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    Margie DeWindRaj Kumar SinghLisa Mazzie HatlenAnn Rabe

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    Wisconsin LawyerWisconsin Lawyer
    Vol. 78, No. 12 December 2005

    Book Reviews


    Book: Wisconsin Criminal Defense ManualWisconsin Criminal Defense Manual, 4th ed.

    By Patrick J. Devitt & L. Michael Tobin (Madison, WI: State Bar of Wisconsin CLE Books, 2005). 869 pgs. CD-ROM forms. $150. Order, www.wisbar.org, (800) 728-7788.

    Reviewed by Raj Kumar Singh

    This fourth edition of the Wisconsin Criminal Defense Manual (WCDM) is authored by content authorities L. Michael Tobin and Patrick J. Devitt. Tobin is the director of the trial division of the State Public Defender (SPD). Devitt is an assistant state public defender. Together, they have 45-plus years of criminal practice with the SPD.

    In the preface, the authors modestly refer to the manual as "a collection of ideas on the practice of criminal law in Wisconsin." What we actually have here is a comprehensive practice manual. Even the most seasoned criminal defense practitioner would benefit from going through this volume, regularly and in its entirety, using an organized study regimen. At the very least, this book is a flawless reference volume and forms bank.

    Included in the first chapter are an extensive criminal procedure outline and an array of checklists to help prevent malpractice. Subsequent chapters include presentations on case organization, initial interviews, case analysis, pretrial motions, plea negotiation, trial and sentencing preparation, postconviction proceedings, and SPD cases. Five appendices address SPD rules, sentencing issues, and more. Indexes include tables of cases, statutes, regulations, and rules, and forms and subjects listings. A CD-ROM contains forms compatible with WordPerfect and Microsoft Word.

    While this volume primarily applies to trial proceedings involving adult defendants, much of what is offered also would apply to the defense of nonadults. The State Bar's Appellate Practice and Procedure in Wisconsin is an important adjunct to the WCDM and, for practitioners representing juveniles or children, the Wisconsin Juvenile Law Handbook also is a must-have.

    The fourth edition of the Wisconsin Criminal Defense Manual should be on the desk, not the bookshelf, of every defense attorney practicing criminal law in Wisconsin.

    Raj Kumar Singh, Valparaiso 1999 cum laude, certificate in criminal practice, is a member of the Ozaukee County Bar.

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    Becoming Justice Blackmun: Harry Blackmun's Supreme Court Journey

    By Linda Greenhouse (New York, NY: Times Books, 2005). 268 pgs. $25.

    Reviewed by Margie DeWind

    Many lawyers may be speculating about how the contours of U.S. Supreme Court jurisprudence will be affected by the recent appointment of two new justices. Observers trying to predict the court's future and students of its past will find much of interest in Becoming Justice Blackmun, about the late Harry Blackmun, who served on the court from 1970 to 1994. Author Linda Greenhouse, who reports on the court for the New York Times, makes clear that individual justices can have a significant impact on the nature of the court's rulings but also that the specific impact can be surprising. Greenhouse provides a unique view of the evolution of one justice, based on her study of Blackmun's collection of personal and official papers, which was opened to the public in March 2004, five years after the justice's death.

    Not surprisingly, a major focus in the book is abortion cases, an area of the law with which Blackmun became associated after he authored the decision in Roe v. Wade. Greenhouse's view of Roe's significance to Blackmun is clear. She describes a protest that greeted the justice's appearance at a dinner and comments, "The rest of Harry Blackmun's life had begun." Greenhouse points out that Roe had critics across the political spectrum. Despite the array of criticism, or perhaps because of it, Blackmun became protective of the decision and the rights it sought to uphold. It appears that Blackmun initially approached abortion and Roe from the perspective of doctors' rights, but over time he also became highly concerned with the impact of abortion laws on women's rights.

    The Roe opinion probably surprised many people, given that Blackmun was appointed to the court by a Republican and that he had not shown extraordinary support for women's rights in the sex discrimination cases that had previously reached the court. But as Greenhouse's discussion of these cases and other types of cases makes clear, Blackmun approached issues with an open mind and a willingness to change his views.

    The changes in Blackmun's views may have contributed to his deteriorating relationship with Chief Justice Warren Burger. The men became close friends when they were teenagers but ended up barely on speaking terms. Greenhouse acknowledges the ambiguity of the evidence about the ruptured friendship, but she suggests that ideology, thin skins, mismatched expectations, and Burger's "dysfunctional" management style all probably contributed to the breakup. Readers who are interested in personalities will be intrigued by the author's discussion of this and other aspects of Blackmun's dealings with his court colleagues.

    Greenhouse gleaned many memorable details from her study of Blackmun's personal notes and correspondence, including Blackmun's recollection of why he chose law school: "In those days, people always said well, if you don't know what you want to do, study law because it won't hurt you any, it'll be good in whatever you go into." Greenhouse concludes that while law school certainly was good for what Blackmun went into, the trajectory of Blackmun's career was not necessarily what he wanted or expected. Nevertheless, his willingness to accept challenges and to change are qualities that any of the high court's members would do well to emulate.

    Margie DeWind, U.W. 1989, is a legal editor with the State Bar CLE Books department.

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    Legal Writing Advice: Questions and Answers

    By Gertrude Block (Buffalo, NY: William S. Hein & Co., 2004). 210 pgs. $59.95. Order, (800) 828-7571.

    Reviewed by Lisa Mazzie Hatlen

    Years ago, in my pre-law profession, I crafted an ad for a consumer-friendly health library to run on the back of the local television guide. The headline read: "If You've Got Questions, We've Got Answers." Shortly after the ad appeared, I received an anonymous letter in the mail, written in perfectly legible script, informing me that the ad headline was grammatically incorrect. There was something about "If You've Got Questions" that was not sitting well with the anonymous writer, and properly so.

    These days, America Online chirps, "You've Got Mail" (spawning a movie of the same name), and the Milk Processor Education Program wonders if you "got milk?" (spawning innumerable knock-offs of the slogan, all starting with "Got"). All of which goes to prove what author Gertrude Block says in Legal Writing Advice: Questions and Answers: To make these phrases grammatically correct "would elevate grammar over idiom, and idiom invariably wins that battle."

    Block correctly notes that "language is a lawyer's most important tool. In fact, some have said that it is their only tool[.]" Most lawyers would not wonder if the heading "Defendant's Got No Case" is grammatically correct; however, most might struggle with whether to use insure or ensure, or that or which, or whether it is really okay to split an infinitive. Well, if you've got those questions, Block's got the answers.

    Block's modest-sized book is a collection of her "Language Tips" columns, which were published initially in the Florida Bar News more than 20 years ago and have since appeared in other state bar journals, including occasionally in the Wisconsin Lawyer. Block has organized the book into a question and answer format with topical chapters - Meaning, Etymology, Style, Propriety, and Grammar - and has included an index for easy reference to a topic or word (though, sadly, "have" and "got" are not listed). The book covers a wide range of legal writing questions. For example, you can learn whether en banc, in banc, and in bank all mean the same thing (they do) and make the proper choice between "as grounds therefore" and "as grounds therefor" (choose the latter). But the book also covers much in addition to legal writing. It explains the vexing who versus whom distinction and includes an entire section on politically correct language. There's no doubt that Block knows her stuff, and Legal Writing Advice: Questions and Answers serves readers as a helpful reference book.

    Lisa Mazzie Hatlen, U.W. 1999 cum laude, Order of the Coif, is an assistant professor of legal writing at Marquette University Law School, Milwaukee.

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    Brown at 50: The Unfinished Legacy

    By Deborah L. Rhode & Charles J. Ogletree Jr., eds. (Chicago, IL: ABA Division for Public Education, 2004). 212 pgs. $20. Order, (800) 285-2221.

    Reviewed by Ann E. Rabe

    Brown at 50: The Unfinished Legacyis a collection of essays regarding the legacy of the Brown v. Board of Education holding that "separate educational facilities are inherently unequal." The preface states that these essays are "an occasion to celebrate our progress, confront our failures, and reassess our strategies." Besides providing an interesting perspective to Brown, the book is relatively well balanced and easy to read.

    In part I, the essays describe the attorneys involved in the struggle "to win equality by law." Charles H. Houston and Thurgood Marshall are excellent examples of attorneys who stay the course, regardless of the cost. Further, the late Chief Justice Earl Warren's efforts to get a divided court to reach a unanimous decision during his first year on the bench is an inspiring example of how the U.S. Supreme Court is intended to work.

    In part II, Brown's historical impact is evaluated. In sometimes critical language, these essays suggest that Brown, while promising much, has actually accomplished little. Other essays suggest that Brown "seems more complicated and ambiguous." The essays in part II conclude that much work is still required to fully realize the potential of Brown.

    In part III, the essays emphasize Brown's success and the effort required to complete Brown's vision. For instance, an essay by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stephen G. Breyer suggests that the success of Brown was in establishing "the commitment of the Court and the Nation to the rule of law over prejudice." However, Brown has yet to provide "equal quality education irrespective of race." Thus, these essays suggest that despite great progress, racial inequalities still exist, and more work remains to be done.

    Ann E. Rabe, U.W. 2004 cum laude, is an associate attorney in the Intellectual Property Group at DeWitt Ross & Stevens, Madison.

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    To Review a Book...

    The following books are available for review. Please request the book and writing guidelines from Karlé Lester at the State Bar of Wisconsin, P.O. Box 7158, Madison, WI 53707-7158, (608) 250-6127, org klester wisbar wisbar klester org.

    Publications and videos available for review

    • Elevator and Escalator Accident Reconstruction, 2d ed., by David A. Cooper, Joel D. Feldman J.D., Ronald D. Schloss (Tucson, AZ: Lawyers & Judges Publishing Co., 2005). 448 pgs.
    • Hero Island, by Stephen B. Wiley, J.D., poems (Largo, FL: Oasis Publishers, 2005). 72 pgs.
    • Lowering the Bar: Lawyer Jokes and Legal Culture, by Marc Galanter (Madison, WI: Wisconsin Press, 2005). 430 pgs.
    • Medical and Legal Aspects of Neurology, by Jeffrey Wishik M.D., J.D. (Tucson, AZ: Lawyers & Judges Publishing Co., 2005). 346 pgs.
    • Obtaining Discovery Abroad, 2d ed., by ABA Antitrust Law Section (Chicago, IL: ABA Antitrust Law Section, 2005). 361 pgs.
    • The Persuasive Edge, 2d ed., by Richard J. Crawford & Charlotte A. Morris (Tucson, AZ: Lawyers & Judges Publishing Co., 2005). 300 pgs.

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