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Flagrant Conduct

The Story of Lawrence V. Texas : How A Bedroom Arrest Decriminalized Gay Americans
Carpenter, Dale, 1966- (Book - 2012 )
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
Flagrant Conduct
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WW Norton
A 2012 New York Times Notable Book"A real-life detective story that reveals the drama behind the scenes of a great Supreme Court victory for human rights." —Linda Greenhouse
No one could have predicted that the night of September 17, 1998, would be anything but routine in Houston, Texas. Even the call to police that a black man was "going crazy with a gun" was hardly unusual in this urban setting. Nobody could have imagined that the arrest of two men for a minor criminal offense would reverberate in American constitutional law, exposing a deep malignity in our judicial system and challenging the traditional conception of what makes a family. Indeed, when Harris County sheriff’s deputies entered the second-floor apartment, there was no gun. Instead, they reported that they had walked in on John Lawrence and Tyron Garner having sex in Lawrence’s bedroom.So begins Dale Carpenter’s "gripping and brilliantly researched" Flagrant Conduct, a work nine years in the making that transforms our understanding of what we thought we knew about Lawrence v. Texas, the landmark Supreme Court decision of 2003 that invalidated America’s sodomy laws. Drawing on dozens of interviews, Carpenter has taken on the "gargantuan" task of extracting the truth about the case, analyzing the claims of virtually every person involved.Carpenter first introduces us to the interracial defendants themselves, who were hardly prepared "for the strike of lightning" that would upend their lives, and then to the Harris County arresting officers, including a sheriff’s deputy who claimed he had "looked eye to eye" in the faces of the men as they allegedly fornicated. Carpenter skillfully navigates Houston’s complex gay world of the late 1990s, where a group of activists and court officers, some of them closeted themselves, refused to bury what initially seemed to be a minor arrest.The author charts not only the careful legal strategy that Lambda Legal attorneys adopted to make the case compatible to a conservative Supreme Court but also the miscalculations of the Houston prosecutors who assumed that the nation’s extant sodomy laws would be upheld. Masterfully reenacting the arguments that riveted spectators and Justices alike in 2003, Flagrant Conduct then reaches a point where legal history becomes literature, animating a Supreme Court decision as few writers have done.In situating Lawrence v. Texas within the larger framework of America’s four-century persecution of gay men and lesbians, Flagrant Conduct compellingly demonstrates that gay history is an integral part of our national civil rights story.

Baker & Taylor
Provides a detailed legal history and examines the motives of all players involved with the landmark Supreme Court gay rights case that protected consenting adults' rights, regardless of sexual preference, in the bedroom.

Norton Pub
"A real-life detective story that reveals the drama behind the scenes of a great Supreme Court victory for human rights." —Linda Greenhouse
No one could have predicted that the night of September 17, 1998, would be anything but routine in Houston, Texas. Even the call to police that a black man was "going crazy with a gun" was hardly unusual in this urban setting. Nobody could have imagined that the arrest of two men for a minor criminal offense would reverberate in American constitutional law, exposing a deep malignity in our judicial system and challenging the traditional conception of what makes a family. Indeed, when Harris County sheriff’s deputies entered the second-floor apartment, there was no gun. Instead, they reported that they had walked in on John Lawrence and Tyron Garner having sex in Lawrence’s bedroom.

So begins Dale Carpenter’s "gripping and brilliantly researched" Flagrant Conduct, a work nine years in the making that transforms our understanding of what we thought we knew about Lawrence v. Texas, the landmark Supreme Court decision of 2003 that invalidated America’s sodomy laws. Drawing on dozens of interviews, Carpenter has taken on the "gargantuan" task of extracting the truth about the case, analyzing the claims of virtually every person involved.

Carpenter first introduces us to the interracial defendants themselves, who were hardly prepared "for the strike of lightning" that would upend their lives, and then to the Harris County arresting officers, including a sheriff’s deputy who claimed he had "looked eye to eye" in the faces of the men as they allegedly fornicated. Carpenter skillfully navigates Houston’s complex gay world of the late 1990s, where a group of activists and court officers, some of them closeted themselves, refused to bury what initially seemed to be a minor arrest.

The author charts not only the careful legal strategy that Lambda Legal attorneys adopted to make the case compatible to a conservative Supreme Court but also the miscalculations of the Houston prosecutors who assumed that the nation’s extant sodomy laws would be upheld. Masterfully reenacting the arguments that riveted spectators and Justices alike in 2003, Flagrant Conduct then reaches a point where legal history becomes literature, animating a Supreme Court decision as few writers have done.

In situating Lawrence v. Texas within the larger framework of America’s four-century persecution of gay men and lesbians, Flagrant Conduct compellingly demonstrates that gay history is an integral part of our national civil rights story.

Book News
In 1998 John Lawrence was arrested for having sex with another man in the privacy of his home, which violated Texas sodomy laws. The event galvanized a civil rights campaign to end the laws there and elsewhere as it was eventually brought to the Supreme Court. Carpenter (civil liberties law, U. of Minnesota, Minneapolis) presents a new account of the array of events, actors and implications surrounding the Lawrence vs. Texas case. Drawing on his own research, which includes interviews with those involved in the case, Carpenter argues that it's probable that the police never actually saw the men having sex, making their arrest and the laws in question all the more audacious. He comes to this conclusion after examining the historical context of anti-gay laws prior to the arrest, and the background of each major participant; thoroughly revisiting the night of the arrest, including police and defendant accounts; and evaluating the case's national implications. He concludes with a description of the historic reading of the Court's decision against the sodomy laws. Annotation ©2012 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Baker
& Taylor

Provides a detailed legal history and examines the motives of all players involved with the landmark Supreme Court gay rights case that protected consenting adults' rights, regardless of sexual preference, in the bedroom. 20,000 first printing.

Authors: Carpenter, Dale, 1966-
Statement of Responsibility: Dale Carpenter
Title: Flagrant conduct
the story of Lawrence v. Texas : how a bedroom arrest decriminalized gay Americans
Publisher: New York : W. W. Norton, c2012
Edition: 1st ed
Characteristics: 345 p. : ill. ; 25 cm.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references (p. [325]-327) and index
Contents: A crime of deep malignity
The city and the cause
The defendants and the troublemaker
The department and the deputies
The intrusion
Uncivil disobedience
A probable explanation for an improbable case
The homosexual status law
From the jail to the bar
From the gay bar to the bar
Into the Texas courts
The constitutional case takes shape
The politics of law
The constitutional mainstream
Mismatch at the Supreme Court
Respect for their private lives
Epilogue : sweet land of liberty
Subject Headings: Gays Legal status, laws, etc. United States Homosexuality Law and legislation Texas Criminal provisions Trials (Sodomy) Texas Texas Trials, litigation, etc Lawrence, John Geddes Trials, litigation, etc
Indexed Term: Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003)
Topical Term: Gays
Homosexuality
Trials (Sodomy)
LCCN: 2011047245
ISBN: 0393062082
9780393062083
Branch Call Number: 342.7308 C
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Version pocillo (pocillo) Last updated 2014/08/28 16:30