The Criminal Law Handbook – Know Your Rights, Survive the System
“The Criminal Law Handbook: Know your rights, survive the system of Attorneys Paul Bergman & Sara J. Berman is an impressive tome of 678 pages of information on criminal law. The book aims to help you understand the rules confused and procedures relating to criminal offenses and to show how the system works, because the police, lawyers and judges do what they do and more importantly what can be done to limit the damage. I think it achieves that goal very well. Most part of the book is written in a question-and-answer understandable to explain the criminal justice system, both within and outside the court. They range from the first police interview through trial in jail and probation.
Nolo Remember that focuses on making the law accessible to all, and books published by Nolo doing an outstanding job of doing just that. Therefore, this book is not a manual of criminal law as would be in law school, but a general guide for the non-lawyer or layman. For a guide like this is very good and includes a range of information.
The twenty-seven chapters consist of:
Chapter one: to speak with police. Chapter provides information on police interrogation of persons who have not taken into custody and interrogation of detainees.
Chapter two: search and seizure. Some of the topics covered here are search warrants, the doctrine of public view, stop and search, searches of cars, and research.
Chapter Three: Arrest: When it does, what it means. This chapter discusses the general principles of detention, arrest, arrests without warrants, the use of force during arrests and detentions of citizens.
Chapter Four: the identification of eyewitnesses: Psychology and procedures. Topics include procedures for identification of eyewitnesses, the psychology of eyewitness identification, alignments, showups, photo ID, and the proposals to remove the identification.
Chapter Five: Reservations and deposit: and out of prison. The booking process, the organization of bail and be released on his own are covered here.
Chapter Six: The suspect asked. This chapter focuses on crime and criminal procedures and criminal responsibility, a grand jury, and diversion.
Chapter Seven: Criminal Defense Lawyers. You need a lawyer, public defenders, private defense lawyers, and self-representation are discussed in this chapter.
Chapter Eight: Understanding the relationship between lawyer and client in a criminal case. Topics include confidentiality, client-centered decision making, communication between lawyer and client, among others.
Chapter Nine: A Walk Through the Criminal Court. The court, in classroom, players lounge, court and explain the behavior.
Hearings in the tenth chapter. Timing and self-representation at the hearings look here.
Chapter XI: Developing the strategy of defense. Just what the title of the chapter, the fundamentals of defense strategy.
Chapter XII: Crimespeak: understanding the language of criminal law. Basic principles on things such as murder and manslaughter, rape, robbery, theft, hate crimes, the Patriot Act and more.
Common defenses Chapter XIII: Defensespeak: criminal charges. Topics such as partial defense, self-defense, alibi, and madness are covered here, among others.
Chapter XIV: Discovery: the exchange of information with the prosecution. Discovery is an important part of any legal or civil case and this chapter provides the basis for criminal matters.
Chapter Fifteen: investigate the facts. Interviews and testimonies are a few things here.
Chapter XVI: The preliminary hearing. What are your rights, and strategies of both sides are presented here.
Chapter Seventeen: Test of fundamental rights of defense. Topics covered include: due process, the burden of proof, the right to remain silent, the right to address the problem of witnesses, Right to Jury Trial, Right to a lawyer, and others.
Chapter XVIII: the ground rules evidence in criminal proceedings. There are procedures to follow in the presentation of evidence and this chapter provides guidelines for doing things right.
Chapter XIX: proposals and their role in criminal proceedings. Learn what they are and what they are in this chapter.
Chapter XX: offers reason: The majority of criminal cases must stand. Fundamentals of plea deals, the pros and cons, the process and the strategy of negotiating plea deals are discussed in this chapter.
Chapter Twenty-One: the process of experimentation. Good chapters on various aspects of a process of electing a judge or jury deliberations and verdict.
Chapter Twenty: Sentencing: How to punish the guilty by the court. The fundamentals of the procedures and sentencing options and a bit ‘on the death penalty.
Chapter Twenty. Appeals: An appeal by a High Court. Losing the process does not necessarily mean it’s over. This chapter includes resources and cars.
Chapter Twenty: How the Criminal Justice System Works: A Walk Through Two Drunk Driving cases. The sample used for drunk driving.
Chapter Twenty: Juvenile Courts and procedures. Separate chapter explains how things work in juvenile courts.
Chapter Twenty: Regulation of prisoners. The information on prisons and prisoners ‘rights’, remedies, words and forgiveness.
Chapter Twenty. Research the law. What and where research, including a glossary.
Again, this book is a large volume of information. It is well organized and has cost many bars and examples. If you have a question about criminal law, more than likely that this book will have an answer. The authors suggest that the law varies from state to state, and I would recommend that in addition to this book, anyone who has dealings with the criminal justice system in their look at the statutes of the jurisdiction should ensure they have the law that is applicable to their case. That’s why I like the last chapter provides guidance in this area. The authors also note that the book is not intended as a detailed guide to self-representation. This is a comprehensive overview of the whole system, but not all, and this because you can not put everything on our complex system in a book.
This is an excellent tour of the criminal justice system and one of the best resources around the layperson who wants or needs to navigate the complex maze of rules and laws that shape our system. I recommend it highly to anyone wanting to know everything about the law.