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Everyone against Us

Public Defenders and the Making of American Justice

A former public defender testifies to the vivid human suffering at the heart of America’s criminal justice system.

As a public defender, Allen Goodman faced cross-examination from family and friends every day: how could he live with himself? How could he work to help criminals? Presumed guilty by association, Goodman quickly learned that such interrogations were stacked against him. People didn’t really want an answer; they wanted a defense. Idealistic to a fault, he gave them one.

Everyone Against Us is Goodman’s testimony of his life as a public defender. In it, he documents his efforts to defend clients, both guilty and innocent, against routine police abuse, prosecutorial misconduct, and unjust sentencing. To work in criminal justice, Goodman shows, is to confront and combat vivid human suffering. From sex trafficking, murder, and abuse to false conviction, torture, and systemic racism, Goodman describes the daily experiences that both rattled his worldview and motivated his work. Part memoir, part exposé, Everyone against Us is the moving story of an embattled civil servant who staves off the worst abuses of the criminal justice system, at great personal cost.

288 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 | © 2023

Chicago Visions and Revisions

Chicago and Illinois


History: American History

Law and Legal Studies: Law and Society

Table of Contents

I. Jail Rules
II. Investigations
III. Redemption
IV. Trials
VI. Plea Deals
VII. Chiraq
VIII. Domestic Violence
IX. Drugs
X. Death
XI. Regrets

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