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Book Review: John Wayne Gacy: Defending a Monster
By Samuel P. Newton
Book Review columns.
Securing Reasonable Caseloads: Ethics and Law in Public Defense
By Judge Sam L. Amirante And Danny Broderick
Skyhorse Publishing (2011)
Reviewed by Samuel P. Newton
In 1978, fresh off a stint as a public defender, Sam Amirante opened a brand new private criminal defense practice. His first client called, asking Amirante to help stop the police from following him. Sam accepted the offer, completely unaware that he had just committed to represent one of America’s most notorious serial killers — John Wayne Gacy.
Amirante chronicles his representation of Gacy from that phone call through the jury verdict, but the book is less about Gacy and much more about Amirante. It could be subtitled Reflections on Defending a Serial Killer, given that Amirante considers the meaning of criminal defense, the importance of constitutional rights, and the lack of ethics among prosecutors more than he discusses the nuts and bolts of his representation of Gacy. Sam calls himself an “
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