May 22, 2013
"For some reason when it comes to my indigent ghetto clients, it becomes easy to forget that people, including those who break the law, are complicated and often charming. That they too contain multitudes. Oddly, no one has trouble understanding the humanity of White crooks. We mythologize them all the time—Bonnie and Clyde, John Gotti, Carolyn Warmus—all are complex people we find ways to relate to and even admire. At the movies we cheer for Butch and Sundance, Scarface, or [the] Ocean’s Eleven crew. The fact that John Gotti was a ruthless killer who wreaked havoc on far more lives than any of my clients ever touched never eclipses the public memory of him as big, handsome, and defiant. People loved Gotti’s resistance to governmental authority. But put a Black face on Gotti and no matter how dapper a don he is, the press, the prosecutors, and the public only read menace. I’ve often represented people as “big,” “handsome,” and “defiant” as John Gotti, yet when I invoke the humanity of these faceless robbers and killers, it sends most listeners from the land of mere confusion to that of utter incomprehension. To this day, I wrestle with where this understanding goes off the rails. Fundamentalist Christians constantly speak passionately about seeing the possibility of redemption in everyone, and no one bats an eye. But make this same point in the secular context of the criminal justice system, and rather than praiseworthy piety it is head as liberal gibberish."

— David Feige, Indefensible: One Lawyer’s Journey into the Inferno of American Justicepg. 53–54,

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