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Advanced Criminal Procedure in a Nutshell, 2nd Ed., by Mark E. Cammack and Norman M. Garland (Thomson West, 2006). 505 pages, $38.00

Book review by John E. Dannenberg

Advanced Criminal Procedure in a Nutshell is an informative book that covers procedural aspects of a criminal case after an investigation by the police has resulted in a decision to prosecute. A less accurate but more colorful title would be “Criminal Procedure from Bail to Jail.”

Differing substantially from the similar-sounding Criminal Procedure in a Nutshell – Constitutional Limitations [see: PLN, Sept. 2012, p.46], this text tackles the legal doctrines from a prosecutor’s decision to file charges all the way through appeal and collateral attack of a conviction. The book’s 15 chapters address in detail each of the following topics: the decision to prosecute, pretrial detention and release, preliminary hearing, grand jury, discovery, time limitations, venue, joinder and severance, double jeopardy, plea bargaining, assistance of counsel, trial rights, sentencing and appeals.

Authors Cammack and Garland are seasoned law professors who offer this book as a concise summary of the courses they teach in criminal procedure. Noting that each state has its own specific procedures, the authors chose as their “typical” model the federal law system, so as to give readers the broadest background. That having been said, they advise readers to consult carefully with their individual state rules, including rules of court, in order to be fully informed on local criminal procedures. Overall, Advanced Criminal Procedure offers a very useful, self-paced study written in a refreshing fashion that is not intimidating to a layman.

The first chapter’s 30 pages cover all aspects of the decision to prosecute, including discretion, challenges to a decision to prosecute, vindictive prosecution and problems of proof. Chapter 2 guides you through the right to a probable cause determination and pre- and post-conviction bail. Your rights at the preliminary hearing, as well as procedures to protect them, are covered in Chapter 3. If prosecution results from a grand jury indictment, read Chapter 4 to learn about secrecy, bills of particulars and challenges to a grand jury. The next chapter, on discovery, includes preservation of evidence, use of your prior record, expert witnesses, and alibi and insanity defenses.

Twenty pages are devoted to the important topic of statutes of limitations and speedy trial rights. A lengthy chapter follows on double jeopardy; it distinguishes the doctrines of collateral estoppel and dual sovereignty exposure, and covers rights after acquittal, mistrials and implied acquittal. Right to counsel – especially to effective counsel – is addressed in Chapter 11. Selection of the jury and challenges to the judge are covered in Chapter 12, followed by a 40-page discourse on all aspects of the trial itself: a fair trial, press coverage, closed courtrooms, evidence presentation and cross-examination, jury deadlocks and inconsistent verdicts. Sentencing procedure and important rights at sentencing, including factors that may be used during sentencing, are discussed in Chapter 14.

The final chapter offers 30 pages on a subject dear to the hearts of already-incarcerated readers: the right of appeal and collateral attack. Because the book is designed around a model based on federal law, the collateral attack section gives detailed instructions on how to proceed under the federal habeas corpus statutes.

Each chapter provides the reader with citations to relevant U.S. Supreme Court case law, providing a good head start on further research into questions concerning one’s own legal situation. As an added benefit, the compact size of Advanced Criminal Procedure makes the book desirable where storage space is limited.

Advanced Criminal Procedure in a Nutshell is available in PLN’s bookstore – see page 54 for ordering information.

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