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
Date Written: April 30, 2017
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
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