Book Review: Captured by Evil: The Idea of Corruption in Law, by Laura J. Underkuffler

Jennifer W. Reynolds, Captured by Evil: The Idea of Corruption in Law, 66 J. Legal Educ. 956 (2017)

5 Pages Posted: 14 May 2018  

Jennifer W. Reynolds

University of Oregon School of Law; Harvard Law School

Date Written: April 30, 2017

Abstract

A government official calls in sick to work, even though she is not sick. Another official takes a bribe to expedite an application. A third uses her office to secure a favorable contract for her spouse’s business. Can we distinguish these three officials? Each engages in self-seeking behaviors that deprive the public of services. Each takes intentional steps to improve her position in derogation of the public trust. Intentional self-seeking behavior by government officials in derogation of the public trust sounds a lot like corruption. Are all three of these officials corrupt?

Likely we would hesitate before answering this last question because, as Laura Underkuffler explains in her recent book, Captured by Evil: The Idea of Corruption in Law, corruption is not a tidy legal label but instead often implicates unmanageable extralegal concerns—unbridled emotions, rampant moralism, public panic, prosecutorial excess—not to mention the numerous and often
inconsistent moral, political, literary, and religious associations that have accumulated around the idea of corruption for millennia in societies the world over.

Keywords: jurisprudence, corruption

Suggested Citation

Reynolds, Jennifer W., Book Review: Captured by Evil: The Idea of Corruption in Law, by Laura J. Underkuffler (April 30, 2017). Jennifer W. Reynolds, Captured by Evil: The Idea of Corruption in Law, 66 J. Legal Educ. 956 (2017). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3171057

Jennifer Wenska Reynolds (Contact Author)

University of Oregon School of Law ( email )

1515 Agate Street
Eugene, OR Oregon 97403
United States
541-346-3691 (Phone)

Harvard Law School ( email )

Cambridge, MA
United States
617-495-2832 (Phone)

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