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With Justice For Some: Victims' Rights In Criminal Trials Hardcover – January 20, 1995

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

This study is a worthy complement to Stephen Adler's The Jury (Forecasts, July 11) and Jeffrey Abramson's We, the Jury (Forecasts, Oct. 17). Fletcher, a professor of law at Columbia University Law School, supports the advances of the 1960s that protected the rights of the accused, but he argues convincingly that we must heighten sensitivity to the victim. He looks at several highly charged cases-"a novel form of political trial"-which frustrated the compatriots of the victims: the killing of gay politico Harvey Milk in San Francisco; the beating of Rodney King by Los Angeles police officers; the killing of Hasidic Jew Yankel Rosenbaum during the Crown Heights riots in New York City; the rape cases against Mike Tyson and William Kennedy Smith. Fletcher's suggestions are sensible and provocative: abolish changes of venue, which ignore the local, communal stake in a case; consult victims in plea bargaining; allow jurors to be more active participants in trials; restrict psychiatric testimony on moral responsibility; allow a two-stage verdict that first establishes a criminal act, then assesses whether the defendant was fully accountable.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

In order to protect the rights of the accused, we are careful to follow the Constitution. While doing so, we often fail to meet the needs of crime victims. Law professor Fletcher (A Crime of Self-Defense: Bernhard Goetz and the Law on Trial, LJ 7/88) characterizes this emphasis on the rights of the accused as the new "political trial," which functions not to seek the facts and condemn evil but to understand the mind of the suspect. Using four recent trials-the case of Yankel Rosenbaum, a Hasidic Jew murdered during the Crown Heights riots; both Rodney King trials; the Mike Tyson rape trial; and the Harvey Milk trial and its famous" twinkie defense"-Fletcher illustrates how powerful but flawed the American jury system has become. He offers ten proposals for bringing justice both to defendants and victims. They include changes in the jury selection format, allowing the victim to take part in the trial and to participate in plea bargaining, and limiting the use of certain types of experts. Fletcher's provocative book is highly recommended for all collections.
Sandra K. Lindheimer, Middlesex Law Lib., Cambridge, Mass.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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