My Partner, My Enemy: An Unflinching View of Domestic Violence and New Ways to Protect Victims


Product Details

Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Publish Date
6.0 X 8.9 X 0.9 inches | 0.8 pounds

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About the Author

Hon. John Michael Leventhal, Associate Justice of the New York State Supreme Court, Appellate Division, Second Department from 2008 to the present. Justice Leventhal was first elected to the Supreme Court, Second Judicial District in November 1994 and re-elected in 2008, during which time he presided over the nation's first felony Domestic Violence Court. Prior to his election to the bench, Justice Leventhal was in private practice from 1982 until 1994 specializing in criminal and civil litigation and appeals. Justice Leventhal is a frequent lecturer on evidence, domestic violence, elder abuse, guardianship and other topics before Bar Associations, law schools, civic groups, court administrators and governmental agencies. He has been given the New York State Bar's Annual Vincent E. Doyle, Jr. Award for Outstanding Judicial Contribution in the Criminal Justice System (2017), Brooklyn Bar Association's Annual Award For Outstanding Achievement in the Science of Jurisprudence and Public Service (2015), the Brooklyn Law School Alumni of the Year Award (2009), the Distinguished Achievement Medal from the New York State Free and Accepted Masons (2008), the Brooklyn Women's Bar Association Beatrice M. Judge Recognition Award (2008) for outstanding service to the women of the Bar, to the community and the law, the New York Board of Rabbis and Dayenu Voices of Valor Elijah Award (2008) for male leadership in ending Domestic Violence, and the National College of District Attorneys Stephen L. Von Riesen Lecturer of Merit Award (2008) in recognition of exceptional service in the continuing professional education of all individuals who work on behalf of domestic violence survivors, their families and our communities. Justice Leventhal has authored or co-authored twenty-three articles relating to criminal and civil law. His work as a judge dealing with domestic violence cases has been featured in a number of newspaper and magazine articles including a profile in Public Lives of the New York Times on April 25, 2001 as well as on MSNBC.


After seven-plus decades as a female and twenty five-plus years a judge (fifteen of them Chief Judge) of a court system that annually sees thousands of domestic violence cases, I am astounded that My Partner, My Enemy by Judge John Leventhal should have been such a gripping, emotional, heart-wrenching education in the scourge of domestic violence. Yes, the statistics are impressive, but there is no substitute for actually meeting the participants - victims, batterers, families - who Judge Leventhal powerfully brings to life as he tells a wide variety of tragic stories. They give true meaning to the gratitude we feel for what's been accomplished, and the genuine urgency for us all to do much more. The answer to 'What's the solution?' begins with 'Read this book.'--Judith S. Kaye, Former Chief Judge of the State of New York
My Partner, My Enemy is a very important book. As far as I know, Justice Leventhal is the first Judge to share his experience deciding domestic violence cases, and his insights and eyewitness accounts are gripping and important. Also very significant is the set of recommendations Leventhal makes for change in addressing this so-serious and so-difficult problem. It is also heartening to see more and more influential male voices speaking up for gender justice and against violence against women, and feminism should welcome such advocates.--Naomi Wolf, Phd, co-founder of The Woodhull Institute for Ethical Leadership, noted feminist and bestselling author of The Beauty Myth and The End of America
Judge Leventhal has not only written a timely and important book, but it's also a page-turning true crime thriller. The well-written tales he tells are utterly compelling and all the more chilling because they are true. This is a gritty, hard-driving book that kept me up reading well into the night. I couldn't put it down.--Howard Blum, NY Times bestselling author of American Lightning and Dark Invasion
My Partner, My Enemy is a painful read but it is a must read for anyone wanting to understand the devastating reality of domestic violence. My Partner, My Enemy captures graphically the terror, pain, and humiliation inflicted upon families by the ravages of violence. Having spent much of my career working to reform the justice system's response to domestic and sexual violence, I am accustomed to hearing these questions: Why didn't she leave? Why didn't she seek legal protection? What in the world goes through the mind of a batterer? Justice Leventhal's book helps to answer these questions by sharing stories of the real-life drama which played out every day in his courtroom and, tragically, in families across America.--Bonnie J. Campbell, Former Iowa Attorney General and First Director of the Office on Violence Against Women of the U.S. Department of Justice
My Partner, My Enemy is an important and thoughtful book. Justice John Leventhal is a deeply caring judge who handled many domestic violence cases in a specialized court at the trial level in New York. His commitment to and concern with the complex issues of domestic violence is impressive. This book is an especially useful read for other judges who handle domestic violence cases.--Elizabeth M. Schneider, Rose L. Hoffer Professor of Law, Brooklyn Law School; author of Battered Women and Feminist Lawmaking (2000), co-author of Domestic Violence and the Law: Theory and Practice (2013)
As a co-founder of the NYS Coalition against Domestic Violence and the founding director of the first 'batterer program' in New York State, I love this powerful, truth telling book. Judge John Leventhal exposes case after case of the brutality and torture of intimate partners, perpetrated by domestic violence offenders who have appeared in his court. He does not embellish. He simply writes it as it was, in a manner that is remarkably readable and deeply impactful. The horror of these felony cases clarifies how far we have come and, at the same time, how much further we must go. I see this new book as a must read for judges and advocates alike, as well as for everyone else who wants an educated vision of what it will take to bring an end to the epidemic of domestic violence.--Phyllis B. Frank, Co-Director, Training Institute, NY Model for Batterer Programs
As the presiding judge of the Brooklyn Domestic Violence Court (the first of its kind in the nation when it opened in 1996), author Leventhal certainly knows his stuff. Startling statistics immediately draw readers in--a woman is beaten by her domestic partner every 15 seconds in the U.S., accounting for at least four million reported incidents against women every year. Domestic violence is a crime 'committed across all strata of the population, ' and certainly the cases presented by Leventhal reflect that. This is an important book in its field. . . . It's clear that books like this are needed to raise awareness.--Publishers Weekly
Leventhal's wisdom on the subject [presented in his book My Partner, My Enemy: An Unflinching View of Domestic Violence and New Ways to Protect Victims], is available to a new generation of domestic violence judges and practitioners. And wise he is....The details in these stories initially seem overwhelming.... But those thoughts quickly pass because it is the details of repeated battering incidents, with their escalating and sickening level of violence that gives the book its strength.--New York Law Journal
Justice Leventhal has brought the reader into his courtroom and exposed us to the true life tales of people at a most difficult time of their life. It is story after story of domestic brutality whose existence we should all be are of, and who better to tell it than the judge who first witnessed it all and had to make the tough decision for almost 12 years? Case after case is recounted in sufficient detail to understand how difficult it must be to administer justice in such a court.... These stories will hold your attention and arouse your sympathy, especially when there may not always be a happy ending.... This book is a quick but disquieting read and is recommended to lawyers even if this is not their field of practice.--NYSBA One on One