I have been looking forward to today for some time as I start a series of three posts involving Robert Rotenberg’s new book, The Guilty Plea. When Simon and Schuster invited me to participate in the blogger tour for the book I immediately accepted. The first post is a review of the book today. Tomorrow’s post has Questions and Answers with Robert. The post the day after tomorrow is my thoughts on Robert’s Answers.
to lead the investigation are Detective Ari Greene and officer Daniel Kennicott. They are careful thorough investigators. Old City Hall
The evidence is so formidable that, for the first time in my crime fiction reading, DiPaulo explores a guilty plea with his client. A plea to manslaughter and a few years in jail is an alternative to be considered when a 1st degree murder conviction means 25 years in jail. DiPaulo treads a delicate ethical path in negotiations on a guilty plea when Samantha has not admitted killing her husband. To plead guilty requires an admission of guilt. I have had numerous clients agonizing as Samantha did over whether to plead guilty when they did not admit doing wrong.
Eventually choosing to go to trial DiPaulo is haunted by the decision whether to call Samantha as a witness. It is often the most difficult decision a defence counsel will make in a trial. There is reference to the Milgaard case where the accused was wrongfully convicted and did not testify. I knew Milgaard’s lawyer. He was a very good trial lawyer. In Emily Couric’s book The Trial Lawyers about 10 famous American trial lawyers James F. Neal said you need the defendant to provide a rational defence, Richard “Racehorse” Haynes avoided calling the defendant as he worried the jury would misunderstand the defendant and Edward Bennett Williams said call the Defendant. It is my belief Canadian juries want to hear the defendant testify in trials.
Senior Crown Prosecutor, Jennifer Raglan, and DiPaulo are experienced capable trial lawyers. The book is at its best in their offices and the courtroom. Rotenberg captures the anxiety, the intensity, the split second decisions during questioning witnesses, the thrill of forcing an admission from a witness, the sudden adjustments to unexpected evidence and the unrelenting strain day and night of lawyers engaged in a major trial.
Outside the courtroom sexual affairs complicate the lives of several characters and enliven the story.
As a defence counsel I wished Rotenberg had not made the case for the Crown so strong. Yet real life sees many accused facing overwhelming evidence. It is a very good book. Rotenberg is a master legal mystery craftsman in the rank of writers such as Scott Turow and William Deverell. (Apr. 30/11)