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The Jury Duty Reading List


Illustration of "The Jury"
Source: NYPL Digital Collections, Image ID 834261

Let's face it: We all have to do it.  It's mandatory. It’s our civic duty. 

Jury duty is a way of life for just about every American adult. Most people dread getting summoned, while some see jury duty as a respite from the daily grind of their 9-to-5 jobs.

Others actually look forward in bated anticipation to getting their jury duty notice in the mail. Who doesn't like the potential for a little excitement and drama in their lives?


Maybe I'll get picked. Maybe it'll be a high profile case. Maybe I'll be sequestered!

Whatever your viewpoint, what better way to prepare for a possibly long day than to ensure you have sufficient reading material to pass the time?

Have you been summoned to appear in court? Stop by your local library before reporting for duty!

Books by Lawyers (Fiction)

The Guilty, by David Baldacci

A Time to Kill, by John Grisham

China Lake, by Meg Gardiner

Testimony, by Scott Turow

Accused, by Lisa Scottoline

The Rumpole series, by John Mortimer


Books by Lawyers (Nonfiction)

The Nine, by Jeffrey Toobin

American Heiress: The Wild Saga of the Kidnapping, Crimes and Trial of Patty Hearst, by Jeffrey Toobin

Helter Skelter: The True Story of the Manson Murders, by Vincent Bugliosi

The Law of the Land: A Grand Tour of Our Constitutional Republic, by Akhil Reed Amar


Legal and Courtroom Thrillers

The Trial, by James Patterson

Inherit the Wind, by Jerome Lawrence

Twelve Angry Men, by Reginald Rose

Witness for the Prosecution, by Agatha Christie

Strong Poison, by Dorothy Sayers


True Crime: 364.1523

In Cold Blood: A True Account of Multiple Murder and its Consequences, by Truman Capote

People Who Eat Darkness: The True Story of a Young Woman Who Vanished From the Streets of Tokyo and the Evil That Swallowed Her Up, by Richard Lloyd Parry

Ghettoside: A True Story of Murder in America, by Jill Leovy

The Map Thief: The Gripping Story of an Esteemed Rare-Map Dealer Who Made Millions Stealing Priceless Maps, by Michael Blanding

The Lynching: The Epic Courtroom Battle that Brought Down the Klan, by Laurence Leamer

Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets, by David Simon

Last Woman Hanged: The Terrible, True Story of Louisa Collins, by Caroline Overington


Famous Cases

Reversal of Fortune: Inside the Von Bulow Caseby Alan M. Dershowitz

The Central Park Five: A Chronicle of a City Wilding, by Sarah Burns

The Run of His Life: The People v. O.J. Simpson by Jeffrey Toobin

Thunderstruck, by Erik Larson

The Destiny of the Republic: A Tale of Madness, Medicine and the Murder of a President, by Candice Millard

Denial: Holocaust History on Trial, by Deborah Lipstadt


A Path to a Career Change?


The Bar Exam in a Nutshell, by Suzanne Darrow-Kleinhaus

LSAT Study Guides


Legal Celebrities

Don’t Pee on My Leg and Tell Me It’s Raining: America’s Toughest Family Court Judge Speaks Out, by Judy Sheindlin

Taking the Stand: My Life in the Law, by Alan Dershowitz

From Jailer to Jailed: My Journey from Correction and Police Commissioner to Inmate #84888-054, by Bernard Kerik


Books by (or about) Supreme Court Justices

Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, by Irin Carmon

My Beloved World, by Sonia Sotomayor

Scalia Speaks: Reflections on Law, Faith, and Life Well Lived, by Antonin Scalia

Devil in the Grove: Thurgood Marshall, the Groveland Boys, and the Dawn of a New America by Gilbert King


Stories of Being Wrongly Convicted

Anatomy of Innocence: Testimonies of the Wrongly Convicted, edited by Laura Caldwell and Leslie S. Klinger 

The Innocents, by Taryn Simon

Exonerated: A History of the Innocence Movement, by Robert J. Norris

Freeing David McCallum: The Last Miracle of Rubin Hurricane Carter, by Kenneth Klonsky


The Criminal Justice System

Unfair: The New Science of Criminal Injustice, by Adam Benforado 

Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do? By Michael Sandel

The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, by Michelle Alexander


Jury Duty and Jurors: Fiction and Nonfiction

Why Jury Duty Matters: A Citizen's Guide to Constitutional Action, by Andrew Ferguson

Pride v. Prejudice: A Claire Malloy Mystery, by Joan Hess

An American Daughter, by Wendy Wasserstein

The Jury in America: Triumph and Decline, by Dennis Hale

The Baker Street Jurors, by Michael Robertson



Let’s Get Free: A Hip-Hop Theory of Justice, by Paul Butler

Law and Disorder: Absurdly Funny Moments From the Courts, by Charles Sevilla

Readings on Twelve Angry Men, edited by Russ Munyan


Thanks to Elizabeth Waters for her help with this reading list.





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