The Abuse Excuse: And Other Cop-Outs, Sob Stories, and Evasions of Responsibility

Alan M. Dershowitz, Author Little Brown and Company $22.95 (341p) ISBN 978-0-316-18135-8
More and more criminal defendants are claiming a history of abuse to avoid accountability for their behavior. Harvard Law School professor Dershowitz (Chutzpah) views battered wife syndrome, ``black rage,'' the ``crime of passion'' mitigation, sexual abuse syndrome and other defenses as ``abuse excuses.'' In his blistering critique, Dershowitz sees such ploys and jurors' sympathetic responses to them as an abdication of individual and societal responsibility. Despite the author's attempt to link these 68 articles and essays under the broad theme of denial of accountability, this is a miscellany of his feisty views on such defendants as Michael Jackson, Erik and Lyle Menendez, John Demjanjuk, Woody Allen and William Kennedy Smith, as well as Serbian genocide, U.S. feminists' anti-pornography campaigns and Germany's lax prosecution of Nazi war criminals. Dershowitz, a consultant to the O.J. Simpson defense team, intimates that Simpson might have to use some variation of the abuse excuse-a glaring irony that blunts his book's impact. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 01/03/1994
Release date: 01/01/1994
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 352 pages - 978-0-316-18102-0
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