Unfair: The New Science of Criminal Injustice

By | July 4, 2017
Unfair: The New Science of Criminal Injustice Author Adam Benforado
ISBN-10 0770437788
ISBN-13 9780770437787
Year 2016-06-14
Pages 416
Language English
Publisher Broadway Books
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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 its 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 defendants 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 casesfrom the border collie put on trial in Kentucky to the five teenagers who falsely confessed in the Central Park Jogger caseBenforado shows how our judicial processes fail to uphold our values and protect societys weakest members With clarity and passion he lays out the scope of the legal systems 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

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