A long day’s journey into night court, INDEFENSIBLE is public defender David Feige’s dark, and stirring account of a single hot day in the South Bronx—a day informed by crime, punishment, desperation and hope. Racing from courtroom to courtroom, Feige gives us the most intimate account ever written about what it is really like to be a public defender. In the course of a day we meet sly lawyers and batty judges, hapless defendants and crooked cops, lost souls and courageous giant-killers. There’s Bemo, a once successful gangster reduced by crack to a hapless radio thief who just can’t grasp that there’s a bullet out there with his name on it; and almond-eyed Nikki, gorgeous as a supermodel and charged with murder at the age of sixteen; and Omar, a former dealer gone clean who's sitting on a secret the cops don’t want anyone to know. There's Gold-Tooth Gloria, whose eyewitness account could clear someone of attempted murder charges; Steven, the Rastafarian who just can’t resist the ganja even if the police are passing by; and Michael, whose arrest for walking a dog without tags turns into a Kafkaesque nightmare. Presiding over the mayhem are judges like Michael Curci, who spends much of his time obsessing over the latest issue of Soldier of Fortune and engaging in bizarre public discussions with himself while deciding cases; Reynaldo Rivera, whose judicial pronouncements seem informed as much by Star Trek as the Supreme Court; and Diane Kiesel, who doles out punishment with an undertaker’s glee. Raw, wild and unforgettable, INDEFENSIBLE reveals the brutal underbelly of a system out of control. The result is a book that reads like a legal thriller, but has all the insight and impact of the finest nonfiction. Full of black comedy and outrage, of unforgettable characters and situations, INDEFENSIBLE is a call to arms and call for last call.
David Feige served as the Trial Chief of The Bronx Defenders. He has written for the New York Times Magazine, Slate and other publications, and is a frequent guest expert on Court TV. He lives in New York City.