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Let's Get Free: A Hip-Hop Theory of Justice

The New Press9781595585004

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Paul Butler was an ambitious federal prosecutor, a Harvard Law grad who gave up his corporate law salary to fight the good fight—until one day he was arrested on the street and charged with a crime he didn't commit.

In a book Harvard Law professor Charles Ogletree calls “a must-read,” Butler looks at places where ordinary citizens meet the justice system—as jurors, witnesses, and in encounters with the police—and explores what “doing the right thing” means in a corrupt system. No matter how powerless those caught up in the web of the law may feel, there is a chance to regain agency, argues Butler. Through groundbreaking and sometimes controversial methods—jury nullification (voting “not guilty” in drug cases as a form of protest), just saying “no” when the police request your permission to search, and refusing to work inside the system as a snitch or a prosecutor—ordinary people can tip the system towards actual justice. Let’s Get Free is an evocative, compelling look at the steps we can collectively take to reform our broken system.