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James Scarantino James Scarantino
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Jim Scarantino

Prosecutor, defense attorney, investigative reporter, award winning author.

After graduating from the University of Pennsylvania Law School—magna cum laude, law review, judicial clerk, all of that—I cut my legal teeth as an Assistant Philadelphia District Attorney. I was provided a computer printout of dozens of cases and minutes to interview my police officers and witnesses. The judge was corrupt and crazy. The courtroom deputy was taking bribes. Every inch of the stuffy, rundown courtroom was packed with victims, their families and the accused.

Hard work. Unrelenting pressure. Very low pay.

Great job.

I went on to prosecute monsters who abuse children and supervised a high-profile investigation into organized crime's penetration of the personal injury racket.

I visited New Mexico for a wilderness backpacking trip and was hooked. I took the first job I could get in Albuquerque then moved on to work for the state's Attorney General in the Special Prosecutions Division in Santa Fe. My efforts to solve the murder of a young police officer in a lonely rural police station landed me on the Unsolved Mysteries television program.

After public service I rose to partner in one of the state's largest firms, then opened a successful solo practice. I handled cases all over the West for gold miners and ranchers, Native American activists, people wrongly accused of crimes, Fortune 500 companies and businesses and individuals suffering government oppression. I closed out my practice as the ACLU of New Mexico's Lawyer of the Year.

Using skills learned as a litigator, I started a second career as an investigative reporter. My on-line news site exposed the corruption and incompetence of powerful politicians and bureaucrats. I broke national stories and saw my reports leading nightly news broadcasts. I was a regular panelist on New Mexico's PBS affiliate's public affairs programming and had my own talk radio show.

Throughout the years, I always wrote mystery and crime fiction. My novel Cooney County was named best mystery/crime novel in the Southwest Writers Workshop International Writing Competition.

One more move took me to the lush Olympic Peninsula, where I live with my wife, a funny, sweet cat and bald eagles soaring over our home along a rugged beach. I am well into my third career, writing fiction full time.