Berks County Bar Association The Berks Barrister Fall/Winter 2019 - 21

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divided into four parts: Inquiry, Accusation, Judgment, and
Punishment. At each turn, Bharara discusses its participants,
their roles, and their responsibilities in ensuring justice.
In "Inquiry," Bharara shares war stories from successful
investigations-turned-prosecutions. He credits the
tremendous work ethic of investigators from his former
Office, including a moving biography of the late Kenneth
McCabe, SDNY's "mob-buster" who Bharara considers to
be a gold-standard investigator. Bharara exposes his readers
to "snitch" culture and shares the value of shawarma and
cannoli in gaining cooperation from less-than scrupulous
gastronomes on their road from perdition to redemption.
Bharara also discusses miscarriages of justice that were
the product of haste, bias, and an unwillingness to reconsider
basic assumptions. Bharara details the investigation that
followed the March 11, 2004 Madrid train bombing.
Mistakes made in that investigation would have life-altering
consequences for Brandon Mayfield, a thirty-seven-year-old
United States Army veteran living quietly in Oregon with
his wife and children at the time of the bombing. Flawed
fingerprint analysis compounded with numerous failures to
reconsider hastily made conclusions resulted in the chargeless, weeks-long detention of Mayfield. With this backdrop,

Bharara notes: "[s]mart questions are good. Dumb questions are
even better...So called dumb questions are often foundational;
they tend to get to the basics...[they] uncover superficial
reasoning, reveal bad logic, and expose fake experts."
In "Accusation," Bharara tackles the conflict unique to
prosecutors among their legal brethren: whether to charge a
crime or walk away. The decision to charge a human being with
a crime, Bharara acknowledges, "is to shatter that person's life.
It is also to upend the lives of those close to that person." This
reality, to Bharara, is too often forgotten or simply ignored by the
prosecutor-turned-gunslinger and the public, at times, in their
demands to "lock her (or him) up."
In addressing the complexity of walking away from an
investigation and getting no return on spent time and treasure,
Bharara muses: "Walking away can be deeply and viscerally
unsatisfying. But if all the raised expectations and personal
investments and sunk costs sweep people toward an unjust
charging decision, that is a miscarriage." It is a false dichotomy
to say that either a charge is brought or a criminal is left to
continue in his thieving ways. To Bharara more is at stake:
continued on next page

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Berks County Bar Association The Berks Barrister Fall/Winter 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Berks County Bar Association The Berks Barrister Fall/Winter 2019

Berks County Bar Association The Berks Barrister Fall/Winter 2019 - 1
Berks County Bar Association The Berks Barrister Fall/Winter 2019 - 2
Berks County Bar Association The Berks Barrister Fall/Winter 2019 - 3
Berks County Bar Association The Berks Barrister Fall/Winter 2019 - 4
Berks County Bar Association The Berks Barrister Fall/Winter 2019 - 5
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https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BerksBarrister/BerksBarrister_Springr2020
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https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BerksBarrister/Berksbarrister_Summer2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BerksBarrister/BerksBarrister_Springr2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BerksBarrister/Berksbarrister_Winter2019
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BerksBarrister/Berksbarrister_Summer2018
https://www.nxtbook.com/hoffmann/BerksBarrister/berksbarrister_winter2017
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