Defending the Damned: Inside a Dark Corner of the Criminal Justice System

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Simon and Schuster, Sep 2, 2008 - Law - 320 pages
Chicago was the nation's deadliest city in 2001, recording 666 homicides. For lawyers in the Cook County Public Defender's Office Murder Task Force, that meant a steady flow of new clients. Eight out of ten people arrested for murder in Chicago are represented by public defenders. They're assigned the most challenging and seemingly hopeless cases, yet they always fight to win.

One of those lawyers is Marijane Placek, a snakeskin boot-wearing, Shakespeare-quoting nonconformist whose courtroom bravado and sharp legal skills have made her a well-known figure around the courthouse. When an ex-convict was arrested on charges of killing a Chicago police officer that deadly year, Placek got the high-profile case, and her defense forms the hub around which the book's narrative revolves.

Veteran journalist Kevin Davis reveals the compelling true story of a team of battle-scarred lawyers fighting against all odds. Unflinching, gripping, and full of surprises, Defending the Damned is an unforgettable human story and engaging courtroom drama where life and death hang in the balance. Davis explores the motives that compel these lawyers to come to work in this dark corner of the criminal justice system and exposes their insular and often misunderstood world.

This groundbreaking work comes at a time when the country has seen how wrongful convictions have slipped through the system, that innocent people have been sent to death row, and that some police have lied or coerced suspects into confessing to crimes they did not commit. Such flaws drive these public defenders even harder to do their jobs, providing scrutiny to a long ignored and often broken system.

Davis's reporting offers an unvarnished account of public defenders as never seen before. A powerful melding of courtroom drama and penetrating truecrime journalism, Defending the Damned is narrative nonfiction at its finest.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Schmerguls - LibraryThing

5343. Defending the Damned Inside Chicago's Cook County Public Defender's Office, by Kevin Davis (read 14 Jan 2016) This 2007 book tells of the work of the public defender's office in Chicago. Much of ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - stacy_chambers - LibraryThing

Welcome to Murder Task Force, the elite division of the Chicago office of public defenders. Attorneys on this force take on the city's worst cases as clients--serial killers, couples who kill their ... Read full review

Contents

Killer Defense
1
The Crime
10
Anarchist Under Contract
20
Welcome to Our World
34
How Can They Defend These People?
47
Scene of the Crime
59
Confession or Coercion?
71
Everyones Entitled to One
80
A Shot in the Dark
158
Downs and Ups
181
Always Afraid
196
Arguing for Life
206
A Religious Matter
224
Judgment Day
240
Lifes Sentences
254
The Twist
265

Death Takes a Brief Holiday
96
Meet Mr Nixon
106
Steal the Flag
116
Preparing for Battle
127
The Trial Opens
141
Walking Away
275
Acknowledgments
289
A Note on Sources
293
Index
295
Copyright

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AA Publishing is the UK's largest travel publisher, with an extensive range of inspiring travel guides, dependable driving books, and trusted maps and atlases.

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