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Law & Disorder:: The Legendary FBI Profiler's Relentless Pursuit of Justice Hardcover – February 26, 2013

4.6 out of 5 stars 83 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

John Douglas, Ed.D., is one of the most respected lawmen in the world and has tracked down some of the most notorious and sadistic killers of our time. He is also the author of six bestselling books recounting his adventures in the FBI and one other career guide. He is the author of the "New York Times"-bestselling "Mindhunter" and "Journey into Darkness". --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Kensington (February 26, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0758273126
  • ISBN-13: 978-0758273123
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.4 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #692,030 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Jim Lovering on March 3, 2013
Format: Hardcover
John Douglas and Mark Olshaker stand alone in the annals of crime writing. They convey a passion for justice and unique insight borne of real-world experience. In Law and Disorder, they use high-profile cases to illustrate the principles criminal justice should embody, and to show how public authorities too often fall short.

They begin with the Salem witch trials, an event far enough in the past so we all can recognize its absurdity. From there, they segue into a case where Douglas was misled for a time, and we begin to see the murky complexity of criminal investigations. Crime buffs know about the "Lipstick Killer" who scrawled a message on a victim's mirror, begging police to catch him. We were assured that he had been caught and convicted, but William Heirens steadfastly asserted his innocence when Douglas interviewed him in prison.

That was many years ago. Back then, Douglas reviewed the file, and the evidence looked good, but the case has always bothered him. Now he presents a fresh analysis in which he concludes that the police work was sloppy if not outright dishonest, and Heirens was almost certainly innocent. He spent many decades in prison for crimes he did not commit, until he died last year. It's too late to correct the injustice done to him, but it's never too late to get the truth on the record, because we can learn from it.

Much of Law and Disorder is about wrongful convictions, but the authors never lose sight of the anguish felt by crime victims and their families. They tell the harrowing story of Suzanne Collins, a promising young woman who was brutally murdered by someone who fought his execution for longer than Suzanne was alive. Suzanne's parents insisted on studying the autopsy report and photos. Douglas says this is not uncommon.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book breaks from the authors' previous focus on hunting and analyzing violent criminals. Here they fight and analyze the system gone wrong.

To quote the dedicated FBI violent crimes investigator Steve Moore: "FACTS DETERMINE CONCLUSIONS -- The universal truism of investigation. The instant that one's conclusions determine or change the facts, you have corrupted the judicial system."

To quote Douglas: "There is also another phenomenon well known to those of us in law enforcement, medicine, and numerous other fields: The more you focus on something, the more of it you will find, if that's what you're looking for and want to find. It is like the first-year medical students who spontaneously develop symptoms of whatever disease they happen to be studying that week."

Douglas and Olshaker analyze high profile cases where the authorities started with conclusions, then pretzeled evidence and facts to fit these conclusions. From the Texas Board of Pardons, to the Boulder police and FBI, to the West Memphis Three prosecutors and judge, to the authorities in Perugia Italy, this book examines how a dispassionate pursuit of evidence was forsaken in favor of prejudice and politics. Hopefully we wonder how often this must be happening in not so high profile cases.

We've all seen the damage tunnel vision can do in our own respective professions. Close minded prosecutors and judges, acting with civil immunity, have a particularly nasty power to destroy innocent families and keep violent criminals out on the street.

Another focus of this book is capital punishment. The authors both criticize it and defend it as they spotlight various death penalty cases. It's a touchy subject.
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Format: Kindle Edition
An engrossing, well written, first hand experience based exposé of how easily criminal justice can and is, even in this day and age, manipulated to serve ulterior motives. Using the example of the 1690's Salem Witch Hunt, Douglas & Olshaker describe, with insider detail, recent cases in which justice was likewise miscarried. The horrific nature of the crimes turned my blood cold, but the subsequent miscarriages of justice made it boil. With equal acumen, the authors (1) convey the frustrations of delayed justice as well as the futility of the falsely accused to prove a negative - "I didn't do it;" and; (2) chronicle how unbiased investigations and evolving science could have prevented much of the injustice in their example cases.

While reading the book, three recurrent questions became - (1) "How can we pride ourselves in believing the infallibility of our justice system when such atrocities occur with immunity?"; (2) "How, with all our technology, information, and 'evolved thinking,' can beliefs trump science, fiction trump fact, and black & white trump shades of grey?"; and (3)"How can we, as a society, prevent prejudice, self- interest, and political ambition from continuing to pollute our justice system?" Thankfully the authors in their summation, offer some well thought out suggestions addressing these concerns, but begging the question, "Will it take us another 300 years before we rid ourselves of repeating the atrocity of the Salem Witch Hunt?"

Bottom line - an intelligently reasoned discourse on criminal justice, the death penalty, delayed justice, and our naive presumption that we are all presumed innocent until proven otherwise in a court of law. Required reading for any student of criminal justice or anyone concerned with humanity and a civilized society.
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