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e-Book In America's Court: How a Civil Lawyer Who Likes to Settle Stumbled into a Criminal Trial download

e-Book In America's Court: How a Civil Lawyer Who Likes to Settle Stumbled into a Criminal Trial download

by Thomas Geoghegan

ISBN: 1565847326
ISBN13: 978-1565847323
Language: English
Publisher: The New Press; First Edition edition (July 1, 2002)
Pages: 206
Category: Criminal Law
Subategory: Lex

ePub size: 1665 kb
Fb2 size: 1832 kb
DJVU size: 1693 kb
Rating: 4.4
Votes: 457
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Thomas Geoghegan, 2010. Terrence McNally (October 14, 2010). Why Germany Has It So Good - and Why America Is Going Down the Drain". Archived from the original on October 17, 2010.

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Labor attorney Geoghegan (The Secret Lives of Citizens, 1999) uses his brief exposure to the criminal justice system as a stepping-off point for a broadside against the conservatism of our courts

Labor attorney Geoghegan (The Secret Lives of Citizens, 1999) uses his brief exposure to the criminal justice system as a stepping-off point for a broadside against the conservatism of our courts.

In America's Court" is the thoughtful, witty story of labor lawyer Thomas Geoghegan's introduction to the world of criminal law. After twenty years of civil practice, in which "complex litigation" fades slowly into settlement, he is unprepared for the much quicker justice of state criminal. After twenty years of civil practice, in which "complex litigation" fades slowly into settlement, he is unprepared for the much quicker justice of state criminal court when he assists in the defense of a twenty-two-year-old who, at age fifteen, was sentenced to forty years in prison for acting as the unarmed lookout i. .

In America’s Court is the thoughtful, witty story of labor lawyer Thomas Geoghegan’s introduction to the world of.

In America’s Court is the thoughtful, witty story of labor lawyer Thomas Geoghegan’s introduction to the world of criminal law. After twenty years of civil practice, in which complex litigation fades slowly into settlement, he is unprepared for the much quicker justice of state criminal court when he assists in the defense of a twenty-two-year-old who, at age fifteen, wa. Geoghegan writes with endearing verve and worldly good humor even when bemoaning what he regards as the worst excesses of the criminal justice system.

Only 1 left in stock (more on the way). Customers who bought this item also bought. I guess that's why Geoghegan's books don't become bestsellers: most of us would prefer to avert our eyes from the spectacle of old men working themselves near to death, intentionally, because it's the only way they can imagine a secure and stable environment. Of course we avert our eyes: we let it happen.

In America's Court is the thoughtful, witty story of labor lawyer Thomas Geoghegan's introduction to the world of criminal law. After twenty years of civil practice, in which "complex litigation" fades slowly into settlement. In an America that now routinely imprisons kids as adults, he comes to see this small case as a basic test of human rights. The case leads Geoghegan to reevaluate his own career as a civil lawyer and the ways he might use the law to effect social change. Written with the author's trademark intelligence and humor, In America's Court is a compelling narrative and a candid look at the justice that our society provides for its citizens.

He has written for "The Nation," the "New.

A candid indictment of the American criminal justice system from the acclaimed author of Which Side Are You On? In previous books, including the widely praised labor history Which Side Are You On?, attorney Thomas Geoghegan has written with an insight and sensibility that enable him to use the smallest details of life as microcosms of larger truths. In In America's Court, Geoghegan's personal account of his experience with criminal law, he directs this sensibility toward a re-evaluation of his own career as a civil lawyer and a critique of the criminal justice system. When asked by a friend and public defender to assist with the defense in a criminal case, Geoghegan realizes that his twenty years as a prominent labor lawyer in civil court—where most arguments are made for quick settlement in the judge's quarters—have left him totally unprepared for the realities of criminal justice in the United States. Particularly when the case at hand is the defense of a twenty-two-year-old who, at the age of fifteen, was sentenced to forty years in prison for acting as the unarmed lookout in a botched burglary attempt. Suddenly Geoghegan must face the whims of jury selection, prosecutorial advantage, and the simple fact that the course of their client's life will be determined by the case. In America's Court is a candid indictment of a criminal justice system that, by routinely imprisoning minors, violates what the rest of the world considers to be all of our basic human rights. In addition, In America's Court is a call to lawyers to act with courage despite the frustrations of the profession. Geoghegan argues that there remain aspects of the law that are heroic and unbroken, and that, rather than civil or criminal law, the law of human rights should be supreme. Written in a uniquely ironic and personal style, In America's Court is a fascinating narrative of justice denied.
Comments:
Rocksmith
I picked up "In America's Court" because, like most civil lawyers, I'm fascinated by criminal law and criminal trials. I was hoping this book would convey what it's really like to try a criminal case.

And the book does do that, to an extent. The trial described in the book was a three-day retrial of a 22-year-old man who had been convicted of felony murder seven years earlier and had won the right to a new trial on appeal. Geoghegan tells us about the interviews with the defendant and a few witnesses, jury selection, opening statements, direct and cross examination, and so on.

The problem is the signal-to-noise ratio. First, as others have pointed out, Geoghegan flaunts his politics on every page, almost in every sentence. Most of this takes the form of preaching-to-the-converted asides and digressions that hardly ever rise to the level of logical argument. Indeed, the last 50 pages, almost a quarter of the whole book, have nothing to do with the trial and instead consist of a meandering meditation on what's wrong with the law, how to effect change, etc.

Second, Geoghegan's style is about as far from straightforward as one can get. In the beginning, I found his self-conscious, jittery voice entertaining. But after 25 pages, I just wanted him to get to the point already. Long before the book was over, Geoghegan had made himself (or his authorial persona) intensely dislikable.

Gosar
Everyone who believes that criminal defendants have a presumption of innocence when standing trial should read this book.
Geoghegan is a talented writer who pulls the reader in with telling details. Geoghegan begins this brisk exploration of the criminal justice system telling us that as a civil attorney who handles complex litigation nearly all suits slowly move towards settlement instead of trial. After 20 years of mostly settling cases he sits as second chair to an experienced criminal defense attorney in a retrial. The first problem he encounters is locating the state criminal courts building in his hometown of Chicago because he's never been there. The fast pace of the book matches the fast action of the criminal justice system once court is in session. It features well drawn portraits of all the players.
You should also ckeck out his first book about being a labor lawyer for small unions, "Which Side Are You On? Trying to Be for Labor When It's Flat on Its Back." Though written 10 years ago, it's still in print; and still pertinent.

Anarasida
This is a short, honest, informally written, unpretentious and mostly amusing account by and about a once common but now fast disappearing type of socially conscious attorney in our big American cities. A late sixties graduate of an elite law school, Geoghegan sought to change the world through the court system, to do well by doing good. Now, some forty years later, he tells us that he settles almost all his civil cases and he details the many ways in which he can't begin to try a criminal one. Geoghegan has also found it necessary to settle in many other, more important respects. He makes less than a first year associate at a large firm. He no longer looks to the courts to upset the status quo. Even as recently as Clinton, he expected intelligence on the federal bench. Now he finds less and less--and that was before Harriet Miers called George W the brightest man she ever met!

Although the dust jacket suggests otherwise, this is light reading about a number of serious topics. I think Geoghegan owes us more.

Whitecaster
I read this book from the not-so-disinterested perspective of a lawyer who applied to law school late in life (well, 32) and who is about to start his professional life. I was blown away. I strongly urge anyone considering law school to pick up this book. It's an effortless read because of Geoghegan's style -- it feels like you're listening to an audio tape -- and it's worth the money.
The book is divided into two parts: The first (which seems to be the one that most readers and reviewers have focused on) recalls Geoghegan's experience assisting in a criminal case. The second is far more interesting: Geoghegan's thoughts on his life as a lawyer, on new sources of law, on the work lawyers do, on the problems facing the profession and on the potential of law as an agent of change. Because he readily admits his failings and his naivete in the first part, I trusted Geoghegan when he expounded on subjects in which he is well-versed -- in the second part. I won't distill the section's essence, but I will say that Geoghegan's invocation of a particular area of law as holding promise for social change definitely got me thinking about the direction my legal career would take. He also provides helpful warnings about life as a corporate lawyer. So, this is one of those life-changing books for me.
Years ago, I read "Which Side Are You On?" At the time I was a reporter, and I felt more than a little smug about my ability to "make a difference." (That book, also highly recommended, is about Geoghegan's struggles as a labor lawyer.) I eventually enrolled in law school. Geoghegan's book is a great (and, for me, timely) reality-check of the expectations I can hope to fulfil in the law profession.

SiIеnt
As entertaining as it is sophisticated and thoughtful, this book first delights by its author's unassuming account of himself and his contributions to the case at hand. The book works as both an insider's account of a trial, replete with offbeat descriptions of circumstances and characters that a lesser eye might not even notice, and as an indictment of our justice system, which all too often is a crap shoot with the dice loaded against the poor, the young, and the dispossessed. Fortunately, the author doesn't stop there, as most such books do--this isn't a screed but a prescription for progress that we would be well advised to heed a sometimes hilarious, sometimes sad, but always colorful story of how our courts work.

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