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Judge Sentences
Tales from the Bench
Dermot Meagher

Available only as an ebook.

2010 • 260 pp. 5 1/2 x 8 1/2"
True Crime / Essays

$9.99 Ebook, 978-1-55553-736-4

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

“For a view into the unknown, retired judge Dermot Meagher opens the door to his chambers in a new collection of essays, Judge Sentences, in which he brings to life, with candor and eloquence, the court room where important decisions are made.”Provincetown Banner

Tales of a judge’s life on and off the bench

Here at last are the best of Dermot Meagher’s tales of life as a judge in Boston Municipal Court, where he presided over real-life cases rivaling the best of David E. Kelley’s The Practice, Boston Legal, and Ally McBeal. These true-to-life stories, some of which first appeared in Boston and DoubleTake magazines, showcase a writer of rare talent and humor: a Harvard-educated “man of the people,” who has seen it all yet never lost his ability to be surprised by the parade of humanity that came before his bench—from the offbeat to the curiously affecting to the downright tragic (not to mention tragicomic). A wise, wry, and disarmingly humane observer of human foibles, Judge Meagher waives judicial discretion and deliberates in a way more familiar to literature than to any court of law (but with names changed to protect the innocent as well as the not-so-innocent). Judge Meagher’s great achievement in Judge Sentences is to give us a voice of justice rendered as kindness and humor rather than judgment and discipline. In these hugely appealing and provocative tales of dysfunction and conflict, readers have the privilege of experiencing a side of Boston (and America) that is otherwise largely hidden from public view. Real life often is stranger than fiction, and Judge Meagher shows us just how strange—and how urgent and real—it can be.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

[Meagher] suggests a form of justice that is rendered with kindness and a sense of humor, rather than with Old Testament harshness and judgment. . . . The book is clearly written and a joy to read for those who want more insight into the ‘human side’ of trial court justice. Recommended.”Choice

“Based on real-life cases that came before him during his 17 years on the bench, the stories in Judge Sentences are told from the unusual perspective of the man who occupied the best seat in the courtroom. With an eye for detail and an ear for dialogue, Mr. Meagher humanizes the judicial process by revealing some of the things that were going through his mind as the cases were unfolding, what former Supreme Judicial Court Justice Benjamin Kaplan once described as ‘the various and subtle impulses toward decision.” Worcester Telegram

“Here is the law, as it comes to life in the courtroom, and is given the compelling, lively presentation of a knowing, veteran participant, who is also a careful, experienced observer of his fellow human beings as they go about their insistent and willful ways; and who is, too, a wonderfully compelling writer whose words and his skills, and trenchant asides will carry readers right into the heart of the law—the courtroom as a human scene of unfailing justice and of individuals (men, women, children) become participants, protagonists, for themselves, or on behalf of others in the world at large. Here, as well, is a book that will help its readers learn and know so very much about how human frailties are arraigned and considered by the individual whose judgment becomes, finally, the law enacted.”—Robert Coles, James Agee Professor of Social Ethics, Harvard University

“True stories told by an experienced judge who presided in a busy trial court. You will enjoy reading about the characters, foibles, and nitty-gritty of disputes in an urban courtroom, where theatre prevails, and the ending is provided by a compassionate judge rendering rough justice.”—Justice John M. Greaney (Ret.)

“Dermot Meagher has given us a great read. The Daumier-like scenes he paints in his courtroom are fabulous, rendered with wit and compassion. Like Doritos, you can’t consume just one. He also writes with ease about his own life as a gay man and recovering alcoholic—-essential parts of the story. Nothing feels forced in this book. The man writes like a dream.”—Sam Allis, Boston Globe

“Again and again in these stories one gets the sense of a deeply humane man trying to thread the law through the needle of human misery. This judge is empathic but he is not naive. He is worldly but he is never cynical—he is what used to be called civilized. I loved the stories and I am inspired by Judge Meagher, as a lawyer and as a human being.”—Michael Nava, novelist and attorney

Author Photo

DERMOT MEAGHER was a judge of the Trial Court of Massachusetts for seventeen years. He sat in the legendary Boston Municipal Court, the oldest trial court in Massachusetts. Before that, he investigated and prosecuted lawyers, was a court and bail reformer, an assistant district attorney, and a fellow in criminal justice at Harvard Law School; he also taught criminal and constitutional law and procedure to police officers. He is the coauthor (with Robert Coles, M.D. and Joseph Brenner, M.D.) of Drugs and Youth: Medical, Psychiatric, and Legal Facts. He retired as a judge in 2006.

Tue, 15 May 2018 13:05:00 -0500