THE D.A. by Lawrence Taylor

THE D.A.

A True Story
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Taylor (To Honor and Obey, 1992, etc.) chronicles one fascinating year (mid-1991 through mid-1992) behind the scenes with a deputy DA at the Los Angeles district attorney's office, ``the largest prosecuting agency in the world.'' Before there was O.J., there were the Menendez brothers, the Charles Keating savings and loan trial, the Rodney King trial, and the ensuing Reginald Denny case. With those headline grabbers in the background, Taylor tags along with Larry Longo, 52, a senior deputy district attorney, to learn what the job is like for ``a foot soldier in the front trenches'' and out of the spotlight. A ``gruff and scarred veteran of over twenty years of trial warfare,'' Longo ``had not given up an acquittal in eighteen years.'' His cases, while important and sensitive locally, do not get CNN coverage: the prosecution of a respected LA attorney for bilking a client; a case involving a Crips gang member accused of torturing one of his street pushers and feeding him to his pit bulls; the kidnapping and rape of a woman whose car had broken down. Longo's trickiest case found him outmaneuvered by a slick, politically powerful defense attorney named Mike Yamaki, whose client, a prominent leader in the Japanese-American community, was charged with shooting his best friend to death when he found him in the arms of his wife. Among other complexities, the case involved the controversial drug Halcion. The man was convicted, but Yamaki made a successful motion for a new trial by charging that Longo had committed prosecutorial misconduct by making a comment to the jury about the defendant's use of the Fifth Amendment to avoid testifying. With glimpses of Judge Lance Ito and Marcia Clark and looks back at Vincent Bugliosi and others well known in the LA legal arena, Taylor does a masterful, straightfoward job of showing the day-to-day workings--and failings--of the judicial system. (photos, not seen)

Pub Date: March 1st, 1996
ISBN: 0-688-11731-7
Page count: 400pp
Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15th, 1995