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Federal Judge Offers Inside Look at Courts 'Disrobed'

By Robyn Hagan Cain on July 17, 2012 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

Disrobed is not a legal bodice-ripper, as its title might suggest. (Come to think of it, there's a serious void of legal bodice-rippers.) Instead, it's an inside look at the District Court for the Eastern District of New York, presented through the eyes of Senior Judge Frederic Block.

Judge Block should have an interesting perspective on the inner workings of the federal courts: Appointed to the district court in 1994 by President Bill Clinton, Judge Block spent nearly 20 years as a federal judge, presiding over big-name cases, like the Crown Heights Riots trial and the trials of mafia boss Peter Gotti and nightclub magnate Peter Gatien.

According to the publisher, "Disrobed provides a view into the private world of a sitting judge on one of the highest benches in one of the world's most famous cities. The book gives a personal account of his experiences with controversial legal topics such as the death penalty, racketeering, terrorism, discrimination and foreign affairs."

(Full disclosure: Thomson Reuters Westlaw published Disrobed. Yes, that's the same Thomson Reuters that owns FindLaw. We're keeping it in the family, people.)

Judge Block uses Disrobed to shed light on some of the overlooked elements of being a federal judge, such as the choice to use humor in a ruling, death threats against members of the bench, how judges react to brushes with celebrities, how popular sentiment can override the facts of a case, and how a Supreme Court confirmation can interfere with salsa dancing.

So if you're tired of digging through discovery or researching your latest brief, this book could be a detour -- rather than a frolic -- from your workday. It's available now in hardcover -- old school, right? -- and the eBook should be available soon.

And if you prefer to spend your free time with an actual legal bodice-ripper instead of titular-teasing non-fiction, you might try appealing to a lawyer-turned-romance novelist to fill that literary void.

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