The courtroom that Bogira observes is in the control of Judge Daniel Locallo. The stories that unfold in the courtroom are often tragic, but they no longer seem so to the people who work there. Several judges were sent to jail for having taken bribes. Most of the cases are just plea bargained to make room for the next one. About that time, many liberals throughout the country stopped pressing for desegregation, and the issue largely disappeared from the nation's agenda.
Criminal defendants who are unable to come up with the money for to hire a lawyer are allowed to have the judge appoint them a lawyer who is then paid with public funds. In 1971, the Gautreaux case was still inching along in Judge Austin's courtroom. Back when segregation was discussed, mayoral candidates were mainly eager to assure voters they'd do nothing to upset it. The defense or the prosecution could have problems conducting a fair trial, such as in the Scott Peterson case. And because this one involves race, it's especially third-rail in American politics. Bogira not only sat through the trial, plea deals, sentencings, and motions, but he also interviewed all of the players, from the judge down through the defendants, witnesses, prosecutors and defense attorneys, as well as outsiders involved in the cases.
It was dry and lacked any emotion. Steve Bogira has written a book that detail by detail, reveals the chasm between law and justice and, in the end, shames us all. Judge Locallo is not the only person that expresses personal information. Many of the defendants believe they could have won their cases if they could afford real lawyers. That's something I'm proud to be affiliated with, and believe in wholeheartedly. His fair treatment of defendants, judges, court staff, lawyers, and police is an excellent reminder that the law is many things but above all it's a human institution. Each one of their roles and duties intertwined with each other makes the criminal justice system runs more smoothly even though they have a lot of additional duties they must fulfill outside the courtroom.
Cook County boasts the nation's largest integrated court system, and the number of defendants who pass through the system is staggering: 78,000 per year. The hypersegregated black neighborhoods continue to lead the city in the same wretched problems as in the 60s. They also tend to insist the crucial problem isn't race but class. The author spends a year at the courthouse and tracks the lives of some of the defendants. Katherine Boo's work in The New Yorker involving diverse groups of low-income mothers, for instance, is exemplary and fits right into this tradition of immersion reportage that seeks to bring unheard voices to the fore. It seems that this kind of reporting is increasingly rare in newspaper form, whether or not online, and the practice might have to shift into book form, whether or not electronic.
But most lawyers aren't Johnnie Cochrans, many jurors are eager to get back to their regular lives, and the vast majority of cases never even go to trial. Bogira shows us how the war on drugs is choking the system, and how in most instances justice is dispensed—as, under the circumstances, it must be—rapidly and mindlessly. One cannot help but wonder if Chicago might be the rule rather than the exception. And that's the book's central revelation, which Bogira articulates in prose that's first rate. I pulled out my book to calm my aggravation over being here, but I was too distracted by some revolting parents complaining about their children. So much in Courtroom 302 is revelatory that the revelations cannot even be summarized in a normal-length newspaper review.
From Bogira's vantage point, it appears that lower level felony cases are just pro This was my second time reading this book. One interesting case was of a woman who shot a cabbie. In the courtroom work group, there are three groups of people that hold the entire courtroom together. Obviously these pertain to the U. In most states cameras and recording devices are allowed in both trial and appellate courts. Bogira captures the unspoken realities of the criminal justice system. The author spends a year at the courthou ProDefense book on life at the Chicago criminal courthouse.
The access that Locallo gave is pretty amazing, and frankly, as someone who's worked with a number of district court judges, surprising. The defendant is told that you can plead not guilty and go on trial, which will take place in the future and can take anywhere from a day to a week or two — and you may be found not guilty. Abramsky had to be willing to check in on his own biases as he progressed in his research, eventually confronting his own preconceptions of the disenfranchised masses as largely disinterested in their own voting rights and lack of political power. Only then could he begin ranting over what was not permitted in the courtroom. So too does journalist Steve Bogira, from the purview of an uncomfortable courtroom bench. The courtroom work group has to work together to ensure all procedures are being followed and ensure the rights and safety of those in the courtroom. So few people know about socio cultural anthropology and the usefulness and value of our techniques.
No mention was ever made of the street files which often contained material that would have been invaluable to the defense. The codes and standards that are in place are the duty to seek justice above the importance of obtaining a conviction. They also stand in opposition to alarmist, reactionary punditry passed off as news. And one case demonstrates that not all is revealed in the courtroom! The effort put forth by author Steve Bogira gives the reader a real-life view of what occurs in criminal courts daily. Most cases involve uneducated, poor, drug-addicted minorities.
The saddest part is that reform, which most people clearly see is needed, will most likely never come. However, it is often uneven, and dramatic high points are interspersed with narrative lulls. The story of Courtroom 302 is told through interviews with primary sources in addition to the author's detailed research of court documents. Brennan Center for Justice Web site, November 16, 2005 , biographical information about Steve Bogira. Media in the courtroom: is it really a good idea? Ironically the vast majority of those in the system are there for drug-related offenses, almost always non-violent crimes. If Lincoln Square had been an area of concentrated poverty, would the Old Town School have even considered moving in? Courtroom 302 is a triumph of narrative journalism and a must-read for anyone concerned about the state of justice in America.