Denied is the sequel of Jurisdiction Terminated, written in tandem by a retired Juvenile Court Commissioner and a working deputy district attorney, Jack Gold and Marc Debbaudt. It has been published after California has passed laws that make it difficult to correct kids who commit crimes. This book raises many interesting questions about how justice can continue to protect citizens if minors cannot be adequately disciplined.
Although Jurisdiction Denied is the second installment of a series, it can be read as a stand-alone book. Marty Goldstein, a juvenile court judge, wonders how to guarantee public safety under the present conditions. He reveals his concerns, thoughts, and reactions to the cases brought in front of him. He has also to face a new problem, related to the injuries that are occurring in the juvenile hall. Besides this, a beautiful and dangerous assassin named Hilda arrives in Los Angeles to target Judge Goldstein. Finally, two agents dispatched to the US have to investigate two Israeli brothers with a younger brother in prison.
The idea to let the judge tell the story is innovative, and I like it. Usually, lawyers are those who act and speak, while the judge is a pale, distant figure who makes a few remarks. In Jurisdiction Denied, instead, Judge Goldstein has the lion’s share. He has the opportunity to express his own opinion freely and takes advantage of the opportunity. The reader learns his fantasies, his concerns, and especially his sarcastic wisdom. Judge Goldstein’s sharp criticism enlightens the effects of a collapsing system. Although every remark has a serious intent, I have rarely kept back a smile. The book has a conversational tone that places the understanding of specialized topics within everyone’s reach.
If the cases are fictional, the controversy they arouse is genuine. The general picture is realistic, and the sense of pessimism is clear. Jurisdiction Denied makes you reflect on a situation that is becoming unsustainable. The questions this book poses could have terrible answers.
A remarkable feature of Jurisdiction Denied is that it presents a mix of juridical concerns and action. Hilda’s collateral intrigue spices up the novel. Although it is not related to the main theme, it is valuable for the story itself. It adds suspense and action to a story that otherwise would be limited to a court of law.
I have not found any downsides in this book, except for an indulgence in coarse language that is too much for my tastes. This is the most personal opinion in my review, and perhaps this language will not bother others at all.
I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. Its greatest merit is to popularize topics of great interest that people do not hear often. It is also well edited. I recommend it to anyone interested in legal topics and who likes good fiction, but especially to citizens concerned about their safety.