“Carving Out the Rule of Law” Spans from 1815-2008
Since 1815, when President James Madison appointed the first attorney, 51 United States Attorneys have served as federal prosecutors in eastern Michigan. These men have been responsible for representing the United States in federal court in a wide variety of cases, both criminal and civil, working to protect the government’s interests. As Parker chronicles the ups and downs of their service, he reflects on the developments in our country’s history and the expanding role of federal government in the lives of average Americans.
In the early 19th century, the role of the federal government in the country’s fledgling democracy was limited. The first U.S. Attorney, Solomon Sibley, took on the job part-time to supplement his law practice and fees from his other government posts. Most early cases were a mundane assortment of collections and petty offenses, but some cases were more startling to settlers. Parker details one particular case which is said to have contributed to the abolition of capital punishment by the Michigan legislature, the first English-speaking government in the world to do so.
In addition to brief biographies of each of the U.S. Attorneys, “Carving Out the Rule of Law” highlights cases that illustrate what kind of litigation the attorneys were responsible for, from the banal to the fascinating. Parker includes 82 photographs from different periods in Michigan’s history and over 30 original charts, which track the changes in case statistics from the last 140 years.
Thoroughly researched and informative, “Carving Out the Rule of Law” shows how the U.S. Attorney’s office changed from a one-room, part-time job to one requiring state-of-the-art computer systems and specialized positions, with more than 200 attorneys and support staff. Readers will follow the evolution of a segment of the federal government and gain valuable insight into the men and women in the field who have made history in the pages of this unique, comprehensive book.
Ross Parker graduated magna cum laude from the University of Pittsburgh Law School. He was selected as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in 1978 and has worked as a unit supervisor, Chief of the Criminal Division and served as a senior trial attorney on a wide variety of federal criminal cases. Now retired, Parker is active in the Historical Society of the U.S. District Court and the organization Proving Innocence, a project which represents inmates believed to be innocent of the charges for which they are incarcerated. He also writes a column for the online federal law enforcement newspaper, http://www.ticklethewire.com, and volunteers at Michigan’s Grosse Pointe Academy. “Carving Out the Rule of Law” is his first book.
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