cover image Taking Liberties: A Decade of Hard Cases, Bad Laws, and Bum Raps

Taking Liberties: A Decade of Hard Cases, Bad Laws, and Bum Raps

Alan M. Dershowitz. McGraw-Hill/Contemporary, $19.95 (332pp) ISBN 978-0-8092-4616-8

In this collection of essays drawn from his weekly syndicated columns, Harvard Law School professor Dershowitz (The Best Defense, etc.), reviews the present state of the judicial system from Supreme Court to the local police station and discusses how major legal developments of the last decade affect our daily lives. Cases cited concern issues ranging from the ideology of Justice Department figures, including Bork and Meese, to the legitimacy of compulsory seat belts. Dershowitz decries what he considers to be a double standard of justice for nonwhites; he takes lawyers to task for over-charging poor clients for routine services and criticizes law firms for practicingand bar associations for condoningprofessional discrimination. Medical advances and changes in public and private morality, he notes, have created new legal problems, for example, abortion, rights of terminally ill patients and AIDS victims along with altered family relationships and numerous cases involving the First Amendment. He concludes with the observation that the last decade has been marked by a shift away from the protection of individual rights. (May)