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He made it safe to murder (Oklahoma trackmaker series) Hardcover – 2001
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As a young attorney, Howard K. Berry Sr. met Moman Pruiett in the 1930's. Pruiett, who defended 343 individuals and obtained 303 acquittals in his first 20 years, was a twice-convicted felon before joining the bar. Pruiett's only client to hear the death sentence was spared by a Presidential commutation. Intrigued by this frontier legend, Berry began collecting stories, newspaper accounts, court records, and personal interviews detailing Pruiett's "win at all cost" defense strategy. These he compiled into He Made It Safe to Murder.
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One of the interesting aspects is that he didn't decide to become a lawyer until after his own second conviction (which he served two years), felt that he had been wronged, and swore out the vendetta to empty the jails "and turn thieves and murderers loose . . . in a perfectly legal way."
One of the great stories in the book: The lawyer, Pruiett received a message from a distant state late in his career saying "I have been charged with murder. Have $5,000. Will you defend me?" Pruiett's immediate reply, "Am leaving on the next train with three eyewitnesses."
It was a different time and different place. Famed Law Professor Gerald Uelmen (also of OJ "Dream Team" fame) wrote a good article about Pruiett in the early 1980s and mentioned him in a '99-'00 law review article "Who is the Lawyer of the Century."
Harry Barry covers both the good and bad about Moman Pruitt. And what a truly fascinating individual. Plus the turn of the 20th century in Oklahoma was a time of outlaws, indians, cowboys, and renegade lawyers. This is the story of a time that is long past and will never return.
Do yourself a favor, read this book!