New and Notable: Mass Incarceration on Trial: A remarkable court decision and the future of prisons in America

Mass incarceration on trial: a remarkable court decision and the future of prisons in America Jonathan Simon
KF9730.S57 2014

From the publisher: Berkeley law professor Jonathan Simon—an internationally renowned critic of mass incarceration and the war on crime—argues that, much like the epic school segregation cases of the last century, this new case represents a major breakthrough in jurisprudence. Along with twenty years of litigation over medical and mental health care in California prisons, the 2011 Brown decision moves us from a hollowed-out vision of civil rights to the threshold of human rights… Exposing the priority of politics over rational penal policy—and debunking the premise that these policies are necessary for public safety—this perceptive and groundbreaking book urges us to seize the opportunity to replace mass incarceration with a system anchored in the preservation of human dignity.

New and Notable: Social networking: Law, Rights and Policy

Social networking: Law, Rights and Policy Paul Lambert
KF390.5.C6S643 2014

Social Networking: Law, Rights and Policy is a timely book which examines and explores many of the pressing issues presented by social networking and the array of legal issues, challenges and concerns that it has given rise to. – From the publisher.
It offers a strong international comparative element and examines various legal jurisdictions. – From Amazon’s review.

New and Notable in the Library’s Recreational Reading Collection

Located on the 2nd Floor of library at the base of the stairs

Ian McEwan The Children Act (Doubleday 2014) available at: LAW-McNaughton Collection (2nd Floor) PR6063.C4C48 2014

Fiona Maye, at 59, has just learned of an awful crack in her marriage when she must rule on the opposing medical and religious interests surrounding a 17-year-old boy who will likely die without blood transfusions. The cancer patient, weeks shy of the age when he could speak for himself, has embraced his parents’ deep faith as Jehovah’s Witnesses and their abhorrence of letting what the Bible deems a pollutant enter his body. The scenes before the bench and at the boy’s hospital bedside are taut and intelligent, like the best courtroom dramas. The ruling produces two intriguing twists that, among other things, suggest a telling allusion to James Joyce’s 17-year-old Michael Furey in “The Dead.” Meanwhile, McEwan (Sweet Tooth, 2012, etc.), in a rich character study that begs for a James Ivory film, shows Fiona reckoning with the doubt, depression and temporary triumphs of the betrayed—like an almost Elizabethan digression on changing the locks of their flat—not to mention guilt at stressing over her career and forgoing children. As Fiona thinks of a case: “All this sorrow had common themes, there was a human sameness to it, but it continued to fascinate her.” Also running through the book is a musical theme, literal and verbal, in which Fiona escapes the legal world and “the subdued drama of her half-life with Jack” to play solo and in duets. McEwan, always a smart, engaging writer, here takes more than one familiar situation and creates at every turn something new and emotionally rewarding in a way he hasn’t done so well since On Chesil Beach (2007). (Review from Kirkus)

David Leavitt The Two Hotel Francforts (Bloomsbury 2013) available at: LAW-McNaughton Collection (2nd Floor) PS3562.E2618T86 2013

With his first novel, The Lost Language of Cranes (1986), Leavitt claimed attention as a serious fiction writer, and the publication of his first collection of short stories, Family Dancing (1984), a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award, alerted readers that he was to be taken as a talented writer in the short form as well. Leavitt’s new novel establishes a brisk pace from page one, corresponding to the jittery atmosphere of the place and time in which it is set: the Portuguese capital of Lisbon, which, in the summer of 1940, is the only neutral port left in Europe. Refugees from the German takeover of most of the continent are gathered in Lisbon awaiting a chance to escape the war’s dangers. Leavitt focuses on two married couples as they pass the tense time until an American ship, the Manhattan, will arrive to carry them and other fortunate ticket-holders to the U.S. With one of the men narrating the novel’s events, recalling them from the distance of several years, we follow the couples as they wait for relief from the dangers closing in and, in the meantime, play their own game of intrigue, not on an international diplomatic level but on a personal and even more confounding level: the two wives having to deal with an affair that quickly ignites between their husbands. The result is a dramatic story that Leavitt weaves with compelling authority and empathy. (Starred Review from Booklist)

Featured Books from the New Books Collection

The New Books collection is located on the 2nd floor of the library directly in front of the reference desk.

Rebecca Redwood French & Mark A. Nathan eds Buddhism and Law: An Introduction (Cambridge University Press, 2014) LAW-New Books KNC615.B83 2014

As the first comprehensive study of Buddhism and law in Asia, this interdisciplinary volume challenges the concept of Buddhism as an apolitical religion without implications for law. Buddhism and Law draws on the expertise of the foremost scholars in Buddhist studies and in law to trace the legal aspects of the religion from the time of the Buddha to the present. In some cases, Buddhism provided the crucial architecture for legal ideologies and secular law codes, while in other cases it had to contend with a preexisting legal system, to which it added a new layer of complexity. The wide-ranging studies in this book reveal a diversity of relationships between Buddhist monastic codes and secular legal systems in terms of substantive rules, factoring, and ritual practices. (Publisher’s abstract)

Lisa Blee Framing Chief Leschi (UNC Press 2014) LAW-New Books E99.N74L473 2014

In 1855 in the South Puget Sound, war broke out between Washington settlers and Nisqually Indians. A party of militiamen traveling through Nisqually country was ambushed, and two men were shot from behind and fatally wounded. After the war, Chief Leschi, a Nisqually leader, was found guilty of murder by a jury of settlers and hanged in the territory’s first judicial execution. But some 150 years later, in 2004, the Historical Court of Justice, a symbolic tribunal that convened in a Tacoma museum, reexamined Leschi’s murder conviction and posthumously exonerated him. In Framing Chief Leschi, Lisa Blee uses this fascinating case to uncover the powerful, lasting implications of the United States’ colonial past.

Though the Historical Court’s verdict was celebrated by Nisqually people and many non-Indian citizens of Washington, Blee argues that the proceedings masked fundamental limits on justice for Indigenous people seeking self-determination. Underscoring critical questions about history and memory, Framing Chief Leschi challenges readers to consider whether liberal legal structures can accommodate competing narratives and account for the legacies of colonialism to promote social justice today. (Publisher’s abstract)

New and Notable: Scalia: A Court of One

Scalia: A Court of One Bruce Allen Murphy
KF8745.S33M87 201

Scalia: A Court of One is the compelling story of one of the most polarizing figures ever to serve on the nation’s highest court. It provides an insightful analysis of Scalia’s role on a Court that, like him, has moved well to the political right, losing public support and ignoring public criticism. To the delight of his substantial conservative following, Scalia’s “originalism” theory has become the litmus test for analyzing, if not always deciding, cases. But Bruce Allen Murphy shows that Scalia’s judicial conservatism is informed as much by his highly traditional Catholicism, mixed with his political partisanship, as by his reading of the Constitution. Murphy also brilliantly analyzes Scalia’s role in major court decisions since the mid-1980s and scrutinizes the ethical controversies that have dogged Scalia in recent years. A Court of One is a fascinating examination of one outspoken justice’s decision not to play internal Court politics, leaving him frequently in dissent, but instead to play for history, seeking to etch his originalism philosophy into American law. – From the publisher.

New and Notable: Framing Chief Leschi: Narratives and the Politics of Historical justice

Framing Chief Leschi: Narratives and the Politics of Historical Justice  Lisa Blee
E99.N74L473 2014

From the Publisher: In 1855 in the South Puget Sound, war broke out between Washington settlers and Nisqually Indians. A party of militiamen traveling through Nisqually country was ambushed, and two men were shot from behind and fatally wounded. After the war, Chief Leschi, a Nisqually leader, was found guilty of murder by a jury of settlers and hanged in the territory’s first judicial execution. But some 150 years later, in 2004, the Historical Court of Justice, a symbolic tribunal that convened in a Tacoma museum, reexamined Leschi’s murder conviction and posthumously exonerated him. In Framing Chief Leschi, Lisa Blee uses this fascinating case to uncover the powerful, lasting implications of the United States’ colonial past … challenges readers to consider whether liberal legal structures can accommodate competing narratives and account for the legacies of colonialism to promote social justice today.

New and Notable in the Library’s Recreational Reading Collection

Located at the 2nd floor of library at the base of the stairs.

Jacob Bacharach, The Bend of the World (Liveright Publishing 2014) available at: LAW-McNaughton Collection (2nd Floor) PS3602 .A335 2014

Peter Morrison, the narrator of Bacharach’s debut, lives an untaxing life. He’s just shy of 30, and is a manager at Pittsburgh, Pa.–based Global Solutions where he surfs the Web all day from his cube. He’s dating Lauren Sara, a disaffected art student whose sculptures mostly resemble chairs. But then Peter’s idle world is shaken up. UFO sightings crop up all over Pittsburgh, and Peter sees one too, though he may have just been wasted. A shadowy Danish company may take over Global Solutions, leaving Peter’s cushy gig in question. And then there’s Johnny, Peter’s lifelong friend, who is spiraling out of control, with drug addictions and a fondness for conspiracy theories threatening to drive him into the arms of a local cult leader. To these tensions, Bacharach adds a playful satire of the Pittsburgh art scene, as well as recurrent references to Nazism, bigotry, and bigfoot. In the midst of all this chaos, Peter occasionally sneaks time to consider forging a more meaningful life for himself, though seldom makes much progress before getting dragged somewhere new—strip clubs, camping—all of which results in a fast-moving read. (Review from Booklist)

Jamie Ford, Songs of Willow Frost (Ballantine 2014) available at: LAW-McNaughton Collection (2nd Floor) PS3606.O737S66 2013
William awakens to yet another morning of beatings for bed-wetters at the Sacred Heart orphanage. In 1931, lots of children have been orphaned or left with the sisters because their parents could not care for them. William has little hope, but today is his birthday. More precisely, today is every boy’s birthday, since the sisters find it more convenient to celebrate them all on September 28, Pope Leo XII’s own birthday. As is custom, each boy is given a sort of present, either a letter from home, kept back for this very occasion, or in William’s case, more information about his mother. His last memory is of finding her in the bathtub, her fingertips dripping water onto the floor, the bathwater draining away strangely pink. On this, his 12th birthday, Sister Angelini reveals that doctors refused to treat his mother—because she was Chinese and because she had a shady reputation—so she was taken to a sanitarium. William, confused by the news, joins the other boys on a trip to the theater. Just before the movie begins, a beautiful woman appears on screen, crooning in dulcet tones. William is stunned to realize that this Chinese woman looks exactly like his mother. Soon, William and his best friend, Charlotte (who is blind and determined never to return to her father), concoct a plan to escape the orphanage and find the mysterious singer named Willow Frost. Willow has her own sad tale, replete with sexism, abuse and broken promises. Ford (Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, 2009) writes of American life in the 1920s and ’30s, bustling with go-getters and burdened with trampled masses. Often muted and simplified, his prose underscores the emotional depression of his main characters. A heartbreaking yet subdued story. (Review from Kirkus)

New and Notable from the New Books Collection

The New Books Collection is located in front of the Reference Desk

Robert A. Ferguson, Inferno: An Anatomy of American Punishment (Harvard U. Press 2014)
LAW-New Books K5103.F47 2014

“This is less a public-policy book than a deeper exploration of what it means to punish… So much of Ferguson’s project is an attempt to bring readers closer to understanding what it’s like to fall into the maw of the justice system—that’s why he has no compunction about bringing in literature (Kafka, Dostoyevsky, and other authors) when nonfiction is too dry or imprecise to do the job. When trying to understand the unimaginable torment of sitting alone in a coffin-like cell for years, or of watching helplessly as one’s execution date creeps closer and closer, sometimes fictions comes closer to capturing these horrors better than any ACLU report ever could. Inferno is a wide-ranging effort that covers many subjects. A section on Cesare Beccaria, an 18th-century thinker and reformer on justice issues, is fascinating… Ferguson’s descriptions of the hell that is solitary confinement (and the arbitrary, capricious manner in which the incarcerated are subjected to it) are powerful… Inferno still stands out as an interesting, intellectually innovative take on a hellish problem.” – Jesse Singal, The Boston Globe

Shon Hopwood, Law Man: My Story of Robbing Banks, Winning Supreme Court Cases and Finding Redemption (Crown 2012)
LAW-New Books KF373.H6413A3 2012

“In the spring of 2003, the phone on Seth Waxman’s desk rang.”Will you accept a call from federal prison?” the caller asked. Waxman sighed. It might have been his fifth prisoner call that day. As the former Solicitor General of the United States and a prominent member of the Supreme Court bar, he was on the must-contact list for those looking for representation before the Court. In almost all of these cases, Waxman wanted to help, but he was just one person. And — whether fair or not — petitions by prisoners stood little chance of capturing the Court’s attention.

But this call, it would turn out, was different. This call was from a prisoner named John Fellers. And not only did Fellers have a case for Waxman, but the Court had already granted this prisoner’s petition. The one he had filed “pro se,” or without a lawyer. The one for which he had filled out an in forma pauperis (“IFP”) request, or a request to waive the customary fees. The one for which he now had no lawyer, because his “lawyer” when he had asked the Court to hear his case had been a fellow inmate, a guy whose prison job was working in the law library, a guy who had no college education and no expertise in anything but robbing banks.

That jailhouse lawyer’s name was Shon Hopwood. And that self-taught “law man” had just achieved the near-impossible – he had written a petition for certiorari (a request for Supreme Court review), filed it in his friend’s name, and received notice from the Supreme Court of the United States that it would hear his case.

The rest of the story is the stuff of movie scripts, blockbuster films starring Matt Damon or Matthew McConaughey. The former Solicitor General of the United States takes the case, but only on the condition that the jailhouse lawyer stay involved. The great Supreme Court advocate wins, calls the jailhouse lawyer and the client in prison, and congratulates them on a great, unanimous, almost unheard-of victory. The jailhouse lawyer gets out of jail, stays in touch with his old mentor, and eventually (with encouragement and backing) goes to law school (UW). And, even while he is in law school, he starts to pay it back. Out of his apartment – with his wife and two young children in the background – he continues to help prisoners who, practically, have little other hope”- Review by Lisa McElroy, Huffington Post Blog.

New and Notable in the Library’s Recreational Reading Collection

Located on the 2nd floor of Library at the base of the stairs.

Michael Hastings, The Last Magazine (Blue Rider Press 2014) LAW-McNaughton Collection (2nd Floor) PS3608.A86147L37 2014

“Hastings was one hell of a journalist, covering wars and geopolitical strife for venues like Rolling Stone and BuzzFeed. As it turns out, he would have made a fine novelist had he not died in a car accident in 2013. This “secret” novel was resurrected from his files by his widow, Elise Jordan; it’s a messy, caustic and very funny satire. His protagonist is a young journalist also named Mike Hastings, who has just landed his first job at The Magazine in the dying days of traditional journalism. Hastings, the author, tells the story of how Mike makes the journey from ambitious young man to cynical hack partially by showing us Mike’s new friend A.E. Peoria, a classic old-school journalist who fuels his brilliant war reporting with alcohol and drugs and transvestite hookers. In the crevasse between his sanitary cubicle and Peoria’s lewd adventures, our hero is also tracking the war of career strategy between his managing editor, Sanders Berman, and the international editor, Nishant Patel, whose favor Mike is carefully currying. Hastings chooses the start of the Iraq War to disrupt Mike’s burgeoning career path. “There’s war in the backdrop, looming and distant and not real for most of these characters, myself included,” Mike says. In a way, the book reflects Hastings’ career arc, from unpaid intern at Newsweek to becoming one of the essential war correspondents of his generation. A ribald comedy about doing time in the trenches and the bitter choices that integrity demands.” – Kirkus Book Review

M.R. Carey, The Girl With All the Gifts McNaughton Collection (2nd Floor) PR6056.I4588B77 2013

“A post-apocalyptic tale set in England in a future when most humans are “empty houses where people used to live. Sgt. Parks, Pvt. Gallagher, Miss Justineau and Dr. Caldwell flee an English military camp, a scientific site for the study of “hungries,” zombielike creatures who feast on flesh, human or otherwise. These once-humans are essentially “fungal colonies animating human bodies.” After junkers—anarchic survivalists—use hungries to breach the camp’s elaborate wire fortifications, the four survivors head for Beacon, a giant refuge south of London where uninfected citizens have retreated over the past two decades, bringing along one of the study subjects, 10-year-old Melanie, a second-generation hungry. Like others of her generation, Melanie possesses superhuman strength and a superb intellect, and she can reason and communicate. Dr. Caldwell had planned to dissect Melanie’s brain, but Miss Justineau thinks Melanie is capable of empathy and human interaction, which might make her a bridge between humans and hungries. Their philosophical dispute continues in parallel to a survival trek much like the one in McCarthy’s On the Road. The four either kill or hide from junkers and hungries (which are animated by noise, movement and human odors). The characters are somewhat clichéd—Parks, rugged veteran with an empathetic core; Gallagher, rube private and perfect victim; Caldwell, coldhearted objectivist ever focused on prying open Melanie’s skull. It may be Melanie’s role to lead second-generation hungries in a revival of civilization, which in this imaginative, ominous assessment of our world and its fate offers cold comfort. One of the more imaginative and ingenious additions to the dystopian canon.” – Kirkus Book Reviews.

New and Notable Short Story Collections from the McNaughton Recreational Reading Collection

New and Notable Short Story Collections from the McNaughton Recreational Reading Collection (2nd Floor of Library at the base of the stairs)

Lorrie Moore, Bark: Stories (Knopf 2014) LAW-McNaughton Collection (2nd Floor) PS3563.O6225B37 2014

“There’s a reason Lorrie Moore is so beloved by her baby boomer brethren: she’s smart, she’s funny, her eye is even sharper than her tongue. In Bark, her latest collection of stories, all those qualities are well on display. “He had never been involved with the mentally ill before,” she writes of her mid-life anti-hero in the (sort-of) title story, “Debarking.” “[B]ut he now felt more than ever that there should be strong international laws against them being too good looking.” Acerbic? Check. Knowing? Check. Says out loud on the page what we less talented, less observant mere mortals wish we could form so well in thought? Check. Check. Check. The only reason not to read these seven stories is that, perhaps, they’re just too accurate and perceptive about the way we live now–but then, why would you ever want to read stories that were anything else?” -Sara Nelson, Amazon Best Book of the Month review, (March 2014)

George Saunders, Tenth of December: Stories (Random House 2013) LAW-McNaughton Collection (2nd Floor) PS3569.A7897T46 2013 (National Book Award Finalist 2013)

“Saunders, a self-identified disciple of Twain and Vonnegut, is hailed for the topsy-turvy, gouging satire in his three previous, keenly inventive short story collections. In the fourth, he dials the bizarreness down a notch to tune into the fantasies of his beleaguered characters, ambushing readers with waves of intense, unforeseen emotion. Saunders drills down to secret aquifers of anger beneath ordinary family life as he portrays parents anxious to defang their children but also to be better, more loving parents than their own. The title story is an absolute heart-wringer, as a pudgy, misfit boy on an imaginary mission meets up with a dying man on a frozen pond. In “Victory Lap,” a young-teen ballerina is princess-happy until calamity strikes, an emergency that liberates her tyrannized neighbor, Kyle, “the palest kid in all the land.” In “Home,” family friction and financial crises combine with the trauma of a court-martialed Iraq War veteran, to whom foe and ally alike murmur inanely, “Thank you for your service.” Saunders doesn’t neglect his gift for surreal situations. There are the inmates subjected to sadistic neurological drug experiments in “Escape from Spiderhead” and the living lawn ornaments in “The Semplica Girl Diaries.” These are unpredictable, stealthily funny, and complexly affecting stories of ludicrousness, fear, and rescue.”–Donna Seaman, Booklist Starred Review.