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Author of the Month: Hank Fradella

Published: July 15, 2010

America’s Courts and the Criminal Justice System

Hank Fradella, Chair/Professor, Criminal Justice Department

Published this year in its 10th edition, the 656-page America’s Courts and the Criminal Justice System, was co-authored with David Neubauer, the series’ creator. It offers a comprehensive explanation of the courts and the criminal justice system presented in a streamlined, straightforward manner that will appeal to instructors and students alike. Neubauer and Fradella’s clear writing style, characterized by careful chunking of material into small sections within chapters, ensures that readers gain a firm handle on the material, while the text’s innovative courtroom workhouse model, which focuses on the interrelationships among the judge, prosecutor, and defense attorney, brings the courtroom to life. Fradella explains the new book has three goals. The first is to increase its focus on substantive law. “What is the bureaucratic process of courts? What does it mean for the criminal justice system?” Fradella asked. “What does this mean for someone charged with a crime? What are their experiences as defendants? How has the role of the prosecutor evolved? How is it different for defense attorneys today? How does the system treat victims and witnesses? We focused on the ‘courtroom work-group’ and the perspectives of its members working in the legal trenches.” The book’s second focus is to compare law as theory with law as practice. “By discussing the way it is supposed to be and the way it actually works, this book adds a courtroom realism that appeals to law faculty members,” he said. The book’s third focus is on law and popular culture. “What is the proper relation of courts and the media?” he asked. “Every chapter compares courtroom performance in its reality with its portrayal in the media. Here’s what they get right and here’s what they get wrong. Anyone looking at ‘Law and Order: Special Victims Unit’ who thinks they know how victims are really treated ought to read this book.” Fradella also is author of Forensic Psychology: The Use of Behavioral Science in Civil and Criminal Justice and Criminal Procedure for the Criminal Justice Professional, both from Wadsworth Publishing. He is currently at work for the Oxford University Press on The Foundations of Criminal Justice. Fradella, who joined CSULB in 2007, earned his master’s in forensic science and a law degree from George Washington University in 1993 and his Ph.D. in interdisciplinary justice studies from Arizona State University in 1997.

Author of the Month