Alcatraz Justice: The Rock's Most Famous Murder Trial

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9780887394089: Alcatraz Justice: The Rock's Most Famous Murder Trial

In May of 1946, Alcatraz was rocked by the most sensational and bloody escape attempt in the island’s history. Six convicts obtained guns and took nine guards hostage, one of whom was the author’s father. Before the uprising was quelled, two guards and three prisoners lay dead and fifteen officers had been wounded. Alcatraz Justice chronicles the trial that followed. Drawing from his background as a litigation attorney with thirty-five years of jury trial experience, Ernest Lageson gives life to the drama played out by the four principal lawyers.

The trial came to have almost as much drama as the crime. Sitting on the bench was a judge who, it could be argued, was prejudicial to the prosecution, and who berated one young defense attorney mercilessly in front of the jury. The most experienced of the defense team was ill-prepared and self-aggrandizing with the press. One of the defendants was severely mentally challenged who also had been diagnosed schizophrenic. In a dramatic, four week courtroom battle, the surviving insurgents were found guilty of first-degree murder. This book gives frank and disturbing insight into our criminal justice system.

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About the Author:

ERNEST B. LAGESON graduated from the University of California’s Law School in 1959. He began his career as a deputy district attorney in Contra Costa County. Over the next twenty-five years, he became nationally recognized for his work in civil jury and nonjury cases. Invited into such prestigious trail lawyer organizations, Lageson served as president of the Defense Research Institute. Mr. Lageson’s first book, Battle at Alcatraz, was published in 1999.

From Library Journal:

One of the country's most sensational murder trials took place 56 years ago and involved men who were already in prison. This historical and legal account by trial lawyer Lageson (Battle at Alcatraz) describes an incident that began in May 1946, when six inmates on Alcatraz Island invaded a gun gallery, stole weapons, and captured a cell house, taking nine hostages. During the uprising, three of those inmates and one officer were killed. The three remaining inmates were tried in the Federal District Court of California for the officer's murder. The trial had all the elements of a contemporary trial: allegations of abuse by prison authorities, misleading testimonies regarding what happened, and, especially, questions about the sanity of defendant Sam Shockley. The outcome the execution of Shockley and Miran Thompson and the freeing of Native American Clarence Carnes comes at the end of a suspenseful drama. Lageson, whose father was one of the guards held hostage, has documented the proceedings in exhaustive detail. For readers who have patience, this book offers a good look at how the U.S. justice system works. Recommended for crime collections. Frances Sandiford, Green Haven Correctional Facility Lib., Stormville, NY
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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