My Review of Courtroom 302 (The Washington Post)

Here is my review of Steve Bogira's new book about the criminal justice system. It was published in the Washington Post today.


Anonymous said...

Hi, David.

I am currently reading Courtroom 302 and only have one question thus far and am curious about your opinion.

Bogira did his courtroom observances in 1998, correct? Why, then, is the book just coming out now? I am enjoying his insight but am puzzled at this. The world is a different place since 9/11, and his book would be different and more intersting written post 9/11.

Indefensible said...

1998--You are absolutely right.

As to why it took so long?
It's a fine question and the answer is I don't have the foggiest idea nor would I even try to guess. For whatever it's worth though, I think the issues Bogira chronicles are as salient now as they were when he observed them--the world of criminal justice hasn't changed that much where petty offenses and poor people are concerned.

Anonymous said...

Yes, you are right - the criminal mind and it's creativity and cunning abilities have not and will not change.

I will return to let you know my layman's review once I've turned the last page and taken it all in!

(This book really is up my alley as I love all things true crime.)

Anonymous said...


I hope you're continuing to enjoy the book. It wasn't published until this year mainly because I'm a slow writer--though I like to think of myself as thorough. After 1998 I was reviewing transcripts, studying court files, and doing a lot of interviewing of the key people in the cases, so I could understand what had happened not just on the surface but beneath it. As David indicates, for defendants coming through state criminal courthouses, the world is almost exactly the same place today as it was before 9/11. Unfortunately.