Scott Turow

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Scott Turow
BornScott Frederick Turow
(1949-04-12) April 12, 1949 (age 73)
Chicago, Illinois, United States
Occupation Novelist, lawyer
Alma mater Amherst College
Stanford University
Harvard Law School
Genre Fiction, legal thrillers
Scott Turow signature (cropped).jpg

Scott Frederick Turow [1] (born April 12, 1949) is an American author and lawyer. Turow has written 11 fiction and three nonfiction books, which have been translated into more than 40 languages and sold more than 30 million copies. [2] Films have been based on several of his books.


Life and career

Turow was born in Chicago, to a family of Russian Jewish descent. [3] He attended New Trier High School and graduated from Amherst College in 1970, as a brother of the Alpha Delta Phi Literary Society. [4] He received an Edith Mirrielees Fellowship to Stanford University’s Creative Writing Center, which he attended from 1970 to 1972.

Turow later became a Jones Lecturer at Stanford, serving until 1975, when he entered Harvard Law School. In 1977, Turow wrote One L , a book about his first year at law school. After earning his Juris Doctor (J.D.) degree cum laude in 1978, Turow became an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Chicago, serving in that position until 1986. There, he prosecuted several high-profile corruption cases, including the tax fraud case of state Attorney General, William Scott. Turow was also lead counsel in Operation Greylord, the federal prosecution of judicial corruption cases in Illinois.

After leaving the U.S. Attorney's Office, Turow became a novelist and wrote the legal thrillers Presumed Innocent (1987), The Burden of Proof (1990), Pleading Guilty (1993), and Personal Injuries , which Time magazine named as the Best Fiction Novel of 1999. All four books became bestsellers, and Turow won multiple literary awards, most notably the Silver Dagger Award of the British Crime Writers' Association.

In 1990, Turow was featured on the June 11 cover of Time, which described him as "Bard of the Litigious Age". [5] In 1995, Canadian author Derek Lundy published a biography of Turow, entitled Scott Turow: Meeting the Enemy (ECW Press, 1995). In the 1990s, a British publisher bracketed Turow’s work with that of Margaret Atwood and John Irving, republished in the series Bloomsbury Modern Library.

Turow was elected the President of the Authors Guild in 2010, [6] which he was previously President of from 1997 to 1998.[ citation needed ] As the President of the Authors Guild, he has been criticized for his copyright maximalist and anti-ebook stance. [7] Turow has often responded that he is not against E-books, however, and he has shared that, in fact, he does the majority of his own reading electronically. According to Turow, he is interested in protecting writing as a livelihood. [8]

From 1997 to 1998, Turow was a member of the U.S. Senate Nominations Commission for the Northern District of Illinois, which recommends federal judicial appointments. In 2011, Turow met with Harvard Law School professor, Lawrence Lessig, to discuss political reform, including a possible Second Constitutional Convention of the United States. According to one source, Turow saw risks with having such a convention, but he believed that it may be the "only alternative,” given his stance that campaign money can undermine the one man, one vote principle of democracy. [9]

Turow is a retired partner of the international law firm Dentons having been a partner of one of its constituents, the Chicago law firm of Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal. Much of Turow’s caseload work is pro bono, including a 1995 case, in which he won the release of Alejandro Hernandez, a man that spent 11 years on death row for a murder he did not commit. He was also appointed to the commission considering the reform of the Illinois death penalty by former Governor George Ryan. Additionally, Turow was the first Chair of the Illinois Executive Ethics Commission, and he served as one of the 14 members on the Commission, which was appointed in March of 2000, by Illinois Governor George Ryan to consider reform of the capital punishment system. [2] Turow also served as a member of the Illinois State Police Merit Board 2000–2002.


Kindle County

  1. Presumed Innocent , 1987 (Film)
  2. The Burden of Proof , 1990 (Film)
  3. Pleading Guilty , 1993
  4. The Laws of Our Fathers , 1996
  5. Personal Injuries , 1999
  6. Reversible Errors , 2002 (Film)
  7. Limitations , 2006
  8. Innocent , 2010 (TV program on TNT)
  9. Identical , 2013
  10. The Last Trial , 2020

Other novels

As editor



His non-fiction work Ultimate Punishment also received the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights 2003 Book award given annually to a novelist who "most faithfully and forcefully reflects Robert Kennedy's purposes – his concern for the poor and the powerless, his struggle for honest and even-handed justice, his conviction that a decent society must assure all young people a fair chance, and his faith that a free democracy can act to remedy disparities of power and opportunity." [11]



Scott Turow was inducted as a Laureate of The Lincoln Academy of Illinois and awarded the Order of Lincoln (the State’s highest honor) by the Governor of Illinois in 2000 in the area of Communications. [12]

See also

Related Research Articles

In legal terms, a plea is simply an answer to a claim made by someone in a criminal case under common law using the adversarial system. Colloquially, a plea has come to mean the assertion by a defendant at arraignment, or otherwise in response to a criminal charge, whether that person pleaded or pled guilty, not guilty, nolo contendere, no case to answer, or Alford plea.

Burden of proof is a legal duty that encompasses two connected but separate ideas that apply for establishing the truth of facts in a trial before tribunals in the United States: the "burden of production" and the "burden of persuasion." In a legal dispute, one party is initially presumed to be correct, while the other side bears the burden of producing evidence persuasive enough to establish the truth of facts needed to satisfy all the required legal elements of the dispute. There are varying types of burden of persuasion commonly referred to as standards of proof, and depending on the type of case, the standard of proof will be higher or lower. Burdens of persuasion and production may be of different standards for each party, in different phases of litigation. The burden of production is a minimal burden to produce at least enough evidence for the trier of fact to consider a disputed claim. After litigants have met the burden of production, they have the burden of persuasion: that enough evidence has been presented to persuade the trier of fact that their side is correct. There are different standards of persuasiveness ranging from a preponderance of the evidence, where there is just enough evidence to tip the balance, to proof beyond a reasonable doubt, as in United States criminal courts.

The presumption of innocence is a legal principle that every person accused of any crime is considered innocent until proven guilty. Under the presumption of innocence, the legal burden of proof is thus on the prosecution, which must present compelling evidence to the trier of fact. If the prosecution does not prove the charges true, then the person is acquitted of the charges. The prosecution must in most cases prove that the accused is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. If reasonable doubt remains, the accused must be acquitted. The opposite system is a presumption of guilt.

Legal thriller Fiction genre

The legal thriller genre is a type of crime fiction genre that focuses on the proceedings of the investigation, with particular reference to the impacts on courtroom proceedings and the lives of characters.

<i>Presumed Innocent</i> (film) 1990 film by Alan J. Pakula

Presumed Innocent is a 1990 American legal thriller film based on the 1987 novel of the same name by Scott Turow. Directed by Alan J. Pakula, and written by Pakula and Frank Pierson, it stars Harrison Ford, Brian Dennehy, Raúl Juliá, Bonnie Bedelia, Paul Winfield and Greta Scacchi. The film follows Rusty Sabich (Ford), a prosecutor who is charged with the murder of his colleague and mistress Carolyn Polhemus (Scacchi).

Beyond a reasonable doubt is a legal standard of proof required to validate a criminal conviction in most adversarial legal systems. It is a higher standard of proof than the balance of probabilities and is usually therefore reserved for criminal matters where what is at stake is considered more serious and therefore deserving of a higher threshold.

This is a list of bestselling novels in the United States in the 1990s, as determined by Publishers Weekly. The list features the most popular novels of each year from 1990 through 1999.

<i>Presumed Innocent</i> (novel)

Presumed Innocent, published in August 1987, is Scott Turow's first novel. It is about a prosecutor charged with the murder of his colleague, an attractive and intelligent prosecutor named Carolyn Polhemus. It is told in the first person by the accused, Rožat "Rusty" Sabich. A motion picture adaptation starring Harrison Ford was released in 1990.

Blackstones ratio Message that government and the courts must err on the side of innocence

In criminal law, Blackstone's ratio is the idea that:

It is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer.

J. A. Konrath American writer

Joseph Andrew Konrath is a fiction writer working in the mystery, thriller, and horror genres. He writes as J. A. Konrath and Jack Kilborn. In 2011 Konrath was named one of the "5 eBook Authors To Watch" by's Dianna Dilworth.

<i>The Burden of Proof</i> (Turow novel)

The Burden of Proof, published in 1990, is Scott Turow's second novel, somewhat of a sequel to Presumed Innocent. The Burden of Proof follows the story of defense attorney Sandy Stern in the aftermath of his wife's death and the growing realization that there is much about his marriage that he has never understood. Stern's bereavement coincides with his latest case, defending commodities broker Dixon Hartnell. Hartnell is a complex figure, one that Sandy admires but doesn't trust. Stern soon realizes that defending "Dix" will force him to tread a narrow path between zealous advocacy for a client and his ethical responsibilities to the courts.

The Burden of Proof is a 1992 television miniseries based on the 1990 novel of the same name by Scott Turow. The story follows the character Sandy Stern following events in the film and book Presumed Innocent. Brian Dennehy is the only actor to appear in both films, but here plays a different character.

<i>Reversible Errors</i> 2002 novel by Scott Turow

Reversible Errors, published in 2002 is Scott Turow's sixth novel, and like the others, set in fictional Kindle County. The title is a legal term.

<i>Reversible Errors</i> (film) 2004 television film

Reversible Errors is a 2004 American made-for-television crime thriller film based on the 2002 novel of the same name by Scott Turow. It was directed by Mike Robe, who previously directed Scott Turow's The Burden of Proof, and stars Tom Selleck and William H. Macy. Filming was done in and around Halifax, Nova Scotia, and featured shots of Halifax City Hall and Angus L. Macdonald Bridge.

<i>Limitations</i> (novel)

Limitations is a novel by Scott Turow which was published in 2006. It is by far his shortest novel and prior to publication as a novel was released as a serial story in the Sunday New York Times Magazine.

<i>Ultimate Punishment</i> 2003 book by Scott Turow

Ultimate Punishment: A Lawyer's Reflections on Dealing with the Death Penalty is a 2003 series of autobiographical reflections regarding the death penalty. It is written by Scott Turow and marks his return to non-fiction for the first time since One L in 1977.

Thomas P. Sullivan was a prominent Illinois attorney known for his involvement in notable constitutional cases, investigations, and contributions to public policy and law. He was a partner at the Jenner & Block law firm.

Burden of proof may refer to:

Innocent is a 2011 television drama film directed by Mike Robe, starring Alfred Molina, Bill Pullman, and Marcia Gay Harden, based on Scott Turow's 2010 novel, a sequel to Presumed Innocent. In the film, Judge Rusty Sabich (Pullman) is charged with the murder of his wife Barbara (Harden) twenty years after being cleared in the death of his mistress. Robe previously directed The Burden of Proof, another sequel to Presumed Innocent, but which focused on the character Sandy Stern.

<i>Innocent</i> (novel)

Innocent, published in 2010, is a novel by Scott Turow which continues the story of the antagonistic relationship between ex-prosecutor Rožat "Rusty" Sabich and Tommasino "Tommy" Molto as a direct follow-up to his 1987 debut novel, Presumed Innocent. Sabich, now chief judge of the Court of Appeals, is indicted by Molto for the murder of Sabich's wife Barbara; Alejandro "Sandy" Stern returns to defend Sabich. The novel was adapted into a television drama of the same name, starring Bill Pullman as Sabich, which first aired on TNT in November 2011.


  1. "Scott Frederick Turow". 1949-12-04. Retrieved 2013-04-09.
  2. 1 2 Scott Turow Bio
  3. MacDonald, Andrew F., and Gina Macdonald (1949-04-12). Scott Turow: A Critical Companion. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. ISBN   9780313331152 . Retrieved 2013-04-09 via Google Books.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: uses authors parameter (link)
  4. "Alpha Delta Phi Fraternity: Notable Alumni" . Retrieved 2017-08-25.
  5. "Burden of Success". Time. Vol. 135, no. 24. Time Inc. 1990-06-11. Archived from the original on December 15, 2008. Retrieved 2009-03-29.
  6. Rich, Motoko (2010-04-28). "Scott Turow Elected President of the Authors Guild". The New York Times .
  7. Masnick, Mike (2013-04-08). "Authors Guild's Scott Turow: The Supreme Court, Google, Ebooks, Libraries & Amazon Are All Destroying Authors". Techdirt. Retrieved 2013-04-09.
  8. CBS This Morning, 2013-10-16.
  9. James Warren of The Chicago News Cooperative (2011-12-10). "Let's Do Something About Privilege, Donors, Corporations and the Constitution". The New York Times. Retrieved 2012-01-23.
  10. "Hard Listening". The Rock Bottom Remainders.
  11. "". Archived from the original on 2015-06-19.
  12. "Laureates by Year – The Lincoln Academy of Illinois". The Lincoln Academy of Illinois. Retrieved 2016-03-07.