Cold logic held his attention. Recording specifics gave him a sense of belonging that nothing else did. As he wrote, he grew less and less emotional.
A change of heart prompts one man to reevaluate the life he thought he knew in David Hecker's contemplative debut, Strangers Before the Bench.
George Schwartz prides himself on his job as an Immigration Naturalization Service Hearing judge. Working in Seattle, he has gained a reputation as a "fences up" judge, meaning that immigrants who appear before him on even the slightest infraction can count on being deported. Schwartz has no doubt that he is doing things the American way.
But all that changes when Schwartz discovers that his ancestors from Central Europe had suffered greatly at the hands of officials who acted much like Schwartz himself.
This discovery, along with his budding romance with a candid reporter, forces Schwartz to rethink his stance.
Hecker's thoughtful prose perfectly captures Schwartz's stunning transformation into a judge who advocates for immigrants' rights. But as pressure mounts from other INS judges and prosecutors, will Schwartz find the strength to fight back?
David Hecker earned a PhD in American history and American literature, subjects he taught to college students for a number of years. He has published works in various formats, including academic essays, book reviews, travel logs, a memoir, and poetry. Hecker lives with his wife, with whom he has two children and three grandchildren, on an island in Puget Sound, Washington.