white jury that sentenced Ford to death.


In The Fear of Too Much Justice, legendary death penalty lawyer Stephen B. Bright and legal scholar James Kwak offer a heart-wrenching overview of how the criminal legal system fails to live up to the values of equality and justice. The book ranges from poor people squeezed for cash by private probation companies because of trivial violations to people executed in violation of the Constitution despite overwhelming evidence of intellectual disability or mental illness. They also show examples from around the country of places that are making progress toward justice.


With a foreword by Bryan Stevenson, who worked for Bright at the Southern Center for Human Rights and credits him for " breaking] down the issues with the death penalty simply but persuasively," The Fear of Too Much Justice offers a timely, trenchant, firsthand critique of our criminal courts and points the way toward a more just future.

Stephen B. Bright currently teaches law at Yale and Georgetown Universities. He was the long-time director of the Southern Center for Human Rights and has won multiple capital cases in the Supreme Court. A recipient of the American Bar Association's Thurgood Marshall Award, Bright has been the subject of two books, Proximity to Death (William S. McFeely) and Finding Life on Death Row (Katya Lexin), and a film, Fighting for Life in the Death Belt (Adam Elend and Jeff Marks). The co-author, with James Kwak, of The Fear of Too Much Justice (The New Press), he lives in Lexington, Kentucky. James Kwak is vice chair of the Southern Center for Human Rights, former professor of law at the University of Connecticut, author of Economism: Bad Economics and the Rise of Inequality, and co-author with Simon Johnson of White House Burning: The Founding Fathers, Our National Debt, and Why It Matters to You, and the New York Times bestseller 13 Bankers: The Wall Street Takeover and the Next Financial Meltdown. He is also the co-author of The Baseline Scenario, a leading blog on economics and public policy. The co-author, with Stephen Bright, of The Fear of Too Much Justice (The New Press), he lives in Amherst, Massachusetts.
Product Details ISBN: 9781620970256
ISBN-10: 1620970252
Publisher: New Press
Publication Date: June 20th, 2023
Pages: 384
Language: English