Lowenthal, Gary T(obias)
LOWENTHAL, Gary T(obias)
ADDRESSES: Offıce—College of Law, Arizona State University, Box 877906, Tempe AZ 85287-7906. Agent—c/o Author Mail, New Horizon Press, P.O. Box 669, Far Hills, NJ, 07931. E-mail—[email protected]
CAREER: U.S. Bureau of Prisoners, Washington, DC, assistant to legal counsel, 1968; Morrison & Foerster, San Francisco, CA, attorney, 1969; University of California, Berkeley, School of Law, legal writing instructor, 1969-70; Alameda County, CA, assistant public defender, 1970-74; Lowenthal & Zimmerman, Oakland, CA, partner, 1974-76; Arizona State University, Tempe, professor of law, 1976—, director of clinical programs, 1993-97; Maricopa County Attorney's Office, deputy county attorney, 1977-78; Maricopa County Superior Court, judge pro tempore, 1998—. University of Virginia School of Law, visiting professor, 1979; Stanford Law School, visiting professor, 1984-85.
Down and Dirty Justice: A Chilling Journey into theDark World of Crime and the Criminal Courts, New Horizon Press (Far Hills, NJ), 2003.
Contributor to law journals, including California Law Review, Yale Law Review, and University of Chicago Law Review.
WORK IN PROGRESS: A Fool for a Lawyer? Criminal Defendants Who Represent Themselves.
SIDELIGHTS: In a dramatic change of scene, Gary T. Lowenthal took a nine-month sabbatical from his academic post to volunteer as a criminal prosecutor in the Maricopa County, Arizona, attorney's office and gain first-hand experience in the urban criminal-justice system. Lowenthal's book, Down and Dirty Justice: A Chilling Journey into the Dark World of Crime and the Criminal Courts, is a result of that experience. In an interview with Robrt L. Pela for Phoenixnewtimes. com Lowenthal commented: "The reason I call my book Down and Dirty Justice is that it's all about that kind of bargain justice. It's a system that's run for administrative efficiency, to get the messy cases out of the system, to just go with the slam-dunks."
As a new county prosecutor, Lowenthal inherited a kidnapping case involving street-wise Stephen Shilling, who took the law into his own hands after accusing Ray Hart of stealing from him. Shilling and his friends violently coerced Hart into a false confession. Lowenthal covers the length of time between crime and trial by alternating between the perspectives of victim and defendant, then recounts the trial from his own perspective. In the process, he exposes a troubled, overloaded justice system that cannot possibly mete out fair treatment, a world in which prosecutors rather than judges run the show, and depicts public defenders—burdened with far too much work and way too little income—who plea-bargain just to clear the dockets.
Reviewing Down and Dirty Justice for Library Journal, Harry Charles maintained that while Lowenthal "makes valid points about mandatory sentencing laws, plea bargaining, and faulty investigations," he offers no viable solution to the problem. When confronted with that charge by Pela, Lowenthal commented: "Training given to lawyers who work in public agencies needs to improve dramatically. . . . We need to refocus on the sentencing laws in this state to try to restore some sanity. We could give more discretion back to judges, let them more often make sentencing decisions, rather than having kids just out of law school doing it. And I think a lot more of what goes on behind closed doors should be public information. If the public knew more about this stuff, then the system might be more responsive to some of the injustices." A Publishers Weekly reviewer called the book "sensible, well written . . . a fine introduction to the challenges facing our justice system today."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, November 15, 2003, Connie Fletcher, review of Down and Dirty Justice: A Chilling Journey into the Dark World of Crime and the Criminal Courts, p. 553.
Library Journal, February 1, 2004, Harry Charles, review of Down and Dirty Justice, p. 108.
Publishers Weekly, October 20, 2003, review of Down and Dirty Justice, p. 44.
Phoenix New Times Online,http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/ (April 4, 2004), Robrt L. Pela, "Did Gary Lowenthal Tattle on Rick Romney? Hardly."*