Penn State Dickinson Law is sponsoring the film “Just Mercy” at the Carlisle Theatre downtown. The film tells the true story of Walter McMillian, who, with the help of young defense attorney, Bryan Stevenson, appeals his murder conviction. The film is based on the memoir of the same name, written by Stevenson who has become one of the most influential lawyers of our time. Showings will be February 14, 16, 19, and 20 at 7:30 p.m. and February 16 at 2:00 p.m. Students, faculty and staff will be eligible to pick up a free ticket to see the film from the Office of Student Services. https://dickinsonlaw.psu.edu/bhm-just-mercy
Bryan Stevenson’s Memoir:
Just Mercy : A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson
Call Number: KF373.S743A3 2015
From one of the most brilliant and influential lawyers of our time comes an unforgettable true story about the redeeming potential of mercy. Bryan Stevenson was a gifted young attorney when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending the poor, the wrongly condemned, and those trapped in the furthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man sentenced to die for a notorious murder he didn’t commit. The case drew Stevenson into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, and legal brinksmanship – and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever.
Other titles related to racial injustices in the American legal system:
Devil in the Grove : Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America by Gilbert King
Call Number: HV9956.G76K56 2012
Devil in the Grove, winner of the Pulitzer Prize for general nonfiction, is a gripping true story of racism, murder, rape, and the law. It brings to light one of the most dramatic court cases in American history, and offers a rare and revealing portrait of Thurgood Marshall that the world has never seen before. Gilbert King delivers this great untold story of American legal history, a dangerous and uncertain case from the days immediately before Brown v. Board of Education in which the young civil rights attorney Marshall risked his life to defend a boy slated for the electric chair–saving him, against all odds, from being sentenced to death for a crime he did not commit.
The New Jim Crow : Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander
Call Number: HV9950.A437 2012
Jim Crow laws were wiped off the books decades ago, but today an extraordinary percentage of the African American community is warehoused in prisons or trapped in a parallel social universe, denied basic civil and human rights—including the right to vote; the right to serve on juries; and the right to be free of legal discrimination in employment, housing, access to education and public benefits. Alexander shows that, by targeting black men through the War on Drugs and decimating communities of color, the U.S. criminal justice system functions as a contemporary system of racial control, even as it formally adheres to the principle of colorblindness. The New Jim Crow challenges the civil rights community—and all of us—to place mass incarceration at the forefront of a new movement for racial justice in America.
Implicit Racial Bias Across the Law by Justin D. Levinson; Robert J. Smith (Editors)
Call Number: KF384.I48 2012
Despite cultural progress in reducing overt acts of racism, stark racial disparities continue to define American life. This book is for anyone who wonders why race still matters and is interested in what emerging social science can contribute to the discussion. The book explores how scientific evidence on the human mind might help to explain why racial equality is so elusive. This new evidence reveals how human mental machinery can be skewed by lurking stereotypes, often bending to accommodate hidden biases reinforced by years of social learning. Through the lens of these powerful and pervasive implicit racial attitudes and stereotypes, Implicit Racial Bias Across the Law examines both the continued subordination of historically disadvantaged groups and the legal system’s complicity in the subordination. [Dean Danielle M. Conway wrote: Intellectual Property : Implicit Racial and Gender Bias in Right of Publicity Cases and Intellectual Property Law Generally, Chapter 10, 179-191.]
Ferguson’s Fault Lines : The Race Quake That Rocked A Nation by Kimberly Jade Norwood (Editor)
Call Number: HV9956.F47F47 2016
Ferguson’s Fault Lines: The Race Quake That Rocked A Nation offers a historical tour of race, inequality and injustices in America, which collided in Ferguson, MO, after the fatal shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by a white police officer. It offers varying perspectives and strategies for recognizing and dealing with implicit biases that contribute to disparities in the justice system.
Unfair : The New Science of Criminal Injustice by Adam Benforado
Call Number: HV7419.B46 2015
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, 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.