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Publishers WeeklyHaving begun his law career over 50 years ago in a small-town private practice, Judge Block has had plenty of experience on the bench. Over the years, he's contended with unethical local government practices, a police brutality case, and his own inner struggles with "making rich people richer," a trend that eventually prompted him to welcome his promotion to federal judge, a position granted him by then-President Bill Clinton. Here, he addresses everything from his family life, to the approval process for his lifetime appointment, bits of history of the Constitution, and more. Block discusses the personalities of myriad judges and how he manages his own courtroom (with an emphasis on "humanizing" the proceedings, as opposed to the "rectitude and formality" of the British judicial system), and devotes nearly half of the book to reflections on specific cases, including the racketeering and money laundering trial of Peter Gotti; the prosecution of Peter Gatien, the owner of The Limelight, "the crown jewel of the drug-infested, club-scene culture" of 1990s Manhattan; and the recent terrorism case involving Najibullah Zazi's plan to detonate a bomb on the New York City subway system. Block's writing is fluid and coherent, and he is consistently a friendly, informative, and humorous narrator-nevertheless, this memoir will appeal primarily to lawyers and students of the legal system. Photos.
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