D.A.: Prosecutors in Their Own Words

Mark Baker, Author, Baker, Author Simon & Schuster $24 (256p) ISBN 978-0-684-83156-5
Following his success presenting Cops, Bad Guys and others in ""their own words,"" Baker turns his proven technique on the men and women who help shape the fate of persons accused of crimes. Without doing a lot of writing (he just offers introductions for the six chapters), Baker has culled an engrossing collection of stranger-than-fiction war stories and introspective reflections from interviews with over 30 current and former DAs around the country. In 1995, there were 15 million arrests in America, and prosecutors had to dispense with every one of the cases. It's a workload that one prosecutor likens to ""being on an assembly line."" From the first chapter, ""Backing In,"" to the last, ""Burning Out,"" Baker lets the prosecutors talk with anonymous candor about such pressing professional and personal issues as discretion (when to try a case, when to offer a plea) and lifestyle (it's hard to come home to a happy family after a day dealing with murder and rape). Prosecutors, Baker notes, are meat-and-potato lawyers. ""Only two of the prosecutors I talked with graduated from high-profile Ivy League-affiliated law schools.... Almost all of them finished their training firmly in the middle of the pack--not in the top 10 percent academically, not Law Review, just average."" With a combination of great responsibility, high stress and relatively low pay, the job provokes mixed emotions. Baker allows his interviewees to let it all hang out as they discuss the toll the job has taken on their lives. (June)
Reviewed on: 05/31/1999
Release date: 06/01/1999
Genre: Nonfiction
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