BOOK REVIEW: And Nothing but the Truth: A Review of Judge Rothwax's "Guilty: The Collapse of Criminal Justice": GUILTY: THE COLLAPSE OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE. By Judge Harold J. Rothwax + Skip over navigation
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Copyright (c) 1997 McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific
Pacific Law Journal

BOOK REVIEW: And Nothing but the Truth: A Review of Judge Rothwax's "Guilty: The Collapse of Criminal Justice": GUILTY: THE COLLAPSE OF CRIMINAL JUSTICE. By Judge Harold J. Rothwax +

New York: Random House, 1996. Pp. xiv, 238. $ 23.00.



+ Judge, New York State Supreme Court.

Spring, 1997

28 Pac. L.J. 533

Author

Reviewed by Paul L. Seave *

Excerpt

The role of "truth" 1 in the American criminal justice system has become controversial. Until recently, the received wisdom in the legal profession was that truth somehow emerged from the battle "zealously" 2 pursued by adversarial counsel. Moreover, the profession generally accepted the limitations on truth-seeking imposed in the name of constitutionally-based values.

In the past several years, however, practitioners, academics, and judges have begun to question the efficacy of an adversary system that they now view as distorting the truth. 3 Nonlawyers have begun to view the system as needlessly and offensively driven by lawyers' fealty to client and self rather than to truth. 4

Judge Harold J. Rothwax, a trial judge on the New York Supreme Court for twenty-five years, and a former criminal defense lawyer, has joined this debate. In Guilty: The Collapse of Criminal Justice, 5 Rothwax gives forth his decidedly conservative views of the criminal justice system. 6 As heavy-handed with the reader as he proudly claims to be with criminal defendants, 7 the judge has written a polemic proclaiming the very collapse of the criminal justice system. Alongside this high decibel message is his brief, though more interesting consideration of this country's approach to criminal justice and truth. This Review examines both the jeremiad and the sotto voce discussion.

I. THE GUILTY GET-OFF!!!

The criminal justice system, Judge Rothwax explains, should reflect "equal measures of truth and fairness." 8 The problem, according to the judge is that "the weight of ...
 
 
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