In the wake of the jurors’ decision in the George Zimmerman trial America has been polarized. Although Zimmerman was found not guilty of in the killing of 17 year-old Trayvon Martin, many feel that race of Martin played a key role in the verdict. The pervasive view in many parts of the country is that white killers of blacks go unpunished, and that racial disparity in America’s criminal justice system is entrenched and shameful, and might have lead up to the verdict in the Zimmerman trial.
After the verdict the Brennan Center for Justice,a component of New York University School of Law, proclaimed, “As legal experts deconstruct the “not guilty” verdict in the George Zimmerman trial — the man accused of murdering Trayvon Martin — an ugly truth rears its head again: racial disparities are alive and well in our criminal justice system.”
How to end racial disparity in the criminal justice system was the focus of a three day conference held last October. The conference produced the report Criminal Justice in the 21st Century: Eliminating Racial and Ethnic Disparities in the Criminal Justice System, which the Brennan Center touts as “a critically important and inclusive examination of the profound racial and ethnic disparities in America’s criminal justice system, and concrete ways to overcome them.”