A sterling collection of the year ' s most shocking, compelling, and gripping writing about real ' life crime, the 2006 edition of The Best American Crime Writing offers fascinating vicarious journeys into a world of felons and their felonious acts.
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September 05, 2006
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Excerpt from The Best American Crime Writing 2006 by Mark Bowden
from New York magazine
The e-mail arrived unbidden four years ago, bearing the stamp of a sender whose name he didn't recognize. All the message said was, "Are you the Lawrence Lessig who went to the Boychoir School "
It had been a long time since anyone had identified the Stanford Law School professor that way. But it was true: From 1972 to 1976, Lessig had spent his sixth-through-ninth-grade years at the American Boychoir School in Princeton.
So Lessig wrote back, "Yeah, I'm the guy who went to the Boychoir School. What's up " And with that, he opened up a closed doorway to his past ' and found himself swept right through it.
Now, on the last Monday of November 2004, Lessig has just arrived at the Richard J. Hughes Justice Complex in Trenton, New Jersey. He is here to make an argument before the Supreme Court of New Jersey. His client, the plaintiff, is his e-mail correspondent. The defendant is their alma mater.
Since its founding in 1937, the nonsectarian Boychoir School has gained worldwide renown for producing a choir rivaled only by the more famous one in Vienna; its kids have sung for presidents, popes, and behind Beyonc ' at this year's Academy Awards. But now Lessig's client, John Hardwicke, is claiming that in the seventies, the school was a ghoulish sanctuary for the sexual abuse of children. In his two years there, Hardwicke says he was repeatedly molested and raped ' induced, as the brief on his behalf to the state supreme court puts it, to "perform virtually every sexual act that could conceivably have been accomplished between two males" ' by the music director, the headmaster, the proctor, and the cook.
This is not the sort of case for which Larry Lessig is famous. At forty-three, Lessig has built a reputation as the king of Internet law and as the most important next-wave thinker on intellectual property. The author of three influential books on the intersection of law, politics, and digital technology, he's the founder of Creative Commons, an ambitious attempt to forge an alternative to the current copyright regime. According to his mentor, the federal appellate judge Richard Posner, Lessig is "the most distinguished law professor of his generation." He's also a celebrity. On a West Wing episode this winter, he was featured as a character. "The Elvis of cyberlaw" is how Wired has described him.