Tough Cases: Judges Tell the Stories of Some of the Hardest Decisions They've Ever Made

Tough Cases: Judges Tell the Stories of Some of the Hardest Decisions They've Ever Made


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Tough Cases stands out as a genuine revelation. . . . Our most distinguished judges should follow the lead of this groundbreaking volume.”
—Justin Driver, The Washington Post

A rare and illuminating view of how judges decide dramatic legal cases—Law and Order from behind the bench—including the Elián González, Terri Schiavo, and Scooter Libby cases

Prosecutors and defense attorneys have it easy—all they have to do is to present the evidence and make arguments. It’s the judges who have the heavy lift: they are the ones who have to make the ultimate decisions, many of which have profound consequences on the lives of the people standing in front of them.

In Tough Cases, judges from different kinds of courts in different parts of the country write about the case that proved most difficult for them to decide. Some of these cases received international attention: the Elián González case in which Judge Jennifer Bailey had to decide whether to return a seven-year-old boy to his father in Cuba after his mother drowned trying to bring the child to the United States, or the Terri Schiavo case in which Judge George Greer had to decide whether to withdraw life support from a woman in a vegetative state over the wishes of her parents, or the Scooter Libby case about appropriate consequences for revealing the name of a CIA agent. Others are less well-known but equally fascinating: a judge on a Native American court trying to balance U.S. law with tribal law, a young Korean American former defense attorney struggling to adapt to her new responsibilities on the other side of the bench, and the difficult decisions faced by a judge tasked with assessing the mental health of a woman who has killed her own children.

Relatively few judges have publicly shared the thought processes behind their decision making. Tough Cases makes for fascinating reading for everyone from armchair attorneys and fans of Law and Order to those actively involved in the legal profession who want insight into the people judging their work.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781620973868
Publisher: New Press, The
Publication date: 09/25/2018
Pages: 320
Sales rank: 244,837
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Russell Canan is currently a judge on the Superior Court of the District of Columbia and an adjunct professor at the George Washington University School of Law. He lives in Washington, DC. Frederick Weisberg is currently a judge on the Superior Court of the District of Columbia and teaches annually in the Trial Advocacy Workshop at Harvard Law School. He lives in Washington, DC. Gregory E. Mize is a currently a judge on the Superior Court of the District of Columbia and is a judicial fellow at the National Center for State Courts and an adjunct professor at the Georgetown University
Law Center. He lives in Washington, DC.

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

1 Terri's Judge Judge George W. Greer 7

2 Rough Justice Judge Russell F. Canan 37

3 A Judge's Hidden Struggle: Overcoming Judicial Culture Judge Gail Chang Bohr 57

4 Uneasy Lies the Head That Wears a Crown Judge Mark Davidson 71

5 Brave Jenny Judge Gregory E. Mize 85

6 Every Case Is a Tough Case for a New Judge Judge Michelle M. Ahnn 113

7 United States v. I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby Judge Reggie B. Walton 129

8 A Quiet Grief Judge Lizbeth González 147

9 Can an Elected Judge Overrule Nearly a Million Voters and Survive? Judge Robert H. Alsdorf 153

10 Walking with My Ancestors: Tribal Justice for Salmon Running Judge Allie Greenleaf Maldonado 175

11 Crazy or Cruel: The Trial of an Unexplained Filicide Judge Frederick H. Weisberg 197

12 Building Justice in Kosovo Judge Edward S. Wilson 237

13 Elián Judge Jennifer D. Bailey 255

Acknowledgments 279

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