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May 02, 2024 Book Review

Recent Reads

Jolie Zangari

Model Witness Examinations, 5th Edition

Professional Practice
Paul Mark Sandler and James K. Archibald, Authors (American Bar Association)

An absolute treasure for aspiring trial lawyers, or seasoned ones, looking to develop the best techniques for examining witnesses at trial! The chapters present and navigate each aspect of witness examination, while providing the requirements that need to be met, and including techniques proven to be successful in the handling and control of a witness to reach the most successful outcome. Written by two experienced and talented trial attorneys, this book provides fantastic guidance for attorneys embarking on a career in trial advocacy. The authors provide step-by-step strategies and use practical examples (with lengthy question-and-answer dialogue) to highlight the concepts being taught. There are general examples of direct examinations, as well as cross examinations, in the context of criminal trials. Then, there are specific examples and supportive case law regarding the more detailed aspects of establishing credibility, moving documents and objects into evidence, impeachment, and more. After each example of a printed question-and-answer witness examination, the authors show the reader what was done effectively and then offer techniques on how to improve. Using this material, lawyers can prepare for the challenges that await them in the courtroom and certainly learn the skills they are hoping to attain.

The Gift of Fear: Survival Signals That Protect Us from Violence

Professional Practice / Nonfiction
Gavin de Becker, Author (Back Bay Books)

Gavin de Becker is the nationally renowned expert on predicting violent behavior, whose firm protects and provides risk assessments for some of the most high-profile people around the world. For the rest of us, de Becker has delivered this “gift” in the form of a book, which is the perfect mixture of professional practice, psychological thriller, and self-help guide combined into one publication! It is complete with several lists of risk factors that can predict violence in different circumstances (ranging from stranger-danger violence to workplace violence, and ultimately to domestic and familial violence). It is sprinkled throughout with the facts of actual cases that demonstrate these risk factors manifesting in people’s behavior. The cases are written like fiction, easily understandable and relatable. Built on the foundation that our very own instincts will provide us with the skills we need to help ourselves, the book is incredibly inspiring and empowering. Understanding the difference between anxiety and actual fear, and how to interpret behavior and then respond accurately in the moment, is incredibly freeing. The Gift of Fear was recommended to me by an officer from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security during a college campus safety forum, and yet it became my favorite book of 2023.

The Addicted Lawyer: Tales of the Bar, Booze, Blow, and Redemption

Brian Cuban, Author (Post Hill Press)

Addiction among attorneys is a staggering problem. Research studies consistently prove that attorneys in the United States struggle severely with anxiety, depression, and stress, thus leading to problematic drinking and alcohol and substance abuse. Sadly, those in our profession are most unlikely to seek help, for fear of consequences to our careers. All of these startling concerns are presented in Brian Cuban’s new book, but in a powerfully moving and brutally honest way. He tells his story, a true years-long battle with substance abuse, candidly and unabashedly. He explains how his addiction to drugs and alcohol arose during his law school days and continued through his career in law, until he succeeded in his journey to sobriety. Cuban’s revelations in this book read almost as if your closest friend is speaking to you, confiding his moments at rock bottom through his ultimate redemption. Because of his writing style, the reader can easily relate to and understand that his personal struggle is something we can all identify with, through ourselves, our friends, or our colleagues. There is no doubt we all know someone living a similar lifestyle. Though it is heartbreaking, this book provides us with positive guidance towards help, whether it be for ourselves or another, and for that we can be grateful.

The List

Yomi Adegoke, Author (HarperCollins)

The fictional portrayal of a suddenly exposed “list” on social media of sexual predators, abusers, and harassers working in the media industry, and the people whose lives are most affected—a story similar to those that we have seen played out in actuality. In particular, the book is written from the perspectives of one of the accused men and his fiancée as they navigate the unchartered territory of defending against a seemingly false accusation almost solely on social media platforms, without much legal recourse. The characters’ level of frustration and ultimate despair resulting from their inability to access the most pertinent of information, including the anonymous accusers’ identities, is gut-wrenching. Even as #MeToo has slipped from the daily headlines, we have seen waves of sudden revelations of sexual abuse and/or harassment allegations. Oftentimes, they are announced and analyzed on social media with little to no evidence at the outset. It may be in the form of a social media post, or through a more formal platform, such as New York’s Sexual Abuse “Lookback” statute, which created a one-year lookback window for survivors of sexual abuse to file claims that would otherwise be time-barred. Regardless, these allegations are frequently tried in the newest court of public opinion: social media. The List is timely, intelligent, clever, and provocative, and brings a unique perspective to the most modern forum of accusations of criminal behavior.

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Jolie Zangari

Jolie Zangari is a former prosecutor from the Kings County District Attorney’s Office in Brooklyn, NY. She is currently a full-time faculty member of the Criminal Justice Department of SUNY Nassau Community College.