People v. Newton


by Lise Pearlman


Paperback / $29.95 / isbn: 978-1-58790-369-4 / paperback / 536 pages / 6” x 9” / with photographs

e-book / $9.95 / isbn: 978-1-58790-370-0


Law / American History / Black History / Civil Rights / Jury Trials


On the 50th anniversary of the Black Panther Party, Pearlman’s new book American Justice on Trial: People v. Newton compares the explosive state of American race relations in 1968 to race relations today with insights from key participants and observers of the internationally-watched Oakland, California death-penalty trial that launched the Black Panther Party and transformed the American jury “of one’s peers” to the diverse cross-section we often take for granted today.

      The book includes comments from Newton prosecutor Lowell Jensen, pioneering black jury foreman David Harper and TV journalist Belva Davis, as well as from Huey Newton’s older brother Melvin Newton, former Panthers Kathleen Cleaver, David Hillliard and Emory Douglas. It also includes comments from civil rights experts including Bryan Stevenson, Barry Scheck and John Burris.

      American Justice on Trial also complements the documentary project of the same name by Arc of Justice Productions, Inc., a non-profit arts organization. The book incorporates quotes from filmed interviews for that historic project for which Pearlman is the co-producer and co-director with veteran documentarian Robert Richter. The progress of that film project can be followed at













Lise Pearlman appeared in Stanley Nelson’s acclaimed 2015 film “The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution” as the country’s leading expert on the 1968 Huey Newton death penalty trial. Her first history book, The Sky’s The Limit: People v. Newton, The Real Trial of the 20th Century? [Regent Press 2012] won awards in the categories of law, history and multiculturalism.  Pearlman was an undergraduate in the first class that included women at Yale University when Panther Party co-founder Bobby Seale was tried for murder in New Haven. She then moved to the Bay Area where she attended Berkeley Law School and then clerked for California Chief Justice Donald White before practicing law in Oakland. From 1989-1995, she served as the first Presiding Judge of the California State Bar Court. Pearlman has spent almost all of her adult life in Oakland where the Newton trial took place and where she still resides.

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