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For the People: Inside the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office 1850-2000 1st Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1883318154
ISBN-10: 1883318157
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Angel City Press; 1st edition (January 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1883318157
  • ISBN-13: 978-1883318154
  • Product Dimensions: 12.1 x 10 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,800,795 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Hardcover
This book is very unusual in that it covers 150 year history of a prosecutor's office. For the People is even more unusual in being candid about the problems that that office has experienced. You will read about former prosecutors being prosecuted as well as situations where the good citizens of Los Angeles preyed on their fellow citizens using discriminatory impulses. Most people will learn about crimes and criminals that they will find interesting. As a result, the reader can learn to be more appropriately cautious about the motives and actions of strangers and new acquaintances.
Although I was born and raised in southern California, much of the information was new to me. As an attorney, I was interested in the description of the transition from the Mexican justice system to the American one after California became part of the United States. I was also impressed to see how early the L.A. D.A.'s office was hiring women, using investigators, and having public defenders available.
The bulk of the book is about famous prosecutions. These are divided into Thieves and Killers, Crimes of the Heart, Family Violence, For Financial Gain, Celebrities (In the Limelight), Turmoil in the Streets, Public Corruption, In the Line of Duty (police officers who were killed), Notorious Cases, Criminal Cohorts, Driven to Kill, and Gangs. My main complaint about the book is that many of these cases should have been more detailed, and many could have been excluded to make the space for that expanded coverage. For example, one rattlesnake killing case would have been enough for me. I didn't need the second one.
The book contains many interesting photographs that make the stories much more vivid. I liked that aspect of the book very much. It made the history come alive for me.
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Format: Hardcover
For the price, this is actually a pretty fascinating "coffee table" book. When you have no idea what to give the "hard-to-buy-for," this would be a great gift. The price is very reasonable, considering the size of the book and the plethora of photos and illustrations. Each crime is covered in only one or two pages, so this would also appeal to those with short attention spans and to "bottomliners" like myself. I have a real aversion to the usual long, drawn out, beat-to-death coverage of these crimes on television and in other media. Consequently, I avoid those sources of information, preferring after-the-fact, summarized, organized information as it is presented in this book. Usually that's plenty enough information to make me sick. If I am interested in additional information, I know how to find it in newspaper archives. I'm also a native Southern Californian and a history fan; so it's not surprising that the book and the format held my attention. "True crime" is so often even more unbelievable than fiction, becoming even more incredible when it happens (literally) in your own backyard. If you are a fan of the Darwin awards, you may also recognize some not-so-clever candidates here, too. The district attorneys are often mentioned only briefly in passing, which is probably a blessing, even though they played pivotal and sometimes heroic roles in catching the bad guys and (some pretty frightening gals). One of the most interesting facts, and one probably not covered very widely in the media at the time, was the heroic method by which Richard Ramirez, the infamous "Night Stalker," was finally apprehended. You'll have to read the book if you don't know.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is definitely a coffee table book, however it is really interesting. I found out about this book when I was at what was called the Criminal Courts Building but is now the Clara Shortridge Foltz Criminal Justice Center. Excerpts from the book are printed in murals on the 1st, 17th and 18th floors. Reading those flashes from the book made me interested enough to find it to read some more. Being a native of Los Angeles, I had heard of some of these cases. But I hadn't heard of others and reading about them was interesting. The case descriptions are brief, so if you want to learn more you'll have to look elsewhere for more indepth coverage of the cases.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Very interesting and informative book by Michael Parrish who gives brief detail on the major criminal cases handled by the LA county DA's office along with some early history of the office. The cases are organized by type of crime: financial gain, gangs, family violence, etc. While these cases are often horrible, the book is an important record in LA's history. It contains lots of photographs.
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For the People: Inside the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office 1850-2000
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