Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Book Look "Indefensible"
This week’s book review is dedicated to Judge Fenstermaker. Some months back I recommended a book that was below her reading level. It was a chapter book, but the words were not very big and the subject was not on her grade level. I felt that I owed her a book review that was up to her high literary standards and tastes. I also hope it will prevent me being sent to the slammer if I get a ticket in Springville. This book review is dedicated to you, Your Honor.
“Indefensible” by David Feige is a well written piece of nonfiction. His narrative on the law is humorous and heartbreaking. We all suspect that the American justice system is flawed but better than anything offered by other countries. If we are going to commit a crime we plan on doing it here in the USA. However, according to Feige, we better stay out of the New York court system where he is a public defender.
It is an account of one long day filled with criminals from the South Bronx, wily lawyers, and eccentric judges. Feige describes his clients: “I’ve represented murderers, rapists, prostitutes, and drug dealers.” We get a brief look inside his life as a big city lawyer. He’s not a lawyer in an expensive suit from an affluent firm, but a tireless public defender fighting for the rights of those we turn away from as we pass them on the streets.
Feige writes detailed stories that keep us interested in the human drama and snappy dialogue that holds our interest in the courtroom drama. It is rare to read about someone motivated by something other than money to fight the good fight. He passionately believes in what he does. Somehow despite the frustration, failure, and exhaustion he remains optimistic. At the end of the day he can say: “I like the cold. On cold nights, people stay off the street corner; less corner traffic means fewer arrests, and fewer arrests mean a lighter arraignment load. All year long, I sleep with the window open, hoping the air drifting in might signal a frost…”