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Three Felonies A Day: How the Feds Target the Innocent Paperback – June 7, 2011


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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

HARVEY A. SILVERGLATE is counsel to Boston’s Zalkind, Rodriguez, Lunt & Duncan LLP, specializing in criminal defense, civil liberties, and academic freedom/student rights law. He is co-founder and Chairman of FIRE (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education) and is a regular columnist for The Boston Phoenix. Silverglate has been published in The National Law Journal, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times Book Review, and elsewhere. He is author of The Shadow University with Alan Charles Kors.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 392 pages
  • Publisher: Encounter Books (June 7, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1594035229
  • ISBN-13: 978-1594035227
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (78 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,546 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

This book is a must read by anyone who is interested in how the U.S. Justice System works.
John
The main text is focused too much on the individual cases which makes it occasionally seem a bit repetitive.
FFDR
I hope that people will read this book and others like it and realize that the DoJ cannot be trusted.
bookfan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

95 of 98 people found the following review helpful By T. D. Welsh on November 9, 2010
Format: Hardcover
The product description of this book on amazon.com (the US site) starts by claiming that "The average professional in this country wakes up in the morning, goes to work, comes home, eats dinner, and then goes to sleep, unaware that he or she has likely committed several federal crimes that day". So I was keen to find out what crimes these might be, that ordinary people were unconsciously committing in such profusion. Sadly, that is something you cannot learn by reading this book. As far as I can ascertain, there is literally no mention of "three crimes a day" or anything similar on any of its pages, from the foreword by Alan M Dershowitz to the index. The quotes published on the book's jacket are much more accurate: "Now comes veteran defense lawyer and civil libertarian Harvey A. Silverglate... exposing... a pattern of serious abuses and convictions of innocent people in some of the most famous (as well as obscure) federal cases of recent decades"... "...Silverglate has written a work peerless in revelations about the mad expansion of federal statutes whose result is to define, as criminal, practices no rational citizen would have viewed as illegal..."..."...federal prosecutors have conceived of something truly frightening - punishment without crime..."

Although the book is bound to disappoint anyone looking for a lurid expose of how no decent citizen is safe from the US justice system, it is a valuable and well-written critique of some recent trends in that system. In particular, Silverglate calls attention to Congress' habit of drafting and approving vague laws that can be interpreted in a wide variety of ways depending on the beliefs and attitudes of prosecutors, judges, and juries.
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177 of 188 people found the following review helpful By Malick Ghachem on September 21, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is a very thoughtful and vigorously argued book about the injustices that arise when prosecutors seek to expand the reach of federal criminal statutes beyond their proper field of application. The author has litigated many of the cases he discusses, and is able to translate the complexities of that experience intelligently and without condescension, but also without all of the unnecessary technical details that lawyers writing for a general audience sometimes get bogged down in. Harvey Silverglate is an institution in his own right: a tireless advocate for civil liberties, prolific writer, and astute student of the law, there are few people who have a stronger commitment to illuminating the practical workings of the criminal justice system and their relationship to broader currents in the law. This is a must-read for those interested in criminal law, civil liberties, and the recent history of the Department of Justice, by a writer who has the courage of his convictions and voices them powerfully and well.
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113 of 120 people found the following review helpful By Michael A. Fox on November 1, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Harvey Silverglate does an extraordinary job analyzing the erosion of rights and the risks it carries to liberty in America in his book, Three Felonies a Day, How the Feds Target the Innocent.

This book is a must read for anyone who cares about the preservation of liberty and putting a check on the encroachment of the federal government in the every day lives of citizens.

He shows how the Department of Justice has led a steady march to expand their reach into the lives of ordinary Americans. The result? Panoply of laws giving them the right to prosecute just about anyone for anything at will.

Their broad application of the Deprivation of Honest Services Statutes in White Collar Crime and a host of other legal gymnastics give them a club every bit as powerful as the Soviet Union at the height of its power. In the Soviet Union and other dictatorships the tools of federalization of all crimes and trampling liberties usually reside in what is commonly called "Defamation Statutes."

Mr. Silverglate identifies numerous laws and Department of Justice interpretations and applications that give them authority rivaling the Soviet Union in its heyday. This boils down to a scandalous use of the federal instruments of powers residing in the executive branch at the Department of Justice that go unchecked.

For anyone who cares about liberty I recommend this book. It is makes a powerful contribution to the cause of justice and freedom and ranks as a modern day call to action equal to Thomas Paine's pamphlet, Common Sense published in 1776.

Mr. Siverglate brings current day threats to our liberties into focus just as Mr. Paine brought the need for the American Revolution into focus in 1776. For Mr. Paine liberty and freedom's enemy resided in King George of England; to Mr. Silverglate it can be found in a runaway Department of Justice intent on expanding its power to intrude and reach into the life of every American.
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82 of 87 people found the following review helpful By K. Unger on October 23, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was recommended by a Federal Judge at a conference on ethics. It is a scary, insightful indictment of criminal prosecutions and the growing trend of prosecutors and judges encroaching on the legislative branch's power to enact laws through manipulation and overreaching interpretations of vague federal laws. It is not only a MUST read, but it is a MUST act upon as well. Kudos Silverglate!
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116 of 126 people found the following review helpful By John Perich on January 6, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
With such a provocative title, I expected a thorough list of ways that ordinary citizens can be unwittingly trapped by federal law. Maybe a handful of frightening anecdotes, maybe some telling historical analysis.

Instead, after two lengthy introductions, I find a dense chapter defending ... a Florida politician accused of corruption. And a Massachusetts governor. And a Massachusetts House speaker. When I got to the chapter defending Michael Milken I started skimming instead of reading.

Don't get me wrong: if those people were railroaded, then they deserved better. But those aren't the sort of stories that excite people's sympathy. I'd much rather hear about innocent doctors getting tried for prescribing legal painkillers (which Silverglate does address, albeit later), or citizens being sent away for behavior that nobody knew was illegal. When Silverglate writes about one politician going after another, my blood doesn't exactly boil at the injustice being done.

Silverglate writes with a didactic, passionate style. It's likely to inflame the hearts of people who already care about civil liberties. But for people who don't see expanding federal power as that big of a deal, a sob story about how Ken Lay was strung up won't elicit any sympathy.

All of the above would make the book 4 stars. I'm giving it 3 stars because it's a substandard Kindle edition. There's no table of contents. The footnotes don't hyperlink to the end of the text (a feature in every other footnoted book I've read on Kindle). And for a book that's been out nearly a year, it's still far too expensive.
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