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.