Well, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and similarly, after landing on the pile of “to read” books in my apartment, it took a while to get to. Well, I just finished the book, and liked it, learning about someone who before, I knew nothing but his name.
Interestingly, the book’s original owner appears to have been the attorney Jack Litman (click the photo to see the watermark). Litman was most famous for his defense in 1986 of “preppie killer”, Robert Chambers.
The trial put on display his “blame-the-victim” strategy, one he employed often to good effect. The former deputy homicide chief in the Manhattan DA’s office, in this case arguing that Jennifer Levin was responsible for her own death (strangulation by Chambers, during a sexual encounter in Central Park). Her bruised and battered body was found under a tree.
Everyone deserves a lawyer, even a psychopath like Chambers. Still, the defense sickened me, and I can recall that a woman who worked in the same office with me, (we were both paralegals) believed that poor Robert, the parochial-school boy, was indeed getting a raw deal (I don’t think I ever spoke with her again). Chambers of course, took a plea before the jury reached a verdict, and after serving his sentence, was re-imprisoned for narcotics sales and possesion.
I wonder if Litman was interested in Cicero because of Cicero’s career as a defense attorney in ancient Rome. Those trials established him as the most skilled orator in the history of the Republic. Cicero’s death, by order of Marc Antony, (along with the suicide of Cato), are seen as the events that signalled the end of the Republic.
Litman, lived on the Upper West Side, and died last year, after a long battle with lymphoma. In its obituary, the Times wrote,
While his cerebral approach to his cases seemed almost mathematical, Mr. Litman insisted that it was his love of literature, psychoanalysis and French film that taught him to appeal to the psychology of the jury and put cases in narrative form.
He was admired by defense lawyers and prosecutors alike for aggressive cross-examinations and closing arguments that often had an almost novelistic sweep. His talent as an amateur actor — his favorite film was “Twelve Angry Men” and he acted in an all-lawyer stage production based on it — served him well in the courtroom."
Unlike Mr. Molloy, and perhaps it’s a fault, but probably has more to do with me being a Jew, I do not believe in letting sh*t like that go unanswered. Thus, as long as the New York Post exists, I’ll always have a hobby.
P.S. I have no idea what I’ve done to be a “top commenter”, or what it means.
“I cannot deny a person, a human being, a taxpayer, a worker, or the people of my district and across this state, the state of New York, and those people who make this the great state it is, the same rights I have with my wife.” — Sen. Mark Grisanti, a stand-up guy.
I’ll be honest. 10 years ago, I thought this was a 20-year project. I’m very proud to be a New Yorker. Very happy for everyone who can now marry (and divorce), and be a part of the big “us”; waist-deep in the big muddy. To those who didn’t live to see this day, I’m sorry.
“It will reveal even more profoundly that this does not mean the end of civilization, but is, more prosaically, a modest reform to strengthen the family, integrate the marginalized and enlarge our moral universe.”
Sullivan is right. It is modest, and there are 44 more states to go. Next time, no 20-year projects, or 10.
Leone grew up in Italy, a kid in love with movies and the American West as portrayed in them. With Once Upon A Time, he set out very deliberately, I think, to pretty much make the Western to end all Westerns. And with this, his “opera of violence”, he succeeded. An apotheosis, a beautiful, elegiac, epic.