Monday, May 19, 2008

Access To Courtroom 302

The speaker at our final MWA meeting was the modest but compelling Steve Bogira, the author of the much-acclaimed Courtroom 302. You can read all sorts of wonderful reviews of the book here, but this one really stood out for me:

"Stunning . . . What ails our system of criminal justice isn't news . . . What is news is the why of it all. And that's the book's central revelation, which Bogira articulates in prose that's first rate . . . The heart of the book is observation and world-class reportage . . Statistics are deconstructed back into human beings. We get the smells, sights, and sounds of the big city criminal courts in precise, unforgettable detail . . . Anyone considering working as a prosecutor or a defense attorney must read this book.... one's perceptions of our criminal justice system, and the larger system that created and continues to shape it, will be permanently altered."

--Theodore L. Blumberg, New York Law Journal

Mr. Bogira told us some of the stories that he included in his book, and while some were amusing, many were unbelievable or simply heartbreaking. He is committed to writing not so much about law as about poverty, and in this case, the legal and social problems that poverty can create.

It was a very interesting presentation; I shall certainly read the book based on Steve Bogira's very intelligent discussion and fielding of questions.

Here Steve Bogira (right) poses with mystery author Michael Black. To read my interview with Mr. Black, click here.

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