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Book Reviews: Reasonable Doubt
By Michael R. Shapiro
Book Reviews columns.
By Peter Manso
Atria Books (2011)
As I read Reasonable Doubt by Peter Manso, two distinct feelings struck me about what this book was not. This is not a story about an innocent defendant being wrongfully convicted, and it is actually not a particularly entertaining or easy read. It is the absence of these attributes which actually makes this an essential text for criminal trial practitioners, especially younger lawyers.
Manso, a lifelong Cape Cod resident, tells the story of the trial of Christopher McCowen, an African-American man with a 78 IQ, for the rape and murder of Christa Worthington, a wealthy white fashion writer whose family had lived on the Cape for generations.
Manso’s reputation was based on his definitive biographies of Norman Mailer and Marlon Brando. However, he chose to make Reasonable Doubt a biography of Cape Cod society. The story speaks volumes about the flaws in our justice system. The unfair treatment of McCowen superseded the gossipy fa
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