Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
The Last Lawyer: The Fight to Save Death Row Inmates Hardcover – September 24, 2009
See the Best Books of the Month
Want to know our Editors' picks for the best books of the month? Browse Best Books of the Month, featuring our favorite new books in more than a dozen categories.
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
From Publishers Weekly
"For years, lawyer Ken Rose has fought to save wrongly-condemned prisoners; chronicling the story of Rose and death row inmate Bo Jones, author Temple (Deadhouse: Life in a Coroner's Office) finds high drama in Raleigh penitentiaries, North Carolina backroads, cramped law offices, and sweltering courtrooms. Reviewing the original 1987 murder, the consequent trials and endless hearings, Temple creates an intimate portrait of Rose and his Center for Death Penalty Litigation as they trudge through a decade of work on this case, a typical example that pits the odds and public opinion against them: 'To question capital punishment was to appear soft on crime. . . In court, one well-known district attorney sported a golden lapel pin shaped like a hangman's noose.' Ultimately, Temple's account is a stand-up-and-cheer account of one man standing up for justice."
--Publishers Weekly, starred review
"John Temple's The Last Lawyer is a compulsively readable indictment of a fatally flawed system. It reads like first-class legal fiction, but it's far more compelling because it is, tragically, legal fact."
--Leonard Pitts, Jr., Pulitzer Prize-winning syndicated columnist for the Miami Herald and author of the novel, Before I Forget
More About the Author
John takes regular breaks from that life to spend time in special worlds, including autopsy rooms and prisons and Florida. He takes pictures and records audio, if they let him. Then he comes back home and tries to make a story out of what he's seen or heard about.
He's written three narrative journalism books, including the forthcoming American Pain: How a Young Felon and His Crew of Doctors Unleashed the Deadliest Drug Epidemic in U.S. History (September 2015).
Temple also wrote Deadhouse: Life in a Coroner's Office, published in 2005, and The Last Lawyer: The Fight to Save Death Row Inmates, winner of the 2010 Scribes Book Award.
He also writes novels and screenplays and hopes to sell one soon.
For a proper biography, see John's WVU bio at http://reedcollegeofmedia.wvu.edu/faculty_staff/faculty/john_temple.
Also check out his website at www.johntemplebooks.com.
Top Customer Reviews
Readers of my blog ([...]) will likely find the later half of the book (starting on page 130) particularly interesting (and sobering) as the use of intelligence test scores and the diagnosis of MR/ID becomes a major point of the story. How some of those in the legal field (and one judge in particular) played with the IQ scores and failed to recognize that they are imperfect measures (the need to recognize measurement error) is eye-opening and sobering to those of us involved in intelligence testing development and research.
I give it two big thumbs up.
Dr. Kevin McGrew
Director, Institute for Applied Psychometrics
This is a suspenseful story written without overly dramatizing and without synthetic suspense prose. It makes the legal system (almost) comprehensible to the average person. The people are presented in a compelling manner with all their humanity on display, neither deified nor condemned, just presented with understanding and humor. The objectivity is laudable and is a lamentably lonely and badly needed model for journalists and non-fiction writers. This book will do a lot to help people understand the conundrum of death penalty law and practice, and it will be effective in part because the author reports the situation as he saw it without proselytizing. He neither pushs a viewpoint nor avoids saying what he sees. The people he admires have quirks and faults; those he doesn't have likable qualities. The writing seems very unselfconscious in this respect, which disarms the reader so accustomed to being manipulated by writers.
One important thing of many that I learned is the point of view of the prosecutor, that if the death penalty weren't on the books, it would scale down the punishments for murder. I had never realized that aspect, the huge role plea bargaining plays in the whole system. We will never know (my guess) about the motivational role of the death penalty in discouraging murder, but it does seem reasonable to predict easier punishments resulting from its abolition, and to me that's a serious problem. The greatest tragedy (except for murder victims) of it all seems to me the huge time delays in resolving cases. Living on death row for 20 years - I can't see any benefit to anyone in that.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I heard a story on National Public Radio about this case when it was still active in the courts, but other than a general overview of the case, I knew very little before picking up... Read morePublished on May 16, 2010 by FURB Furbish
In "The Last Lawyer", author John Temple takes his readers on a compelling journey through the death penalty appellate process. Read morePublished on April 11, 2010 by Rob F.
Full disclosure- the author is related to my wife. I read both fiction and non-fiction regularly and this is a very good book. Read morePublished on March 12, 2010 by J.F.
My husband and I both read The Last Lawyer and loved it because it is so thought provoking. A book club might enjoy this book because of the interesting conversations it would... Read morePublished on March 5, 2010 by Kristin Burgard
I was drawn to read this book because I am a death penalty opponent and I'm familiar with the work being done by the Center for Death Penalty Litigation here in North Carolina,... Read morePublished on February 6, 2010 by Cecil Bothwell