25 to Life
The Truth, the Whole Truth and Nothing but the Truth
by Leslie Crocker Snyder
Book Review by Amy Coffin
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Leslie Crocker Snyder is a New York Supreme Court Justice. As a child, she already had her sights set on a career in law. She entered college at 16 with her eyes on the prize. She eventually became a part of the system over 30 years ago. This career path has taken her to many interesting destinations. She looks back down the legal road in 25 to Life: The Truth, the Whole Truth, and Nothing But the Truth.

Snyder discusses the barriers she faced in the late 1960's as a woman in a male-dominated profession. When she expressed her desire to try homicide cases, she was told to "bring a letter of permission from her husband." Not one to let anything stand in her way, the author eventually got the job (without the letter) and moved her way up the legal ladder, eventually forming the Manhattan District Attorney's Sex Crimes Division.

Most of 25 to Life is devoted to stories from the trenches. Snyder recollects her most memorable cases. She plays no favorites, candidly discussion the good, the bad and the ugly of lawyers and their clients.

The author has a reputation for tough sentences, thus earning nicknames like "Ice Princess" and "25 to Life" among defendants. Several criminals who passed through her courtroom have threatened her life. Her family has had round-the-clock protection on several occasions. One chapter in this book is devoted to the judge's experience and perspective as a "victim" in regards to these threats.

Though Snyder is clearly tough as nails, she doesn't appear to have the ego that is evident in some legal/law enforcement memoirs. She's very honest and forthcoming about her opinions, yet respectably grounded when talking about her calling. Candace DeLong had an exciting career with the FBI. She knows so and it shows in Special Agent. Leslie Crocker Snyder seems more modest and it makes her accomplishments truly admirable.

25 to Life provides a detailed look into the career of a New York Supreme Court Justice and the legal system in general. It's more technical than the average memoir, but it's guaranteed to hold your interest.

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