Saturday, August 25, 2012
Michael O’Hear, law professor and writer at Life Sentences, just reviewed my new book, Tried and Convicted. Much to my delight, he called it entertaining, “in a dark, ironic sort of way.” But then things got even better with a comparison to the late, great one: “I don’t know if Cicchini is an admirer of the late Christopher Hitchens, but . . . Cicchini seems to take a similar delight in skewering hypocrisy and intellectual laziness.” (That kind of comparison, of course, is a writer’s dream.) O’Hear also adds that, “Although the book is intended for a general audience, Cicchini’s acerbic prose makes it a good read even for someone who is already familiar with the legal issues he discusses.” You can read the entire review here, which includes several of O’Hear’s own compelling insights into the criminal justice system, as well as a brilliant—perhaps even “dark”?—historical reference.
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Monday, August 20, 2012
If memory serves, when I started law school about 16 years ago tuition was about $13k per year, which made me very hesitant to enroll in the first place. And by the time I graduated, tuition was fast approaching $20k per year. I remember wondering how much longer most law schools could continue to exist. In other words, who would want to go to law school at these prices? It turns out that I was more price-sensitive than most, and my concern was actually about 10 years premature. Much to my amazement, law school applications and enrollments kept climbing over the next decade, even as tuition continued to skyrocket well above the rate of inflation.
Saturday, August 11, 2012
I love the 1995 case U.S. v. Boyd. After sitting through a four month trial that ended in a guilty verdict, the trial judge overturned the conviction and granted the defendant a new trial. Why? Well, the prosecutors' star witnesses against the defendant were actually incarcerated themselves. That, in itself, is rarely a problem. Instead, what bothered the trial judge was that the prosecutors were bribing their prisoner-witnesses leading up to and during the defendant’s trial. The gifts and favors included providing the prisoner-witnesses with access to illegal drugs, access to visitors with whom they had sexual relations, prosecutor-funded birthday parties, multiple items of clothing, and even phone sex with the prosecutor’s paralegals. In fact, the litany of gifts and favors was literally so amazing that it makes the case worth reading in its entirety—something that can rarely be said of a judicial decision.
Friday, August 3, 2012
Listen to my radio interview with Barry Lynn, a constitutional lawyer and longstanding civil libertarian. Barry and I discuss my new book, Tried and Convicted: How Police, Prosecutors, and Judges Destroy our Constitutional Rights. The interview was broadcast nationally, including in major markets like Los Angeles and, closer to home, Madison, Wisconsin. But you can find the interview archived on the Culture Shocks website. Once you get there, just press the play button and enjoy the show, or navigate to the home page and subscribe to Culture Shocks via iTunes.