Steve Bogira was born and raised on the south side of Chicago where he attended St. Rita High School . He received a degree from Northwestern University ’s prestigious Medill School of Journalism in 1976. Following his graduation he wrote feature articles for 3 years for the Chicago Tribune. He joined the Chicago Reader in 1981 where he has been a staff writer for 25 years. In 1993 he was chosen as an Alicia Patterson fellow, named in honor of the editor and publisher of Newsday and are awarded to working journalists to pursue independent projects of significant interest. His Reader column “Courtside” was chosen best column in 2005 by the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies.
Bogira and his wife have two grown children and live in Chicago . An early stay at home father, he has taught childcare classes for parents to be. He has also taught journalism classes at Northwestern.
Courtoom 302, published in March of 2005, is Bogira’s first book. It is a journey into the heart of America ’s criminal justice system telling the story of one year in one courtroom of the Cook County Criminal Courthouse at 26th and California, the busiest felony courthouse in the country. It received a starred review in Publisher’s Weekly and Kirkus Reviews. The Chicago Sun Times and Chicago Tribune both listed it among the “Best Books of 2005” and the Sun Times called it “the year’s best book about Chicago.”
Bogira has spoken widely about the book and his experience in writing it, from NPR to the Village Voice to the New York University School of Law to the Chicago chapter of the National Lawyers Guild. In March he will bring his experience to the Chicago Association of Law Libraries.
Courtroom 302 is scheduled to be published in paperbook February 14, 2006 . HBO has optioned it and plans to develop it into a mini-series. For the first time CALL will have a book signing in conjunction with the business meeting when Courtoom 302 will be available for sale after the March 23 meeting.
Some reviews of the book:
“Chicago-based journalist Bogira's first book is an outstanding journey inside the American criminal justice system … centered on the Cook County Criminal Courthouse, ‘the biggest and busiest felony courthouse in the nation’—punctures the popular myths engendered by TV shows like Law and Order to provide a balanced view of the realities of the day-to-day, assembly-line grind that marks so much of the process from arrest to final disposition.” – Publisher’s Weekly, (Starred review)
“Excellent . . . By focusing on something small—the cases coming before one judge, in a single courtroom—Bogira gets a handle on something large and hard to make sense of: the American way of criminal justice.” —Ted Conover, The New York Times Book Review
“An addictive portrait of an American courtroom . . . Eye-opening and bold from the start.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“A rare, richly detailed look at criminal justice . . . Well-written, meticulously researched . . . A vivid tapestry of the day-in and day-out workings of criminal justice, ranging from the mundane to the bizarre and from the humorous to the gut-wrenchingly sad.” —Maurice Possley, Chicago Tribune
From the Village Voice: http://www.villagevoice.com/books/05333,bkrobbins,66855,10.html