Guilty as Sin - Joseph Teller Jaywalker, of course, is different.”

I have to admit to really enjoying the Jaywalker series. They have a certain insouciance and impertinence toward the legal system that’s refreshing. At the same time, Jaywalker’s tenacity and effort on behalf of his clients, often indigent, is admirable. I’m not a lawyer so I can’t speak to the courtroom authenticity, but given other books I have read about the legal system and especially public defenders, they appear authentic. Jaywalker‘s respect for his clients is admirable and his tenacity in their defense makes us wish all lawyers were like him.

Jaywalker is one of those defense attorneys one wishes were ubiquitous instead of being the exception. He actually works on each case and this book is his rationale for why even the guilty need the best defense. He’s also a nice guy. “Jaywalker extended a hand, and they shook. In the age of AIDS, hepatitis C and drug-resistant TB, his fellow defense lawyers had long abandoned the practice. For Jaywalker, that was just one more reason to adhere to it.”

Barnett has been arrested for selling a controlled substance to an undercover officer within school boundaries. (In New York, the legislature’s 2500 foot line from a school demarcating what constituted a school area, meant that every place within ten blocks of a school fell into that category, or virtually the entire city.) Barnett admits he’s guilty, but then reveals why he did what he did. It was to do a favor. And that remark leads Jaywalker to one of the most interesting legal defenses.

According to an afterward, the author, himself a defense attorney and former DEA agent-- Joseph Teller is a pseudonym, tells us that all the characters in this story, based on one of his cases, is real. They all existed under their real names. That makes this wonderful story even more remarkable.

Fascinating look at the justice system, well-written with humor and sensitivity, and a real page-turner. Highly recommended. “Vive la difference”

I was privileged to get this book as a free advanced reader copy. That influenced my review not one bit.

Recommended supplemental reading: