How states are making their legal systems more equitable, seen through the story of a Black man falsely imprisoned for thirty years for murder.
In 1989, Ben Spencer, a twenty-two-year-old Black man from Dallas, was convicted of murdering white businessman Jeffrey Young-a crime he didn't commit. From the day of his arrest, Spencer insisted that it was "an awful mistake." The Texas legal system didn't see it that way. It allowed shoddy police work, paid witnesses, and prosecutorial misconduct to convict Spencer of murder, and it ignored later efforts to correct this error. The state's bureaucratic intransigence caused Spencer to spend more than half his life in prison.
Eventually independent investigators, new witness testimony, the foreman of the jury that convicted him, and a new Dallas DA convinced a Texas judge that Spencer had nothing to do with the killing, and in 2022 he was released from prison.
As Spencer's fight to clear himself demonstrates, our legal systems are broken: expedience is more important than the truth. That is starting to change as states across the country implement new efforts to reduce wrongful convictions, and one of the states leading the way is Texas.
Award-winning journalist Barbara Bradley Hagerty has spent years digging into this issue, and she has immersed herself in Spencer's case. She has combed police files and court records, interviewed dozens of witnesses, and had extensive conversations with Spencer, and in Bringing Ben Home she threads together two narratives: how an innocent Black man got caught up in and couldn't escape a legal system that refused to admit its mistakes; and what Texas and other states are doing to address wrongful convictions to make the legal process more equitable for everyone.
By turns fascinating and enraging, personal and provocative, Bringing Ben Home is the powerful story of one innocent man who refused to admit that he was guilty of murder, and how his plight became part of a paradigm shift in how the legal system thinks about innocence as it institutes new methods to overturn wrongful convictions to better protect people like Ben Spencer.
An urgent and gripping look at the erosion of voting rights and its implications for democracy, told through the stories of 9 Supreme Court decisions-and the next looming case
In The Court v. The Voters, law professor Joshua Douglas takes us behind the scenes of significant cases in voting rights-some surprising and unknown, some familiar-to investigate the historic crossroads that have irrevocably changed our elections and the nation. In crisp and accessible prose, Douglas tells the story of each case, sheds light on the intractable election problems we face as a result, and highlights the unique role the highest court has played in producing a broken electoral system.
Douglas charts infamous cases like:
- Bush v. Gore, which opened the door to many election law claims
- Citizens United, which contributed to skewed representation-but perhaps not in the way you might think
- Shelby County v. Holder, which gutted the vital protections of the Voting Rights Act
- Crawford v. Marion County Elections Board, which allowed states to enforce voter ID laws and make it harder for people to vote
The Court v. The Voters powerfully reminds us of the tangible, real-world effects from the Court's voting rights decisions. While we can-and should-lament the democracy that might have been, Douglas argues that we can-and should-double down in our efforts to protect the right to vote.
A stirring, comprehensive look at the state of women in the workforce—why women's progress has stalled, how our economy fosters unproductive competition, and how we can fix the system that holds women back.
In the #MeToo era, when gender equality is at the forefront of the conversation, women are still falling behind in the workplace faster than ever before; this was true before COVID, and even more true after.
Fair Shake explains that the system that governs our economy—a winner-takes-all economy—is the cause. The WTA economy self-selects for aggressive, cutthroat business tactics, which creates a feedback loop that sidelines women. The book explores what legal scholars determine the "triple bind" including:
-If women don't compete on the same terms as men, they lose.
-If women do compete on the same terms as men, they lose.
-When women see that they can't win on the same terms as men, they take themselves out of the game (if they haven't been pushed out already).
Fair Shake offers a timely, practical view of women in the workforce today—what holds them back and what stops them from entering at all. Using legal cases throughout, Naomi Cahn offers rich, detailed storytelling to demonstrate how our laws fail to protect women. This book is the much-needed wake-up call to make the lasting changes required for gender equality in the workplace.
A landmark history told with narrative skill, Freedom to Discriminate uncovers realtors' definitive role in segregating America and shaping modern conservative thought. His book traces the increasingly aggressive ways realtors justified their practices, how they successfully weaponized the word 'freedom' for their cause, and how conservative politicians have drawn directly from realtors' rhetoric for the past several decades. Much of this story takes place in California, and Slater demonstrates why one of the very first all-white neighborhoods was in Berkeley, and why the state was the perfect place for Ronald Reagan's political ascension.
The hinge point in history is Proposition 14, a largely forgotten but monumentally important 1964 ballot initiative. Created and promoted by California realtors, the proposition sought to uphold housing discrimination permanently in the state's constitution, and a vast majority of Californians voted for it. This vote had explosive consequences-ones that still inform our deepest political divisions today-and a true reckoning with the history of American racism requires a closer look at the events leading up to it. Freedom to Discriminate shatters preconceptions about American segregation, and it connects many seemingly disparate aspects of the nation's history in a novel and galvanizing way.
The explosive, behind-the-scenes account of the criminal trial of the century.
'I understand – and sympathise with – the feeling you might have that you already know the Jeffrey Epstein story. But I am not here to tell you a story about Jeffrey Epstein, or even Ghislaine Maxwell. I am here to tell you the stories of ten women, many of whom have never spoken at length before, about the real impact of sexual trauma on their lives.'
In November 2021, Ghislaine Maxwell was convicted of five counts of sex-trafficking of minors, and now faces 55 years in prison for the role she played in Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse of four girls. The trial was meticulously covered by journalist and legal reporter Lucia Osborne-Crowley, one of only four reporters allowed into the courtroom every day.
The Lasting Harm is her account of that trial, a gripping true crime drama and a blistering critique of a criminal justice system ill-equipped to deliver justice for abuse survivors, no matter the outcome.
Centring the stories of four women and their testimonies, and supplemented by extra material to which Osborne-Crowley has exclusive access, The Lasting Harm brings this incendiary trial to life, questions our age-old appetite for crime and punishment and offers a new blueprint for meaningful reparative justice.
Are you discouraged by our divided, angry culture, where even listening to a different perspective sometimes feels impossible? If so, you're not alone, and it doesn't have to be this way. Learning to Disagree reveals the surprising path to learning how to disagree in ways that build new bridges with our neighbors, coworkers, and loved ones--and help us find better ways to live joyfully in a complex society.
In a tense cultural climate, is it possible to disagree productively and respectfully without compromising our convictions? Spanning a range of challenging issues--including critical race theory, sexual assault, campus protests, and clashes over religious freedom--highly regarded thought leader and law professor John Inazu helps us engage honestly and empathetically with people whose viewpoints we find strange, wrong, or even dangerous.
As a constitutional scholar, legal expert, and former litigator, John has spent his career learning how to disagree well with other people. In Learning to Disagree, John shares memorable stories and draws on the practices that legal training imparts--seeing the complexity in every issue and inhabiting the mindset of an opposing point of view--to help us handle daily encounters and lifelong relationships with those who see life very differently than we do.
This groundbreaking, poignant, and highly practical book equips us to:
- Understand what holds us back from healthy disagreement
- Learn specific, start-today strategies for dialoguing clearly and authentically
- Move from stuck, broken disagreements to mature, healthy disagreements
- Cultivate empathy as a core skill for our personal lives and our whole society
If you are feeling exhausted from the tattered state of dialogue in your social media feed, around the country, and in daily conversations, you're not alone. Discover a more connected life while still maintaining the strength of your convictions through this unique, often-humorous, thought-provoking, and ultimately life-changing exploration of the best way to disagree.
The world’s largest democracy is facing the greatest challenge since the end of British colonial rule in 1947.
The Incarcerations pulls back the curtain on Indian democracy to tell the remarkable and chilling story of the Bhima Koregaon case, in which 16 human rights defenders (the BK-16) – professors, lawyers, journalists, poets – have been imprisoned, without credible evidence and without trial, as Maoist terrorists.
Alpa Shah unravels how these alleged terrorists were charged with inciting violence at a year’s day commemoration in 2018, accused of waging a war against the Indian state, and plotting to kill the Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. Expertly leading us through the case, Shah exposes some of the world’s most shocking revelations of cyber warfare research, which show not only hacking of emails and mobile phones of the BK-16, but also implantation of the electronic evidence that was used to incarcerate them. Through the life histories of the BK-16, Shah dives deep into the issues they fought for and tells the story of India’s three main minorities – Adivasi, Dalits and Muslims – and what the search for democracy entails for them.
Essential and urgent, The Incarcerations reveals how this case is a bellwether for the collapse of democracy in India, as for the first time in the nation’s history there is a multi-pronged, coordinated attack on key defenders of various pillars of democracy. In so doing, Shah shows that democracy today must be not only about protecting freedom of expression and democratic institutions, but also about supporting and safeguarding the social movements that question our global inequalities.
On 2 November 2023, in one of the largest fraud trials in history, Sam Bankman-Fried was found guilty of stealing billions of dollars from the customers of his crypto-exchange, FTX.
How did this 31-year-old Californian in flip-flops, board shorts and a T-shirt manage to become one of the most famous CEOs in the world? How did greed, fear and free money inflate the crypto bubble until it finally popped with devastating consequences for millions of people who lost money in the crash? Who were the enablers, investors and innovators who transformed the original promise of crypto into a digital Wild West?
Hype Machine is the definitive story of the boom and bust of crypto, written by award-winning Financial Times journalist Joshua Oliver. Expansive, nuanced and eminently entertaining, it demystifies the crypto circus by following the journeys of its most influential participants and the trajectory of SBF, its enigmatic ringmaster.
Oliver, who reported on the crypto crash with extensive access to SBF himself, introduces listeners to the people and ideas that shaped crypto's wild rise and fall, including Arthur Hayes, Changpeng Zhao and the coterie of acolytes who surrounded FTX. Through exclusive interviews, compelling research and with ringside seats at the trial of the decade, he paints a vivid, detailed and tragi-comic picture of this defining financial moment of our times.
No new parent expects their offspring's childhood to be tainted by arrest or conviction.
That only happens to other people's kids, right? Wrong. In this compelling book, written
by one of Britain's top experts in youth justice, Aika Stephenson reveals the
extraordinary cases she deals with daily. From the obviously vulnerable to the A-grade
student from a stable upbringing, Just for Kids Law, the campaigning charity co-founded
by Stephenson in 2007, has helped thousands of children and young people overcome the
difficulties they face.
Aika says: ‘Every day in my job is an adventure, a battle for justice, heart-breaking, and
a joy. But very few people truly understand the law that dictates the lives of our young
people, and I want to share that with the public – both the heart-warming successes and
the shocking failures of the system.'
From playground mischief to issues with immigration status, from housing to those
facing years behind bars for a crime their friend committed, this book lays bare what
really goes on behind the scenes, from the police station through to the young
offenders' institution and everything in between. It is an important and revelatory book
that confronts the issues that face all young people today.
Throughout history, too many Americans have been disenfranchised or faced needless barriers to vote. Part of the blame falls on the Constitution, which does not contain an affirmative right to vote. The Supreme Court has made matters worse by failing to protect voting rights and limiting Congress's ability to do so. The time has come for voters to take action and push for an amendment to the Constitution that would guarantee this right for all.
Drawing on troubling stories of state attempts to disenfranchise military voters, women, African Americans, students, former felons, Native Americans, and others, Richard Hasen argues that American democracy can and should do better in assuring that all eligible voters can cast a meaningful vote that will be fairly counted. He shows how a constitutional right to vote can deescalate voting wars between political parties that lead to endless rounds of litigation and undermine voter confidence in elections, and can safeguard democracy against dangerous attempts at election subversion.
The path to a constitutional amendment is undoubtedly hard, especially in these polarized times. A Real Right to Vote explains what's in it for conservatives who have resisted voting reform, and reveals how the pursuit of an amendment can yield tangible dividends for democracy long before ratification.