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The Champion

August 2010 , Page 57 

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Book Review

By Milind Dongre

Ordinary Injustice

How America Holds Court
By Amy Bach
Metropolitan Books (2009)
Reviewed by Milind Dongre

The American criminal justice system is regarded as one of the most progressive in history. At the same time, the consensus view of criminal justice professionals and scholars today is that most state court systems are not living up to the promise of the ideals of due process enshrined in the federal Constitution. The New York State Court of Appeals recently ruled, in Hurrell-Harring v. State, that a class action lawsuit challenging the adequacy of that state’s indigent defense system could proceed. This ruling is one example of the growing recognition nationwide of the urgency for reform of state criminal court procedures that lead court actors — often in an effort to efficiently manage an overloaded docket with limited resources — to routinely both disregard defendants’ rights and reinforce the cycle of crime and poverty that feeds the system in the fi

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