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Joseph Teller

Author of The Tenth Case

5 Works 282 Members 17 Reviews

About the Author

Includes the name: Teller Joseph


Works by Joseph Teller

The Tenth Case (2008) 103 copies, 10 reviews
Bronx Justice (2009) 77 copies, 2 reviews
Depraved Indifference (2009) 68 copies, 2 reviews
Guilty as Sin (A Jaywalker Case) (2011) 20 copies, 1 review
Overkill (Jaywalker) (2010) 14 copies, 2 reviews


Common Knowledge



If you like the intricacies and drama of the courtroom, I dare you not to like this book. If you find minute detail related to the courtroom and relationship between lawyer and client tedious, pass this up. This book should probably not even be classified as fiction since it appears about as realistic a portrayal of the legal system as one would never hope to experience. What makes this book remarkable is that the author, a real trial attorney, creates a sense of foreboding and gloom from the most mundane of legal proceedings. The case was a nightmare for this young attorney, for as he notes at one point, lawyers HATE innocent clients. It puts them in a terrible bind because they know the vagaries of the jury system. Innocent people get convicted. Lawyers do their best for their clients: if they win the case, terrific, they got a good deal for their client and if he'she is guilty well perhaps he got them a reduced sentence. But if the attorney is convinced of the innocence of his client the pressure to win becomes unbearable and haunting. Every action and decision made during the course of a trial will be reexamined over and over if the client is convicted and the attorney will be scarred by the wonder of what he might have done differently.

A reviewer on Amazon downgraded this book because it didn't have any "surprises" which every good thriller should have. As the author notes in his "epilogue," this is a true story with many of the names not even changed. That, regretfully, is all the surprise one can handle given that without a bit of luck, an innocent man would have been convicted of four rapes.

A thought-provoking book about the way our system works (or doesn't.)
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ecw0647 | 1 other review | Sep 30, 2013 |
Unlike Bronx Justice [bc:Bronx Justice|5930621|Bronx Justice|Joseph Teller||6103063] which was more or less autobiographical, this novel has more humor and less of a sense of doom. It has some funny lines, related to the way things work, like cop-speak. The cop writes in his report: " 'did knowlingly and voluntarily grant them consent to affect entry of the premises.' Jaywalker would go to his grave in awe over how cops abused the English language. It was as though, in order to receive their guns and shields, they were first required to surrender their ablity to spell correctly, to follow the most basic rules of grammar and to write anything even remotely resembling a simple sentence."

Surprisingly this book turned out to be a real page-clicker (when read on a Kindle one can't really talk about turning a page.) The client, a young woman with a problematic past, has been accused of stabbing her elderly husband to death after taking out a $25 million term-life policy on him. Now this is where I got cranky. Samara is eighteen when they get married and they remain married for about 8 years. Fine, no problem. But when they met he was described as an old man of 61 who could have been her grandfather. Now I'm 63 and do creak in the morning (and often in the afternoon,) and yes I could be be, and am, the grandparent of an 18-year-old. But 61 is NOT that over-the-hill.

One quote that I must include. I would assume it reflects the mindset of the author: Long ago, he'd heard that Abraham Lincoln had once boasted that he would never represent a guilty client. Lincoln might have been a great man, but in Jaywalker's book that one remark if accurately quoted, branded him an absolute worthless criminal defense lawyer. Who was he to decide that help should be extended only to the virtuous and withheld from the sinners? To Jaywalker, it smacked of tax relief for only the wealthy. Luckily and in spite of his gross misunderstanding of the defender's role, he had somehow managed to find other work, thought perhaps tellingly, as a Republican.

Excellent book. I'm getting to be quite a Teller fan.
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ecw0647 | 9 other reviews | Sep 30, 2013 |
Another winner from Joseph Teller who has a lock on fictional legal cynicism as far as I’m concerned.

Jaywalker is still on suspension when is is approached (a term here I use very loosely) by Amanda Drake whose estranged husband, Clarke, has been arrested on murder charges. It seems he got smashed and drove his speeding Audi into a van of Jewish children on their way to some event. The van rolled down the hill, burst into flames, and incinerated everyone inside.

Jaywalker, knowing he mustn't do anything to risk getting his legal license back, signs on as a private investigator to collect all the information he would need for the time when he is reinstated and then can take the case which promises a substantial fee. Suffice it to say that Teller gets his license back and proceeds with the case

Teller does a terrific job with courtroom dialogue and weaving the ins and outs of this case which, in the end, jolts with several surprises. Teller knows the law and through Jaywalker makes several telling comments and provides examples of the problems with the adversarial system.

Very enjoyable light page-turner. On to the next Teller....
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ecw0647 | 1 other review | Sep 30, 2013 |
Jaywalker, of course, is different.”

I have to admit to really enjoying the Jaywalker series. They have a certain insouciance and impertinence toward the legal system that’s refreshing. At the same time, Jaywalker’s tenacity and effort on behalf of his clients, often indigent, is admirable. I’m not a lawyer so I can’t speak to the courtroom authenticity, but given other books I have read about the legal system and especially public defenders, they appear authentic. Jaywalker‘s respect for his clients is admirable and his tenacity in their defense makes us wish all lawyers were like him.

Jaywalker is one of those defense attorneys one wishes were ubiquitous instead of being the exception. He actually works on each case and this book is his rationale for why even the guilty need the best defense. He’s also a nice guy. “Jaywalker extended a hand, and they shook. In the age of AIDS, hepatitis C and drug-resistant TB, his fellow defense lawyers had long abandoned the practice. For Jaywalker, that was just one more reason to adhere to it.”

Barnett has been arrested for selling a controlled substance to an undercover officer within school boundaries. (In New York, the legislature’s 2500 foot line from a school demarcating what constituted a school area, meant that every place within ten blocks of a school fell into that category, or virtually the entire city.) Barnett admits he’s guilty, but then reveals why he did what he did. It was to do a favor. And that remark leads Jaywalker to one of the most interesting legal defenses.

According to an afterward, the author, himself a defense attorney and former DEA agent-- Joseph Teller is a pseudonym, tells us that all the characters in this story, based on one of his cases, is real. They all existed under their real names. That makes this wonderful story even more remarkable.

Fascinating look at the justice system, well-written with humor and sensitivity, and a real page-turner. Highly recommended. “Vive la difference”

I was privileged to get this book as a free advanced reader copy. That influenced my review not one bit.

Recommended supplemental reading:
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ecw0647 | Sep 30, 2013 |


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