Abbe Smith (who has a forthcoming book of her own – How Can You Represent Those People? – with Monroe Freedman) reviews two new books that “reveal the deep gap between cherished American ideals and the harsh reality” in the Sunday NYT Book Review. One of these books is Kids for Cash; Two Judges, Thousands of Children, and a $2.8 Million Kickback Scheme by William Ecenbarger. The title says it all and, as Smith explains, “in a festival of injustice, prosecutors, public defenders, teachers and court employees saw it all and did nothing.” Though the judges at the head of the scheme are now in prison, one wonders whether we will ever see meaningful reform to prevent this sort of thing or is it just another example of Amy Bach’s Ordinary Injustice. I first learned the details of the scheme a few years ago when a student wrote a paper for my First Amendment and Lawyers’ Speech seminar, which she later turned into an article: When Canaries Won’t Sing: The Failure of the Attorney Self-Reporting System in the ‘Cash For Kids’ Scheme, by Sarah Primrose. Primrose argues for reform to the reporting of attorney misconduct.
(Cross posted at the Legal Ethics Forum)