Let's Get Free: A Hip-Hop Theory of Justice [NOOK Book]

Overview


Drawing on his personal fascinating story as a prosecutor, a defendant, and an observer of the legal process, Paul Butler offers a sharp and engaging critique of our criminal justice system. He argues against discriminatory drug laws and excessive police power and shows how our policy of mass incarceration erodes communities and perpetuates crime. Controversially, he supports jury nullification—or voting “not guilty” out of principle—as a way for everyday people to take a stand against unfair laws, and he joins ...
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Let's Get Free: A Hip-Hop Theory of Justice

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Overview


Drawing on his personal fascinating story as a prosecutor, a defendant, and an observer of the legal process, Paul Butler offers a sharp and engaging critique of our criminal justice system. He argues against discriminatory drug laws and excessive police power and shows how our policy of mass incarceration erodes communities and perpetuates crime. Controversially, he supports jury nullification—or voting “not guilty” out of principle—as a way for everyday people to take a stand against unfair laws, and he joins with the “Stop Snitching” movement, arguing that the reliance on informants leads to shoddy police work and distrust within communities. Butler offers instead a “hip hop theory of justice,” parsing the messages about crime and punishment found in urban music and culture. Butler’s argument is powerful, edgy, and incisive.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Butler (law, George Washington Univ.), a former federal prosecutor, makes a clear case for what ails our criminal justice system. The statistics alone are staggering: the United States comprises 5 percent of the world's population but 25 percent of the world's prison population; approximately half the U.S. prison population is made up of African Americans, with more young black men in prison than in college. Since the War on Drugs began over 30 years ago, the U.S. prison population has exploded, owing partly to harsh sentences for minor drug charges. Ironically, the overall crime rate is lowered (for a number of reasons) if we house fewer prisoners, and Butler suggests ways citizens can help in this regard, from jury nullification (i.e., acquitting a defendant in the face of the government's case) to campaigning for the end of racial profiling. He also describes hip-hop's role in chronicling what is wrong with our system. While some of his suggestions will certainly prove controversial, we can hope that this timely book leads to more dialog and to change. Required reading for all concerned about their neighborhoods and our criminal justice system.
—Karen Sandlin Silverman

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781595585103
  • Publisher: New Press, The
  • Publication date: 6/8/2010
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 224
  • Sales rank: 308,884
  • File size: 380 KB

Meet the Author


A former federal prosecutor, Paul Butler is the country’s leading expert on jury nullification. He provides legal commentary for CNN, NPR, and the Fox News Network, and has been featured on 60 Minutes and profiled in the Washington Post. He has written for the Post, the Boston Globe, and the Los Angeles Times, and is a law professor at George Washington University in Washington, D.C.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

1 The Hunter Gets Captured by the Game: A Prosecutor Meets American Criminal Justice 1

2 Safety First: Why Mass Incarceration Matters 23

3 Justice on Drugs 41

4 Jury Duty: Power to the People 57

5 Patriot Acts: Don't Be a Snitch, Do Be a Witness, and Don't Always Help the Police 79

6 Should Good People Be Prosecutors? 101

7 A Hip-Hop Theory of Justice 123

8 Droppin' Science: High-Tech Justice 147

9 The Beautiful Struggle: Seven Ways to Take Back Justice 167

Notes 187

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