cover image Ordinary Injustice: How America Holds Court

Ordinary Injustice: How America Holds Court

Amy Bach, . . Metropolitan, $26 (307pp) ISBN 978-0-8050-7447-5

Lawyer and journalist Bach exposes a litany of failures and systematic shoddiness at the core of the American criminal justice system that goes unchecked because the people affected tend to be poor, minorities or both, and because problems are so pervasive that they have become invisible to defenders, prosecutors and judges alike. Bach sees this blindness as a product of a public that cares little for the rights of the accused so long as someone—anyone—is convicted and a courthouse community where prosecutor, defending attorney and judge share a commitment to maintaining order, even at the expense of justice. Readers looking for solutions will be disappointed; the author offers only a call for transparency, particularly the creation of metrics for courtroom success, and nationwide monitoring. More compelling is her portrayal of the people hurt in this system—the victims of crimes, the falsely convicted and the defenders, prosecutors and judges whose own humanity is undermined when they lose sight of the justice they supposedly serve. (Aug.)