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Bogus Allegations Paperback – March 16, 2012


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 308 pages
  • Publisher: Johnson Books (March 16, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1555664504
  • ISBN-13: 978-1555664503
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.1 x 0.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (30 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,413,929 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Police Blotters have been mainstays in newspapers for ages. Perhaps occasionally, a blurb read in the blotter sticks with you and you later wonder what happened with that situation.

If you read the blurb in the Boulder Daily Camera in April 2009 about the arrest of Steven Gesse for menacing his neighbor with a gun, you can now read the full story about that case in Bogus Allegations: The Injustice of Guilty Until Proven Innocent, by Michelle Lombardi Gesse - his wife.

According to the book, the Gesses invited neighbors to their home for dinner at their Boulder County home one fateful April night in 2009. After the consumption of wine and a meal and a perceived happy ending to their gathering, one of the guests later returned to the home, demanding Gesse apologize to the neighbor's mother over a comment that the guest found offensive, Lombardi Gesse writes. As her story goes, Gesse complied but a conversation between the two men became heated after the apology was given. In the middle of the night, the Gesse home was surrounded by the SWAT team and Steven Gesse was arrested for the threatening the neighbor with a gun.

Bogus Allegations follows the Gesses as they liquidate assets, cancel out-of-state trips and pay to take multiple breathalyzer tests a week until the trial, to comply with bond conditions. Based on the allegedly intoxicated statements of the victim, as played out in the book, it seems surprising that the case is pursued at all, and yet, for months Gesse is treated as criminal as he awaits the chance to finally defend himself at trial.

Ultimately, Gesse is found not guilty. This is a satisfactory result, based on the story that the book tells - which, of course, is biased in favor of the accused. And according to the book, the Gesses were able to come through he ordeal with their marriage and finances in better shape than most might in this situation, but they can't say the same of their friendships. One particular friendship was severed as a result of this event, and the book takes no mercy regarding that couple.

A current bestseller, Defending Jacob by William Landay, also deals with the toll that an impending court trial takes on a family and its finances. Bogus Allegations does what that bestselling novel can't do, as Michelle Lombardi Gesse, the defendants' wife, is able to focus on her feelings and emotions live as they happened as pieces of the puzzle unfold, based on what she wrote in her journal at the time. It's this emotion that makes true crime memoirs fascinating. She doesn't provide sugar coating or apology for her feelings.

This book is well worth the read. It is an unflattering look at Boulder County officials, but more broadly, it examines the American judicial system and the claim that you are innocent until proven guilty. As with all great stories, there is a love story as well, as the vow in good times and bad is put to the test.

By Lyn Rinehart
Camera Book Critic --Daily Camera

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Customer Reviews

I couldn't put it down until the last page.
Marmot
Unfortunately, the trivial is given the same attention as the significant which absorbs much of the punch it might otherwise have had.
C.. Rodney James
Because of this book it made me think about: Who are my friends and do I really trust them.
Linda Israel

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By C.. Rodney James on September 16, 2012
Format: Paperback
"You can't go out, you are arrested." "So it seems," said K. "But what for?" he added. "We are not authorized to tell you that. Go to your room and wait there. Proceedings have been instituted against you, and you will be informed of everything in due course." Franz Kafka, THE TRIAL.

Very like Kafka's hapless Joseph K., Michelle and Steven Gesse suddenly find themselves confronted by police after a dinner party with friends. An irate and drunken dinner guest has returned to the Gesse home with a demand for an apology for alleged insults to his mother. Steven complies, makes the apology and responds to the guest's death threat than if the man ever comes onto his property and makes further threats Gesse will kill him. Shortly thereafter Michelle opens the front door to face an armed SWAT team. Steven is arrested for threatening the guest with a gun. No guns were involved, but the charge has been made.

Thus begins a seven-month nightmare of Steven and Michelle attempting to prove Steven's innocence. The sub title of this book is: "The Injustice of Guilty until Proven Innocent." This notion is hammered through every chapter as "good" friends unexpectedly become forgetful of events of the night and "don't wish to get involved." Legal fees soar as a trial becomes inevitable as Steven refuses to admit guilt to a non-crime and "cop a plea" to a lesser offense.

BOGUS ALLEGATIONS is an important book illustrating the American system of "injustice" where the innocent are often forced to admit guilt to an offense or spend huge sums of money on legal fees.

The book itself is really a journal of events recorded on an almost daily basis. Unfortunately, the trivial is given the same attention as the significant which absorbs much of the punch it might otherwise have had. BOGUS ALLEGATIONS cries out for editing.

C. Rodney James I was sent a review copy by a P.R. agent. This did not affect my review in any way.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Marmot on April 24, 2012
Format: Paperback
Bogus Allegations I used to think the law enforcement system was designed to "serve and protect" and one was presumed innocent until proven guilty. Sadly, that is not always the case. This is a compelling story, exposing raw experience through the eyes of a loving wife. You will laugh, cry and cringe. I couldn't put it down until the last page. A must read.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Jeffrey Thistle on May 26, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a compelling tale of a couple who became ensnared in a broken criminal justice system which, but for luck and the skill of an extraordinary lawyer, could have ruined both of their lives. A sobering look at what could happen to any of us, you will not be able to put it down.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By K. Kurson on December 11, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
The rarest thing in the American justice system is an innocent defendant. Not just a defendant who didn't do the precise crime of which he was accused. But one like the subject of Bogus Allegations, who didn't do ANYTHING and in fact was the victim of an unprovoked, very frightening attack.

Steven and Michelle Gesse are a friendly, gregarious couple in their 60s who warmly include their neighbors in their frequent dinner parties. One night, something goes horribly wrong. Steven makes some very innocuous remarks, which normal people would consider complimentary or simply ignore. And then the son of one of their neighbors basically goes nuts. He regrets his actions and realizes that they will ruin his military career - so he blames the episode on Steven and concocts a ludicrous story to support his version.

It should have ended that night when the cops showed up. But Michelle Gesse painstakingly details the way in which the entire system is designed first to eliminate all alternate theories of events and then to get the accused to admit guilt as fast as possible. What should have been an unpleasant evening turns into a months long ordeal.

Gesse's not a professional author. This book is not "writerly" and it's a better book because of it - her inclusion of odd little details about the Gesses' life together is not only very dear, it also makes for an instinctively believable narrative. I found her voice unswervingly trustworthy. There are always several sides to any story, but my ear, gut and experience tell me that Mrs. Gesse's version is closest to the truth.

Bogus Allegations is a harrowing cautionary tale, and also a really good read.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Joyce E. Thomas on September 5, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I could not put this book down. I loved the authors candid relay of how this affected their lives. We can all learn from the message or risk this kind of hassle in life. Our court system is not perfect and sometimes does not remember we are innocent until proven guilty.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By T. deRoque on May 6, 2012
Format: Paperback
A thought provoking account of how the justice system failed to protect an innocent man. After reading Bogus Allegations you will not only question the assumption of innocence, but who are your real "friends". The book is easy to read and the author`s conversational writing style let's you experience the emotional highs and lows she endured. I would highly recommend the book!
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Patricia Binns on April 15, 2012
Format: Paperback
I knew first-hand the elements that comprise the structure of the book; no surprises there. What did surprise me is the elegance of the writing, and the voice of the narrator. I know the author, and she sticks to the absolute truth throughout. She makes you care about the characters, and although I was there from the git-go, I found myself cheering for the good guys and reading from the first page to the last in less than two days.

I hope she continues to write; this book is too good to be an only.
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