11:20 AM / Friday April 19, 2024

12 Apr 2018

‘Race to Judgment’ is a reality-fiction novel dedicated to the memory of Brooklyn’s first Black district attorney

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
April 12, 2018 Category: Entertainment Posted by:

By Stacy M. Brown


In January 2014, Kenneth Thompson made history by becoming the first African- American district attorney of the New York City borough of Brooklyn.

As Brooklyn’s district attorney, Thompson “ordered his office not to prosecute low-level marijuana arrests, in part to devote more resources to fight gun crimes, rape and domestic violence. He said he also wanted to spare younger New Yorkers from ‘the burden of a criminal record,’” according to the New York Daily News. “He also moved to vacate or supported the dismissal of convictions of 21 people wrongly convicted of murder and other offenses…and presided over the prosecution against Police Officer Peter Liang in the accidental shooting death of Akai Gurley at the Pink Houses.”

In October 2016, Thompson died from cancer, but Frederic Block, a senior United States District Court judge, has immortalized his career in a new novel entitled “Race to Judgment.”

In an interview with “Above The Law,” a website that provides news and insights about the legal system, Block talked about the book and it’s connection to Thompson’s life. When he presented a signed copy of the book, Thompson’s widow, Lu-Shawn told him that the book was a wonderful way of perpetuating Thompson’s legacy, Block told ATL.

Block said that early in his career, Thompson tried one of his first cases in front of the judge as a federal prosecutor.

“I was impressed with his ability and immediately knew he was going places,” said Block.

“Since then, I followed his career with great interest as he rose to the pinnacle of the New York legal world,” Block continued . “‘Race to Judgment,’ my new reality fiction novel, which explores themes of corruption and misconduct in the Brooklyn criminal justice system, is loosely based on Ken’s career. It is dedicated to his memory.”

Block’s book draws from his more than two decades on the federal bench and tackles such cases as the 1991 Crown Heights riot that pitted African-American and Orthodox Jewish residents against each other during an especially tense time in Brooklyn.

According to a description of “Race to Judgment” on, the reality-fiction novel, “tracks the rise of the fictional African-American civil rights protagonist Ken Williams…from his days as an Assistant United States Attorney through his meteoric rise to unseat the long-term, corrupt Brooklyn [District Attorney, because of a spate of phony convictions against Black defendants, including another one of the judge’s real cases (JoJo Jones in the book) for the murder of a Hasidic rabbi.”

Thompson’s legacy lives on as the inspiration for the main character in “Race to Judgment,” and readers will recognize the close professional relationship between Thompson and Block.

Block’s biography on said that he was appointed United States District Judge for the Eastern District of New York on September 29, 1994, and entered duty on October 31, 1994. He assumed senior status on September 1, 2005.

“During his 23 years on the bench, Block has presided over a number of high-profile cases, including the trials of former Bear Stearns hedge fund managers Ralph Cioffi and Matthew Tannin, Kenneth ‘Supreme’ McGriff, Peter Gotti, Lemrick Nelson, and nightclub magnate Peter Gatien,” the biography said.

“With ‘Race to Judgment,’ Frederic Block has not only created an exciting novel, but he also provides an insider’s look at the New York criminal justice system—from the deplorable conditions at the Riker’s Island prison, to the mistreatment of African American prisoners, to the practice of stop-and-frisk which has disproportionately targeted minorities,” stated a press release about the book.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter

Leave a Comment

Recent News

Philly NAACP

April 14, 2024

March 17, 2024

Tweet Email Tweet Email Related Posts Philadelphia Judicial Primary Candidates At A Glance Guide Philadelphia Judicial Candidates...


Hank Aaron rose above racist hate mail and threats in pursuit of Ruth’s home run record 50 years ago

April 14, 2024

Tweet Email ABOVE PHOTO: Hank Aaron holds aloft the ball he hit for his 715th career home...


Mental health and the ALS community

April 13, 2024

Tweet Email BPTSponsored by Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma America, Inc. (MTPA) Each year, an estimated 5,000-6,000 Americans are...

Election 2024

Federal data does not show a soaring number of unauthorized migrants registering to vote

April 14, 2024

Tweet Email ABOVE PHOTO: SCREEN SHOT By Melissa GoldinASSOCIATED PRESS CLAIM Social Security Administration data shows the...

Color Of Money

Five financial tips to take your business to the next level

April 5, 2024

Tweet Email BPTBy Irana Wasti, chief product officer at BILL Building a business is an incredible journey,...


Jump start the spring season by getting vaccinated against this potentially serious lung disease

April 5, 2024

Tweet Email BPT Spring is the season of new beginnings — a time when we can finally...

The Philadelphia Sunday Sun Staff