MAXIMUM MORPHONIOS by Ellen Morphonios


The Life and Times of America'
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An eccentric and oddly amusing memoir by a flamboyantly and self-consciously outrageous judge. Widely known for bizarrely harsh sentencing (she once sentenced an armed robber to 1,698 years in prison), Judge Ellen "Maximum" Morphonios of the criminal court of Miami demonstrates here, through ample anecdotal evidence, that she has earned her nickname. A former prosecutor who has never lost her prosecutorial bent, she detests criminals (making an exception, apparently, of certain corrupt right-wing politicians whom she admires) and enthuses about the death penalty (she even keeps a tiny model of an electric chair in her chambers). Morphonios, a law school graduate who never attended college, does not theorize about deterrence, nor even muse much about whether her brand of severe sentencing contributes to the amelioration of Miami's serious crime problem. Rather, she depicts her sentencing as an emotive and appropriately splenetic reaction to the heinous acts of criminals. When she is not describing the rigorous sentences she metes out to wrongdoers, their reactions (generally negative), and the reactions of the general public (generally positive), she relates her background as former beauty queen, prosecutor, Florida politico, radio talk-show host, and judge. Perhaps the saddest, and least attractive, aspect of her stoW is her personal life (throughout all three of her tumultuous marriages, she carried on numerous extramarital affairs), which she describes in bright detail. Nonetheless, Morphonios tells her story with engaging humor and sincerity--even when her arguments about criminal justice fail to persuade. A diverting autobiography by one of America's most colorful jurists.

Pub Date: Feb. 18th, 1990
ISBN: 688-09155-5
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
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