Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 42

OSI

S E RV I N G L AW Y E R S
SINCE 1981

D.C.'s Most Complete Attorney
Service Support System
Incredible flexibility -- plans
from $35/mo through full time
officing, with mail, phone, office,
email, other options.
'Digital mail' -- same day notification of items received, and
scanned copies if desired
The most developed customer
portal around -- reserve offices,
make payments, review call records, list qualifications, online
Over 400 potential attorney
collaborators
Highly presentable facilities
Evening and weekend use
The orginal attorney officing
system. Fully adapted to the digital
world.
Constant contact system; incl
notice of any client appearance
Plus three full time office suites
at Farragut Square.
Ask about our Attorney Starting
Package at $99 a month, with the
first six months discounted to
$49.50 a month
1629 K St. Suite 300

https://osioffices.com (202) 600-7777
manager@osioffices.com

42 WASHINGTON LAWYER

*

JUNE 2020

WORTH READING

WHEN THE JUSTICE SYSTEM
PUNISHES THE POWERLESS

Review by Ronald Goldfarb

T

he provocative young Washington
lawyer Alec Karakatsanis asks some
tough questions in his small but
powerfully critical new book Usual
Cruelty: The Complicity of Lawyers in the
Criminal Justice System. Why do the elite
law schools tolerate a culture that is
profoundly unjust? How is it that the
law is not lived as it is written? Why are
hundreds of thousands of defendants
jailed daily because they can't afford
fines or bail? How did we produce a
"punishment bureaucracy?"

A former public defender and founder of the
Civil Rights Corps, Karakatsanis provides "a roar
which lies on the other side of silence," to quote
Middlemarch, in describing our criminal justice
system's prejudice against the poor and minorities. Our criminal law system, he posits, is not a
collection of rights and wrongs, but rather "a
tool related to cultural, racial, and economic
features of our society."
Karakatsanis lays out his position in three essays
focused on the fundamental injustices of the
criminal legal system, lawyers' role in the
bureaucracy, and a call for radical reform. His
slim book of essays contains daunting data that
provokes fresh thinking about our justice
system's operating values. An example
Karakatsanis offers: Secondhand smoke kills
41,000 Americans a year, 13 times the number of
people who died on 9/11. Cigarette smoking is
responsible for 480,000 deaths in the United
States annually, and it kills six million worldwide.
Yet, we spend our law enforcement resources to
protect us against "minuscule risks," causing
"senseless suffering of powerless people in the
name of law enforcement." We strike against
effects, not causes, of crimes, Karakatsanis says.
Furthermore, Karakatsanis believes that lawyers
work with false priorities about crucial societal
problems such as contaminated water, car accidents, and air pollution. America uses enormous

budgets to combat
the 4 percent of crimes
that are violent. At the
same time, the system
operates debtor
prisons, denies most
people effective
counsel, and generally
leaves corporate crime
alone, he argues.
This country prosecutes drug offenses more than tax and whitecollar crimes - a cultural, not law enforcement,
priority. As a result of economic and racial discrimination, the managers of our justice system
"become dependent on its perpetuation for
their livelihoods and even their identities," and
the bureaucracy - police, prosecutors, corrections officials - does not rigorously monitor
itself.
Karakatsanis offers appalling examples of the
failures of the U.S. criminal justice system. For
one thing, the plea-bargaining system is
weighted against poor defendants and governs
the vast majority of cases. This country has, in
effect, an assembly line of punishment that is
controlled by police and prosecutors, not
lawyers and judges.
Defendants don't receive individualized or
zealous representation because the public
defender system is understaffed and underfunded. Legal rights of poor people are ignored.
Important issues are not litigated. Karakatsanis
deplores constitutional abuses in police systems
and calls jails and prisons "cesspools of disease
and trauma."
Karakatsanis reminds readers that the U.S.
Constitution is not self-executing, and he calls
for "a new vanguard of lawyers" and "better
models for legal careers."
We should listen!

Ronald Goldfarb is an attorney, author, and literary
agent and is of counsel to Redmon, Peyton &
Braswell LLP in Alexandria, Virginia.

Book cover, courtesy of The New Press


https://www.osioffices.com

Washington Lawyer - June 2020

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Washington Lawyer - June 2020

YOUR VOICE
FROM OUR PRESIDENT
PRACTICE MANAGEMENT
CALENDAR OF EVENTS
BAR BUSINESS: BUDGET REPORT
MEET GEOFFREY M. KLINEBERG: 49TH PRESIDENT OF THE D.C. BAR
MOVING THE NEEDLE ON LAW FIRM DIVERSITY
THE 2020 JOHN PAYTON LEADERSHIP ACADEMY
JAMES SANDMAN GOES BACK TO SCHOOL
LAW & SERVICE: OAG CONNECTS TO THE COMMUNITY
ON FURTHER REVIEW
THE LEARNING CURVE
MEMBER SPOTLIGHT
WORTH READING
ATTORNEY BRIEFS
DISCIPLINARY SUMMARIES
THE PRO BONO EFFECT
SPECIAL SECTION: UNFINISHED FIGHT
LAST WORD
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - Cover1
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - Cover2
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 1
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 2
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 3
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 4
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - YOUR VOICE
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - FROM OUR PRESIDENT
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 7
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - PRACTICE MANAGEMENT
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 9
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - CALENDAR OF EVENTS
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - BAR BUSINESS: BUDGET REPORT
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - MEET GEOFFREY M. KLINEBERG: 49TH PRESIDENT OF THE D.C. BAR
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 13
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 14
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 15
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 16
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 17
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - MOVING THE NEEDLE ON LAW FIRM DIVERSITY
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 19
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 20
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 21
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 22
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 23
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - THE 2020 JOHN PAYTON LEADERSHIP ACADEMY
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 25
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 26
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 27
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - JAMES SANDMAN GOES BACK TO SCHOOL
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 29
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 30
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 31
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - LAW & SERVICE: OAG CONNECTS TO THE COMMUNITY
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 33
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - ON FURTHER REVIEW
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 35
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - THE LEARNING CURVE
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 37
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - MEMBER SPOTLIGHT
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 39
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 40
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 41
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - WORTH READING
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - ATTORNEY BRIEFS
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - DISCIPLINARY SUMMARIES
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 45
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - THE PRO BONO EFFECT
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 47
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 48
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 49
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - SPECIAL SECTION: UNFINISHED FIGHT
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - 51
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - LAST WORD
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - Cover3
Washington Lawyer - June 2020 - Cover4
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/julyaugust2020
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/june2020
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/may2020
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/march2020
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/january2020
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/november2019
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/october2019
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/september2019
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/julyaugust2019
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/june2019
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/may2019
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/april2019
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/march2019
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/january2019
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/november2018
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/november2018
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/november2018
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/august2018
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/august2018
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/June/July2018
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/april2018
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/March2018
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/February2018
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/january2018
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/december2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/November2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/september 2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/september 2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/august2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/july2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/June2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/may2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/april2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/march2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/february2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/january2017
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/december2016
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/november2016/
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/october2016
http://washingtonlawyer.dcbar.org/september2016
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com