Doing Justice Book Summary By Preet Bharara

*This post contains affiliate links, and we may earn an affiliate commission without it ever affecting the price you pay.

Doing Justice (2019) is an insightful and captivating book by former federal attorney Preet Bharara.

In it, Bharara shares his years of knowledge, offering up tips and advice for all trial lawyers.

He also dives into prison reform and shares inspiring stories from some of the cases he was fortunate enough to be involved with-- ones that still remain close to him.

This book provides a fascinating glimpse into Bharara's life and career, allowing readers to get an understanding of how his extraordinary experiences shape and define his approach to justice.

It's surely a must-read for those interested in learning how the legal system works in the United States!

Doing Justice Book

Book Name: Doing Justice (A Prosecutor’s Thoughts on Crime, Punishment, and the Rule of Law)

Author(s): Preet Bharara

Rating: 4.6/5

Reading Time: 29 Minutes

Categories: Society & Culture

Author Bio

Doing Justice, a book by Preet Bharara, is backed by an esteemed author.

Former US Attorney for the Southern District of New York, Preet Bharara has a successful track record in managing many cases related to cybercrime and gang violence.

This made him highly recognized in Time magazine's "100 Most Influential People" list as well as Vanity Fair's "New Establishment" list.

He currently serves as a faculty member at the NYU School of Law where he also hosts the popular podcast Stay Tuned with Preet.

He concludes his book Doing Justice with valuable life lessons from his court experience which offer readers insight on how justice works and how to do the right thing.

Unlocking The Mystery Of Democracy: What We Can Learn From Preet Bharara’s Experiences As A Federal Prosecutor

Mystery Of Democracy

If you want to learn about law and order from an esteemed New York prosecutor, Preet Bharara is the perfect choice.

With years of experience as the federal prosecutor for the Southern District of New York, Bharara has cracked down on corruption in some of America’s most prominent political offices, held those in power accountable, and helped those without a voice fight for justice.

having worked extensively with the citizens of NYC, he has seen both heinous acts of violence and individuals looking out for other people’s best interests which has reaffirmed his belief that if we continue to work towards truth and justice, good will prevail.

By reading Doing Justice by Preet Bharara you’ll gain insight into topics such as why fingerprint evidence is not 100% reliable, how prosecutors go about filing charges when cases aren’t complete; as well as how a kidnapping case can challenge our fundamental understanding of justice.

The Pursuit Of Justice Is About Dedication To The Truth And Working Hard

Good inquiry requires a high level of commitment from an investigator, who needs to withhold judgment and remain determined in their pursuit of the truth.

This is something the author learned decades ago when he received a call about the murder of Jose and Kitty Menendez – two people his friend Jessica had known.

Despite Jessica’s firm belief that the couple’s sons could never have committed such a crime, they were eventually convicted.

For the best results, it’s important that investigators maintain a strong work ethic like Kenny McCabe, the renowned “mob buster” who meticulous tracked down mafia members.

McCabe was famous for his detailed evidence-gathering and observing mobster’s behavior to get an sense of their ranking in an organization.

He made sure to never cut corners to get justice and because of this determination, even mobsters had respect for him if they got caught by him!

To Reduce Mistakes During An Inquiry, Acknowledge Bias And Exercise Caution With Evidence

The 3/11 bombing in Madrid illustrates the importance of appraising evidence in any investigation.

Both the Spanish National Police (SPN) and the FBI were confident that they had identified the perpetrator of the attack based on latent fingerprints matched to a 37-year-old, white male living in Portland, Oregon.

However, four independent experts went further to confirm these findings – though there was a significant lack of other evidence to link him to the bombing.

It wasn’t until SPN revealed that their fingerprint analysis pointed towards another suspect – an Algerian national named Ouhnane Daoud – that FBI reevaluated their assessment and concluded that he was indeed the true bomber.

This case serves as an example of how being too overconfident in your initial inquiry can lead you astray, and highlights the importance of giving each piece of evidence presented during an investigation a complete reappraisal whenever necessary.

It is essential for anyone conducting an investigation to consider every new angle and information by exercising skepticism when approaching a case.

The Power Of Asking The Right Questions And Showing Empathy In An Investigation


In order to make sure an investigation produces the best possible outcome, it’s important that its processes are constantly questioned and evaluated.

Constant self-reflection and improvement of procedures is key to success.

This is true even when it comes to witness interviews; something as simple as asking why a certain procedure is being followed could reveal outdated methods or inefficient practices.

Asking this question was instrumental in investigating insider trading and fraud cases, which ultimately led to use of wiretaps for investigations.

Gaining a cooperative witness can be particularly difficult due to potentially dire consequences faced if someone snitches – oftentimes risking physical harm or even worse – but with a unique approach, one that involves being understanding and empathetic towards them, prosecutors can create an environment where talking can become easier and more common.

This tactic was used by veteran NYPD cop Steve Braccini when he was investigating the death of an inmate at Rikers Island Penitentiary in New York City by speaking about Officer Torres’ past military service and interests such as firefighting before going into detail about the event itself.

Ultimately, processes need to be routinely questioned, both internally by investigators in order to improve efficiency, but also during the questioning process itself in order to gain cooperative witnesses and uncover honest accounts from those involved.

Furthermore, humane questioning is key when speaking with potential witnesses in order to establish trust between interviewer and interviewee that will lead them to open up properly during their conversations.

The Danger Of Overeager Cops And Prosecutors: Doing The Right Thing In The Investigation Of Powerful People

Accusations can change lives, and so they must be made with absolute certainty that justice is being served.

As prosecutors investigate any suspected wrongdoing, it’s essential to look into any other possible explanations or the slightest doubt in order to come up with a sound conclusion.

Every decision must be carefully weighed, and there should never be any rush to draw a conclusion – particularly in high-profile cases like those of Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos.

The author knew this when he saw that someone in his office was worried about his reaction to a less than favorable outcome.

He gathered everyone together and reminded them that he didn’t expect any specific results from this case but only expected them to do their best work no matter what the outcome would be – making sure no one was above the law or under pressure.

Making justice-based decisions without influence from external factors such as pressure or predetermined notions of an outcome is the true essence of doing what’s right.

That’s why accusations are something that requires immense care and deliberation before being carried out, as each one can literally alter people’s lives forever!

Prosecutors Feel Pressure To Act When Public Safety Is At Risk: A Case Study Of Gilberto Valle

In his book Doing Justice, author Preet Bharara highlights the difficult decision prosecutors have to make when dealing with complicated cases.

He uses the unusual and disturbing case of Gilberto Valle as an example of this.

Valle was married to Kathleen Mangan when she discovered disturbing content on her husband’s computer.

Her search for evidence that he was cheating on her led her to uncover a website called the Dark Fetish Network, where Valle had discussed plots to kidnap, torture, kill and eat real women he knew, including Mangan herself!

Although Valle was an armed police officer, there were several questions as to what constituted a real versus fantasy threat.

The prosecutor in this case had to make a tough call: charge Valle with conspiracy to kidnap even though there wasn’t enough evidence or wait until they observed signs of him possibly acting out dangerously.

They chose the former due to a perceived public threat.

As it turned out, even if they hadn’t charged him because they lacked concrete evidence, the judge would still have overturned Valle’s conviction due to lack of follow-through with his plans and the fact that he never purchased any related items.

This goes to show that prosecutors must carefully balance between available evidence and public safety in order for justice be served properly.

In this case, although it worked out satisfactorily in the end thanks to thorough monitoring and undercover agents sent in later by Bharrara’s team – ultimately making sure those dangerous conspirators were taken off the streets – it is not always possible for law makers to make such precise calls and balance their ethical obligations accordingly without putting civilians in danger.

The Responsibility Of Knowing When To Walk Away: Discretion And The Pursuit Of Justice


Crime often goes unpunished in cultures where corruption is the norm, and prosecutors have to be prepared for criticism from all angles.

In many cases, powerful individuals or organizations may use money and influence to keep those who report their criminal activities silent–as seen with high-profile cases such as Enron, Harvey Weinstein, and Bill Cosby.

When it came to enforcing the law, discretion was often a driving factor for prosecutors.

Discretionary justice gives law enforcement the ability to decide how harsh of a penalty an individual should receive depending on the severity of their crime–even if it means not prosecuting them at all.

This was seen when Harry, a prison escapee, attempted to sneak back into his minimum security confines after rendezvousing with his wife.

Despite him breaking out of prison which typically warrants full punishment under the rule of law in America, jury members used their discretion and decided not to indict Harry altogether.

This decision likely kept many considerations of truth and justice balanced.

On the flip side however, any form of discretion could work against justice in privilege-centered cultures; leaving criminal activity unchecked and unpunished due to fear or bias towards certain sectors of society (i.e., women in Hollywood).

The #MeToo movement shook this status quo heavily by allowing victims of abuse who felt silenced to speak up and bringing attention to cases like Harvey Weinstein’s–which prosecutors chose initially not prosecute despite there existing recorded evidence of guilt against him.

Given that no single prosecutorial solution can satisfy everyone’s demands for justice, it’s important that prosecutors grit their teeth through criticism from all corners regarding discretionary decisions made with respect to criminal cases large and small.

The Pursuit Of Justice: How A Disenfranchised Woman Was Finally Heard In Court

Justice can mean more than simply the conviction of a criminal.

In some cases, justice also entails giving someone their day in court to be heard.

This was the case with SueAnn, a woman in her 30s living in the Bronx who was robbed, knocked unconscious, and possibly sexually assaulted by masked attackers.

Despite SueAnn’s troubled past, including mental illness and a history of drug abuse, two investigators still chose to take her case seriously.

When it came time for SueAnn’s truth to be heard in the courtroom, she refused to settle out of court due to wanting to make sure that she would have her chance at justice.

The evidence presented was irrefutable and it was evident that SueAnn finally received her long-awaited day in court when the jury read out the guilty verdict.

SueAnn thanked the prosecutors for believing in her despite all odds; no one had taken her seriously before then.

This is an example of how justice isn’t only about achieving a conviction – it can also be about giving someone their rightful moment in court where they are able to present their story and have closure around it.

Preparing For A Trial To Avoid Surprises And Ensure Fairness Of Justice

It’s important for any prosecutor to be prepared for any eventuality when they approach the bench.

That means being familiar with the judges that have been assigned their case and understanding how those personalities, predilections, and temperaments may potentially affect the trial.

An example of this was seen in the 2018 federal criminal trial of Paul Manafort, who was charged with 18 counts including fraud and embezzlement.

Judge T.S.

Ellis III, who had granted a witness permission to be present for questioning on the first day of trial, then reprimanded him for doing so — a move which tipped the scales of justice against the prosecution.

The prosecutors were forced to file a motion requesting that Judge Ellis clarify that they weren’t at fault—the scales were eventually evened out once again.

Additionally, it’s up to an experienced lawyer to prepare both sides of their case no matter what implications it may have.

This includes familiarity with every possible defense strategy — such as with Senator Dean Skelos being accused of forcing businesses into hiring his son despite not having an appropriate license or completing required duties…

even justifying his behavior as that of a good father tempted those jurors in his mock trial scenarios .

Yet those scenarios were rejected by fellow citizens and justice was ultimately served in the form of 51 months jail time for Senator Skelos and 48 months for Adam—proving that preparing both sides is essential to ensure justice is carried out fairly.

The Challenge Of Striking The Right Balance When It Comes To Sentencing

Right Balance

When it comes to delivering justice, one of the most difficult things for judges to do is determine what constitutes a fair punishment.

This is especially true when there are competing interests that need to be taken into account – both for the victim as well as the defendant.

In the case of Carlina Renea White, her parents argued that the abductor should serve 23 years in prison – an amount of time equal to what she had taken away from them.

However, Carlina’s abductor’s lawyer suggested that if she plead guilty on some but not all charges, it would allow the judge to decide on an appropriate sentence.

On top of this, they suggested going to trial and having Carlina testify against her abductor – something they did not wish her to experience.

Ultimately, Judge ruled in favor of 12 years in jail based on other circumstances, such as the fact that the abductor had suffered through multiple miscarriages and mental illness.

Though Carlina’s parents were happy with this decision, it still leaves us with a hard question: Is 12 years really a fair punishment? It brings into focus the difficulty judges face when determining suitable punishment and highlights just how unclear this issue can be.

The Cruelties Of The Prison System: An Examination Of Rikers Island Penitentiary And The Horrifying Death Of Jason Eschavarria

The issue of prison reform should be important to anyone who believes in justice.

After all, the prison system is a crucial part of the justice system, and it’s essential that we care about how prisoners are treated.

We want to ensure that everyone is treated with dignity, regardless of their criminal background or mental health history.

Unfortunately, too many prisons lack adequate resources for their inmates—many often lack basic necessities like health care, education programs or even basic comforts like beds.

This leads to overcrowding and overworked staff, which can lead to dehumanizing conditions and cruel behavior from both inmates and guards alike.

As evidenced by the case of Jason Eschavarria, this cruel behavior can cost people their lives.

Despite showing signs of distress due to intense exposure to corrosive chemicals, a supervising guard chose not to call medical assistance or release him from his cell which ultimately lead to his death amidst raw sewage and blood in his own cell.

For this reason, it should be clear why prison reform is an issue that needs our attention—no one deserves such inhuman treatment when they are behind bars.

True justice means making sure every human being has their rights respected no matter where they are.

Reforms need to be implemented that focus on humane treatment of those incarcerated as well as creating positive learning environments for those trying to get back on track after being released from prison.

Redemption And Dignity Beyond The Law: How Forgiveness Led To A Killer’s Transformation


When it comes to societal change and maintaining justice, the law can only do so much.

Sure, it’s great for punishment — and necessary in many cases — but true transformation and healing need to come from the people themselves.

This is what happened when Rais Bhuiyan, an immigrant from Bangladesh who had been shot in the face with 38 shotgun pellets and survived, forgave Mark Anthony Stroman, his shooter and a white supremacist living in Texas.

Instead of giving into hate, Bhuiyan found compassion for Stroman despite what he had done; he even actively campaigned for him to be released from death row and filed a petition debating the Texas DA.

Bhuiyan’s empathy changed Stroman’s perspective; even though he ended up being put to death in 2011, some of his final words reflected understanding and tolerance: “Hate is going on in this world, and it needs to stop.”

This story shows that real change does not always come from laws or punishments; rather there needs to be more humanity shown towards each other if we truly want justice and peace within our society.

Wrap Up

Doing Justice is a book that to sums up its message in the following: We must strive for justice, not just victories in court.

Every person involved in the criminal justice system — investigators, prosecutors, judges and correctional officers — must be committed to truth and actively seek justice for victims.

In addition, we should be mindful of the effect prison has on an individual’s life and aim to reduce or eliminate punishment where possible.

At its core, Doing Justice is imploring us all to uphold our humanity in a humane society by protecting the powerless from falling through the cracks and holding those powerful accountable.

Arturo Miller

Hi, I am Arturo Miller, the Chief Editor of this blog. I'm a passionate reader, learner and blogger. Motivated by the desire to help others reach their fullest potential, I draw from my own experiences and insights to curate blogs.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.