Crook County: Racism and Injustice in America's Largest Criminal Court

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$20.00  $18.60
Stanford Law Books
Publish Date
6.0 X 9.0 X 0.61 inches | 0.89 pounds

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About the Author
Nicole Gonzalez Van Cleve is an Assistant Professor at Temple University in the Department of Criminal Justice, with courtesy appointments in the Department of Sociology and the Beasley School of Law. She is a recipient of the 2014-2015 Ford Foundation Fellowship, an affiliated scholar with the American Bar Foundation, and a former Research Director for Chicago Appleseed Fund for Justice. She has provided legal commentary on the criminal justice system for MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show, NBC News, CNN, and The New York Times.
"In a groundbreaking new book, Crook County: Racism and Injustice in America's Largest Criminal Court, Professor Nicole Gonzalez Van Cleve adds an important, novel dimension to this problem. She exposes the deeply flawed operation of the criminal justice system by focusing on how felonies are processed in Cook County, Illinois...Van Cleve's important ethnography brings to light the hidden and pernicious workings of the criminal justice system that often operates in the shadows."--L. Song Richardson "Yale Law Journal "
"Van Cleve's book is nothing less than a tour de force, and a clarion call for bringing egalitarian principles of racial and social justice to our most overlooked of criminal justice institutions, the courts. It forces us to confront 'the everyday miscarriages of justice' that pervade today's courts, asking us what has become of Gideon's trumpet in the age of spatially and racially concentrated 'mass incarceration.' The book is destined to become a classic, and ought to be on the mandatory reading list for citizens, law and society scholars and all sentient social scientists."--Thomas E. Reifer "Law and Society Review "
"Crook County is a searing account of how criminal courts serve as the gateway to racialized punishment. Turning a spotlight on the everyday actions of prosecutors, judges, and defense attorneys, Gonzalez Van Cleve reveals a court culture that dehumanizes and discriminates against defendants, victims, and family members. Her eye-opening analysis forces us to confront the possibility [or reality] that mass incarceration results from mass wrongful convictions of black and brown people forced into a devastating charade."--Dorothy Roberts "University of Pennsylvania, author of Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty "
"This book is public sociology at its best. It is theoretically grounded, methodologically rigorous and innovativeIn sharp detail, the book shows how the crisis of racism is routinized in the daily functions of formal institutions of justice. There are lessons in this book, then, for any criminologist or sociologist of crime, law or deviance. It transcends geographic boundaries and at once provides seminal insights into future ethnographic research Gonzalez Van Cleve demonstrates the power of ethnography in the best possible sense."--Benjamin Fleury-Steiner "British Journal of Criminology "
"Beautifully written and keenly insightful, Crook County is a horror story I couldn't put down. May Nicole Gonzalez Van Cleve's masterful book do for the Chicago criminal court what Upton Sinclair's The Jungle did to the meat packing industry: clean it up. Powerful, disturbing and paradigm shifting, Crook County is ethnography at its best."--Paul Butler "Georgetown Law, author of The Chokehold: Policing Black Men "
Urgent and important, Crook County is a powerful, eye-opening account of the code of the big-city court system. Carefully dissecting this crucial step of the 'school to prison pipeline, ' Nicole Gonzalez Van Cleve illustrates just how the scales of justice are cynically stacked against black and brown inner city young people, undermining their faith in our criminal justice system. Crook County is a must-read."--Elijah Anderson "Yale University, author of Code of the Street and The Cosmopolitan Canopy "
"Gonzalez Van Cleve's account of the American criminal justice system, based on thousands of hours of careful observation behind the doors of the Chicago-Cook County courthouse, reveals the paradoxes and pain of our modern legal culture, including the effects on the punished and punishers alike. As Van Cleve's investigation so startlingly lays bare, just because legal institutions profess to be colorblind does not make it so. Reading Crook County helps us see the difference."--Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor "Harvard University "
"Through her meticulous methodological approach that draws on field notes, over one thousand hours of court observations by court watchers, and interviews with judges, private attorneys, public defenders, and prosecutors, Van Cleve outlines a legal habitus allowing individual actors to appear blameless in the practice of racialized justice....Reading Crook County, it becomes clear that the court system is a mere charade of what it is meant to be."--Amy Baumann Grau, Contexts