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Ordinary Injustice: How America Holds Court…

Ordinary Injustice: How America Holds Court

by Amy Bach

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The theme running through this book is that, however ideal the system is designed, its actual practice can leave much to be desired. The sources of that shortfall come from a variety of sources: individuals appropriating unto themselves prerogatives meant to reside elsewhere; well-meaning functionaries overwhelmed by underfunded offices; and even a few less savory explanations, such as the view that collegiality or membership within the "tribe" outweighs the fate of the defendant or the integrity of the justice system itself. All her arguments are documented through examples she collected herself over a period of many years. Most of her instances support her worries -- Chapter 3 seems a bit overstated, given the examples she provides. But in sum, a worthwhile study that brings to our attention how the American legal system really works, not how politicians and others paying little attention say it ought to work. ( )
  dono421846 | Jul 18, 2011 |
page 241 "...if there is one strain running through all the wrongful convictions, it is that jurors don't take seriously the presumption of innocence when it comes to heinous crimes. Letting someone off who may rape and kill again is intolerable and unrealistic, so jurors give the burden of proof a pass. " We may have undertaken an absurd model...." ( )
  tongabob | Jan 1, 2010 |
A young law professor investigates 4 common injustices that routinely occur within county-level courts: dropped cases, overzealous prosecution, under-zealous defense, and judges who choose not to follow the letter of the law. Each injustice is accompanied by examples from courts that the author had visited. These visits put human faces on the difficulties encountered by those looking for justice within our court system. (AG, 12/16/09) ( )
  PotomacLibrary | Dec 16, 2009 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0805074473, Hardcover)

From an award-winning lawyer-reporter, a radically new explanation for America’s failing justice system

The stories of grave injustice are all too familiar: the lawyer who sleeps through a trial, the false confessions, the convictions of the innocent. Less visible is the chronic injustice meted out daily by a profoundly defective system.

In a sweeping investigation that moves from small-town Georgia to upstate New York, from Chicago to Mississippi, Amy Bach reveals a judicial process so deeply compromised that it constitutes a menace to the people it is designed to serve. Here is the public defender who pleads most of his clients guilty; the judge who sets outrageous bail for negligible crimes; the prosecutor who brings almost no cases to trial; the court that works together to achieve a wrong verdict. Going beyond the usual explanations of bad apples and meager funding, Bach identifies an assembly-line approach that rewards shoddiness and sacrifices defendants to keep the court calendar moving, and she exposes the collusion between judge, prosecutor, and defense that puts the interests of the system above the obligation to the people. 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 any reform.

Full of gripping human stories, sharp analyses, and a crusader’s sense of urgency, Ordinary Injustice is a major reassessment of the health of the nation’s courtrooms.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 17:58:40 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

From an award-winning lawyer-reporter, this radically new explanation for America's failing justice system squarely places the blame on the assembly-line approach of the nation's courtrooms and argues for the development of a new method of checks and balances.… (more)

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