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The Case Against Lawyers: How the Lawyers, Politicians, and Bureaucrats Have Turned the Law into an Instrument of Tyranny--and What We as Citizens Have to Do About It Paperback – September 23, 2003

34 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"You can't win, but the lawyers will": in support of this statement, former judge and Court TV personality Crier strings together anecdotes highlighting the unfairness and economic inefficiencies that lawyers have engendered in a commonsensical and sometimes shocking indictment. A self-described "inveterate newspaper clipper," Crier bases her argument on examples of legal excess. A woman who collected $450,000 after tripping in a Tucson park gopher hole illustrates how extreme civil damage awards have become. (Her lawyer contended that the city needed to "provide a safe alternative to dodging holes and caved-in tunnels.") Fear of lawsuits has led to all kinds of absurdities, like the warning on the baby stroller that reads, "Remove child before folding." Crier couples her storytelling with a folksy Texas vernacular that makes her points accessible to nonlawyers. Her contention that the legal system is broken is not new, and she acknowledges her debt to books such as Philip K. Howard's The Death of Common Sense. In her desire to convince, however, she tends to overstate her case and sometimes the law itself. When Richard Garcia sued police for not arresting him for public intoxication, thereby allowing him to get into a later car wreck, Crier writes, "We seem to expect cops to anticipate new court decisions as their behavior is critiqued after the fact." But the Supreme Court holds that government officials are immune from suit unless they violate "clearly established" rights. In her defense, however, Crier makes no pretense of presenting a balanced, scholarly book. Hers is an amusing polemic that correctly identifies many of our legal system's problems. Agent, Jan Miller. (On sale Oct. 8)
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Crier, a former district attorney, lawyer, and judge and host of Court TV's Crier Report, here argues that "the rule of law has become a source of power and influence, not liberty and justice" and is being used by lawyers and others to the detriment of society. She sees U.S. law as often not clearly understood, fair, or reasonable and as more adversarial than truth seeking. At her best, Crier offers clear and forceful critiques of such issues as the war on drugs, the death penalty, and criminal sentencing and proposes thoughtful changes to current laws. She is at less than her best, though, on topics such as jury awards and lawyer fees in lawsuits, on suits involving disadvantaged groups, and on regulation, the revolving door, lobbyists, and campaign contributions. Here she blends considerable legitimate criticism with lengthy diatribes full of wordy examples. The content is mainly opinion, although newspapers are quoted and events, studies, and statistics cited. For a well-written and -researched book with a distinctly different view of lawyers and civil law, see Carl T. Bogus's Why Lawsuits Are Good for America. Recommended for public libraries.
--Mary Jane Brustman, SUNY at Albany Libs., NY
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; 1st Trade Paperback edition (September 23, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767905059
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767905053
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,016,971 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

An Emmy and duPont-Columbia Award-winning journalist, and the youngest state judge to ever be elected in Texas. A Dallas native, Crier earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in political science and international affairs from the University of Texas and her Juris Doctor from Southern Methodist University School of Law. She began her career in law in 1978 as an Assistant District Attorney then Felony Chief Prosecutor for the Dallas County District Attorney's office. From 1982 to 1984, Crier was a civil litigation attorney with Riddle & Brown, handling complex business and corporate matters. In 1984, she was elected to the 162nd District Court in Dallas County, Texas as a State District Judge. Shortly after her reelection to a second term on the bench, a chance meeting with a television news executive led to a dramatic career change.

In September, 1989, Crier was hired to co-anchor the premiere evening newscast on CNN. Additionally, she co-anchored Inside Politics, all election coverage, and hosted Crier & Company, a talk show covering news, politics and international issues. Crier joined ABC News in 1993 as a correspondent on 20/20 and as a regular substitute anchor for Peter Jennings on ABC's World News Tonight and substitute host on Nightline. Crier was awarded a 1996 Emmy for Outstanding Investigative Journalism for her work on the segment "The Predators" which examined nursing home abuses throughout the United States.

In October of '96, Crier became one of the founding television anchors for the Fox News Channel, with her prime time program, The Crier Report, and co-anchored the evening news, election coverage and Fox Files. Catherine joined Court TV's distinguished team of anchors in November 1999. She served as Executive Editor, Legal News Specials, in addition to hosting Catherine Crier Live, until joining Cajole Entertainment in 2007 as a managing partner developing television, film and documentary projects.

Crier released her first book, the NYTimes bestseller, The Case Against Lawyers in October, 2002. Her second book, A Deadly Game: The Untold Story of the Scott Peterson Investigation became a #1 NYTimes bestseller and was followed by Contempt--How the Right is Wronging American Justice, and Final Analysis: The Untold Story of the Susan Polk Murder Case. Her fifth book, Patriot Acts--What Americans Must Do to Save the Republic, will be available November 1, 2011.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 40 people found the following review helpful By Tucker Andersen VINE VOICE on November 12, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This in an interesting and disturbing book about how the law today has frequently been used to abuse citizens and weaken our democracy and economy rather than protect us. Catherine Crier observed the inner workings of the legal system as a private attorney, distict attorney, and judge; her frustrations with the current day practice of law in contrast to her beliefs regarding the underlying intent of the founders of our country led her to write this book. It has a theoretical base but primarily consists of anecdotes and case studies so outrageous that she hopes that her readers will heed her call for a return to commonsense and personal responsibilty. It is easy to read and contains a lot of very diverse material, some widely disseminated but most probably unknown to casual students of the subject. And I believe that she proves her case.
She begins with a brief introduction which outlines in very cogent form her view of nine characteristics with which our laws should uniformly conform but which are often lacking from modern jurisprudence. Then she goes on to examine several areas of particular concern to her: among these are the perversion of our educational system by the search for equality rather than excellence, the police state tactics of regulatory agencies, the extremes to which enforcement of the ADA has beeen carried, civil rights vs. civil liberties, the role of money and lobbyists in politics, and particularly effectively in my opinion how our war on drugs has become an "addiction to insanity".
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22 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 1, 2002
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The mean-spirited personal attacks on Catherine Crier here -- no doubt by lawyers -- are a clear sign that her no nonsense look at how some lawyers (and by extension the system) is taking the American people for a ride, has struck a very raw, deep nerve.
The Case Against Lawyers is not about party or politics. It's for anyone -- left, right, center, etc. -- who is fed up with how the potential of this country's legal, educational, political, and moral system has been squandered by litigators and elected officials interested only in a buck and in preserving their careers. Crier's indictment of the legal system is only the beginning. In clear, concise prose she points out again and again the heads-you-lose, tails-you-lose schizophrenia we confont every day. We can't fix things because the fixes are as bad as the problems -- and the people in charge don't really want to change anything. Her examples are anecdotal and drawn from years of collecting news reports and interviewing; but anecdotal does not equal apocryphal or unfounded. In fact, every page is a revelation, from the story about not using an iron on clothes we're still wearing to the sad state of the drug war that doesn't work and never will -- and the incarcerated who pay the price. She also writes with wit and "can you believe it?" candor about the sham of our political system, money in politics, the sorry state of education, and much more. If I have one gripe it's that Crier could have offered more solutions. Maybe in an another book, which I certainly hope is in the offing.
How many times have you screamed at the tv set or newspaper, frustrated by the obvious act put on by politicians who only want your vote, and then ignore their promises?
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Watch This on January 5, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Although it's always good to have someone from the profession give the legal field a much needed reality check, this book started out strong, but by the second half it should have been much better. Legal students and professionals will this book more than most, being familiar with many of the cases she mentioned regarding various legal issues, if only from law school. Her bias and overall perspective, though, needs focus.

While she probably thought she did her noble best to be even handed in her analysis, Ms. Crier's conections to the limousine-liberalism crowd reared their ugly head too often. Ms. Crier cites from sources as left-leaning Mother Jones and the Atlantic Monthly, the New Yorker and sometimes downright untrustworthy ones as the New York Times (I haven't forgotten about Jayson Blair or his utter lack of supervision by Times editors for too long), though she did include Bernard Goldman in her Bibliography as well as a few snippets from the WSJ. Why not also a few from National Review or Reason magazine? If there were some, my apologies for missing them.

Ms. Crier also gives some politicians too much credit, as suggesting Bill Clinton was any more interested in the environment than anybody else on P.171. What she sees as last-minute concern for the environment by the outgoing Clinton should have been easily recognizible as kickbacks to unions and political pals (labor regulations, mining regulations, logging road bans), but apparently she really has a soft spot for Clinton as some sort of good guy gone awry, and thought these acts emerged for his genuine concern for mankind - make that person-kind.

Moreover, some parts of the book are flat out laughable - declaring that psychological addiction to marijuana is almost unheard of - HA! She knows better.
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