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Defending the Damned: Inside a Dark Corner of the Criminal Justice System

by

Defending the Damned: Inside a Dark Corner of the Criminal Justice System Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Chicago was the nation's deadliest city in 2001, recording 666 homicides. For lawyers in the Cook County Public Defender's Office Murder Task Force, that meant a steady flow of new clients. Eight out of ten people arrested for murder in Chicago are represented by public defenders. They're assigned the most challenging and seemingly hopeless cases, yet they always fight to win.

One of those lawyers is Marijane Placek, a snakeskin boot-wearing, Shakespeare-quoting nonconformist whose courtroom bravado and sharp legal skills have made her a well-known figure around the courthouse. When an ex-convict was arrested on charges of killing a Chicago police officer that deadly year, Placek got the high-profile case, and her defense forms the hub around which the book's narrative revolves.

Veteran journalist Kevin Davis reveals the compelling true story of a team of battle-scarred lawyers fighting against all odds. Unflinching, gripping, and full of surprises, Defending the Damned is an unforgettable human story and engaging courtroom drama where life and death hang in the balance. Davis explores the motives that compel these lawyers to come to work in this dark corner of the criminal justice system and exposes their insular and often misunderstood world.

This groundbreaking work comes at a time when the country has seen how wrongful convictions have slipped through the system, that innocent people have been sent to death row, and that some police have lied or coerced suspects into confessing to crimes they did not commit. Such flaws drive these public defenders even harder to do their jobs, providing scrutiny to a long ignored and often broken system.

Davis's reporting offers an unvarnished account of public defenders as never seen before. A powerful melding of courtroom drama and penetrating truecrime journalism, Defending the Damned is narrative nonfiction at its finest.

Synopsis:

Award-winning journalist Davis spent a year in Chicago's Cook County Public Defender's office for this look into the American justice system. More than 300,000 cases go through this office--some involving the death penalty--with approximately 600 public defenders to work them.

About the Author

Kevin Davis is an award-winning journalist based in Chicago. He covered crime and courts for more than a decade and has written for newspapers and magazines including USA Today, the Chicago Tribune, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, Chicago magazine, Crain's Chicago Business, USA Weekend, and many other publications.

Table of Contents

Contents

Author's Note

1 Killer Defense

2 The Crime

3 Anarchist Under Contract

4 Welcome to Our World

5 How Can They Defend These People?

6 Scene of the Crime

7 Confession or Coercion?

8 Everyone's Entitled to One

9 Death Takes a Brief Holiday

10 Meet Mr. Nixon

11 Steal the Flag

12 Preparing for Battle

13 The Trial Opens

14 A Shot in the Dark

15 Downs and Ups

16 Always Afraid

17 Arguing for Life

18 A Religious Matter

19 Judgment Day

20 Life's Sentences

21 The Twist

22 Walking Away

Acknowledgments

A Note on Sources

Index

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

310screenwriter, February 26, 2010 (view all comments by 310screenwriter)
A fascinating behind-the-scenes look at criminal court and the Public Defender's office. Written with an entertaining voice; not at all dry non-fiction. If you've EVER enjoyed an episode of Law & Order, you will love this book.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No

Product Details

ISBN:
9780743270946
Author:
Davis, Kevin
Publisher:
Atria Books
Subject:
Legal Profession
Subject:
Legal System
Subject:
Criminal Law - General
Subject:
Criminal Law
Subject:
Oliver, Aloysius
Subject:
Trials (Murder) - Illinois - Cook County
Subject:
Law-Schools and Careers
Edition Description:
Trade Paperback
Publication Date:
20080931
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
320
Dimensions:
8.44 x 5.5 in 10.325 oz

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Music » General
History and Social Science » Crime » Enforcement and Investigation
History and Social Science » Crime » Prisons and Prisoners
History and Social Science » Law » General
History and Social Science » Law » Schools and Careers

Defending the Damned: Inside a Dark Corner of the Criminal Justice System New Trade Paper
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Product details 320 pages Atria Books - English 9780743270946 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , Award-winning journalist Davis spent a year in Chicago's Cook County Public Defender's office for this look into the American justice system. More than 300,000 cases go through this office--some involving the death penalty--with approximately 600 public defenders to work them.
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