In Police State, legendary "country lawyer" Gerry Spence reveals the unnerving truth of our criminal justice system. In his more than sixty years in the courtroom, Spence has never represented a person charged with a crime in which the police had not themselves violated the law. Whether by hiding, tampering with, or manufacturing evidence; by gratuitous violence and even murder, those who are charged with upholding the law too often break it. Spence points to the explosion of brutality leading up to the murder of Freddie Gray in Baltimore, insisting that this is the way it has always been: cops get away with murder. Nothing changes.
Police State narrates the shocking account of the Madrid train bombings—how the FBI accused an innocent man of treasonous acts they knew he hadn't committed. It details the rampant racism within Chicago's police department, which landed teenager Dennis Williams on death row. It unveils the deliberately coercive efforts of two cops to extract a false murder confession from frightened and mentally fragile Albert Hancock, along with other appalling evidence from eight of Spence's most famous cases.
In Police State, Spence issues a stinging indictment of the American justice system. Demonstrating that the way we select and train our police guarantees fatal abuses of justice, he also prescribes a challenging cure that stands to restore America's promise of liberty and justice for all.
"Gerry Spence has written a terrific book on the problems with today's criminal justice system. Police State: How America's Cops Get Away with Murder gives us the best of Gerry Spence. Spence starts out by asking the basic question: 'Are we safe from our own police?' What he really wants to ask, however, comes a bit later: 'Are we safe from power?' Using tales of his brilliance in court, Spence answers those questions. No, we are not safe, and that is precisely why we need people like Gerry Spence to represent people in court."—Laurie L. Levenson, Los Angeles Review of Books
“We at Southern Poverty Law Center always knew the truth about which Spence writes. Too often the poor and middle class are brutalized and killed by the police in this 'land of the free,' and Spence offers solutions America must listen to.”—Morris Dees, President, Southern Poverty Law Center
“A riveting account from the front lines of Gerry Spence's lifelong battle against injustice. He defines the thin line between the policeman and the criminal from his own experience, and it's disturbing and convincing.”—William Friedkin, Academy Award-winning director
“Gerry Spence's shocking experiences with rogue, killer police in his own cases prove his point, and he offers insightful new solutions that could assure a better tomorrow in the tragic struggle between law enforcement and the people they are sworn to protect.”—Alan K. Simpson, U.S. Senator, Wyoming (1979-1997)