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The Pastiche Prosecutor: A Speculative Introduction to Mr. District Attorney

Green Bag 2d, Vol. 15, No. 3, Spring 2012, pp. 303-338

George Mason Law & Economics Research Paper No. 12-43

37 Pages Posted: 30 May 2012  

Ross E. Davies

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School, Faculty; The Green Bag

Date Written: May 30, 2012

Abstract

There is just one small, long-out-of-print book devoted to the exploits of “Mr. District Attorney”: Mr. District Attorney on the Job (1941), the first chapter of which is printed below at pages 307-338. Nevertheless, to many Americans he is a familiar figure – the first great “ripped from the headlines” crime drama lawyer. If you were born before 1950, there is a good chance that as an impressionable youth you heard or saw Mr. District Attorney. His runs on radio (1939-53) and in comic books (1939-42, 1948-59) were long and successful; in the movies (1941-42, 1947) and on television (1951-52, 1954-55) less so. As a Founding Figure of lawyering in popular culture, Mr. District Attorney has been the subject of some study by modern scholars of law in society, and he will probably enjoy more attention in the future. One aspect of Mr. District Attorney that merits study is his provenance, because the source (or sources) of his character might shed light on the development of the fictional lawyer as action figure.

Keywords: clues, courtroom gladiator, criminals, Daily Express, enforcement, fearless investigator, governor, Harrington, innocents, Joseph Biondo, literature, Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, mob, order, organized, Perry Mason, racketeer, raids, sledgehammer, slot machines, taxi, taxicab, Thomas E. Dewey, Walker

JEL Classification: A20, C15, C80, C93, D01, D03, D23, D71, D72, D80, D81, D83, D87, K00, K2, K21, K23, K40

Suggested Citation

Davies, Ross E., The Pastiche Prosecutor: A Speculative Introduction to Mr. District Attorney (May 30, 2012). Green Bag 2d, Vol. 15, No. 3, Spring 2012, pp. 303-338; George Mason Law & Economics Research Paper No. 12-43. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2070786

Ross E. Davies (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Antonin Scalia Law School, Faculty ( email )

3301 Fairfax Drive
Arlington, VA 22201
United States

The Green Bag ( email )

6600 Barnaby St., NW
Washington, DC 20015
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.greenbag.org

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