My local public library recently acquired a copy of Sentence: Ten Years and a Thousand Books in Prison by Daniel Genis. It’s a memoir of the author’s ten years in the New York prison system. I found it interesting, but ultimately not completely successful.
A few years ago, I attend the Judicial Conference of the Fourth Circuit, where I heard Bryan Stevenson speak. The address was captivating. Stevenson spoke of representing the wrongly accused and the wrongly convicted. He told of advocating for juveniles who were incarcerated with adults and who were sexually abused as a result. He urged the audience to get a little closer to the criminal justice system, and to look a little more carefully at it. Now Stevenson has written a book, Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption. Among many other awards, it was named a best book of the year by the New York Times, the Washington Post, and Time magazine. I thought it was good, but not great.
I’ve just finished Unfair: The New Science of Criminal Justice by Drexel University law professor Adam Benafordo. The reviews I’ve seen online have been positive. For example, the Boston Globe opines that the book “succinctly and persuasively recounts cutting-edge research testifying to the faulty and inaccurate procedures that underpin virtually all aspects of our criminal justice system.” And the book has attracted enough attention for Professor Benafordo to be interviewed on NPR’s hit show Fresh Air. This post briefly summarizes the book and then offers a few thoughts about it.
I recently finished Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s autobiography, My Beloved World. It’s a terrific book and an interesting companion to another outstanding Supreme Court memoir, Justice Clarence Thomas’s My Grandfather’s Son. In a nutshell, My Beloved World traces Justice Sotomayor’s life from her early childhood in the Bronx through her confirmation as a federal district court … Read more
I don’t think I’ve ever reviewed a book on the blog before — maybe this prior post would qualify — but I recently finished Don’t Shoot, by Paul David Kennedy, a criminologist at John Jay College in New York. It’s available on Amazon here, and I thought that others might find it interesting. Kennedy has worked … Read more
At a recent CLE, Charlotte defense attorney Chris Fialko mentioned that he’s been enjoying Atul Gawande’s book The Checklist Manifesto. Chris is a pretty sharp guy, and I had a plane trip coming up, so I bought the book and read it. I liked it too, and thought it had a few lessons for criminal … Read more