- Hardcover: 456 pages
- Publisher: Thomson Reuters Westlaw (July 17, 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0314606629
- ISBN-13: 978-0314606624
- Product Dimensions: 9.7 x 7.1 x 1.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 30 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #610,285 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Disrobed: An Inside Look at the Life and Work of a Federal Trial Judge
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Judge Block gives the reader an engaging, often humorous account of his life, as always, and a compelling introduction to the world of a Federal judge whose decisions are subject to plenty of public scrutiny but whose decision-making process remains a mystery for most Americans. PRESIDENT BILL CLINTON Founder of the William J. Clinton Foundation and 42nd President of the United States --President Bill Clinton
At 78, Frederic Block is going strong. He still hears cases as a senior judge in Federal District Court for the Eastern District, which has jurisdiction over Brooklyn, Queens and Long Island. He picked up modern Greek a few years ago. And now, he has written an engaging autobiography titled Disrobed: An Inside Look at the Life and Work of a Federal Trial Judge (Thomson Reuters Westlaw, $29.95). Despite the title, don t expect a bare-all book. Still, Judge Block offers a rare look behind decision-making on the federal bench. His stated goal was to make judicial proceedings accessible to the layman, and mercifully, without footnotes he largely succeeds. He has plenty of experience to draw on, including cases involving the Crown Heights riots, Kitty Genovese and Peter Gotti. And he has plenty to say. This is, after all, the same forthright jurist who warned prosecutors in a murder-for-hire case that seeking the death penalty was absurd, and who once worried aloud that he would have egg foo young on my face if a Chinese defendant skipped bail. A version of this article appeared in print on August 12, 2012, on page MB3 of the New York edition with the headline: Exploring a Lyricist and a Brooklyn Bohemia . By SAM ROBERTS Published: August 10, 2012 --A version of this article appeared in print on August 12, 2012, on page MB3 of the New York edition with the headline: Exploring a Lyricist and a Brooklyn Bohemia . By Sam Roberts
About the Author
Fred Block practiced law for 34 years as a small-town lawyer before he was appointed to the federal district court bench in 1994 by President Bill Clinton. He is an Indiana University alumnus and received his law degree from Cornell Law School. Far removed from New York City he made his mark in private practice by successfully handling a number of pivotal national cases. As reflected in this book, Judge Block has a creative flair. A jazz musician, he previously showed off his artistic talent in an off-Broadway musical he co-authored - both music and lyrics - ;Professionally Speaking, and a host of country songs he wrote, before the bench beckoned.
Top customer reviews
The information on becoming a judge (how they are picked and approve ) was fascinating. In addition, the duties he outlines were also quite interesting. However, the first 150+/-pages, which deal with life as a small town judge on Long Island and his participation in local politics were a dull and slow read.
Overall, the book has some excellent material that is very interesting, but it needs to be pruned by a good editor. Shaving 100 pages from the book would speed it up and make it a much better read.
At times you feel you're hanging out with your friend the judge in a well furnished pub while he reveals his college escapades, his encounters with Nassau County political bosses, his family life, his dalliance with musical comedy in "Professionally Speaking." And then you feel you've been invited into his chambers where he hangs up his robe and tells you what he was thinking when he conducted some of the most interesting and difficult cases to come before the Federal Court for the Eastern District of New York. You get to know a savvy lawyer who became a skillful and knowledgeable judge, courteous and fair to the parties, humorous (but never at the expense of the litigants) and humble (but not without the confidence required of an effective judge).
He reports without rancor the times he was called "Judge Blockhead" in the Daily News and vilified by a columnist in the New York Post. But then again, he seems to have fully deserved the way the Wall Street Journal described his performance in a case regarding Bear Stearns hedge fund managers: "He's Fair, Funny, and Frank." All in all a good read, particularly for young lawyers and new judges, but in fact for anyone interested in the inner workings of a judicial mind.