No Heros No Villians

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate October 2001

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Sociology 461 Criminal Justice Systems Edward M. Stern No Heroes, No Villains; by Steven Phillips In the book No Heroes, No Villains the author Steve Phillips describes a story of a single dramatic trial of murder it offers a thoughtful and balanced presentation of the problems besetting our criminal courts, lays bare the mechanics of justice, and explains in graphic detail just what is wrong and right about our criminal justice system.

Throughout this book there are many important details leading up to the trial of James Richardson. James Richardson was the accused in the case of the deceased NY Police Officer John Skagen. John Skagen was shot to death in a NY subway station on June 28, 1972. The Facts in this case are clear; Officer Skagen was coming home from court that day, he was in plain clothes at the time of the incident in question. He was off duty.

As he went into the subway he had noticed a tall black male, with short hair, a dark complexion and a round face. Richardson was wearing dark pants and a waist-length green dashiki. Tucked in his waist was a nickel-plated, snub-nosed, .32 caliber revolver.

On June 27, 1972 Richardson was on his way to work at Lincoln Hospital. Something about Richardson caught Officer Skagens attention that day and officer Skagen reacted by drawing his off duty revolver and his badge, as he approached Mr. Richardson yelling, "I'm a cop! Get your hands up! Get Against the wall! Again he yelled get against the wall! (Chapter 7 , The Subway Station) At this point Richardson complied, At that point a blur"¦ And suddenly the two men were facing each other with their guns pointed. Four shots were fired. Two hit Skagen's shoulder. An third hit Richardsons groin. The fourth...

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