Chasing Gideon: The Elusive Quest for Poor People's Justice

Overview


First published to mark the fifty-year anniversary of the Supreme Court decision Gideon v. Wainwright, which guaranteed the right to legal counsel for all criminal defendants, Chasing Gideon is “a hugely important book” (New York Law Journal) that gives us a visceral, unforgettable experience of our systemic failure to fulfill this basic constitutional right. Written in the tradition of Gideon’s Trumpet, by the late Anthony Lewis, this is “a book of nightmares,” as Leonard Pitts wrote in the Miami Herald, ...
See more details below
Chasing Gideon: The Elusive Quest for Poor People's Justice

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$17.99
BN.com price
(Save 33%)$26.95 List Price

Overview


First published to mark the fifty-year anniversary of the Supreme Court decision Gideon v. Wainwright, which guaranteed the right to legal counsel for all criminal defendants, Chasing Gideon is “a hugely important book” (New York Law Journal) that gives us a visceral, unforgettable experience of our systemic failure to fulfill this basic constitutional right. Written in the tradition of Gideon’s Trumpet, by the late Anthony Lewis, this is “a book of nightmares,” as Leonard Pitts wrote in the Miami Herald, because it shows that the “‘justice system’ too often produces the opposite of what its name suggests, particularly for its most vulnerable constituents.”

Following its publication, Chasing Gideon, which ACLU director Anthony Romero said “illustrates the scope and seriousness of the indigent defense crisis,” became an integral part of a growing national conversation about how to reform indigent defense in America, coordinated with an HBO documentary and a website to promote the book and the movie. The effort spread news about Chasing Gideon directly to public defenders offices nationwide and drove a national conversation about what Eric Holder called the “shameful state of affairs” of indigent defense (in the Washington Post).

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Chasing Gideon is a wonderful book, its human stories gripping, its insight into how our law is made profound."
—Anthony Lewis, author of Gideon's Trumpet

"Houppert’s narratives of crimes, investigations, and court proceedings are careful and engrossing, and she has an excellent command of the relevant data, which she intersperses among interviews and case histories to great effect."
Los Angeles Review of Books

"Highly recommended. Fluent and fluid, Houppert’s book has all the urgency this subject demands and is a page-turner. Alternately thrilling and gut-riling, this book will grab and hold lovers of great nonfiction."
Library Journal

"A well-researched and -written investigation that shows the inadequacies in stark human terms rather than an abstraction."
Kirkus Reviews

Library Journal
Fifty years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court guaranteed in Gideon v. Wainright the right to free counsel to all defendants facing the possibility of imprisonment if they were unable to procure it themselves. Today, more than 80 percent of defendants are represented by public defenders. Here, Houppert (contributing writer, Washington Post Magazine; Home Fires Burning: Married to the Military—for Better or Worse) takes up the call of Anthony Lewis's classic Gideon's Trumpet and examines what has changed—and what has not—in the past five decades. What results is a stinging indictment of a system of indigent defense, a widespread failure that, the author claims, dooms the nation's poor to being represented by insufficient counsel, unwise plea bargains, and wrongful convictions. Houppert examines public defense systems in Washington, Louisiana, and Georgia and follows illustrative cases: a teenager facing vehicular manslaughter charges, a prisoner who has served nearly 30 years for a crime he did not commit, and a defendant facing the death penalty. VERDICT Fluent and fluid, Houppert's book has all the urgency this subject demands and is a page-turner. Alternately thrilling and gut-riling, this book will grab and hold lovers of great nonfiction. Highly recommended. [For more on this title, see Editor's Picks on page 35.—Ed.]—Molly McArdle, Library Journal
Kirkus Reviews
A journalist explores the quality of indigent defense 50 years after Gideon v. Wainwright mandated adequate counsel for any person charged with a felony. Washington Post Magazine contributing writer Houppert (Home Fires Burning: Married to the Military--for Better or Worse, 2005, etc.) concedes that her book is an update on the nonfiction classic by Anthony Lewis, Gideon's Trumpet (1964). Houppert focuses on four defendants represented by appointed lawyers. One of those cases is that of Clarence Earl Gideon, who appealed for defense counsel despite his poverty after his 1961 arrest in Panama City, Fla. The other cases are more contemporary: teenager Sean Replogle in Spokane, Wash., after he was charged with vehicular homicide; Gregory Bright in New Orleans, where he was convicted of a 1975 murder he did not commit; and Rodney Young in Georgia, where he was sentenced to death despite his apparent mental retardation. Houppert demonstrates that most public defenders are dedicated lawyers but face severe disadvantages due to overwhelming case loads, inadequate budgets for expert witnesses and the like, as well as the nature of the criminal justice system, which often emphasizes the desirability of a plea bargain instead of taking a case to a full trial by judge or jury. While Lewis sounded optimistic about the development of high-quality defense representation for the indigent in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling, Houppert is more pessimistic. Her research shows that defendants are regularly being denied their legal right to a strong lawyer with enough time and resources to function at the highest level. After all, indigent defendants do not have an organized lobbying group to compete for meager local, state and federal government resources, especially in recessionary eras. A well-researched and -written investigation that shows the inadequacies in stark human terms rather than as an abstraction.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781620970263
  • Publisher: New Press, The
  • Publication date: 2/3/2015
  • Pages: 288

Meet the Author


Karen Houppert has written for the Washington Post Magazine, The Nation, Newsday, the New York Times, Mother Jones, the Village Voice, Salon, and many other publications. She is the author of Home Fires Burning: Married to the Military—For Better or Worse and The Cure: Confronting the Last Unmentionable Taboo—Menstruation. She lives in Baltimore, Maryland, where she teaches at Johns Hopkins University and at Morgan State University.
Read More Show Less

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)