Deadly Injustice

Trayvon Martin, Race, and the Criminal Justice System

384 pages

18 tables and 14 figures

December, 2015

ISBN: 9781479894291



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Devon Johnson is an Associate Professor in the Department of Criminology, Law and Society at George Mason University.

All books by Devon Johnson

Patricia Warren is Associate Professor in the College of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Florida State University.

All books by Patricia Y. Warren

Amy Farrell is Associate Professor of Criminology and Criminal Justice at Northeastern University.

All books by Amy Farrell

Lawrence D. Bobo is the W. E. B. Du Bois Professor of the Social Sciences at Harvard University. Professor Bobo is an elected member of the National Academy of Science as well as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

All books by Lawrence D. Bobo

The murder of unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin and the subsequent trial and acquittal of his assailant, George Zimmerman, sparked a passionate national debate about race and criminal justice in America that involved everyone from bloggers to mayoral candidates to President Obama himself. With increased attention to these causes, from St. Louis to Los Angeles, intense outrage at New York City’s Stop and Frisk program and escalating anger over the effect of mass incarceration on the nation’s African American community, the Trayvon Martin case brought the racialized nature of the American justice system to the forefront of our national consciousness. Deadly Injustice uses the Martin/Zimmerman case as a springboard to examine race, crime, and justice in our current criminal justice system. 
Contributors explore how race and racism informs how Americans think about criminality, how crimes are investigated and prosecuted, and how the media interprets and reports on crime. At the center of their analysis sit examples of the Zimmerman trial and Florida’s controversial Stand Your Ground law, providing current and resonant examples for readers as they work through the bigger-picture problems plaguing the American justice system. This important volume demonstrates how highly publicized criminal cases go on to shape public views about offenders, the criminal process, and justice more generally, perpetuating the same unjust cycle for future generations. A timely, well-argued collection, Deadly Injustice is an illuminating, headline-driven text perfect for students and scholars of criminology and an important contribution to the discussion of race and crime in America.


  • “The opinions of the researchers point to a need for an overhaul of the criminal justice system and the beliefs espoused therein, as well as those expressed on social media. Highly readable and informative. Summing Up: Highly recommended.”


  • "Devon Johnson, Patricia Warren, and Amy Farrell have assembled an impressive array of scholars to focus on [a] set of thorny issues for our criminal justice system and for the vitality of American democracy....This volume, bringing together new research and fresh analyses from sociologists, criminologists, legal scholars, and political scientists takes huge steps toward the of issues that needs to happen."

    —from the Foreword by Lawrence Bobo

  • “This book provides a powerful and timely review of the need to see the connection between race, death, and injustice in America. It is time for us to have this much-needed conversation, which will help us, as a community, understand that far too many children are dying from the hands of assailants. We need to focus on life, rather than death, for our children.”

    —Charles J. Ogletree, Jr., Jesse Climenko Professor of Law at Harvard Law School

  • Deadly Injustice strips away the willful racial blindsight that has frustrated scholars who seek to reveal the ways in which our legal institutions deny basic justice when state actors kill young black men and women.Johnson, Warren and Farrell have assembled outstanding scholars whose analytic skills shed new and harsh light into the dark corners of law and criminal justice to reveal the racialization and inequalities in the course of both egregious and everyday events.The analytic focus of this unique volume will sharpen theory and research on racial disparities in justice, and create a new scholarship that can shift our basic understanding of race, law and socio-legal culture to explain these undeniable and disturbing facts.”

    —Jeffrey A. Fagan, Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law

  • “At a time when we’ve seen fundamental shifts in the policing and criminal justice terrain in our country, this important volume adds depth and dimension to our understanding of race, ethnicity and justice in America.This is must reading not only for scholars in the field but also for policymakers and practitioners committed to ensuring that our criminal justice system actually delivers justice.”

    —Laurie O. Robinson, Co-Chair, The President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing and former Assistant Attorney General