Michele Weiner's Reviews > Tangled Webs: How False Statements are Undermining America: From Martha Stewart to Bernie Madoff

Tangled Webs by James B. Stewart
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May 22, 2011

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Read in May, 2011

Tangled Webs has the thesis that the American justice system has been undermined by the tendency of the accused to lie. What a revelation. The American justice system, which is basically a game to see which of the gladiators (lawyers) can fool the jury the best, has always been dysfunctional. It's not a search for the truth and an attempt to find justice, but an exercise in which lawyer is the best con man. And you better have some money.

Martha Stewart, Scooter Libby, Barry Bonds, Marian Jones and Bernie Madoff are all liars. They did the underlying crime, and most will do some time. What I learned from this book is that lying doesn't get you acquitted, but lying often gets you better results and less jail time than not lying. If you don't lie, then everyone involved KNOWS you are guilty and they throw the book at you. If you lie through your teeth, even with overwhelming evidence, nobody is ever totally sure. Your loyalists can always argue that justice was miscarried or the underlying crime was never proven. Even though it wasn't proven because you lied. Catch-22.

Anyway, it was interesting to read about the different high-profile cases. I didn't buy his thesis that lying is more prevalent now, but I do wonder why juries aren't wiser than they used to be. Will you always be able to fool some of the people all of the time? I guess so.
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