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An Inside Look at How the Criminal Justice System Works...and Sometimes Doesn't

This book can be downloaded and read in iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


A searing and entertaining manifesto on the ills of the criminal justice system from two of America’s most prominent defense attorneys.
From the rise of the Internet and the 24-hour news cycle to the television ratings bonanza of the O.J. Simpson trial, a perfect storm of media coverage has given the public an unprecedented look inside the courtroom, kicking off popular courtroom shows and TV legal commentary that further illuminate how the criminal justice system operates. Or has it?
In Mistrial, Mark Geragos and Pat Harris debunk the myths of judges as Solomon-like figures, jurors as impartial arbiters of the truth, and prosecutors as super-ethical heroes.

Mistrial draws the curtain on the court’s ugly realities—from stealth jurors who secretly swing for a conviction, to cops who regularly lie on the witness stand, to defense attorneys terrified of going to trial. Ultimately, the authors question whether a justice system model drawn up two centuries ago before blogs and television is still viable today.
In the aftermath of recent high-profile cases, the flaws in America’s justice system are more glaring than ever. Geragos and Harris are legal experts and prominent criminal defense attorneys who have worked on everything from celebrity media-circuses—having represented clients like Michael Jackson, Winona Ryder, Scott Peterson, Chris Brown, Susan MacDougal, and Gary Condit—to equally compelling cases defending individuals desperate to avoid the spotlight.
Shining unprecedented light on what really goes on in the courtroom, Mistrial is an enjoyable, fun look at a system that rarely lets you see behind the scenes.

From Publishers Weekly

Apr 08, 2013 – Despite their impressive credentials as two of America's leading defense lawyers with a long list of celebrity clients (Scott Peterson, Michael Jackson, Gary Condit), Geragos and Harris don't offer any particularly new insights on the state of criminal justice in the US today. Many of their observations could have been made, and have been, over the last several decades, undercutting their contention that things have radically changed in recent years. For example, they write: "If you're a trial lawyer, dealing with the media is now part of your job, and that is not going away anytime soon," a sentiment that could easily have appeared in a similarly-themed book from the 1980s or the 1920s. The subtitle is misleading, suggesting a proportionality the text doesn't bear out, as more often than not, their war stories are about when the system doesn't work, due to, for example, overzealous prosecutors, elected judges eager to stay on the bench, and shrewish media personalities who slant the truth shamelessly. There are thoughtful suggestions for reform, including involving judges more actively in plea-bargaining, and having professional juries, but these receive less attention than they warrant.

Customer Reviews

One-third Memoir, Two-thirds Liberal Rant

A good editor could have deleted the leftist character assassinations and utopian whining to make this a good (not very good) read. As it is, it is much like sushi with only some rotten ingredients.

Amazing insight

Having a familiarity with prosecutorial tactics, I can tell you this book is about 99% spot on. I would submit that instead of professional juries, third year and fourth year law students are required as their capstone to serve on juries. If doctors have to serve in residency before thy can perform surgery on a patient, law students should be a participant in a trial (besides just observing). Professional juries should be used it capital cases and be selected from a pool like the military draft. Law students would be unique in that they are familiar with legal terms, procedures, and the word "doubt" more than our "peers".

This book addresses many subjects, but the pinnacle argument is the 7 tactics D.A.'s use. I have witnessed all 7 used in one trial (where the innocent defendant is still in a Tennessee prison awaiting the appeal opinion). If anyone says this book is all hype, go sit in a trial after reading this book.

Thanks Mark and Pat!

Great read

Easy read, clear, very critical and insightful. Multi-perspective on our justice system. Loved the book.

View in iTunes
  • $12.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Biographies & Memoirs
  • Published: Apr 11, 2013
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Seller: Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
  • Print Length: 288 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings