Women criminal defense attorneys routinely handle cases that would grossly offend the sensibilities of the ordinary woman or man. Often asked to use their gender as a strategy to strengthen the defense, they struggle with myriad moral and ideological conflicts inherent in representing men accused of such violent crimes against women as rape, domestic abuse, and child molestation. This groundbreaking work explores how women attorneys manage those conflicts, how they use ideologies in defense of their work, and how they cope with the emotional stress of their professional lives. Drawing on extensive interviews and ethnographic research, Cynthia Siemsen presents thirteen provocative case studies to illustrate the unique interplay between ideology and emotion in women whose public defense work often puts them in the position of "betraying" their gender. Skillfully blending together the words of criminal attorneys themselves with a solid theoretical framework, she explores the ways in which women's perspectives about their identities, roles, and emotions evolve through three distinct stages: early, mid-career, and seasoned attorney. Siemsen argues convincingly that the stresses of public defense work, including dealing with such burdens as California's stringently enforced three-strikes law, create much more conflict for women than intrinsic contradictions between feminist beliefs and professional ideologies. The longer a woman practices law, the author finds, the better she becomes at managing her emotions by strictly adhering to the constitutional ideal of protecting individual rights. An appendix, "Ambivalent Identities: Men of Color Who Prosecute Their 'Own,'" offers a comparative viewpoint of the experiences of African American male prosecutors. This insightful volume offers a unique lens through which to view the work lives of women criminal defense attorneys and sheds new light on how they resolve and survive the moral dilemmas and emotional stress of their jobs.
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Cynthia Siemsen is Assistant Professor of Sociology at California State University at Chico. Claire Renzetti, editor of the Northeastern Series on Gender, Crime, and Law, is Professor of Sociology at St. Joseph's University. She divides her time between Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Dayton, Ohio.From Booklist:
Sociologist Siemsen sought to discover how female defense attorneys balance feminist ideology against the defense of men accused of rape and other crimes against women. What she found was that female lawyers working in this area clammed up when she posed the oft-asked question, "How could you defend these men?" So in pursuing her research, she refined her questions: "Given that you defend these men, do you find it troubling?" proved much less threatening. While they do struggle with the core question, most of the lawyers interviewed felt that their belief in a fair trial for everyone supersedes qualms about the crime itself. In fact, many women felt that their work does not "betray" their gender but rather supports the feminist notion that all human beings should be treated equally. Though intended for a scholarly audience, Siemsen's work should attract general readers as well, given the popular interest in the topic. A fascinating look into how female attorneys deal with the moral dilemmas of their work. Mary Frances Wilkens
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Book Description Northeastern, 2004. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P11155553614X
Book Description Northeastern, 2004. Paperback. Book Condition: New. New item. Bookseller Inventory # QX-176-X4-9793519
Book Description Northeastern. PAPERBACK. Book Condition: New. 155553614X New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW6.0990035
Book Description Northeastern, 2004. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX155553614X