Justice: Crimes, Trials, and Punishments

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July 11, 2001 at 04:00 AM EDT

Justice easily could have been called ”Crime and Punishment” if that title hadn’t been snatched up by some Russian guy. Like Dostoyevsky, Dominick Dunne is an intrepid explorer of the murderer’s psyche and is fascinated by what makes people commit acts of violence against their loved ones, but the similarity ends there; no one is likely to confuse Claus von Bülow with poor Raskolnikov.

Despite his own celebrity, Dunne is both likable and accessible. When one of his unnamed informants says, ”I talk too much when I’m with you,” she’s not alone: Everyone does. Alongside his exhaustive, gossip-laden O.J. coverage, the standout essay is ”Justice,” a heartbreaking account of the trial of the man who killed Dunne’s daughter (actress Dominique Dunne), which launched Dunne’s courtroom writing career. To critics who lambaste his personal involvement with his subjects, Dunne says, ”Things happen to me, and I let them happen and then write about them later.” Questionable journalism, maybe, but it makes for a hell of a story.

Justice: Crimes, Trials, and Punishments

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Justice: Crimes, Trials, and Punishments

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