THIS BOOK COULD NOT have been written without the help of numerous individuals. First, I want to publicly thank my partner, Kenichi Haramoto, for providing me with love and nurture throughout this project. I also want to thank my parents, Tuck Hop and Dorothea Lee, who provided me with the discipline and skills I needed to write this book. Before my father passed away in December 2000, he told me a story that helped me complete this book project. When he was a young man, my father and one of his colleagues drafted seven chapters of what was supposed to be a nine-chapter book. They sent their chapters to an editor who was extremely negative about the project. Demoralized, they never finished the book. Later, the same editor who had been so critical of my father's manuscript published something quite similar to what my father had submitted. My father's story gave me the courage to complete this book project.
Second, I want to recognize and thank Bob Chang, Richard Delgado, and Jean Stefancic, who were instrumental in making this book possible. My friend Bob planted the seed for this project back in 1995, encouraging me to think about writing a book when I was still an untenured professor. After reading some of my written work, Richard and Jean suggested that I submit a book proposal to NYU Press. They then nourished the project from start to finish, providing me with helpful guidance all along the way, reading and commenting on numerous drafts.
This book started as an examination of race and discretion in the criminal justice system. In the summer of 1998, I decided to postpone that project and came up with the idea for the book which you are about to read. I began serious work on this book in 1999 and turned in