Journey to Justice

Overview

In Journey to Justice, Johnnie Cochran illuminates the odyssey that led him from a small, rented home shared with his extended family in Shreveport, Louisiana, to Judge Lance Ito's courtroom. In 1954, Brown vs. the Board of Education galvanized the young Cochran. Taking Thurgood Marshall as his role model, Cochran embarked on a legal career in which he won landmark decisions against official misconduct within the criminal justice system. From Leonard Deadwyler, a black motorist stopped for speeding to the ...
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New New New New Brand New Book. Collectible, First Mass Market First Edition. Print Key/Line: 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 Will include the original receipt for the book which was ... purchased in the first month that the book was released: November 1997. Read more Show Less

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Overview

In Journey to Justice, Johnnie Cochran illuminates the odyssey that led him from a small, rented home shared with his extended family in Shreveport, Louisiana, to Judge Lance Ito's courtroom. In 1954, Brown vs. the Board of Education galvanized the young Cochran. Taking Thurgood Marshall as his role model, Cochran embarked on a legal career in which he won landmark decisions against official misconduct within the criminal justice system. From Leonard Deadwyler, a black motorist stopped for speeding to the hospital with his pregnant wife, then shot dead by the police; to Ron Settles, a black college football star whose death at the hands of police was made to look like suicide; to the record 9.4-million-dollar jury verdict he won for a thirteen-year-old Latina girl molested by a uniformed LAPD officer, Cochran fought to change police procedures responsible for some of the most blatant abuse committed by those sworn to "protect and serve." It was the sobering experience of these earlier cases that fueled the inner turmoil of a man whose deeply felt sense of duty to the law and to his people compelled him to take a leading role in the case of People vs. Orenthal James Simpson, one of the greatest morality plays of our time - a play that has forever altered our perceptions of race relations in America. In Journey to Justice we learn about the man behind the sound bites, the zealous advocate for such diverse clients as Michael Jackson and Reginald Denny, the white truck driver attacked in the aftermath of the Rodney King verdict. In Journey to Justice, Cochran reflects not only on how these events shaped his legal philosophy but also on the contexts within which these courtroom dramas were played out.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Famous O.J. Simpson defense attorney Cochran finally delivers his memoir, which traces his odyssey from a small, rented home in Louisiana to Judge Ito's courtroom.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780345413673
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/28/1997
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: 1 MASS MKT
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 373
  • Product dimensions: 4.50 (w) x 6.86 (h) x 1.44 (d)

Meet the Author

Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr. continues to practice law. He also co-hosts a live, weeknight talk show, "Cochran and Grace,  for Court TV. The show analyzes and discusses the day's top legal stories and their wider social and political implications. He lives in Los Angeles and New York with his wife, Dr. Dale Mason Cochran, and his father, Johnnie L. Cochran, Sr.

Tim Rutten is an award-winning reporter for the Los Angeles Times. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Leslie Abramson, and their son, Aidan.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 3
1. Gifts of the Spirit 7
2. In the Glow of the Golden Dream 23
3. A Wider World 45
4. A Soul Divided 71
5. A Wanderer in the Wilderness 94
6. My Brother's Keeper 128
7. Jonah and the Whale 142
8. "He Was Our Pride and Joy" 164
9. All That Glitters 196
10. "Does He Need Your Help?" 225
11. Thirty Pieces of Silver 247
12. "By Their Fruits Shall Ye Know Them" 270
13. "And David Took a Stone" 301
14. From Seeds of Doubt, Justice Flowers 322
15. A Duty of Conversation 358
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First Chapter

CHAPTER ONE

It was a sweltering day in early September 1972. I was thirty-four years old; I had tried and won ten murder cases in a row; I had my confidence: I was on a roll.

Then I agreed to defend Geronimo Pratt. Geronimo was innocent. We were friends. I never had cared about a client as deeply as I did him. And now I was on my way to visit Pratt in the prison where the state of California intended to keep him for the rest of his life.

What happened? What went wrong?

As I was driving north out of San Francisco on that sweltering day, Pratt's trial was still fresh in my mind. As I headed for San Quentin, I replayed it over and over in my head. Most of all, I recalled the moment less than two months before when Judge Kathleen Parker's bailiff had intoned the familiar "All rise" and we stood to hear the jury's verdict.

Pratt's trial on charges of murder, robbery, and aggravated assault had been hard fought but no more difficult than many others I had won over the years. Still, I was inordinately tense as Judge Parker scanned the verdicts, then handed them to her clerk to be read. From the start, an indescribable undercurrent had surged beneath the surface of the Pratt case. Like an underground river, dark and hidden, it had silently eaten away at the very foundations of my confidence in the integrity of the criminal justice system.

My client, the leader of the Black Panther Party's Los Angeles office, had insisted from the start that his case "was about something else. They're out to get me, Cochran," he said over and over, "and they're going to do whatever they have to do." But I was an experienced attorney. I dealt in facts, not conspiratorial fantasies. With all they had on their minds in those turbulent years, it seemed somehow improbable to me that federal, state, and local authorities would plot secretly together to persecute a single Vietnam veteran whose worst fault was a taste for hyperbolic revolutionary jargon.

But as Geronimo and I stood shoulder to shoulder to hear his fate pronounced, why was my stomach heaving?

"The defendant will face the jury," Judge Parker instructed, and Geronimo and I turned as if in harness. I scanned the jurors' faces. They did not return my gaze.

"We the jury in the above action find the defendant... "

I had done my best. But suddenly--for perhaps the first time--I wondered if it really had been enough.

"... guilty, as charged, of the crime of murder."

A few weeks later, on August 29, Judge Parker denied without comment my motion for a new trial and sentenced Geronimo Pratt to life in prison. In the days that followed, there were rumors and whispers, glimmers of dark secrets. I had begun to learn things, though not nearly as much as I intended to know. One of us, indeed, had been living in a fantasy world. But it wasn't my client.

I had come to San Quentin, in part, to tell Geronimo that. The guard who escorted me to the three-by-five-foot cubicle set aside for visiting lawyers and their clients smiled chillingly as he opened the door. This, he informed me, was the very room in which George Jackson had been handed a gun by his lawyer shortly before his fatal escape attempt. Pratt was in solitary confinement, where he would remain for the next eight years, and they brought him to me chained hand and foot. He wore a white jumpsuit with a huge black X stenciled on its back.

"Cochran," he said matter-of-factly, "this thing on my back is a target. When I walk back across that yard, if I fall down they will shoot and kill me."

We sat across from each other at a wooden table, a metal screen between us. We talked for hours without ceasing. Then the walls of that tiny room began to close in on me. I felt suddenly desperate, as if I might be going mad. It was time to go. We rose and put our hands together against the screen.

"Don't forget me, Cochran," he said.

"I won't," I promised.

And I never have. Driving back toward San Francisco, I approached the Golden Gate Bridge, and, all at once, its storied beauty seemed somehow forbidding and tragic, part of another world in which people lived happily and unburdened. If I was to keep my promise to Geronimo Pratt, if I was to complete this journey to justice on which I had embarked, I would need more strength than I ever had imagined.

I knew just where to find it. As I have so many times in my life, I recalled the words of the Prophet Isaiah: "But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."

That's the thing about roots. They nourish you, and a man who has them always knows where he stands. My own roots run through the rich, black earth of my family's love, across the continent and back nearly sixty years to a clapboard house on a red dirt hill in Shreveport, Louisiana, and to the Little Union Baptist Church where I first heard the voices that have been with me ever since....

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