Killing with Prejudice
Institutionalized Racism in American Capital Punishment
Published by: NYU Press
224 pages, 5.00 x 8.00 in
- ISBN: 9781479888603
- Published: March 2019
A history of the McCleskey v. Kemp Supreme Court ruling that effectively condoned racism in capital cases
In Killing with Prejudice, R.J. Maratea chronicles the entire litigation process which culminated in what has been called “the Dred Scott decision of our time.” Ultimately, the Supreme Court chose to overlook compelling empirical evidence that revealed the discriminatory manner in which the assailants of African Americans are systematically undercharged and the aggressors of white victims are far more likely to receive a death sentence. He draws a clear line from the lynchings of the Jim Crow era to the contemporary acceptance of the death penalty and the problem of mass incarceration today.
The McCleskey decision underscores the racial, socioeconomic, and gender disparities in modern American capital punishment, and the case is fundamental to understanding how the death penalty functions for the defendant, victims, and within the American justice system as a whole.
"Maratea places the McCleskey case and his personal circumstances within the context of the history of racism in the criminal justice system. He documents the fact that the imposition of the death penalty was and continues to be racially biased – an atavistic link to Jim Crow laws, an embarrassment to due process, and an affront to the Constitution."-Gennaro F. Vito,University of Louisville
"A well organized and very well written book that underscores the centrality of McKleskey v.
Kemp in modern understandings of the death penalty."-Isaac Unah,author of The Supreme Court in American Politics
"In this thoughtful and disturbing account, the author traces the story of [the Supreme Court decision McCleskey v. Kemp]...Provocative reading for anyone concerned about the intersection of race and capital punishment."-Kirkus Reviews
“R.J. Maratea’s erudite history of arguably the most toxic Supreme Court case of the post-civil rights era is a stunning achievement. It is a rare book that highlights how structural racism—borne of a deeply cynical and callous jurisprudence and criminal justice policy—legitimizes taken for granted logics that continue to deny full citizenship to people of color in the U.S. today.”-Benjamin Fleury-Steiner,University of Delaware