In the Interest of Justice: Great Opening and Closing Arguments of the Last 100 Years

Overview

This rich and rewarding volume collects more than two dozen of the most memorable opening and closing arguments made by top prosecutors and defense attorneys of the last one hundred years. Carefully selected to explore every major aspect and challenge of the legal process, these speeches highlight the tactics and strategies, colorful language, and stirring rhetoric that lawyers use to win judge and jury to their side. With a shrewd eye for courtroom stratagems and a keen understanding of the social currents that ...

See more details below
Paperback (Reprint)
$14.57
BN.com price
(Save 14%)$16.99 List Price
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (14) from $8.19   
  • New (8) from $9.37   
  • Used (6) from $8.19   
In the Interest of Justice: Great Opening and Closing Arguments of the Last 100 Years

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • 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 Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$11.99
BN.com price

Overview

This rich and rewarding volume collects more than two dozen of the most memorable opening and closing arguments made by top prosecutors and defense attorneys of the last one hundred years. Carefully selected to explore every major aspect and challenge of the legal process, these speeches highlight the tactics and strategies, colorful language, and stirring rhetoric that lawyers use to win judge and jury to their side. With a shrewd eye for courtroom stratagems and a keen understanding of the social currents that shape them, Manhattan assistant district attorney Joel Seidemann introduces and illuminates each speech from an insider's perspective. Arguments from landmark trials are included to reveal the smartest tricks of the trial lawyer's trade and demonstrate the power of an impassioned presentation to tip the scales toward the fulfillment of justice.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Despite what the subtitle says, most of the high-profile cases that draw Seidemann's focus are from the last quarter-century (a much shorter span than that covered in another volume of closing arguments, And the Walls Came Tumbling Down by Michael Lief and Mitchell Caldwell, Forecasts, Aug. 23). The usual suspects (so to speak) are here: Johnnie Cochran's summation in O.J. Simpson's criminal trial, the prosecutors' opening statements in the cases of Adolf Eichmann and Timothy McVeigh. Seidemann, an assistant DA in New York City for over two decades, also offers three cases in which defendants represented themselves, including accused al-Qaeda conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui, though these and other cases (Martha Stewart, Marv Albert) seem included more for their notoriety than for the quality of the prose or legal arguments. But then there is William Jennings Bryan's eloquent, if debatable summation in the Scopes trial, proclaiming the amorality, if not the immorality, of science. Seidemann does achieve his two goals: to entertain the reader with legal drama and to remind the reader of some important details-that O.J., for instance, won his criminal case but lost in the civil suit. Seidemann's greatest service is to provide brief but thorough annotations of the cases, in which he considers some of the reasons behind an argument's success or failure. (Oct.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780060509675
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 10/18/2005
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 645,061
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.87 (d)

Meet the Author

Joel J. Seidemann has been assistant district attorney for New York County since May 1982, and since 1989 has been senior trial counsel responsible for trying murder cases and other serious and complex crimes. He has been adjunct professor of trial advocacy at Pace University School of Law since 1995, and was named Pace's Outstanding Adjunct Professor of the Year in 1999.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

1 A tale of two verdicts : the O. J. Simpson case 5
2 Celebrity crime in the spotlight : Marv Albert and Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs on trial 62
3 The green beret doctor of death : the United States of America v. Jeffrey MacDonald 111
4 When criminals crave the limelight : three defendants defend themselves 133
5 Street-crime sorrows : sentencing speeches for forgotten victims 152
6 An uphill battle : the case against the subway vigilante 164
7 In the name of 6 million : the trial of Adolf Eichmann 179
8 A victim of the war on crime : the Amadou Diallo case 202
9 A war of the worldviews : the state of Tennessee v. John Scopes 212
10 A confederacy of dunces : the United States of America v. Martha Stewart 216
11 An epic affair : Bill Clinton makes history 227
12 The Silkwood mystery : the estate of Karen Silkwood v. Kerr-McGee Corporation 236
13 Carnage in Oklahoma : the United States of America v. Timothy McVeigh 258
14 A mother's nightmare : Augustin Ballinas v. New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation 290
15 High times and nepotism at the Koch Court : the United States of America v. Bess Myerson, Andy Capasso and Hortense Gabel 311
Read More Show Less

First Chapter

In the Interest of Justice
Great Opening and Closing Arguments of the Last 100 Years

Introduction

Many of the cases in this book are famous. You have heard of them and probably formed your own opinions of them. They created quite a stir, and though, for some, their time in the limelight has passed, they have not left our consciousness and may not in our lifetime. O. J. Simpson, Al Qaeda moles, the Oklahoma City bombing -- for good or ill, they entered our mental lexicon as paradigms of some principle or larger ethos. They might embody different principles to different people -- indeed, each is a kind of Rorschach test through which we can discern our own worldview. Whatever that may be, they retain the power to touch a raw nerve in all of us and provoke a vivid response.

Despite overblown media impressions, most people still remain confused about what actually happened at many of the trials included in this volume. Why did O. J. win the criminal case and lose the civil one? Why did the jury acquit the cops who shot Amadou Diallo even though they fired forty-one shots at an unarmed man? Why was Sean "Puffy" Combs acquitted of all charges after that mysterious firefight at that nightclub? This book sheds light on these questions.

The first lesson herein is that events in the courtroom always differ from the media rendition. The courtroom's intense enclosed theater creates unparalleled moments of conflict and revelation, and what happens there is more human, more dramatic, more gritty than the media can convey. The truth always is. There's an old joke that best describes what the media does to reality: A mother wheels her firstborn in a stroller. When a friend compliments her on the baby's beauty, the mother replies, "You think she's pretty in real life? You should see the pictures." The media gives us the picture; in the courtroom you see real life.

This is primarily a book of great speeches by some of the best courtroom lawyers of our time, or of any time. The payoff to readers, I hope, is twofold: that they feel both the spell of a master storyteller and the sensation of being personally present at an event they've often heard about from afar. My goal is to place the reader in the jury box, face-to-face with the advocate in full flow, plying his trade, swaying a jury toward the justness of his cause.

Not all of the cases I chose are renowned or even recent. Sure, they are all highly readable and most of the attorneys are terrifically eloquent, but if that were enough, I could fill a whole other volume with different but equally entertaining examples. What is so special about the speeches compiled here? The answer may sound esoteric at first. They stand out as moments -- and I'm not being mystical -- in which a higher witness seems to hover in the courtroom. The courtroom seems to float in an eternal time zone, with the jury of the ages looking on. Maybe it's history being made, or the contagious tabloid buzz in the air, or both of those things and more. Any lawyer who has argued important cases has lived through it at least once, this sensation that the event is suddenly greater than the people involved. That ineffable feeling of transcendence is what unites the cases in this book. And in each instance the lawyers occupy center stage. Their fine-tuned awareness of the setting, of the historic moment, of the jury's -- and often even the whole country's -- mood infuses their rhetoric. At their best -- as in the pages of this book -- their words echo out into a wider consciousness.

The few relatively unknown cases that I feature here have that forever quality, too. Powerful and heartrending, they act as rediscovered snapshots of a haunting time. They are sentencing speeches against convicted murderers from an era when street crime held our cities under perpetual siege. In those years fear and senseless violence felt as inevitable as death and taxes. One more mindless murder, one more statistic, every day, for decades -- who can differentiate them now? As part of my twenty-two years in the New York County DA's office, I have had to live through those anguished courtroom scenes of impervious killers and families in agony virtually every day, or so it seemed. This is my chance to commemorate those victims.

These extracts of opening and closing arguments can be read as intact short stories in which the lawyers unfold the events of each case in a clear, linear plotline -- the best advocacy must do this anyway. To help the reader follow along, I have included an introduction and postscript to each case -- the former sets the scene and the latter explains the verdict, analyzes why one side prevailed over the other, and offers an appreciation of the courtroom skills and tricks displayed by the advocates.

This is a book of classic legal dramas, ranging from the unforgettable to the unbelievable. Both conditions apply in the trial of Nazi war criminal Adolf Eichmann, represented here in the form of the famous opening statement by his Israeli prosecutor, who gives a harrowing history lesson on the most horrific crimes in history. Another case that reverberates through the decades is the so-called Scopes monkey trial from the 1920s, which pitted evolution against creationism and later became the centerpiece of the Spencer Tracy movie Inherit the Wind.

Sometimes, however, a trial qualifies for greatness on account not only of its high standard of advocacy but also its extreme comic appeal. The tabloid classic of celebrity sportscaster Marv Albert's prosecution for sexual assault -- in which his alleged hairpiece played a critical role -- is just such an instance. Another is the Bess Myerson case, one full to the brim with characters so absurd that Hollywood could never have dreamed up a zanier story. In other cases the media frenzy surrounding the proceedings -- as in the Puff Daddy and Martha Stewart trials -- made the courtroom feel as though it were situated in the center of the universe -- if only for a few weeks or months.

In the Interest of Justice
Great Opening and Closing Arguments of the Last 100 Years
. Copyright © by Joel Seidemann. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 – 6 of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2004

    In the Interest of Justice: Great Opening and Closing Arguments of the Last 100 Years

    In the Interest of Justice: Greatest Opening and Closing Arguments of the Last 100 Years ... the title says it all. Author Joel Seidemann, an experienced trial attorney provides insight into some of the most riveting and perhaps defining legal moments of the past 100 years. Both criminal and civil trials are included in this artfully crafted book. The authors' postscript commentary details the moment when the trial lawyer seems to go beyond ordinary litigation skills in order to champion his cause. The result is a book with fascinating transcripts from some of the most amazing trials of our time with a 'professor-like' introduction and analysis of each.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2004

    In the Interest of Justice: Great Opening and Closing Arguments of the Last 100 Years

    What distinguishes this book from other lawyers' collections is the author's patient interest in educating readers by methodically taking the reader through courtroom work. The author describes in detail the trial strategies that would ordinarily be overlooked by the casual reader and some legal experts alike. The book makes use of trial transcripts with great effect. This is a fascinating read for lawyers, whether real or armchair.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2004

    In the Interest of Justice: Great Opening and Closing Arguments of the Last 100 Years

    Not just another manual on trial techniques, this book provides a unique opportunity to learn from some of the country's most outstanding litigators. The author's courtroom savvy and experience is reflected throughout the analysis of each opening and closing argument. The book is both insightful as well as instructive. It will keep you reading.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 20, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted April 8, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 – 6 of 4 Customer Reviews

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