Doing Justice Book Summary - Doing Justice Book explained in key points
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Doing Justice summary

Preet Bharara

A Prosecutor’s Thoughts on Crime, Punishment, and the Rule of Law

4.7 (25 ratings)
29 mins

Brief summary

Doing Justice by Preet Bharara is a riveting memoir that explores the complexities of the justice system. It offers valuable insights into the legal process and encourages readers to strive for fairness and integrity in their daily lives.

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    Doing Justice
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    Good inquiry requires a committed investigator who withholds judgment and has a strong work ethic.

    Finding the truth is rarely as simple as expressions like “connect the dots” or “follow the money” suggest. When it comes to criminal law, the pursuit of justice is about discovering the truth and holding someone accountable for a crime.

    For a criminal case, this process starts with the inquiry phase. During this phase, an investigator must be committed to the truth. This may seem obvious, but a lazy investigator can set a low bar for satisfactory evidence, and jump at the first chance to close a case. However, even a committed investigator can fall short as a result of their biases or presumptions about guilt and innocence. The author learned this lesson decades ago.

    In 1989, he received a call from Jessica, a friend who was shocked to learn that two people she knew, a married couple by the name of Jose and Kitty Menendez, had been brutally murdered in their living room. When the police eventually arrested Jose and Kitty’s children, Lyle and Erik, for the crime, Jessica couldn’t believe it. She wondered how the police could get things so wrong.

    Despite Jessica’s firm belief that the sons couldn’t have murdered their parents, they had. In 1996, the brothers were finally convicted after confessing to the crime. This was the first time the author understood that one can never be completely sure of what someone else is capable of, and should always withhold one’s presumptions of guilt and innocence.

    Another hallmark of a committed investigator is their work ethic. One of the most esteemed investigators in this regard is Kenny McCabe. Before he passed away in 2006, Kenny McCabe was a living legend for working on cases involving the five mafia families: Gambino, Bonnano, Genovese, Lucchese and Columbo. Yes, McCabe was a real-life “mob buster,” and he was famous for his meticulous and detailed work. Not only did he have files and photos on just about everyone, but he could also tell you how high or low a mobster’s ranking was just by observing their behavior.

    McCabe never cut corners. He put in the work of collecting one piece of evidence at a time and building a case. In fact, he was so good at his job, that even the mobsters had respect for him. If they got busted by McCabe, they knew they’d been caught fair and square.

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    What is Doing Justice about?

    Doing Justice (2019) is a window into the remarkable career of former federal attorney, Preet Bharara. It shares the wisdom that Bharara gained over the years, from tips that every trial lawyer should know to his thoughts on prison reform. Also included are thrilling stories of the formative criminal cases Bharara was involved in, and those that continue to linger in his mind.

    Doing Justice Review

    Doing Justice (2019) by Preet Bharara is a thought-provoking exploration of the American justice system and its challenges. Here's why it's a book worth reading:

    • It provides a behind-the-scenes look at high-profile cases and the inner workings of the justice system, offering valuable insights into the complexities of pursuing justice.
    • The book highlights the importance of integrity, fairness, and ethical decision-making, reminding readers of the fundamental values that underpin a just society.
    • With its compelling storytelling and real-life examples, it engages readers by bringing the legal world to life, ensuring that the subject matter never becomes dull or boring.

    Best quote from Doing Justice

    Justice is never assured, but if each person in the process remembers to be vigilant, rigorous and open-minded to changing a view, justice is at least more likely.

    —Preet Bharara
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    Who should read Doing Justice?

    • Lawyers and law students
    • Social justice advocates
    • Anyone interested in the American justice system

    About the Author

    Preet Bharara is the former US Attorney for the Southern District of New York (2009 - 2017). As the supervisor of over 200 Assistant US Attorneys, he oversaw cases ranging from cybercrime to gang violence. He’s been featured as among Time magazine’s “100 Most Influential People in the World” and included on Vanity Fair’s “New Establishment” list. He’s currently a faculty member at the NYU School of Law and can be heard on the popular podcast Stay Tuned with Preet.

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    Doing Justice FAQs 

    What is the main message of Doing Justice?

    Doing Justice is a thought-provoking exploration of the complexities and nuances of the legal system.

    How long does it take to read Doing Justice?

    The estimated reading time for Doing Justice is several hours. The Blinkist summary can be read in just minutes.

    Is Doing Justice a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Doing Justice is worth reading for its insightful analysis of the justice system and engaging storytelling.

    Who is the author of Doing Justice?

    Doing Justice is written by Preet Bharara.

    What to read after Doing Justice?

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