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Her Honor: My Life on the Bench...What Works, What's Broken, and How to Change It

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In Her Honor, Judge LaDoris Hazzard Cordell provides a rare and thought-provoking insider account of our legal system, sharing vivid stories of the cases that came through her courtroom and revealing the strengths, flaws, and much-needed changes within our courts. Judge Cordell, the first African American woman to sit on the Superior Court of Northern California, knows firs In Her Honor, Judge LaDoris Hazzard Cordell provides a rare and thought-provoking insider account of our legal system, sharing vivid stories of the cases that came through her courtroom and revealing the strengths, flaws, and much-needed changes within our courts. Judge Cordell, the first African American woman to sit on the Superior Court of Northern California, knows firsthand how prejudice has permeated our legal system. And yet, she believes in the system. From ending school segregation to legalizing same-sex marriage, its progress relies on legal professionals and jurors who strive to make the imperfect system as fair as possible. Her Honor is an entertaining and provocative look into the hearts and minds of judges. Cordell takes you into her chambers where she haggles with prosecutors and defense attorneys and into the courtroom during jury selection and sentencing hearings. She uses real cases to highlight how judges make difficult decisions, all the while facing outside pressures from the media, law enforcement, lobbyists, and the friends and families of the people involved. Cordell’s candid account of her years on the bench shines light on all areas of the legal system, from juvenile delinquency and the shift from rehabilitation to punishment, along with the racial biases therein, to the thousands of plea bargains that allow our overburdened courts to stay afloat―as long as innocent people are willing to plead guilty. There are tales of marriages and divorces, adoptions, and contested wills―some humorous, others heartwarming, still others deeply troubling. Her Honor is for anyone who’s had the good or bad fortune to stand before a judge or sit on a jury. It is for true-crime junkies and people who vote in judicial elections. Most importantly, this is a book for anyone who wants to know what our legal system, for better or worse, means to the everyday lives of all Americans.


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In Her Honor, Judge LaDoris Hazzard Cordell provides a rare and thought-provoking insider account of our legal system, sharing vivid stories of the cases that came through her courtroom and revealing the strengths, flaws, and much-needed changes within our courts. Judge Cordell, the first African American woman to sit on the Superior Court of Northern California, knows firs In Her Honor, Judge LaDoris Hazzard Cordell provides a rare and thought-provoking insider account of our legal system, sharing vivid stories of the cases that came through her courtroom and revealing the strengths, flaws, and much-needed changes within our courts. Judge Cordell, the first African American woman to sit on the Superior Court of Northern California, knows firsthand how prejudice has permeated our legal system. And yet, she believes in the system. From ending school segregation to legalizing same-sex marriage, its progress relies on legal professionals and jurors who strive to make the imperfect system as fair as possible. Her Honor is an entertaining and provocative look into the hearts and minds of judges. Cordell takes you into her chambers where she haggles with prosecutors and defense attorneys and into the courtroom during jury selection and sentencing hearings. She uses real cases to highlight how judges make difficult decisions, all the while facing outside pressures from the media, law enforcement, lobbyists, and the friends and families of the people involved. Cordell’s candid account of her years on the bench shines light on all areas of the legal system, from juvenile delinquency and the shift from rehabilitation to punishment, along with the racial biases therein, to the thousands of plea bargains that allow our overburdened courts to stay afloat―as long as innocent people are willing to plead guilty. There are tales of marriages and divorces, adoptions, and contested wills―some humorous, others heartwarming, still others deeply troubling. Her Honor is for anyone who’s had the good or bad fortune to stand before a judge or sit on a jury. It is for true-crime junkies and people who vote in judicial elections. Most importantly, this is a book for anyone who wants to know what our legal system, for better or worse, means to the everyday lives of all Americans.

30 review for Her Honor: My Life on the Bench...What Works, What's Broken, and How to Change It

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lisa of Troy

    Perfect for fans of Law and Order! Judge LaDoris Cordell reflects on her time on the bench, reflecting on her time meting out justice in all kinds of cases from small claims, probate (wills/trusts), criminal law cases, mental health hearings, and family law matters. She details the ways in which the legal system has improved over the years but also some of the broken processes and proposes some fixes. Although a work of non-fiction, this book was just as entertaining and interesting as fiction. Th Perfect for fans of Law and Order! Judge LaDoris Cordell reflects on her time on the bench, reflecting on her time meting out justice in all kinds of cases from small claims, probate (wills/trusts), criminal law cases, mental health hearings, and family law matters. She details the ways in which the legal system has improved over the years but also some of the broken processes and proposes some fixes. Although a work of non-fiction, this book was just as entertaining and interesting as fiction. The saying, "Truth is stranger than fiction" is definitely true in this case. Her Honor is also extremely funny. My partner kept asking me what was so funny because I kept laughing so much. One area that Her Honor addressed was the issue of drunk driving. Cordell mentioned that 30 Americans die every day as a result of drunk driving. Cordell even mentioned that she was the victim of a drunk driver resulting in a hairline fracture to her spine. The driver kept his license. Cordell did mention that she started to require offenders to install the interlock device which measures the blood alcohol level of a driver before starting the vehicle. This has undoubtedly saved lives. However, this does not go far enough in some cases. Every week, I receive a free newspaper from the City of Troy. Before chucking it in the recycling bin, I always flip to the criminal news section. This is the most entertaining section of the paper. One drunk driver told police that she didn't have to provide identification because she was traveling like on a horse. This argument did not hold up, and she was booked for drunk driving. There are quite a few people who are extreme drunk drivers. They have been arrested for drunk driving more than ten times and driving without a license more than ten times. Why are these folks out of prison? The Court took away the license, but these folks just won't stop driving. When I was working in the criminal law field, one attorney told me that he had a client facing charges related to alcohol. The client could either go to jail for a month or he could go on probation for three years. The client really wanted to go to jail so he could get out and start drinking as soon as possible. There was a section on the book about name changes. I would have LOVED to hear more about some of the crazy names that people come up with. Do you remember that time where someone was named Bus Stop 45 or Tula Does the Hula? The adoption section was also quite heart warming. One area that I wish was touched on was the complete misperception that most people have of the legal system. If you watch almost any criminal type show, you will remember the Miranda warnings, "You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law. You are entitled to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, you can be provided an attorney at no cost." So most people think, "YES!!! That is the one time in life that it pays to be poor. I get a lawyer for free! It's my lucky day!" Well, not quite. When I worked in criminal law, the supervising lawyer had these court appointed cases (he would represent people arrested who were too poor to afford their own lawyer). For each case, he would receive compensation according to a schedule. However, the schedule is a joke. For example, I live in Oakland County, Michigan. The court appointed attorney can be paid $75 to $1,380 (for a murder charge). This is a lawyer who probably has $200,000 to $300,000 in student loans. To make ends meet, the lawyer has to have many cases, turning cases as quickly as possible to make ends meet. The lawyer simply could not spend lots of time on one particular case. He was not calling in experts. Most of the time, he would encourage the client to plead guilty for reduced charges and then ask for leniency during the sentencing phase. If you pay a lawyer an hourly rate, the lawyer can do a much more comprehensive job. When Making a Murder came out, there was an outrage at how the attorney for Brendan Dassey didn't do very much to help him out. Back in the day, attorneys were paid $300 for a murder case. $300! Murder cases usually take multiple days so the attorney is losing money. He wants to turn the cases as fast as possible. It is not fair to the defendants. It is really very sad. Overall, an extremely entertaining book especially if you love legal dramas like Law and Order! *Thanks, Celadon, for a free copy of this book in exchange for my fair and honest opinion. I also listened to this book on Audible which was paid for by yours truly.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Petra wants more princes & less frogs to kiss

    Review to come ________________ This book has started off amazingly well. It points not to white privilege but to white lack of knowledge and how that can affect justice. But this is not bitter polemic, it's written by a warm and friendly person, you can tell. It's also interesting. The author first sat as a judge, just on one case, in a municipal small-claims court in Sunnyvale, CA, where only 5% of the population is black, so she is amazed that all of them, judge, litigant and defendant are all Review to come ________________ This book has started off amazingly well. It points not to white privilege but to white lack of knowledge and how that can affect justice. But this is not bitter polemic, it's written by a warm and friendly person, you can tell. It's also interesting. The author first sat as a judge, just on one case, in a municipal small-claims court in Sunnyvale, CA, where only 5% of the population is black, so she is amazed that all of them, judge, litigant and defendant are all black! The litigant says that she is a well-regarded hairdresser and that she wanted payment for braiding the other woman's hair. The defendant said that the cornrows were a mess and she couldn't go out without a scarf. The judge examined her had and parted the hair revealing matted roots instead of clean cornrows. The hairdresser said that it was wear and tear over the last few weeks since it had been done. The defendant said but cornrows are supposed to last a couple of months. The judge ruled that she had to pay, but a lesser amount. The author said that most of the judges were white men, what would they have known about roots, cornrows and braids, let alone known they would have had to examine the scalp. That was a really good start to the book! Eventually, two years after she applied, Governor Jerry Brown appoints her as the first African-American female judge in Northern California. Even though I've just started this book, I was so pleased for her. There are authors who might have really nice personalities in real life but it hasn't translated through their writing and you don't warm to them, like the authors of the last two books I read, 30 Years Behind Bars: Trials of a Prison Doctor and My Friend Anna: The True Story of a Fake Heiress. This author, LaDoris Cordell, is coming across as warm, friendly, kind of eager and not at all above herself for her achievements. I haven't been this enthusiastic about a book for ... at least a few weeks, lol.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Catherine Woodward

    **Many thanks to @CeladonBooks and @judgecordell for an ARC of this book!** "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere"-Martin Luther King Jr. As the first African American woman to sit on the Superior Court of Northern California, Judge Cordell has seen it all---and has the stories and the proverbial battle scars to prove it! This book opens with a court case where Judge Cordell's knowledge of African American hair played into her ability to make a truly just and informed decision, **Many thanks to @CeladonBooks and @judgecordell for an ARC of this book!** "Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere"-Martin Luther King Jr. As the first African American woman to sit on the Superior Court of Northern California, Judge Cordell has seen it all---and has the stories and the proverbial battle scars to prove it! This book opens with a court case where Judge Cordell's knowledge of African American hair played into her ability to make a truly just and informed decision, one that a white male judge would NEVER have been able to adequately make with their limited exposure to cornrows and the ins-and-outs of haircare. What does this prove? Much like in our education system and our police force...equal representation is not some sort of pipe dream, but needs to quickly become a reality in order to ensure liberty AND especially justice for all. From this attention-grabbing intro, Judge Cordell moves through several facets of the law and gives anecdote after anecdote from her experiences in the courtroom, explaining everything from sentencing hearings, estates cases, probate, divorce filings, juvenile cases, custody hearings, name changes, mental health cases, judge appointments and jury selection. It's incredible how she manages to pack SO much into less than 300 pages, but after reading this book, I have a basic understanding of how so many of these laws and cases work, which for material that can be heavy, is quite impressive. The beauty of this memoir is that it is incredibly informative without feeling dry, and all of the snippets of Cordell's career are thoughtfully selected for maximum impact. The role of money, race, bias, and the somewhat bonehead archaic laws that Cordell had to uphold at times (through gritted teeth) are all explored thoroughly here, and there are plenty of emotionally charged moments with different plaintiffs and defendants throughout as well to keep both your mind and heart engaged. Cordell also takes the time to sum up her thoughts at the end of the book in a neatly titled chapter "The Fix" where she summarizes the main point of each preceding chapter, tackling the problem and then the solution. All of her ideas, from judge training (which I couldn't believe isn't really a thing!) to abolishing the three strike rule all play well in context, and her justifications are based not only on experience, but on wisdom. She also peppers this book with facts that blew my mind, such as the fact that 1 in 3 adults in the United States cannot read above a sixth grade level, which made my bibliophile heart cry a bit. Rather than a bunch of platitudes and outright criticism of the system, however, the fact that Judge Cordell's memoir ends with the positivity and focused thinking needed to make REAL change in the system was uplifting, encouraging, and all I needed to know to help do my part as a citizen! I am not a law professor, but I would think this book would be FANTASTIC for an intro to law course, as students could move through each chapter while learning about different facets of the law as they appear here. I applaud Judge Cordell for her extraordinary career and her reasons for stepping down from the bench when she did are also admirable. Although law books are stereotypically as dry as the Sahara, this memoir manages to deliver the facts, the heart, and the avenue forward our justice system needs to follow to make REAL and lasting change! 4 stars #CeladonReads #HerHonorBook #partner

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kasa Cotugno

    LaDoris Hazzard Cordell, who earned her law degree from Stanford and had her own office in Santa Clara county didn't know what she was signing on for when she agreed to step in as a temporary judge in a municipal court in the early 1980's. It turned out to be a case that involved only 2 other people besides herself -- two women in their late 20's, both African American. They were locked in a dispute involving payment for work on hair. Black women's hair. This early part reminded me of Americanah LaDoris Hazzard Cordell, who earned her law degree from Stanford and had her own office in Santa Clara county didn't know what she was signing on for when she agreed to step in as a temporary judge in a municipal court in the early 1980's. It turned out to be a case that involved only 2 other people besides herself -- two women in their late 20's, both African American. They were locked in a dispute involving payment for work on hair. Black women's hair. This early part reminded me of Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. Evidently it was believed that a woman of color would be better suited to try such a case. LaDoris then went on to become the first African American jurist in Northern California, serving in municipal and superior courts and putting into effect programs that have changed the methods in which justice is dispensed. For the layperson, there is a lot to learn about the inner workings behind the bench, and with her wit and warmth and obvious care for people, she can add to her many accomplishments, writer.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    Quick thoughts: It’s hard to know just what to say about an important book like this one. I’m so grateful Judge Cordell shared her story and thoughts with us. What an inspiring, empowering, and informative story. Written by the first African American woman to sit on the Superior Court of Northern California, Her Honor is a refreshing memoir about Judge Cordell’s commitment and service to her community. I’ll never forget the experience of reading this book. About the book: “In Her Honor, Judge LaDo Quick thoughts: It’s hard to know just what to say about an important book like this one. I’m so grateful Judge Cordell shared her story and thoughts with us. What an inspiring, empowering, and informative story. Written by the first African American woman to sit on the Superior Court of Northern California, Her Honor is a refreshing memoir about Judge Cordell’s commitment and service to her community. I’ll never forget the experience of reading this book. About the book: “In Her Honor, Judge LaDoris Hazzard Cordell provides a rare and thought-provoking insider account of our legal system, sharing vivid stories of the cases that came through her courtroom and revealing the strengths, flaws, and much-needed changes within our courts.” I received a gifted copy. Many of my reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com and instagram: www.instagram.com/tarheelreader

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mallory

    I’m really grateful to Celadon books for sending me a copy of this book to read and honestly review. I can’t say that it is a book I would have picked out for myself, but I greatly enjoyed it. I had not heard of Judge LaDoris Hazzard Cordell, but I am glad she decided to share of piece of her story. While it was not a memoir in the traditional sense it was a memoir of her life as a judge. LaDoris Hazzard Cordell was the first African American female judge in the California Superior courts and I I’m really grateful to Celadon books for sending me a copy of this book to read and honestly review. I can’t say that it is a book I would have picked out for myself, but I greatly enjoyed it. I had not heard of Judge LaDoris Hazzard Cordell, but I am glad she decided to share of piece of her story. While it was not a memoir in the traditional sense it was a memoir of her life as a judge. LaDoris Hazzard Cordell was the first African American female judge in the California Superior courts and I found her experiences and perspective to be interesting. While her essays and stories do educate about types of law or law principles I did not have a hard time following or feel that it was too dry for pleasure reading. It did take me a little longer than normal to finish this book, but I think that is more about me and where I am than it is about this book. I work in child welfare and have spent a fair amount of time either a party or audience in court and I thought she did a great job highlighting areas where we can continue to improve.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Ink_Drinker

    Judge Cordell was the first black woman to preside as a judge in the Superior Court of Nothern CA. In her memoir, she provides behind-the-scenes accounts of her daily life as a Judge. I’ve always been interested in the legal system and how it works. So, if you are too and want an insider's perspective, you will learn so much by reading this book. Judge Cordell writes with full transparency. She shares the good and the bad cases that came across her courtroom along with the flaws that need to be Judge Cordell was the first black woman to preside as a judge in the Superior Court of Nothern CA. In her memoir, she provides behind-the-scenes accounts of her daily life as a Judge. I’ve always been interested in the legal system and how it works. So, if you are too and want an insider's perspective, you will learn so much by reading this book. Judge Cordell writes with full transparency. She shares the good and the bad cases that came across her courtroom along with the flaws that need to be fixed in our justice system. Her stories are very personal and honest and it was a truly eye-opening experience for me.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Miya

    Inspiring, hopeful, and wonderfully necessary. All the feels. Snort laughing one minute and crying the next. Just beautiful.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jon Nakapalau

    After the murder of George Floyd we seem to hear the term 'social justice' echoed everywhere; but so often it is just that - an echo - bouncing off the marbled halls of a legal system that rings hollow to most 'reasonable persons.' Judge Cordell guides you through these halls; as the first African American woman to sit on the Superior Court of Northern California she is able to provide a 'behind the curtain' view of the most fundamental paradox in any legal system: the difference between ethics After the murder of George Floyd we seem to hear the term 'social justice' echoed everywhere; but so often it is just that - an echo - bouncing off the marbled halls of a legal system that rings hollow to most 'reasonable persons.' Judge Cordell guides you through these halls; as the first African American woman to sit on the Superior Court of Northern California she is able to provide a 'behind the curtain' view of the most fundamental paradox in any legal system: the difference between ethics and the law. To me this is a 'how sausage is made' book: once you know what the ingredients used to make sausage are you may not find it as palatable the next time it is served. Judge Cordell was also the Independent Police Auditor for the City of San Jose for five years (2010-2015) and this lends even more weight to her voice when she examines the systemic problems now facing our legal system. Highest recommendation

  10. 5 out of 5

    Cya_all_day_dream_about_books

    I thank Celadon Books for sending me ARC of this book. LaDoris Cordell is the first African American female Superior Court judge of Northern California. Prior to that she was an assistant Dean at Stanford University who started a program for minority recruitment and also had her own practice. Her book “Her Honor” gives us glimpses of the legal system through her experience as a judge. Her experience in handling various issues and cases, ranging from divorce, adoption to murders are well documente I thank Celadon Books for sending me ARC of this book. LaDoris Cordell is the first African American female Superior Court judge of Northern California. Prior to that she was an assistant Dean at Stanford University who started a program for minority recruitment and also had her own practice. Her book “Her Honor” gives us glimpses of the legal system through her experience as a judge. Her experience in handling various issues and cases, ranging from divorce, adoption to murders are well documented by her in this book. Witty and humorous at times, her thoughts, way of handling, her own judgements and insights on the past and current laws and conclusions are described in her unique writing style. Although I do not have any experience of the legal system, I did not find it difficult to follow the book, because she has written it for audiences from different backgrounds. We always see legal system from our point of view, from this book, we realize what goes into the minds of the judges, how they have to balance between their own judgement, the case and uphold the legal system. When I started reading this book, I wasn’t aware what I would come across, and must admit that I was overwhelmed but her her way of writing was what kept me going and I enjoyed this book. I’m sure her experience and insights will be a good resource for students who would like to go ahead in legal system as their career options. For others, this provides information that we may not come across otherwise. I’m glad LaDoris Cordell decided to write her experiences which will help us learn a lot about legal system.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Laura Hill

    Thank you to Macmillan audio and NetGalley for providing an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. The book will be published on October 26th, 2021. Fantastic book and great on audio (read by author)! Cordell was the first female African American judge in Northern California, but frankly, that has nothing to do with why this was a good book. Cordell takes us through her time on the bench — each chapter covering a segment of her career, including in-depth case analysis with rel Thank you to Macmillan audio and NetGalley for providing an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. The book will be published on October 26th, 2021. Fantastic book and great on audio (read by author)! Cordell was the first female African American judge in Northern California, but frankly, that has nothing to do with why this was a good book. Cordell takes us through her time on the bench — each chapter covering a segment of her career, including in-depth case analysis with relevant case law and background, as well as insight into how she made her decisions. She often illustrated the difference in law and policies across states which I found both fascinating and surprising. The book covers her time in criminal, marriage and family, and juvenile courts as well as her experiences with plea bargaining, hot button issues such as DUIs, the three strikes law, judicial misconduct, and the whole process of appointing or electing judges (beyond fascinating and completely new information to me). The concluding chapter lists a set of ten “broken” aspects of our judicial system and her recommendations for fixes. By then we are familiar with those opinions as they had come up in situ during the varied experiences, so it was easy to follow. I can’t stress enough how clearly she described the mandatory vs discretionary parts of a judge’s position. One very interesting (to me) story was about the recall of Judge Persky, who had given a too-short sentence (as perceived by the public) to the Stanford swimmer convicted of sexual assault on an unconscious girl. Despite the fact that the judge had only followed the sentencing guidelines and had done absolutely nothing wrong (no accusation of malfeasance), he was booted off the bench in an effort led by two Stanford law professors (who really should have known better). CA changed the law that allowed judge recall to require some kind of malfeasance as a result of that case. Personally, my opinion of Stanford law professors took a nosedive. I hate anything that puts politics and / or popular sentiment above the law. This book was about what Judge Cordell thought and did and had little or no discussion of how being black impacted her career; however, she was very explicit about the races of people involved in certain cases (if relevant) and provided a lot of information about race and bias in the courtroom, including studies and statistics of the variability of convictions, sentencing, and plea bargains based on race. She did a superb job of describing principles, problems, solutions, and what stands in the way without resorting to inane, politically correct memes with nothing of substance behind them. I loved it.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Reads It

    In her memoir, Her Honor, Judge LaDoris Hazzard Cordell provides a thought-provoking insight into the black-robed women and men who preside in the state courts. To say I felt a beacon of pride at seeing such a strong, enigmatic woman of color go on to become the first African American jurist in Northern California is an understatement. Judge Cordell's transformative work throughout the courts is commendable, ranging from areas such as racial bias, family court matters such as marriage, divorce a In her memoir, Her Honor, Judge LaDoris Hazzard Cordell provides a thought-provoking insight into the black-robed women and men who preside in the state courts. To say I felt a beacon of pride at seeing such a strong, enigmatic woman of color go on to become the first African American jurist in Northern California is an understatement. Judge Cordell's transformative work throughout the courts is commendable, ranging from areas such as racial bias, family court matters such as marriage, divorce and adoption, and rehabilitation. The case that stood out for me was from the juvenile court trial of Jessica T. not because judge Cordells ruling was controversial but for her ability to take a calculated risk on a young girl with a reduced sentence. This precious gift of a second chance allowed Jessica to reflect on the error of her ways after which she went on to graduate from college and live a crime-free life. Judge Cordell's greatest accomplishment in my opinion is her steadfast desire towards continuous improvement of the legal system that lives up to the democratic principle of Justice for All. Judge Cordell gives the good, the bad, and the ugly of the courtroom and gives readers a peek into her innermost thoughts on a multitude of cases showcasing her extensive work within the legal system. For those unfamiliar with the legal system, or if you are a law school dropout such as myself, there is a plethora of knowledge on the internal operations of the bench told with Judge Cordell's sharp satire. Judge Cordell's perspective offers a healthy dose of pragmatism that is sprinkled with an earnest desire for justice. Despite all the negativity and the media frenzy surrounding some of her prominent cases she has kept persevered. I enjoyed Judge Cordell's writing style that immediately put me at ease and felt as if I were chatting with her friend. Her lessons can serve as inspiration for anyone interested in the legal profession or simply passionate about Justice for All. Thank you to Celadon Books for providing me with an arc in exchange for an honest review.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Adri

    I wasn’t ready for the rollercoaster when I started Her Honor by LaDoris Hazzard Cordell, a retired California Superior Court Judge. Her Honor Details the various cases that Cordell has presided over, and issues as well as people she’s faced in and out of court. And in some ways, how it shaped her perspective. Something I enjoyed is how she took the time to explain the history of many terms and procedures. All of which were typically sandwiched between the cases that it related back to in each ch I wasn’t ready for the rollercoaster when I started Her Honor by LaDoris Hazzard Cordell, a retired California Superior Court Judge. Her Honor Details the various cases that Cordell has presided over, and issues as well as people she’s faced in and out of court. And in some ways, how it shaped her perspective. Something I enjoyed is how she took the time to explain the history of many terms and procedures. All of which were typically sandwiched between the cases that it related back to in each chapter. Since this was the majority of the book, the introduction, served its purpose well. It mainly went into how she became a judge, what was enticing about it, and some of her background. This let the rest of the book get on and do its thing. As the synopsis states, it does “shine a light on all areas of the legal system…” Especially the countless difficult decisions that she and other judges had to make concerning heavy topics and/or complex situations. Overall I enjoyed Her Honor, and I recommend checking it out if your looking for a nonfiction court book that's very informative. I received this book from Celadon Books for this review. This review also appears on my blog Toile, Think, Go.

  14. 4 out of 5

    booksandbark

    Thank you to Celadon Books for the gifted copy. What a page-turner! As a law school hopeful, Her Honor was an incredibly interesting primer on the legal system and judicial independence. It was particularly interesting to hear Judge Cordell's point of view as the first Black woman judge in NorCal, at a time when the justice system was transitioning from being more rehabilitative to more punitive in approach. I highly, highly recommend this book to any prospective law students. However, I did dock Thank you to Celadon Books for the gifted copy. What a page-turner! As a law school hopeful, Her Honor was an incredibly interesting primer on the legal system and judicial independence. It was particularly interesting to hear Judge Cordell's point of view as the first Black woman judge in NorCal, at a time when the justice system was transitioning from being more rehabilitative to more punitive in approach. I highly, highly recommend this book to any prospective law students. However, I did dock one star because this book is rather dry. If you're not interested in the law, or in a particular kind of law that Judge Cordell writes about, you will probably be bored. Rather than a memoir of her life, Her Honor is similar in structure to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's book My Own Words, in that it is composed of a series of essays on various legal topics. While she hints at her life as a single mother, a Black woman, and an LGBTQ+ individual (she does not label herself but was married to a man and is now in a long-term partnership with a woman), that is certainly not the focus of the book. As a result, it likely will not hold your interest if you are not a legal nerd like me.

  15. 4 out of 5

    CYIReadBooks (Claire)

    I’m generally particular when it comes to reading memoirs and biographies. So when Her Honor arrived (to my surprise) in my mailbox from Celadon books, I was skeptical as to whether I would enjoy the book. Was I ever wrong! From the start, beginning with the introduction, I was hooked. Cordell certainly has a knack for writing in a way that is easy to understand. It’s as if you were conversing with a friend. Cordell deftly explains legal concepts, and goes further to describe her thought processe I’m generally particular when it comes to reading memoirs and biographies. So when Her Honor arrived (to my surprise) in my mailbox from Celadon books, I was skeptical as to whether I would enjoy the book. Was I ever wrong! From the start, beginning with the introduction, I was hooked. Cordell certainly has a knack for writing in a way that is easy to understand. It’s as if you were conversing with a friend. Cordell deftly explains legal concepts, and goes further to describe her thought processes for her judicial decisions. Topics covered in the book run the gamut. Some of the topics are marriage, divorce, criminal cases, probate, and my personal favorite, name changes. With topics such as the above, Cordell introduces actual case files, describes the circumstances, offers her opinions, and finally how she ruled on each case. Thoroughly intriguing. In addition to actual case file decisions, Cordell also details the shortcomings of the judicial system and offers ten possible solutions for creating a better system that is equitable for every American. Her Honor is a superb memoir and a definite must read for those readers interested in the court system, the legal doctrines behind the decisions, and how certain laws can have a detrimental effect in the outcomes. Five stellar stars. I received a physical ARC from Celadon Books, and a digital ARC through NetGalley. The review herein is completely my own and contains my honest thoughts and opinions.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kristen Kristens.reading.nook

    Judge Cordell was the first Black woman appointed to the Superior Court in Northern CA. This is her story of her life on the bench in various courts. She shines light on what is broken and gives concrete examples of how they could be fixed. Her stories explain her thought process throughout various types of cases. Her hands were often tied when it came to sentencing, and she had to make decisions based purely on the sentencing requirements when she knew they were not what were fair or just for t Judge Cordell was the first Black woman appointed to the Superior Court in Northern CA. This is her story of her life on the bench in various courts. She shines light on what is broken and gives concrete examples of how they could be fixed. Her stories explain her thought process throughout various types of cases. Her hands were often tied when it came to sentencing, and she had to make decisions based purely on the sentencing requirements when she knew they were not what were fair or just for the defendant. I enjoyed getting a view of the courtroom from the judge’s bench as it’s not something I’ve read before. Thank you to Celadon Books for an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Shannon Rochester

    Thank you to Celadon books for surprising me with yet another book in the mail. I love getting these surprises and they always make me happy...this particular book is not one I would have chosen for myself so it took me a little longer to get through it than it normally would. That's not saying I didn't like it because I found most of it very interesting...my only issue was that every now and then, it read a little too much like a textbook for me. It is a very important book of the first African Thank you to Celadon books for surprising me with yet another book in the mail. I love getting these surprises and they always make me happy...this particular book is not one I would have chosen for myself so it took me a little longer to get through it than it normally would. That's not saying I didn't like it because I found most of it very interesting...my only issue was that every now and then, it read a little too much like a textbook for me. It is a very important book of the first African American judge, female to boot...I loved hearing of the cases she came up against and how she became a judge in the first place. I loved the multitude of cases she took on and which ones she liked best...which ones broke her heart...I had no idea what the process of becoming a judge entailed and I have to admit, I have a little more respect for them in general after reading this book. :)

  18. 5 out of 5

    Rhonda Lomazow

    An inspiring fascinating look at the American court system Judge Cordell a Stanford graduate and the first African American head of the Santa Clara superior court.She opens the door to presiding over the courtroom and shares her career with us.I would recommend this book for classroom and bookclub discussion.Thank to Celadon for this advance copy.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Robin Taylor

    Very insightful and thought provoking book. I leaned a lot about our justice system, what's wrong with it, and how to make it better. Judge Cordell is an amazing woman and writer. Very insightful and thought provoking book. I leaned a lot about our justice system, what's wrong with it, and how to make it better. Judge Cordell is an amazing woman and writer.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sandie

    In 1982, Governor Jerry Brown named LaDoris Hazzard Cordell to be a judge on the Municipal Bench. Cordell remembers her first ever case. It was a small claims case and the participants were both African American women as was she. The case concerned a claim of nonpayment for service by the plaintiff and the defendant claimed that the service, braids, was done sloppily and didn't deserve payment. Judge Cordell had the women come forward and she checked the integrity of the braids herself. Finding In 1982, Governor Jerry Brown named LaDoris Hazzard Cordell to be a judge on the Municipal Bench. Cordell remembers her first ever case. It was a small claims case and the participants were both African American women as was she. The case concerned a claim of nonpayment for service by the plaintiff and the defendant claimed that the service, braids, was done sloppily and didn't deserve payment. Judge Cordell had the women come forward and she checked the integrity of the braids herself. Finding them lacking, she awarded the plaintiff a reduced amount and both women left satisfied. In 1988, Judge Cordell won election to the Superior Court and served there until 2001, rotating through a variety of assignments. She discusses such topics as juvenile cases, marriage, divorce, custody, adoption and name changes. She discusses juries and their decisions, The judicial election process is discussed along with judicial misconduct and disagreements with rulings, which sometimes rise to the level of attempts to recall judges. She discusses her time with rulings on mental cases, usually middle-aged women petitioning against involuntary confinement, or being forced into shock treatments or drugs with massive side effects. Cordell talks about the three strike rule, it's disportionate effect on minority defendants and the whole plea bargain process which allows the courts to get through their huge caseload but often means innocent people plead guilty. Cordell ends the book with suggestions on how the judicial system can be reformed. I listened to this book and the narrator was Cordell herself. Her voice was the voice one would think of as a judge's; dispassionate, calm and logical. One of Cordell's main points was the effect that her appointment as a minority woman had on the defendants who were amazed to see her there and given hope that someone like them was overseeing the process. The cases she uses throughout are fascinating and the reader will gain more understanding of the judicial process than they had starting out. This book is recommended for nonfiction readers, those interested in legal procedures and those interested in the story of a strong African American woman.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Quinn

    Note: I won this book (an uncorrected proof) through a Goodreads giveaway. Being given this book for free does not influence my judgment or opinion in any way. Oh wow. This was a book I didn't know I needed. I had SO many gaps in my legal knowledge, and Judge Cordell's book filled those gaps. For those of us who know about the law from what we've heard on television, this is a major help! Judge Cordell's writing voice is so damn down-to-earth, and I loved that. She told stories and shared legal Note: I won this book (an uncorrected proof) through a Goodreads giveaway. Being given this book for free does not influence my judgment or opinion in any way. Oh wow. This was a book I didn't know I needed. I had SO many gaps in my legal knowledge, and Judge Cordell's book filled those gaps. For those of us who know about the law from what we've heard on television, this is a major help! Judge Cordell's writing voice is so damn down-to-earth, and I loved that. She told stories and shared legal cases and instances with language that a layperson can understand. How appreciated! She never toots her own horn to an extreme, but gives herself credit where credit seems due, and is just as good about admitting when she made wrong choices. She calls out organizations, groups, and people by name (brave!) when she speaks her truth and judgments. She poses that there are problems in the judicial system, and offers solutions. It isn't just a manifesto of complaints. She also points of what works, and why. I found her to be a very fair, very balanced, very thoughtful thinker. Very head, but with appropriate amounts of heart. I would be honored to meet her some day.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Lauren Mendez

    Judge LaDoris Hazzard Cordell shares her experiences being the first black woman to sit on the Superior Court of Northern California and describes experiences filled with justice, challenge, and a determination to impact the system. This work reminded me of how our court system can be a deeply flawed system, that requires advocacy and change. This work also reminded me that a judge’s discretion is incredibly powerful and consequential, and that there are decisions made in court that feel incredi Judge LaDoris Hazzard Cordell shares her experiences being the first black woman to sit on the Superior Court of Northern California and describes experiences filled with justice, challenge, and a determination to impact the system. This work reminded me of how our court system can be a deeply flawed system, that requires advocacy and change. This work also reminded me that a judge’s discretion is incredibly powerful and consequential, and that there are decisions made in court that feel incredibly unjust and heartbreaking particularly surrounding three strike laws, custody decisions, and cases involving problematic plea deals. I received an arc of this work to provide my honest thoughts. I would recommend this work.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kate West

    Now more than ever, we need Judge Cordell and others like her. Legal professionals who advocate for the underserved and unheard. This book is a fascinating read, even for the laypeople. I was fortunate to have hosted Judge Cordell in my own home for a family ceremony once upon a time (a marriage unfortunately now long ended - of course not Her Honor’s fault!) and was struck way back then by her quiet dignity and obvious integrity. Wish more lawyers-turned-judges were this way. And she has only b Now more than ever, we need Judge Cordell and others like her. Legal professionals who advocate for the underserved and unheard. This book is a fascinating read, even for the laypeople. I was fortunate to have hosted Judge Cordell in my own home for a family ceremony once upon a time (a marriage unfortunately now long ended - of course not Her Honor’s fault!) and was struck way back then by her quiet dignity and obvious integrity. Wish more lawyers-turned-judges were this way. And she has only become more impressive. I’ve been a fan ever since then and am now delighted to have access to her brilliant life work in book form. So worth reading and sharing. Grateful to share the universe with her.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany

    Bravo to LaDoris Hazzard Cordell on her new memoir Her Honor: My Life on the Bench…What Works, What’s Broken and How to Change It. A big Thank you to partner Celadon Books for the advanced copy. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. An incredibly thought-provoking memoir, that is brilliantly written with heartfelt empathy and truthfulness. A book that provides amazing insight into a variety of real cases and difficult challenges that the author faced during her time on the bench as the first A Bravo to LaDoris Hazzard Cordell on her new memoir Her Honor: My Life on the Bench…What Works, What’s Broken and How to Change It. A big Thank you to partner Celadon Books for the advanced copy. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. An incredibly thought-provoking memoir, that is brilliantly written with heartfelt empathy and truthfulness. A book that provides amazing insight into a variety of real cases and difficult challenges that the author faced during her time on the bench as the first African American woman to sit on the Superior Court of Northern California. In her book Judge LaDoris Hazzard Cordell not only shows that our court system is highly flawed, but she imparts feasible solutions and shows that there is a path forward to bring about the necessary change that is needed. I highly recommend you add this excellent memoir to your reading list. • Book Synopsis: Judge Cordell, the first African American woman to sit on the Superior Court of Northern California, knows firsthand how prejudice has permeated our legal system. And yet, she believes in the system. From ending school segregation to legalizing same-sex marriage, its progress relies on legal professionals and jurors who strive to make the imperfect system as fair as possible. Her Honor is an entertaining and provocative look into the hearts and minds of judges. Cordell takes you into her chambers where she haggles with prosecutors and defense attorneys and into the courtroom during jury selection and sentencing hearings. She uses real cases to highlight how judges make difficult decisions, all the while facing outside pressures from the media, law enforcement, lobbyists, and the friends and families of the people involved. Cordell’s candid account of her years on the bench shines light on all areas of the legal system, from juvenile delinquency and the shift from rehabilitation to punishment, along with the racial biases therein, to the thousands of plea bargains that allow our overburdened courts to stay afloat—as long as innocent people are willing to plead guilty. There are tales of marriages and divorces, adoptions, and contested wills—some humorous, others heartwarming, still others deeply troubling. Her Honor is for anyone who’s had the good or bad fortune to stand before a judge or sit on a jury. It is for true-crime junkies and people who vote in judicial elections. Most importantly, this is a book for anyone who wants to know what our legal system, for better or worse, means to the everyday lives of all Americans.

  25. 5 out of 5

    William Rham

    “Her Honor” by Judge LaDoris Hazzard Cordell (Retired) is an excellent work of non-fiction, very instructive, and highly enjoyable. Judge Hazzard spent almost 20 years adjudicating cases in the California Municipal and Superior Courts. “Her Honor” tells the story of that experience in very human terms. It describes many of the cases Judge Hazzard heard, and explains what she thought, and thinks, about areas of the law that most often affect people in their daily lives (e.g., criminal and juvenile “Her Honor” by Judge LaDoris Hazzard Cordell (Retired) is an excellent work of non-fiction, very instructive, and highly enjoyable. Judge Hazzard spent almost 20 years adjudicating cases in the California Municipal and Superior Courts. “Her Honor” tells the story of that experience in very human terms. It describes many of the cases Judge Hazzard heard, and explains what she thought, and thinks, about areas of the law that most often affect people in their daily lives (e.g., criminal and juvenile law, marital and domestic law, estate and probate law, mental health law, and even how judges make it onto the bench). By extension, “Her Honor” illustrates for readers how and what other judges might feel and think and some of the factors that can affect the decisions they make. She is particularly adept at identifying problems within our judicial system and suggesting solutions for them. Readers may not agree with every solution, but I thought all the solutions offered both thoughtful and thought-provoking. For instance, she repeatedly suggests that we provide our judges with better training in the disciplines affecting the areas they’re assigned to (e.g., judges adjudicating juvenile and mental health matters ought to have a solid grounding in psychology so that they can fully understand the testimony of experts, the consequences of expert recommendations, and even when an expert is selling them a bill of goods.) Judge Hazzard is a talented writer. Her prose is clear, direct, easy to understand, and devoid of baffling “legalese.” And she manages to leaven her story, and the stories of some of the cases she handled, with a wonderfully dry and self-deprecating humor. In conclusion, a great book for all readers and especially for those interested in obtaining a better understanding of our laws and legal system and the judges who administer them. My thanks to NetGalley and the author and publisher for making this ARC available. The foregoing review is my honest and independent opinion.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Wes

    It should go without saying that America's criminal justice system is deeply flawed. Lawyers, political groups and corporations spend millions of dollars trying to ensure judge sympathetic to their worldview end up in office. (We saw an equally flawed judicial process laid bare in the flurry of unqualified judicial appointments, many for life, made by the Trump administration and confirmed by a partisan, irresponsible Senate.) Mandatory minimum laws wrong remove the responsibility of the judge t It should go without saying that America's criminal justice system is deeply flawed. Lawyers, political groups and corporations spend millions of dollars trying to ensure judge sympathetic to their worldview end up in office. (We saw an equally flawed judicial process laid bare in the flurry of unqualified judicial appointments, many for life, made by the Trump administration and confirmed by a partisan, irresponsible Senate.) Mandatory minimum laws wrong remove the responsibility of the judge to make informed decisions on sentencing. And the system is inherently stacked against minorities groups and the poor. Nevertheless, Judge Cordell steps forward to rule in a system that is flawed but necessary, and takes us with her throughout her storied and accomplished career. To read about her time in the various arenas of law is deeply informative. It's reasonable to learn that judges are experts, but only in the administration of the law, but the lack of knowledge so many judges have on the subject matter they rule in was eye-opening. The chapter on psychiatric court (verify this term) was highly educational, that the judges making decisions on medical and psych holds may not be well-informed and could be prone to manipulation by medical institutions. As a nurse, I myself am often caring for patients who are on medical or psychiatric hold, I wonder if we would view our work differently if we would go and sit in those proceedings just once. I do not understand the choice to use female pronouns as the default, it's true that for almost all of recorded history male pronouns have been the default. That's especially true in law, but I have to wonder if a better solution would be to include everyone via the singular they/them, which has been a facet of common English for centuries and is more inclusive to those who do not consider themselves fully male or female but non-binary. This aside, I also think it makes for easier reading, but I'm just a book reviewer, what do I know? I find myself wishing I better understood Judge Cordell beyond the bench, her achievements are historic as both a black woman and as someone openly queer, and her explanations of the legal system and her time within it are detailed, evocative and highly informative. But I'm left wishing I could better understand what made her who she is, about her life growing up, and of managing in a world that remains very hostile to people who look like her and love like her. She's lived a fascinating life, maybe one day we'll get to hear more about it! This is my first-ever advance-copy book review, and special thanks to Celadon Books for the opportunity.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    Her Honor is a thoughtful look at the legal system from the perspective of a less vocal member of the court system – the judge. LaDoris Hazzard Cordell also has the distinction of being not just a judge but one that broke barriers in her circuit, which put her in the unique position of being able to empathize and see the broken parts of the legal system that often disadvantage minorities. The legal system is an incredibly complicated process, and it may be both reassuring and terrifying to the a Her Honor is a thoughtful look at the legal system from the perspective of a less vocal member of the court system – the judge. LaDoris Hazzard Cordell also has the distinction of being not just a judge but one that broke barriers in her circuit, which put her in the unique position of being able to empathize and see the broken parts of the legal system that often disadvantage minorities. The legal system is an incredibly complicated process, and it may be both reassuring and terrifying to the average person that there is legal jargon and processes that don’t always make sense to a judge. It’s also helpful to see her side of things, particularly when it comes to sentencing people that are found or plead guilty, and how those decisions are often dictated by a set of guidelines and are not fully in the hands of a judge to determine punishment. This is never more apparent than when Cordell addresses the judge presiding over the Stanford rape trial – one that is covered in explicit and heartbreaking detail from a victim’s perspective by Chanel Miller in her memoir Know My Name. Cordell covers a wide variety of trials presided over, giving the reader a unique look at how many different rotations there are, and how difficult it can be for a judge to have a knowledge set in so many areas that would allow them to fairly render judgement and sentencing for the people facing them in court. As she does this, she points out some of the sticking points within the legal system, many that may exist for good intentions but can have unintended consequences. The author does occasionally get on a soapbox about certain issues and people that irritate her – an opponent in a political race, the thin skin of fellow judges regarding cartoons she drew for charity, a governor that she clashed with, a defendant that tried to undermine her credibility – and this starts leading the book into the memoir genre and away from a more objective explanation and analysis of the legal system. It is also a reminder that judges, just like us, are human and their life experiences have an impact on their jobs, though one can hope that impact is one that allows them to be empathetic and pursue ways to improve the justice system for the accused.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Carin

    Judge Cordell was the first African-American woman on the bench in Northern California, and she’s also a lesbian, so she was just busting ceilings all over the place! This is a series of essays on a wide variety of jurisprudence topics, over the course of which we learn a great deal about Judge Cordell, to the point where it’s also basically a memoir. But mostly, it’s about the judicial system. She covers issues from sentencing children as adults in capital crimes, to mandatory sentencing, and wh Judge Cordell was the first African-American woman on the bench in Northern California, and she’s also a lesbian, so she was just busting ceilings all over the place! This is a series of essays on a wide variety of jurisprudence topics, over the course of which we learn a great deal about Judge Cordell, to the point where it’s also basically a memoir. But mostly, it’s about the judicial system. She covers issues from sentencing children as adults in capital crimes, to mandatory sentencing, and where those started, where we are now, and how to fix it. She talks about her time covering the court where people who have been hospitalized in mental institutions against their will petition to be released–and how there is zero training for this. (Luckily her partner is a social worker and had a DSM-V at home she could borrow but very few judges would have this resource.) She discusses how under-utilized the small claims court system is, and how it’s also a perfect place to be a training ground for future judges (see the aforementioned no training.) In fact she worked with a local law school and created a system where law students who thought they might want to be judges could sit on the small claims court bench (with her supervision). And it’s not all depressing stories–she also talks about her favorite days at court, which were the name change days (no sentencing anyone, and everyone’s really happy.) But on the other hand she talks about a calculated recall effort that was launched against her when she handed down some unpopular verdicts. Pluses and minuses, to be sure. But I love that she doesn’t just point out the problems, but she also proposes solutions. Very readable and accessible, so if you have a passing interest in the law, this is a great read.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kelly Hooker

    With candor and empathy, LaDoris Hazzard Cordell reflects on her career as the first Black jurist in Northern California in the memoir, 𝗛𝗘𝗥 𝗛𝗢𝗡𝗢𝗥. This is a fascinating behind-the-scenes look into her decades on the bench. She shares a wide variety of cases ranging from the implausibly zany to the deeply heartbreaking. I could not tear myself away from these pages. I don’t often read nonfiction books quickly, but this was an exception! I found the stories of the people who entered her courtroom to With candor and empathy, LaDoris Hazzard Cordell reflects on her career as the first Black jurist in Northern California in the memoir, 𝗛𝗘𝗥 𝗛𝗢𝗡𝗢𝗥. This is a fascinating behind-the-scenes look into her decades on the bench. She shares a wide variety of cases ranging from the implausibly zany to the deeply heartbreaking. I could not tear myself away from these pages. I don’t often read nonfiction books quickly, but this was an exception! I found the stories of the people who entered her courtroom to be completely engrossing. She also provides succinct histories of various laws and how they disproportionately impact Black and brown people. I appreciated her insights as a Black woman seeking to leave a lasting impact in a field dominated by white males. LaDoris Hazzard Cordell acknowledges the American judiciary system is inherently flawed, yet she has devoted her life to making it more equitable. In the final chapter, readers are invited to re-image the judicial system as she offers practical solutions to longstanding problems. I highly recommend this memoir if you enjoy stories of bold women making waves, or have an interest in the American judiciary system. 𝗥𝗔𝗧𝗜𝗡𝗚: 4/5 ⭐️ 𝗣𝗨𝗕 𝗗𝗔𝗧𝗘: October 5, 2021 A big thank you to partner @celadonbooks for the gifted ARC of this book

  30. 5 out of 5

    Sophia

    Her Honor: My Life on the Bench...What Works, What's Broken, and How to Change It by LaDoris Hazzard Cordell Expected publication: October 5, 2021 #HerHonorBook @CeladonBooks <3 I absolutely loved this Memoir! She was so Unapologetically Black of her story telling. I went from anger to laughter all before page 6. I went through it with the emotions! The legalease of the past and present within the Judicial System threw me for a bit but I am more informed about issues we all need to be privy to. I Her Honor: My Life on the Bench...What Works, What's Broken, and How to Change It by LaDoris Hazzard Cordell Expected publication: October 5, 2021 #HerHonorBook @CeladonBooks <3 I absolutely loved this Memoir! She was so Unapologetically Black of her story telling. I went from anger to laughter all before page 6. I went through it with the emotions! The legalease of the past and present within the Judicial System threw me for a bit but I am more informed about issues we all need to be privy to. I have read many books on injustices within the Legal System but to read from a prospective of a Female Black LBGTQ+ Judge, really exposed how fucked up the system is. She purposely presided of cases in every genre of the law--Mental Health, Child Abuse, Domestic Violence, Small Claim Court were just a few of the divisions she switched between over the years to expose herself to every case imaginable. There were cases revolving around braided hair styles to a man's dentures that had me LMAO! The description of some of the violence folks are capable of along with the unfairness of the system sobered my ass up though. SMH. The uniqueness of the conclusion where she breaks down all the issues by each chapter along with her suggested remedies to address the madness within then legal system gave me hope. The fact that she is still dedicated to justice even after being retired makes #HerHonor a modern day hero and living legend. This is a #hearwrenching and #heartwarming #MUSTREAD. I am anxiously awaiting the audiobook's release to relive this journey with assistance of her narration :-) Thank you Jaime for the gifting me the privilege of an advanced copy of my #HerHonorBook. <3 ~In Her Honor, Judge LaDoris Hazzard Cordell provides a rare and thought-provoking insider account of our legal system, sharing vivid stories of the cases that came through her courtroom and revealing the strengths, flaws, and much-needed changes within our courts. Judge Cordell, the first African American woman to sit on the Superior Court of Northern California, knows firsthand how prejudice has permeated our legal system. And yet, she believes in the system. From ending school segregation to legalizing same-sex marriage, its progress relies on legal professionals and jurors who strive to make the imperfect system as fair as possible. Her Honor is an entertaining and provocative look into the hearts and minds of judges. Cordell takes you into her chambers where she haggles with prosecutors and defense attorneys and into the courtroom during jury selection and sentencing hearings. She uses real cases to highlight how judges make difficult decisions, all the while facing outside pressures from the media, law enforcement, lobbyists, and the friends and families of the people involved. Cordell's candid account of her years on the bench shines light on all areas of the legal system, from juvenile delinquency and the shift from rehabilitation to punishment, along with the racial biases therein, to the thousands of plea bargains that allow our overburdened courts to stay afloat—as long as innocent people are willing to plead guilty. There are tales of marriages and divorces, adoptions, and contested wills—some humorous, others heartwarming, still others deeply troubling. Her Honor is for anyone who's had the good or bad fortune to stand before a judge or sit on a jury. It is for true-crime junkies and people who vote in judicial elections. Most importantly, this is an audiobook for anyone who wants to know what our legal system, for better or worse, means to the everyday lives of all Americans.

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