Debbie Hines in conversation with Carl Suddler - Get Off My Neck

Debbie Hines in conversation with Carl Suddler - Get Off My Neck

Tuesday, Apr 23, 2024 7:00 PM

Auburn Avenue Research Library
101 Auburn Avenue NE
Atlanta, Georgia 30303

A deeply revealing exposé of the American prosecutorial system and its historic and present racial inequities—and how we can transform the system to one of fairness and justice.

A Cappella Books and The Baton Foundation welcome Former Baltimore prosecutor, Assistant Attorney General for the State of Maryland, and author Debbie Hines to the Auburn Avenue Research Library to discuss her new book, "Get Off My Neck: Black Lives, White Justice, and a Former Prosecutor's Quest for Reform." Kohan will appear in conversation with author and Emory University history professor Carl Suddler.

This event is free and open to the public. Copies of the book will be available for purchase at the venue. Masks are optional.

About the Book

In "Get Off My Neck," Debbie Hines draws on her unique perspective as a trial lawyer, former Baltimore prosecutor, and assistant attorney general for the State of Maryland to argue that US prosecutors, as the most powerful players in the criminal justice system, systematically target and criminalize Black people. Hines describes her disillusionment as a young Black woman who initially entered the profession with the goal of helping victims of crimes, only to discover herself aiding and abetting a system that prizes plea bargaining, speedy conviction, and excessive punishment above all else. In this book, she offers concrete, specific, and hopeful solutions for just how we can come together in a common purpose for criminal justice and racial justice reform.

"Get Off My Neck" explains that the racial inequities in the prosecutorial system are built into our country's DNA. What's more, they are the direct result of a history that has conditioned Americans to perceive the Black body as insignificant at best and dangerous at worst. Unlike other books that discuss the prosecutor's office and change from inside the office, Hines offers a proactive approach to fixing our broken prosecutorial system through a broad-based alliance of reform-minded prosecutors, activists, allies, communities, and racial justice organizations—all working together to end the racist treatment of Black people.

Told intimately through personal, family, and client narratives, "Get Off My Neck" is not only a deeply sobering account of our criminal justice system and its devastating impact on Black children, youth, and adults but also a practical and inspiring roadmap for how we can start doing better right now.

About the Author

Former Baltimore prosecutor, Assistant Attorney General for the State of Maryland, and trial attorney Debbie Hines is an advocate for racial equity in the criminal justice system. She maintains a private law practice focused on civil and criminal litigation in Washington, DC. A leading voice in the discourse of criminal justice and race, Hines is often called on by media networks for legal commentary.

About the Conversation Partner

Carl Suddler is an associate professor of history at Emory University. His first book, "Presumed Criminal: Black Youth" and the Justice System in Postwar New York (2019) is widely used in college and graduate classrooms across the country.

Professor Suddler has published works that have appeared in the Journal of American History, Journal of African American History, American Studies Journal, and Journal of Sports History. In 2020, he edited a special issue of The American Historian magazine that historically contextualized the global protests that occurred in the wake of the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others. His expertise is in high demand from scholarly communities and media outlets such as CNN, ABC News, Al Jazeera, Black News Channel, and NPR.

In addition to a number of public-facing projects, Suddler is currently working on a second book project, tentatively titled "No Way Out: The Carceral Boundaries of Race and Sports". The book uncovers the hidden fingerprints of police power in sports over the past 150 years and tells the stories of how Black athletes have been forced to navigate the constantly growing police presence in their daily lives.