April 30 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
An Evening With Stephen Bright and Scott Sundby
Books & Books presents…
AN EVENING WITH STEPHEN BRIGHT
in conversation with
The Fear of Too Much Justice: Race, Poverty, and the Persistence of Inequality in the Criminal Courts
(New Press, $29.99)
Tuesday, April 30, 7 PM | Books & Books, Coral Gables
Books & Books is proud to present an evening with Stephen Bright presenting his new book, The Fear of Too Much Justice: Race, Poverty, and the Persistence of Inequality in the Criminal Courts (New Press, $29.99). He will be in conversation with University of Miami professor Scott Sundby.
This event is FREE and open to the public. Books will be available for purchase the night of the event! Please RSVP only if you intend to join us.
About the Book:
Almost 70 years ago Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black wrote there ”can be no equal justice where the kind of trial a man gets depends on the amount of money he has.” In The Fear of Too Much Justice: Race, Poverty, and the Persistence of Inequality in the Criminal Courts, legendary death penalty defense attorney Stephen Bright and legal scholar James Kwak show the myriad ways the US criminal legal system fails to live up to this ideal of fairness:
- Innocent people are condemned to death and convicted of crimes because they cannot afford lawyers and because of the color of their skin.
- Racial discrimination injury selection perpetuates all-white juries even in communities that have substantial Black and Latino populations.
- People with mental disorders are locked up in jails and prisons instead of given the treatment they need.
- Poor people are processed through many courts with little or no legal representation in an assembly-line fashion.
- And many courts act as centers of profit whose main purpose is to raise money by imposing fines on the most vulnerable in their community and jailing them when they cannot pay.
Bright and Kwak also see the promise of meaningful change on the horizon. They point to jurisdictions that have abandoned the death penalty and see a future where it will remain in only the most ardent holdouts; to states that require full disclosure of police and prosecution files; to public defender offices that provide people accused of crimes with zealous representation; to courts that have recognized racial discrimination and adopted remedies to prevent it; to places have reduced the use of cash bail and stopped imposing fines and fees on people who cannot afford them; and to a comprehensive mental health center that is an alternative to jail.
The Fear of Too Much Justice is a timely and trenchant look at the numerous injustices occurring in criminal courts today and a practical look at how they can be corrected to create a brighter and more equitable future.
About the Author:
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.
About the Moderator:
Scott Sundby is the Robert C. Josefsberg Endowed Chair in Criminal Justice Advocacy and teaches a variety of courses in the criminal law and procedure area. After clerking for Judge Phyllis Kravitch of the Eleventh Circuit, he began his teaching career at Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco. He later moved to Washington & Lee Law School where he was the Sydney and Frances Lewis Professor of Law. Professor Sundby’s writings focus on criminal law and constitutional law issues, including articles that have appeared in the Virginia, Columbia, Cornell, UCLA, and Texas law reviews. Much of his research has been conducted as part of the Capital Jury Project, a study funded by the National Science Foundation that is designed to understand how juries decide whether or not to impose the death penalty. His book, A Life and Death Decision: A Jury Weighs the Death Penalty, focuses on the human side of the decision by listening to how different jurors from the same case describe their jury’s decision to impose a death sentence. Named a 2006 Finalist for the American Bar Association’s Silver Gavel Award, A Life and Death Decision was released in April of 2005 and a paperback version followed in 2007.