The Book of the Week is “Indefensible” by David Feige, published in 2006. This is an autobiographical account of a public defender; an attorney who represents indigent people accused of street crime, who were assigned to him by the court.
Feige described his experiences with the people in the criminal justice system in the New York City of the 1990’s. He had to deal with the homeless, mentally ill, addicts, gang members, good people who were wrongly accused– and their family members; judges and other court personnel, and fellow attorneys. There were personality types he saw over and over again– the poorly educated jailed people trapped in the poverty cycle due to their bad choices, bad luck and a series of circumstances out of their control; good, fair judges; and unsympathetic and sadistic judges.
Feige was overworked, underpaid and his anecdotes smacked of the proverb, “Good to know the law, better to know the judge.”
Read this depressing book to get an intimate picture of the inner-city downtrodden, and the difficulties of keeping them from being jailed, even when they are innocent, due to the odds against them.