When Wendy Potts set out to write a book about her “experiences” as a trial court judge, she certainly harbored hopes that it would warrant rave reviews.
That wish seems assured thanks to famed attorney Alan Dershowitz, the Harvard professor and constitutional law scholar who has lavished early praise on the book written by Potts.
The book, aptly titled 1200, the Telegraph Road address of the Oakland County Courthouse in Pontiac, has yet to be released, but Dershowitz already has written its introduction, labeling 1200 as the “true story of what happens behind the robe and inside the chambers of a hectic trial court.”
Said Dershowitz: “This isn’t a made-for-TV series about trial court with scripted surprise witnesses and predictable happy outcomes. Judge Wendy Potts, the author of 1200, was a trial judge in the most affluent county in Michigan. She presided over thousands of cases in her 20-plus years serving on the bench. This book is the gritty, authentic, reality version of her experiences and those who appeared in her courtroom. This realistic account may be a bit unorthodox to readers of conventional courtroom dramas, with its multitude of short chapters, character studies and vignettes. Some of the chapters don’t end as the reader might expect. A few don’t end as one would hope. Legal cases take on lives of their own, and it may take years before a complex case is concluded. In real courtrooms, anticlimax is common.”
The book, which Potts wrote over the past year, “was not written as a primer for practicing attorneys, although some may find the stories, anecdotes, and information contained within useful,” according to Dershowitz, who served on the legal “Dream Team” during the 1995 O.J. Simpson murder trial.
“The great judge Learned Hand once quipped that short of surgery being dragged into court is the worst human experience,” Dershowitz wrote in the introduction. “Anyone who has suffered through such an experience, either personally or through a loved one, will be interested in reading what happens behind the scenes in cases similar to yours. That is what 1200 hopes to accomplish for the reader.”
And it does – and more, according to Dershowitz.
“The interesting, and perhaps scary part of 1200 is that what you are about to read actually happened and it continues to this day and everyday, in thousands of courts across this country,” Dershowitz wrote. “Under-
standing how our judicial system actually operates is an important component of the civic education of all citizens in a democracy.”
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