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Race and Justice: Wrongful Convictions of African American Men

Marvin D. Free, Jr. and Mitch Ruesink
Race and Justice: Wrongful Convictions of African American Men
ISBN: 978-1-58826-810-5
ISBN: 978-1-62637-237-5
ISBN: 978-1-62637-918-3
2015/334 pages/LC: 2011034705
Hardcover published 2011
"This book will be the definitive scholarly reference on this topic and a must-read for anyone interested in miscarriages of justice. Essential."—Choice

"Insightful and well-researched.... an important contribution. Free and Ruesink's approach provides much needed context for the large number of wrongful conviction cases involving African Americans."—Shaun Gabbidon, Pennsylvania State University Harrisburg

"A good choice for academic collections and public libraries where social issues are of interest." —Rebecca Vnuk, Booklist


Choice Outstanding Academic Book!

In this investigation of some 350 wrongful convictions of African American men, Marvin Free and Mitch Ruesink critically examine how issues of race undercut the larger goals of our criminal justice system.

Free and Ruesink expand the focus of wrongful conviction studies to include not only homicide, but also sexual assault, drug dealing, and nonviolent crime. Their careful analysis reveals that black men accused of crimes against white victims account for a disproportionate number of wrongful convictions. They also uncover other disturbing failings on the part of prosecutors, police, witnesses, and informants. Highlighting the systemic role of race, the authors challenge us to move past the "just a few bad apples" explanation and to instead examine what it is about our criminal justice system that allows the innocent to be judged guilty. 


The late Marvin D. Free, Jr., was professor emeritus of sociology at the University of Wisconsin–Whitewater. He is coauthor of Crime, Justice, and Society and editor of Racial Issues in Criminal Justice: The Case of African Americans. Mitch Ruesink teaches psychology at Waukesha County Technical College.


  • Wrongful Convictions in the United States.
  • Meet the Wrongfully Convicted.
  • Murder and Attempted Murder.
  • Rape and Sexual Assault.
  • Drug Offenses.
  • Robbery and Other Offenses.
  • Reducing Wrongful Convictions.