MOCKING JUSTICE: America's Biggest Drug Scandal by Hamilton Davis

MOCKING JUSTICE: America's Biggest Drug Scandal

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Maybe not the biggest but certainly a doozy. Davis' grim story of the adventures of supernarc Paul Lawrence is more than an account of a ""bad"" cop. It's a frightening close-up of a gnarled, bitter Vermont town bent on punishing its scruffy longhairs, the ""street people"" whose loose ways enraged the community. Hired to clean up the ""drug problem"" in St. Albans, Lawrence quickly produced a remarkable series of arrests--for speed, cocaine, and heroin, drugs not previously seen in town. Curiously, everyone he snagged--there were eventually hundreds--protested innocence. Curiously too, all the busts were one-on-one: the evidence consisted of Lawrence's testimony and the confiscated drugs, nothing else. Quite soon a few people noticed that his recollections of the circumstances of the alleged drug buys shifted with each telling. Attorneys for the defendants checking into the brilliant cop's background caught whiffs of some very unsavory things--prosecutors in two other counties had refused to try his cases. Yet St. Albans stood behind its illustrious cop--it was not until a transfer to Burlington that fellow policemen exposed him for the liar and fraud he was. As Davis recounts it, Lawrence's career in framing was especially creepy because he was upheld and abetted by the pillars of the community long after his cases had begun to smell. Davis' indictment stretches all the way from the St. Albans town council to the Attorney General of the state. Readers who come up for air will get a distinct scent of the New England crusade against witches in another era and the clear implication that it could happen again.

Pub Date: April 18th, 1978
Publisher: Crown