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.