How America Holds Court
ISBN10: 0805074473 ISBN13: 9780805074475 Publisher: Henry Holt & Co Published: Sep 1 2009 Pages: 307 Weight: 1.20lbs. Height: 9.25" Width: 6.25" Depth: 1.00" Language: English
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.