Friday, June 1, 2012


When I wrote my first book, Prosecution Principles: A Clinical Handbook, I had very little experience and no training as an author. If you needed a search warrant or a racketeering indictment, I could whip one out pretty easily, but I was clueless about how to write a book. Instead of seeking guidance from someone or even reading a book on the subject, I adhered to the maxim: "Don't learn from the mistakes of others. Make them all yourself."

Now, as I am busily writing my fifth and sixth books and gathering material for my seventh, I look back on that first effort and ask myself  "How in the world did I ever get that book published?" As keenly aware as I am of how much better a job could have been done on the book, I tend to ignore the book's qualities. That's what makes it nice when someone reminds me that the book does have some good qualities.  Yesterday I got an email reminder. It came from an elected prosecutor in Virginia who teaches as an adjunct professor at Washington & Lee University. He wrote:

Hello Prof. Dekle,

I am a small town prosecutor in Virginia and teach a seminar for third year prosecutor externs at W&L. We have been using your book the past few years and as I'm preparing for next fall I thought I'd just drop you a note of appreciation and thanks. The book has been perfect for this course and I personally have really connected to many of the points you make about the role of a prosecutor. 

Christopher B. Russell
Professor of Practice
Washington and Lee University
Commonwealth's Attorney for the
City of Buena Vista, Virginia