In America's Court
How A Civil Lawyer Who Likes to Settle Stumbled Into A Criminal TrialBook - 2002
A prominent civil lawyer describes his eye-opening introduction to criminal law and the American criminal justice system when he is asked by a friend and public defender to assist the defense of a young man who, at the age of fifteen, served as the unarmed lookout in a botched burglary attempt and who had been sentenced to forty years in prison. 12,500 first printing.
Blackwell North Amer
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, was sentenced to forty years in prison for acting as the unarmed lookout in a botched holdup. 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.
Recounts how the author was asked by a public defender friend to assist the defense of a young man who, at the age of fifteen, served as the unarmed lookout in a botched burglary and had been sentenced to forty years in prison.