A Crime of Self-Defense: Bernhard Goetz and the Law on Trial

George P. Fletcher, Author Free Press $29.95 (253p) ISBN 978-0-02-910311-1
Those wanting a sensationalized account of the controversial case of Bernhard Goetz, who shot four young black men on a New York subway in 1984, are advised to look elsewhere. This study by a law professor at Columbia University is a measured examination of the case from its investigation to the sentencing of the defendant, with emphasis on the legal question involved. Fletcher supports the advocacy system used in American courtrooms and emphasizes its stress on reason in the law. He explains the law as it applies to self-defense: an attack must be imminent, the defender's response must be both necessary and proportional, and the defender must act with the intention of thwarting the attack. The author lays this groundwork carefully to show why the jury found Goetz innocent of the major charges against him. In the tradition of legal scholarship, Fletcher does not present his personal views on the case. (June)
Reviewed on: 06/03/1988
Release date: 06/01/1988
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-0-226-25334-3
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