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Justice in the Age of Judgment

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This is going to be a precised review – as a criminal justice practitioner (and wannabe criminal justice academic) I have a LOT of thoughts on this book that probably surpass what NetGalley/Goodreads really wants from me. If anyone would like a much longer, in-depth and academic review of this... please holler! In the meantime...

I was incredibly excited by the concept and overall premise of this book. For one, 'justice in the age of judgement' is an area of ever-growing importance, that requires due thought and attention. There are the obvious cases, such as Amanda Knox, Christopher Jefferies (wrongly accused in the murder of Joanna Yeates) and others, in which media – often social media – obstructs and even denies justice. However, I don't think this phenomenon is confined to serious crimes, or even necessarily crimes at all. Every day people are being punished in the court of media, be it social, news or otherwise. Regardless of the labels we might give, or the tensions/feelings/judgements we might make, this is an area in need of exploration and discussion, particularly as it grows into a phenomenon that seemingly no one is safe from. As well, I'm particularly fascinated by what we can uncover and learn from the experiences of Amanda Knox specifically – the ways that women are treated by both the media and criminal justice systems, the way that humans seek to demonise and other, and what all of this might tell us about the relationship between society and perceived transgressions. All of this is to say that I think the premise of this book is crucial and necessary.

Unfortunately, I just don't feel that it delivered – not in a 'taste' sense, but along more academic lines.

The writing was good, and it succeeded in being both engaging and informative. Although there were parts that were harder to follow, for the most part it seemed to me (admittedly, as someone working in the field) that it could be easily understood by the 'lay-person', yet didn't compensate bu becoming patronising, thin or otherwise lacking – something that criminology does not always do well. As well, it asked some really good questions, such as around who stands up for the defendants of a crime.

My most fundamental criticism of the book was it's approach to race. At best, racial issues were paid basic lip service; at worst, race was under-examined to the point of racism in itself. At one point, the sentence “hot button issues like race” was used. In discussions about criminal justice and the impact of judgements, particularly in America, race cannot be trivialised into a  “hot button issue”, when racial disparities within the system (and within non-legal courts of judgement) are indefensible and reprehensible. This also means that those talking about criminal justice need to be able to hold nuance: whilst I found that the section regarding OJ Simpson was really insightful into how/why he was found innocent, it was also wrongly black-and-white. OJ can be privileged AND a victim of systemic racism – and neither of these automatically prevent someone, anyone, from being factually guilty of a crime.

Linked to this, there was an underlying acceptance that US justice is... just. At one point, the book states that, in the US, everyone is innocent until proven guilty, and that they will go free unless a jury is 100% sure of their guilt. Respectfully, I completely disagree – and, if you Google “USA criminal justice system unjust”, you'll see that I'm far from unique in this. In both this and other areas, there seemed to be little consideration for wider contexts and structures, such as race and systemic racism.

Lastly, I felt that there were a number of points where provocation and sensationalism was favoured over solid and thorough arguments. There were some very bold claims made, such as that the Amanda Knox case was the first major case of 'fake news'... as well as the assertion that Doug Bremner's Twitter account was suspended by 'Amanda Knox guilters'. The former of these claims just feels completely ludicrous; the latter, whilst it could be true, also feels like a disingenuous statement given the lack of proof and general awareness that Twitter suspensions can be rogue at best. The effect of both, as well as other occurrences, were to make me question the wider validity of the book.

There is plenty more I could say: as noted, I would love a platform to discuss this more thoroughly. To that end, it could be argued that this book has accomplished something useful, by initiating debate and discussion. It has definitely got me thinking and writing! However, that doesn't save it from the key issues, some of which I have discussed here.
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Justice in the Age of Judgment is a compilation and commentary on the effects the media has had on the highest profile court cases of Americans. 

Whether we want to admit it or not, the media has had a dramatic impact on how we try cases. It has the power for both good and bad. In several instances the media has aided in the exhortation of the innocent through videos of crimes captured by Good Samaritans, photographs depicted tampered crime scenes, and credible sources (famous or expert) giving National interviews. In the same way that media has played a part in the dismissing guilt, it has also played a vital role in condemning. Human nature has allowed us to rush to judgment after hearing early reports of crimes, false confessions, unreliable witnesses, etc. 

If you are a fan of shows like 20/20, Dateline, or simply follow main stream media, you will be familiar with the cases Anne Bremner discusses. 

Do not expect to find more insight on famous cases. No new information is brought to light. This is merely a commentary on how the media effects the U.S. judicial system. 

Bremner does a good job of compiling multiple cases into one comprehensive resource. Some of her biases can easily be spotted, but with all media, books included that cannot be avoided. It is up to the reader to decide for themself what they believe. 

I did find the ending to be a little self-indulgent. She wraps up the book by talking about her personal and professional successes. I am not sure why she felt the need to include this. 

Special thanks to NetGalley and Skyhorse Publishing for allowing me to read this book in exchange for my honest opinion.
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Amazing book, well researched and presented. Amanda Knox's story is was well known due to media coverage and a Netflix documentary. I highly agree with the author that media dictates how we percept reality and very often distort it.
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This is the inside story of how the media can get it wrong, and the people behind the story who try to make it right.  Anne and Doug Bremner have helped people like Amanda Know find justice in a world, and sometimes a system, that only wants great headlines and not the truth.  The Bremners had an inside seat on some of the most recent trials in the world.  They give us an insight into how things work in the criminal justice system now that the trial not only exists in the court room, but also now in the media.  I greatly enjoyed this look inside.
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I was a little hesitant about requesting this book, I just wasn't sure if it would be a book I enjoyed. If you are on the fence, GET THE BOOK! it was interesting, enjoyable and hard to put down. I knew of most of the cases discussed, but it was new and exciting to hear about them from a lawyer's perspective.
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I didn't know what to expect from this however I was really surprised and pleased.  The book is well written and the content covers several cases that I did not know about, or the author covered it from a different perspective.  The book was well researched and the author did not offer too much in the way of opinion.  The authors also took time to explain some of the American and Italian criminal systems which helped when following the timelines.  I would certainly recommend this to any lovers of true crime, a different perspective covering social issues, and the impact of social media.
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I was familiar with most of these cases but I still really enjoyed the book. I thought it was a little strange that the author Anne Bremner mentioned that middle-aged women and housewives don't like her. But it was an interesting book.
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I was pretty interested in reading this book because while we've all heard news about certain famous trials and seen discussions on social media, I never knew the perspective of a lawyer that was directly involved in such cases. That was the appeal for me. This lawyer co-wrote the book with her brother, an author and a doctor. The two are intelligent siblings able to effectively communicate to the reader, making for a pretty interesting read while you learn the true story that you may not know about some famous cases. I won't spoil anything but i would recommend this book to learn about how the justice system can be affected by the media and social media, and how the lawyers directly involved have to navigate through that. We do tend to judge pretty quickly online these days, and popular sentiment sways opinions like waves and drown out any oppositional voices. It's super interesting getting that inside perspective.
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I've always been a true crime kinda girl, whether it be on TV or in book form, so I was super excited to be chosen to take part in the tour for this one. 

This was an absolutely fascinating insight to just how much of an impact media can have on a criminal case and the subsequent trial. All of the cases in the book were high profile names we're all familiar with, Michael Jackson, OJ Simpson and Amanda Knox to name but a few. 

It's very well written, informative and definitely an eye opening read. 

Many thanks to Love Books Tours for my tour spot.

Rating ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
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I’ve always been interested in the potential impact of social media on the criminal justice system. This book takes a few cases that have been tried in the media (be it social media or news media) and shows us what the media told us versus the full story. 

Now, I’m one of those people that believes there will be three sides to every story. Your side, my side and the “truth”. Everyone will view and remember the exact same event differently. This doesn’t mean that either of us is wrong - but it also doesn’t mean we’re right. This is why it’s important to follow the evidence rather than making assumptions and finding evidence to go along with that. On top of everything, the media will not have access to an entire story. This is for so many reasons that a simple google search will present to you.  When hearing about a case from the media, it’s essential to remember that we are not being given the full story so the trial we give the individuals should be done with a grain of salt. Now this doesn’t mean we can’t share our opinions or disagree with the way a case turns out, but as this book points out - it’s important to gather all the available facts. 

Thanks to the authors and LoveBooks Tours, I was gifted a hardcover copy of this book. I was dying to start it though, so I also requested the ebook from NetGalley but that approval took too long to come in too so the next logical course of action was to purchase the audiobook. So thanks all around for the many copies!

Absolutely a great listen - read to us by Anne Bremner - we can hear in her voice her feelings about the cases she was part of. I appreciate her candid thoughts and opinions on the cases included in this book - from the main cover story to OJ and Michael Jackson - we get a look at many cases that were tried in the media and how the cases in question played out not only in court, but throughout the entire investigation progress. 

I found this incredibly enlightening and enjoyable. Definitely recommend. 

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
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I know of Anne Bremner from Court Tv and Nancy Grace and various television appearances she did, but I had no idea she was part of such high profile cases as Amanda Knox and Susan Powell.  I felt like the book needed more in-depth stories of the cases she was actually involved with instead of little blips from other cases that she watched from the outside like the rest of us.  I was hoping for interesting tidbits and facts I had never heard.  The flow was very disjointed as well.  I didn't feel like it was a story told in any kind of order. I would have preferred a chapter on each case start to finish instead of here's a case, here's a bit of Amanda Knox, here's a case, here's more Amanda Knox, etc.
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** Excerpt taken from  Tea Time With A Good Book: Readers Picks for the month of November, published in the Collinwood Chronicle in November, 2o22 in Cleveland, OH and distributed in print form. One of three books picked for the month to recommend to readers. 

Justice in the Age of Judgment by Anne and Doug Brenner, a brother and sister who team up to write what they know, love and specialize in, the law. In this book we hear from a lawyer, about some of the high profile cases that she had been a part of such as Amanda Knox while others she comments on, like the West Memphis Three and the O.J Simpson case, among others. We learn about how society is influenced by the media and how this influence affects us, especially as jurists, a major part of our legal system. 

(not in print media, below, only on goodreads)

**And, while I did not give the book four stars, but still picked it as a review it was because while there is a difference of opinion in how I would have liked to read the book, would have liked it written differently than the author chose to, I still find it a great book to read and believe others should and they may have a difference of opinion with me. The topic the author covers is one in which we do not see many books written about and from someone who is in the midst of these trials, someone with the knowledge and experience to write about the topic. 

The author points out many things that we, as Americans, part of the judicial system, in a BIG WAY, need to know. The sad thing is that many Americans don't know the things the author points out. And this is why, despite the fact of what the author writes, how she writes about it, whether I like it or not this book is a MUST READ, regardless. Because we must know the things the author writes about as potential jurists and active citizens to be able to participate in our government. And, I would like to thank the author (if she ever reads this) for bringing the information to light.

**Further, the Mary Lay LeTourneau coverage, the relationship the author and woman had give insight into the case that I did not know and change my entire outlook on what I once thought. While I do not condone relationships with a twelve year old (like the author) to see that Mary Kay and her student/lover/husband were together, married for 15 years (together more) is amazing and puts a whole different spin on the episode. It was an enduring relationship, however odd, however criminal and, enduring, long, lasting relationships are far and few in our culture and society. That brings all this to leave us with questions about her, relationships, ourselves, society, and, in closure, there really is none, just saddness. Defining LeTourneau in the way this author does, from personal knowledge, in a way no other has, really helps to humanize the women something I think we all must do to find out the real answers when it comes to defining a crime, if a crime occured. I really have to thank the author for doing this!!
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Justice in the Age of Judgement follows lawyer Anne Bremner, as she discusses cases she has worked on throughout her career, and the impact social media, and media in general, has had on these cases. Throughout the book, we also learn about Anne’s past, how she became a lawyer and later a TV commentator.

As someone who has read quite a bit of true crime, I was very excited to read more about the impact that media/social media has on cases. I found that this book did accomplish that, to a varying degree. Some cases were discussed quite in depth, while others were skimmed over and the media aspect was very superficially discussed. I also found the organization of this book to be a bit challenging. We would get a chapter on Anne’s life, then skip to a case she had covered, then skip to another case, then back to her life, etc. Sometimes this made it hard to follow, as you weren’t sure which case she had covered first, or what life events happened before what case. I also found the endings of some of the chapters to be very abrupt, and sometimes jarring when the jump from chapter to chapter happened. This book also has a big focus on the Amanda Knox case, so a big chunk of the book is dedicated to that. While it was very interesting and eye opening, some sections did get repetitive. I also didn’t find Doug, Anne’s brothers chapter at the end of the book, added much to the story. I found it was a rehash of a lot of the information Anne shared. With that said, I did enjoy this book. Anne Bremner has obviously lead a very interesting life, and worked on some of the most infamous criminal cases of our times, and I did really enjoy her perspective. However, some of the choices in writing and organizational style definitely lowered the rating for me.
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What an informative and illuminating book. I cannot stress the light bulb moments in this book.
It primarily deals with the farce of the Amanda Knox case but also touches on other relevant cases and how the court of public opinion tainted the judicial process. 
Now anyone who is on trial not only needs a defence but a media relations lawyer as well.
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“This was not a case being tried in a fair and impartial courtroom. It was being tried in the media”

As a true crime fan this was something I was really looking forward to. Anne Bremner has so much knowledge & she writes with such clarity that I found myself literally devouring this book. From Amanda Knox, OJ Simpson right up to George Floyd. True crime fans now have an insight into how the media has influenced some of the biggest cases in American criminal history. This is not a book about guilt, it is about the media’s scrutiny of those accused & the judgements we, the consumers, make based on the back of that. 

Informative and an area of particular interest to me. I enjoyed this however, it is long so brace yourself. 

Thank you to NetGalley, Anne Bremner & to Skyhorse publishing for the chance to read this ARC in exchange for a review.
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