Ordinary Injustice

Rascuache Lawyering and the Anatomy of a Criminal Case

Paperback ($35.00), Hardcover ($100.00), Ebook ($35.00) Buy
Ordinary Injustice is the unique and riveting story of a young Latino student, Juan Rulfo, with no previous criminal record involved in a domestic violence dispute that quickly morphs into a complex case with ten felonies, multiple enhancements, a “No Bail” order, and a potential life sentence without the possibility of parole.

Building from author Alfredo Mirandé’s earlier work Rascuache Lawyer, the account is told by “The Professor,” who led a pro bono rascuache legal defense team comprising the professor, a retired prosecutor, and student interns, working without a budget, office, paralegals, investigators, or support staff. The book is a must-read for anyone interested in race, gender, and criminal injustice and will appeal not only to law scholars and social scientists but to lay readers interested in ethnographic field research, Latinx communities, and racial disparities in the legal system.

The case is presented as a series of letters to the author’s fictional alter-ego, Fermina Gabriel, an accomplished lawyer and singer. This narrative device allows the author to present the case as it happens, relaying the challenges and complexities as they occur and drawing the reader in.

While Ordinary Injustice deals with important, complicated legal issues and questions that arise in criminal defense work and looks at the case from the time of Juan’s arrest to the preliminary hearing, indictment, pretrial motions, and attempts to obtain a negotiated plea, it is written in nontechnical and engaging language that makes law accessible to the lay reader.
“The book provides a nuanced insight into the relationship of U.S.-born Mexicans and Mexican Americans confronting a criminal justice system as an underrepresented minority. In near Kafkian situations, the protagonists face bizarre and surrealistic situations and incomprehensible institutionalized bureaucratic powers overlaid with racism and sexism. It provides insights into the alienation and anxiety that minorities confront in the courts through the lens of a self-proclaimed rascuache lawyer and professor.”—Avelardo Valdez, author of Mexican American Girls and Gang Violence: Beyond Risk

Ordinary Injustice provides a real-life story of a toxic relationship between two students that escalates into a possible life sentence in prison. If it were not for the rascuache legal defense team, it is hard to imagine a better outcome. If only everyone had such a defense!”—Robert J. Durán, author of The Gang Paradox: Inequalities and Miracles on the U.S.-Mexico Border
Ordinary Injustice
258 Pages 6 x 9
Published: November 2023Paperback ISBN: 9780816551781
Published: November 2023Hardcover ISBN: 9780816551798
Published: November 2023Ebook ISBN: 9780816551804

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