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Fighting for Their Lives: Inside the Experience of Capital Defense Attorneys Paperback – March 15, 2013


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Fighting for Their Lives: Inside the Experience of Capital Defense Attorneys + Rivkind and Shatz' Cases and Materials on the Death Penalty, 3d (American Casebook Series) (English and English Edition)
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Vanderbilt University Press (March 15, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0826519113
  • ISBN-13: 978-0826519115
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.9 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #682,116 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Fighting for Their Lives shines a light on the overlooked personal price paid by lawyers who have the courage to represent death row prisoners: Few ever experience a victory as meaningful, and none will experience a loss as devastating."
--California Lawyer

" On its own terms, the book succeeds, highlighting emotional dimensions of lawyers' work that are often overlooked in legal scholarship and education."
--H-Law, H-Net Reviews

"Sheffer takes readers beyond the courtroom and execution chambers to explore how capital defense attorneys cope when they can't save a client. ... The book is unexpectedly moving, as when an inmate consoles an attorney who has run out of options, and the author is especially adept at uncovering the ethical and professional nuances of these cases. ... sobering and intimate ..."
--Publishers Weekly

"Sheffer's insightful book will be of interest to all capital defense attorneys and others working in the judicial system, as well as to those who work on death penalty issues in other contexts, including politicians, journalists, and advocates."
--Foreword

"[Sheffer] is also a lucid and lyrical writer. The resulting conversations, woven into a compelling narrative, are searching and thought-provoking. They provide insights into the emotional aspects of lawyering that I have found nowhere else."
--JOTWELL

"A searing account of rights and laws, crime and punishment."
--Kirkus Reviews

"This is an important book. The death penalty's impact is so much broader than we realize, and these attorneys are affected in ways that even I had not imagined. I am grateful to Susannah Sheffer for bringing these stories to light." --Sister Helen Prejean, author of Dead Man Walking and The Death of Innocents

"Susannah Sheffer is a gifted and deeply compassionate interviewer and she has written a beautiful, heartbreaking, and above all uplifting story that makes an essential contribution to literature on the death penalty." --Richard Burr, death penalty defense attorney

"This is a book I could have wished into existence. It offers a rare look at the emotionally rich questions surrounding capital defense lawyering, and its conversational format opens up a vein of insight that even memoir would not. Fascinating and entirely engaging!"
--Susan A. Bandes, Professor of Law, DePaul University

"At long last someone pierces the veil of insult, ignominy, and infamy that surrounds the capital defender, exposing the human being inside. In these pages Susannah Sheffer helps us see why educated, intelligent professionals willingly suffer the grinding horror of attempting to stop the dance of death; why caring people dedicate themselves to the defense of those deemed disposable."
--Mike Farrell, President of Death Penalty Focus

"In her beautifully written book, Susannah Sheffer takes us into the world of capital defense attorneys who seek answers to some of the most basic and profound of human questions: what makes people who they are? What leads some people to commit terrible acts? Capital defense attorneys, often at great cost to themselves, engage in a moral struggle against an entire system, and in their commitment to fight to the very end, they demonstrate the power of relationship and restoration of human dignity. I couldn't put this book down."
--Sandra L. Bloom, M.D., author of Creating Sanctuary: Toward the Evolution of Sane Societies, and Past-President of the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies

From the Inside Flap

Intimate conversations with the dedicated lawyers who try, but too often fail, to prevent executions

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Customer Reviews

4.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ted Lehmann on April 2, 2013
Format: Paperback
The death penalty is the ultimate sanction our legal system can provide to those who commit crimes of violence and cruelty beyond our capacity to bear them. These people are seen as so beyond redemption that only their legal murder within our system can exact the appropriate toll. Yet there is a legal practice of attorneys devoted to post death penalty advocacy fighting tooth and nail, body and spirit to stave off the executions and keep these social outcasts alive. Many people ask, "How can anyone seek to halt these executions?" In answer to this question and many others like it, Susannah Sheffer has written a heart rending and soul wrenching account of a series of interviews with twenty attorneys who have taken on the responsibility of defending these clients and answering these questions. In Fighting for Their Lives: Inside the Experience of Capital Defense Attorneys (Vanderbilt University Press, 2013, 224 Pages, $27.95) Sheffer explores through a series of interviews the motivations, costs, rewards, grief, and loss experienced by twenty representative attorneys willing to look deep inside themselves to examine why they do what they do, what it costs them, and how they can keep doing it. Read the rest of this review on my blog. Search "Bluegrass Ted"
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Every story in life is multifaceted and until we can become aware of and comprehend all of the sides, how can we make decisions on what is right and what is wrong? These extraordinary attorneys began their careers understanding this precept. They are truly remarkable human beings.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Beautifully written. Such a smooth writing style by an author who obviously cares deeply for the Capital Defense lawyers she so intelligently interviewed.
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