Qty:1
  • List Price: $23.95
  • Save: $4.74 (20%)
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Only 2 left in stock (more on the way).
Ships from and sold by Amazon.com.
Gift-wrap available.
Add to Cart
FREE Shipping on orders over $35.
Condition: Used: Good
Comment: Minor shelf/edgewear present on jacket, one dog eared page, very nice copy.
Add to Cart
Have one to sell?
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See this image

In America's Court: How a Civil Lawyer Who Likes to Settle Stumbled into a Criminal Trial Hardcover – July 1, 2002


Amazon Price New from Used from
Hardcover
"Please retry"
$19.21
$1.99 $0.01
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE
NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 206 pages
  • Publisher: New Press, The (July 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1565847326
  • ISBN-13: 978-1565847323
  • Product Dimensions: 0.9 x 5.4 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,081,791 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Geoghegan, a civil litigator specializing in employment cases, wangled an invitation from a public defender to help represent a young man named Rolando, accused of felony murder. About half of the resulting book tells the story of Rolando's trial. The accused was 15 years old when he took part in the robbery of a bar in which a bar patron was shot to death. His first trial resulted in a conviction that was later reversed on appeal. Now, seven years later and with Geoghegan assisting in the defense, the retrial begins. The author captures the bewilderment of a neophyte caught up in the arcane rituals of criminal procedure, from the obscure instincts guiding jury selection, to sweating out the jury's deliberations, to the exhilaration of the ultimate acquittal. Blended in with the author's account of the trial are a score or so of short riffs on politics and law. One of Geoghegan's persistent themes is the upsurge in inequality he sees in American society and in the law, illustrated by the nation's insistence on imposing adult penalties on child offenders. The author considers why a recent college graduate would decide on law school, and wonders whether he would follow that path if he were starting over. Likely he would choose the law again, he decides, even though it would be with profound reservations, because Geoghegan has not entirely lost faith in the liberal values he absorbed early on as a law student at Harvard. His book portrays well the anxiety and defiance of a believer in expanded human rights practicing law in a conservative age.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Chicago labor attorney Geoghegan (Which Side Are You On?), who has long experience as a civil lawyer, here describes participating in a criminal trial after arranging to assist in the defense of a young man accused of committing a felony murder. As the trial proceeds, he talks about his work as a civil lawyer, what it means to be a lawyer, and the issues lawyers face. Interesting, detailed, descriptive, and sometimes amusing, his observations center around the case at hand, in which the defendant was being retried after having been convicted in adult court at age 15 and sentenced to a long term in adult prison. But while he brings up substantive issues, such as the use of courts to assure justice and social change, much of the text is a chatty, meandering discussion. Geoghegan's purpose seems to be to inspire and enlighten lawyers, law students, and the general public, and in this he only partly succeeds. For larger public libraries and law libraries. Mary Jane Brustman, SUNY at Albany Libs.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
Share your thoughts with other customers

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Steve on October 20, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I read this book from the not-so-disinterested perspective of a lawyer who applied to law school late in life (well, 32) and who is about to start his professional life. I was blown away. I strongly urge anyone considering law school to pick up this book. It's an effortless read because of Geoghegan's style -- it feels like you're listening to an audio tape -- and it's worth the money.
The book is divided into two parts: The first (which seems to be the one that most readers and reviewers have focused on) recalls Geoghegan's experience assisting in a criminal case. The second is far more interesting: Geoghegan's thoughts on his life as a lawyer, on new sources of law, on the work lawyers do, on the problems facing the profession and on the potential of law as an agent of change. Because he readily admits his failings and his naivete in the first part, I trusted Geoghegan when he expounded on subjects in which he is well-versed -- in the second part. I won't distill the section's essence, but I will say that Geoghegan's invocation of a particular area of law as holding promise for social change definitely got me thinking about the direction my legal career would take. He also provides helpful warnings about life as a corporate lawyer. So, this is one of those life-changing books for me.
Years ago, I read "Which Side Are You On?" At the time I was a reporter, and I felt more than a little smug about my ability to "make a difference." (That book, also highly recommended, is about Geoghegan's struggles as a labor lawyer.) I eventually enrolled in law school. Geoghegan's book is a great (and, for me, timely) reality-check of the expectations I can hope to fulfil in the law profession.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Steve H. in Austin on August 23, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Everyone who believes that criminal defendants have a presumption of innocence when standing trial should read this book.
Geoghegan is a talented writer who pulls the reader in with telling details. Geoghegan begins this brisk exploration of the criminal justice system telling us that as a civil attorney who handles complex litigation nearly all suits slowly move towards settlement instead of trial. After 20 years of mostly settling cases he sits as second chair to an experienced criminal defense attorney in a retrial. The first problem he encounters is locating the state criminal courts building in his hometown of Chicago because he's never been there. The fast pace of the book matches the fast action of the criminal justice system once court is in session. It features well drawn portraits of all the players.
You should also ckeck out his first book about being a labor lawyer for small unions, "Which Side Are You On? Trying to Be for Labor When It's Flat on Its Back." Though written 10 years ago, it's still in print; and still pertinent.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Zeldock on November 28, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I picked up "In America's Court" because, like most civil lawyers, I'm fascinated by criminal law and criminal trials. I was hoping this book would convey what it's really like to try a criminal case.

And the book does do that, to an extent. The trial described in the book was a three-day retrial of a 22-year-old man who had been convicted of felony murder seven years earlier and had won the right to a new trial on appeal. Geoghegan tells us about the interviews with the defendant and a few witnesses, jury selection, opening statements, direct and cross examination, and so on.

The problem is the signal-to-noise ratio. First, as others have pointed out, Geoghegan flaunts his politics on every page, almost in every sentence. Most of this takes the form of preaching-to-the-converted asides and digressions that hardly ever rise to the level of logical argument. Indeed, the last 50 pages, almost a quarter of the whole book, have nothing to do with the trial and instead consist of a meandering meditation on what's wrong with the law, how to effect change, etc.

Second, Geoghegan's style is about as far from straightforward as one can get. In the beginning, I found his self-conscious, jittery voice entertaining. But after 25 pages, I just wanted him to get to the point already. Long before the book was over, Geoghegan had made himself (or his authorial persona) intensely dislikable.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Phil Studenberg on July 22, 2002
Format: Hardcover
As a criminal defense attorney for 20 plus years, I found this to be a brilliant look into the workings of a big-city criminal court, the attorneys and the differences between civil and criminal practitioners. It's a marvelous true story told with humor and erudition.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Customer Images

Search