Uviller, H. Richard 1929-2005
UVILLER, H. Richard 1929-2005
(Herman Richard Uviller)
PERSONAL: Born July 3, 1929, in New York, NY; died of cancer, April 28, 2005; son of Harry (an attorney) Uviller and Lillian (a musician; maiden name, Biber) Pilat; married Rena Katz (a judge), May 24, 1964; children: Daphne Rachel. Education: Harvard University, B.A. (cum laude), 1951; Yale University, LL.B., 1953. Politics: "Whig." Religion: Jewish.
CAREER: Admitted to the Bar of New York State, and to the Bar of District of Columbia, both 1954. U.S. Department of Justice, Washington, DC, attorney with Office of Legal Counsel, 1953–54; County of New York, assistant district attorney, 1954–68, chief of Appeals Bureau, 1961–68; Columbia University, New York, NY, 1968–2005, began as professor of law, became Arthur Levitt Professor of Law. Member, American Law Institute and Lawyers' Committee on Violence.
AWARDS, HONORS: Outstanding Academic Book Award, Choice, 1996, for Virtual Justice.
The Processes of Criminal Justice: Investigation, 2nd edition, West Publishing (St. Paul, MN), 1979, revised edition published as The Processes of Criminal Justice: Investigation and Adjudication, 1986.
Tempered Zeal: A Columbia Law Professor's Year on the Streets with the New York City Police, Contemporary Books (Chicago, IL), 1988.
The Tilted Playing Field: Is Criminal Justice Unfair?, Yale University Press (New Haven, CT), 1999.
(With William G. Merkel) The Militia and the Right to Arms; or, How the Second Amendment Fell Silent, Duke University Press (Durham, NC), 2002.
Contributor of articles and reviews to numerous law journals.
SIDELIGHTS: During a year's sabbatical, the late law professor H. Richard Uviller accompanied New York City police officers on a daily beat to discover how laws defining correct criminal investigation procedure—lawful search and seizure, arrests, and interrogations—are followed in everyday practice. His observations are contained in his book Tempered Zeal: A Columbia Law Professor's Year on the Streets with the New York City Police, the title of which describes the "energy and restraint that are required for good police work," according to a contributor in the Los Angeles Times Book Review. Among police, Uviller found great awareness of their limited authority and their frustrations in seeing justice fail. Uviller also discovered that a police officer's understanding of a community's psychology is as crucial as his or her understanding of the law itself. New York Times Book Review critic Allen Boyer called the book "a sober, sympathetic look at modern-day police work."
In his book Virtual Justice: The Flawed Prosecution of Crime in America, Uviller offers a critique of the criminal justice system, noting that the system is plagued by numerous problems, stemming from judges and lawyers to the jury system itself. Writing in the New Leader, Gary P. Naftalis called the book "incisive, provocative and elegantly written." Naftalis went on to note that the "book is a major contribution to the literature on the American criminal justice system." In a Yale Law Journal review, Jessie K. Liu added: "The book offers an admirably well-balance critique."
The Tilted Playing Field: Is Criminal Justice Unfair? delves into the concept of "fundamental fairness" in the criminal justice system of the United States. In the book, the author presents his theory that "fundamental fairness" is not tied to treating both parties the same but instead professes that fairness may actually come about by "tipping the scales in favor of a particular party during the course of a crimnal trial," as noted by Steven Anderson in the Library Journal. For example, the author notes that often the defense has the upper hand with such notions as the presumption of innocence. Writing in Trial, Michael Mello called the book "important, challenging, and gracefully written."
Uviller collaborated with With William G. Merkel for The Militia and the Right to Arms; or, How the Second Amendment Fell Silent. The authors take a close look at the amendment that states the "right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed." In their analysis of the amendment, the authors present their belief that it does give the people the right to bear arms but argue that this right only extends to their service in a state militia. A Publishers Weekly contributor noted that the authors "offer a fresh interpretation of the Second Amendment, aiming to recover it's original intent and to examine how the passing of time has affected the amendment's meaning and vitality." Rebeca S. Shoemaker, writing in History: Review of New Book, felt that the authors "endeavor to be clear but fair in their use of, and comments on, controversial material on the subject." Shoemaker also commented that the authors "are well qualified to defend their arguments."
Uviller once told CA: "Writing, I have found, is the most rigorous way to discover what I really think. I approach most topics in a state of wonder and confusion, and the major task always seems to be the discovery of sense and nonsense in the operation of law. Next to learning to play Beethoven's Opus 59 string quartets, the construction of a series of coherent sentences is the most daunting and gratifying thing I have ever attempted—and I could gladly spend the rest of my days in the endeavor."
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, June 1, 1996, Kathleen Hughes, review of Virtual Justice: The Flawed Prosecution of Crime in America, p. 1646.
History: Review of New Books, spring, 2003, Rebecca S. Shoemaker, review of The Militia and the Right to Arms; or, How the Second Amendment Fell Silent, p. 107.
Library Journal February 15, 1999, Steven Anderson, review of The Tilted Playing Field: Is Criminal Justice Unfair?, p. 168; April 1, 2003, Philip Y. Blue, review of The Militia and the Right to Arms, p. 114.
Los Angeles Times Book Review, July 24, 1988, review of Tempered Zeal: A Columbia Law Professor's Year on the Streets with the New York City Police, p. 4.
New Leader, August 12, 1996, Gary P. Naftalis, review of Virtual Justice, p. 22.
New York Times Book Review, July 17, 1988, Allen Boyer, review of Tempered Zeal, p. 21.
Publishers Weekly, December 23, 2002, review of review of The Militia and the Right to Arms, pp. 54-55.
Trial, February, 2000, Michael Mello, review of The Tilted Playing Field, p. 82.
Yale Law Journal, April, 1997, Jessie K. Liu, review of Virtual Justice, pp. 1953-1958.
History News Network, http://hnn.us/ (July 29, 2003), review of The Militia and the Right to Arms.
Law and Politics Book Review, http://www.bsos.umd.edu/gvpt/lpbr/ (September 29, 2003), Daniel E. Smith, review of The Militia and the Right to Arms.