McGeorge School of Law

Books, Movies, Crime and The Law

Where: The Pub (S-20)

Presented by the Center for Advocacy & Dispute Resolution, McGeorge Trial Advocacy Board, and McGeorge Moot Court Honors Board.

For the 2012 iteration of the Lou Ashe Series, Bill will share his thoughts and experiences as an author of legal fiction, comparing that to his daytime job as a district attorney:

  • How does an author capture the drama and poignancy of legal battles, while minimizing the boredom that, in real life, so often stitches together the high points of investigations and trials — but, in all this, in service of "the truth"? Or ... is it?
  • When an author's book passes to the movie screen, what gains and losses does the author experience?
  • How well did screenwriters Joan Didion (Sacramento-born, Cal; Play It As It Lays) and John Gregory Dunne (The Panic in Needle Park, A Star is Born [Kristofferson/Streisand re-issue], True Confessions [DeNiro, Duvall]) capture Bill's book Court of Honor in their screenplay for Broken Trust?

Bill will also answer questions from the attendees. Join us for this informative talk by our distinguished alumnus.

William P. Wood is a McGeorge alum and the author of eight novels and one nonfiction book. As a deputy district attorney in California he handled thousands of criminal cases ranging from disturbing the peace to murder. He put on over 50 jury trials, many with multiple defendants.

Wood's novels are:

  • "Rampage"
  • "Gangland"
  • "Fugitive City"
  • "Broken Trust"
  • "Stay of Execution"
  • "Quicksand"
  • "Pressure Point"
  • "The Bribe"

His nonfiction book, "The Bone Garden," is the definitive account of female serial killer Dorothea Puente, who was the subject of a nationwide hunt after nine bodies were dug up from her Sacramento, California yard. Wood earlier sent Puente to prison for drugging elderly victims and robbing them. On her release from prison, she began killing her victims.

Most of Wood's novels have been optioned for motion pictures and two were produced. "Rampage" was filmed by Academy Award winning director William Friedkin ("The French Connection", "The Exorcist", "Rules of Engagement") for Miramax and Paramount. It starred Michael Biehn ("The Terminator", "The Abyss").

His novel "Broken Trust" was filmed by Jane Fonda Films for TNT and starred Tom Selleck and Academy Award nominee Marsha Mason. The screenplay was written by Joan Didion and her husband John Gregory Dunne.

Wood's books have been translated into a number of foreign languages including French, Spanish, Japanese, German, Greek, and Polish.