A LION IN COURT by Vincent Hallinan


Email this review


Hallinan, who rose to national prominence as defense attorney in the Harry Bridges trial, developed his courtroom aplomb and proficiency in the law over the course of many years before the California bar. He relates exciting tales of his fight against injustice in corruption ridden San Francisco in the first decades of the century. His opinions on judicial procedure and the low quality of ""expert"" advice often tendered in criminal trials are in conflict with the most commonly accepted view of the American court system. Avowedly prejudiced against the religion into which he was born, Hallinan disputes the right of religious authority to perpetuate what he terms ""archaic"" laws relating to social conduct. The Bridges case swept him into politics as the 1952 Presidential candidate of the Progressive Party, but he spent much of the campaign period in prison for contempt of court during that trial. However much Hallinan tries to keep bitterness out of these pages, he obviously believes himself a victim of government persecution: after the election he was convicted of income tax evasion and served a second sentence. A move to disbar him failed, and he eventually returned to practice, having substituted the convictions of socialism for his previous concern with his own career. His view of Fidel Castro as ""an heroic and shining patriot"" will not enhance his popularity; the most charitable review of his story must concern itself with the undeniable validity of his cry for judicial and penal reform.

Pub Date: Jan. 21st, 1962
Publisher: Putnam