Public Defenders and the American Justice System

Author: Paul B. Wice
Publisher: Greenwood
ISBN:
Format: PDF, ePub
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Offers a realistic portrait of the job of a public defender, the challenges and obstacles, the rewards and demands, and the need for these lawyers in the criminal justice system

Defending the Damned

Author: Kevin Davis
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
ISBN: 0743270940
Format: PDF, Docs
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A member of Chicago's elite Murder Task Force unit describes the lives of its public defenders, many of whom juggle dozens of clients and death-row cases simultaneously, in a sobering account that focuses on the dramatic trial of an accused cop killer. Reprint.

Indefensible

Author: David Feige
Publisher: Little Brown & Company
ISBN: 9780316156233
Format: PDF
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With verve and insider know-how, a young lawyer reveals his outrageous and heartbreaking long day's journey into night court.

Chasing Gideon

Author: Karen Houppert
Publisher: New Press, The
ISBN: 1595588922
Format: PDF, Kindle
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On March 18, 1963, in one of its most significant legal decisions, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled in Gideon v. Wainwright that all defendants facing significant jail time have the constitutional right to a free attorney if they cannot afford their own. Fifty years later, 80 percent of criminal defendants are served by public defenders. In a book that combines the sweep of history with the intimate details of individual lives and legal cases, veteran reporter Karen Houppert movingly chronicles the stories of people in all parts of the country who have relied on Gideon’s promise. There is the harrowing saga of a young man who is charged with involuntary vehicular homicide in Washington State, where overextended public defenders juggle impossible caseloads, forcing his defender to go to court to protect her own right to provide an adequate defense. In Florida, Houppert describes a public defender’s office, loaded with upward of seven hundred cases per attorney, and discovers the degree to which Clarence Earl Gideon’s promise is still unrealized. In New Orleans, she follows the case of a man imprisoned for twenty-seven years for a crime he didn’t commit, finding a public defense system already near collapse before Katrina and chronicling the harrowing months after the storm, during which overworked volunteers and students struggled to get the system working again. In Georgia, Houppert finds a mentally disabled man who is to be executed for murder, despite the best efforts of a dedicated but severely overworked and underfunded capital defender. Half a century after Anthony Lewis’s award-winning Gideon’s Trumpet brought us the story of the court case that changed the American justice system, Chasing Gideon is a crucial book that provides essential reckoning of our attempts to implement this fundamental constitutional right.

Ordinary Injustice

Author: Amy Bach
Publisher: Metropolitan Books
ISBN: 9781429984270
Format: PDF, Mobi
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"A groundbreaking book . . . revealing the systemic, everyday problems in our courts that must be addressed if justice is truly to be served."—Doris Kearns Goodwin Attorney and journalist Amy Bach spent eight years investigating the widespread courtroom failures that each day upend lives across America. What she found was an assembly-line approach to justice: a system that rewards mediocre advocacy, bypasses due process, and shortchanges both defendants and victims to keep the court calendar moving. Here is the public defender who pleads most of his clients guilty with scant knowledge about their circumstances; the judge who sets outrageous bail for negligible crimes; the prosecutor who habitually declines to pursue significant cases; the court that works together to achieve a wrongful conviction. Going beyond the usual explanations of bad apples and meager funding, Ordinary Injustice reveals a clubby legal culture of compromise, and shows the tragic consequences that result when communities mistake the rules that lawyers play by for the rule of law. It is time, Bach argues, to institute a new method of checks and balances that will make injustice visible—the first and necessary step to reform.

Securing Reasonable Caseloads

Author: Norman Lefstein
Publisher:
ISBN: 9780615543765
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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For the criminal justice system to work, adequate resources must be available for police, prosecutors and public defense. This timely, incisive and important book by Professor Norman Lefstein looks carefully at one leg of the justice system's "three-legged stool"public defenseand the chronic overload of cases faced by public defenders and other lawyers who represent the indigent. Fortunately, the publication does far more than bemoan the current lack of adequate funding, staffing and other difficulties faced by public defense systems in the U.S. and offers concrete suggestions for dealing with these serious issues.

Gideon s Children

Author: Howard Grant Franklin
Publisher:
ISBN: 9780990839804
Format: PDF, Kindle
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Set amidst the tumultuous and transformative 1960s, Gideon's Children tells the fascinating story of the idealistic young men and women who staffed the newly formed and expanded Public Defender Offices after the Supreme Court's momentous 1963 decision that mandated the right to counsel when charged with a crime. Facing virulent bias, they summoned a warrior spirit, and like Rocky in the courtroom, bravely led a revolution within the Criminal Justice System as part of the greater Civil Rights Movement. With the spotlight focused on five young Public Defenders fiercely battling prosecutors, cops, and judges within the raw environment of murder, rape, robbery, and drugs, as the intense drama unfolds, the novel weaves together the threads that form its essential lesson: That the power of the State is enormous, and that the only true protection against governmental abuse of power is the individual's supremely valuable constitutional rights! Increasingly relevant today in view of the 1984-like issues arising under the Patriot Act and highly invasive governmental spying, this lesson reminds that the more things change, the more they stay the same, as further evidenced by the disproportionate share of young black men in our prisons, and others killed for walking and driving while black.

Locking Up Our Own

Author: James Forman, Jr.
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
ISBN: 0374712905
Format: PDF, Docs
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In recent years, America’s criminal justice system has become the subject of an increasingly urgent debate. Critics have assailed the rise of mass incarceration, emphasizing its disproportionate impact on people of color. As James Forman, Jr., points out, however, the war on crime that began in the 1970s was supported by many African American leaders in the nation’s urban centers. In Locking Up Our Own, he seeks to understand why. Forman shows us that the first substantial cohort of black mayors, judges, and police chiefs took office amid a surge in crime and drug addiction. Many prominent black officials, including Washington, D.C. mayor Marion Barry and federal prosecutor Eric Holder, feared that the gains of the civil rights movement were being undermined by lawlessness—and thus embraced tough-on-crime measures, including longer sentences and aggressive police tactics. In the face of skyrocketing murder rates and the proliferation of open-air drug markets, they believed they had no choice. But the policies they adopted would have devastating consequences for residents of poor black neighborhoods. A former D.C. public defender, Forman tells riveting stories of politicians, community activists, police officers, defendants, and crime victims. He writes with compassion about individuals trapped in terrible dilemmas—from the men and women he represented in court to officials struggling to respond to a public safety emergency. Locking Up Our Own enriches our understanding of why our society became so punitive and offers important lessons to anyone concerned about the future of race and the criminal justice system in this country.

Courtroom 302

Author: Steve Bogira
Publisher: Vintage
ISBN: 030781419X
Format: PDF, ePub, Mobi
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Steve Bogira’s riveting book takes us into the heart of America’s criminal justice system. Courtroom 302 is the story of one year in one courtroom in Chicago’s Cook County Criminal Courthouse, the busiest felony courthouse in the country. We see the system through the eyes of the men and women who experience it, not only in the courtroom but in the lockup, the jury room, the judge’s chambers, the spectators’ gallery. When the judge and his staff go to the scene of the crime during a burglary trial, we go with them on the sheriff’s bus. We witness from behind the scenes the highest-profile case of the year: three young white men, one of them the son of a reputed mobster, charged with the racially motivated beating of a thirteen-year-old black boy. And we follow the cases that are the daily grind of the court, like that of the middle-aged man whose crack addiction brings him repeatedly back before the judge. Bogira shows us how the war on drugs is choking the system, and how in most instances justice is dispensed–as, under the circumstances, it must be–rapidly and mindlessly. The stories that unfold in the courtroom are often tragic, but they no longer seem so to the people who work there. Says a deputy in 302: “You hear this stuff every day, and you’re like, ‘Let’s go, let’s go, let’s get this over with and move on to the next thing.’” Steve Bogira is, as Robert Caro says, “a masterful reporter.” His special gift is his understanding of people–and his ability to make us see and understand them. Fast-paced, gripping, and bursting with character and incident, Courtroom 302 is a unique illumination of our criminal court system that raises fundamental issues of race, civil rights, and justice. From the Hardcover edition.