A Time to Kill (1996) Script

Yeah! Go, buddy, go!

That baby's going scared. Ha-ha-ha.

Whoo! Yeah!

Hell, yeah!

Excited, yeah? Go, baby! Ooh!


I don't wanna do nothing...

We got her, bro. Here we go.

Give me one.

Get them, get them, get them.

Hey, boys!

How y'all doing today?

What are you looking at? You wanna get shot?

You wanna get shot? Woo-hoo!

Go, baby!

Got it! Pearl Harbor! Pearl Harbor!


And here's another one.

Watch this, Billy Ray!

Hundred points!


It's a beautiful day, isn't it? Uh-huh.

Bye, Tonya. Bye.

Clean up that mess, boy.

Pete, hungry? Huh?

Hey. Ha-ha-ha.

Oh, you're not having anything? Yeah, I'm having them.

Course, it's shit.

Bye, girls. Bye, Daddy.

Let's go, Max.

Get in the house, pup. Harry Rex.

All those weekends, fishing, drinking, lounging... opportunities lost to do-it-yourself house renovations.

Tragic, just tragic, Jake. Yeah.

Makes Carla happy, my man.

Spent four marriages trying to figure out what makes women happy.

You have spent four marriages... trying to figure out what makes you happy, who you kidding?

Oh, yeah. Maybe that's it.

Yeah, maybe.

Swiggy? Lord, please let my car be fixed today.

Oh, dear.

Hey, who's that?

She looks a little young.

Hold this. What are you gonna do?

You know how I say if they're old enough to crawl, they're in the right position.

What are you gonna do? What are you gonna do? You crazy.

Whoo! Yeah! Fifty points! Ha-ha-ha.

Yeah, you good, boy.

Shut up!

Daddy! Hey!

Shut up. Daddy!

Shut up.

I'll kill you. My turn.

Daddy! Shut up.



Mom! Mama!

Mom! Mama!




What is this? Groceries.

Y'all didn't see her? No, ma'am.

Carl Lee! Stop!

You got a call from your wife! What? What?

How many appointments do we have today, Ethel?

Not a one.

But it is the 1st of the month again and guess what.

The checks are pouring in and we have enough money to pay all our past debts.

That'll be your last drink.

Just keep us no more than one month behind on any vendor, please.

Why, you have been drinking.

Two months.

Well, these are the most delinquent.

The rent's in there.

I appreciate the practice, capitán, I do, but you could've left me a couple of clients.

Baby, here's Daddy.

Oh, no.

I'm here, baby. Daddy's here.

Daddy, I'm sorry I dropped the groceries.

That's all right, baby. It's all right, baby. I'm sorry, Daddy.

That's all right.

Look at this.

Billy Ray?

Sorry, sir, but we don't allow no African-Americans in here. Ha, ha.

Billy Ray Cobb, you and Mr. Willard need to come with me.

Hell, no. I ain't moving.

You know that little girl you took for a ride? Mm.

What little girl? I got bad news for you. She didn't die.

So unless there's another redneck asshole got a souped-up yellow pickup... with a Confederate flag in the windshield...

Blue gums, why don't you take your black ass out of here and grab a branch.

Unless you got an explanation for what this was doing in the bed of your truck... you're going to jail. Now, get up.

You can go to hell, nigger.

Unh! Goddamn! Hey!

Now, you earned the right to remain silent.

Here you go, just the way you like them. Thank you.

Dell, sugar, today I'm gonna have... Go to hell, Harry.

On second thought, I'm just gonna watch baby eat his.

I am not the one who handled her divorce.

Can't she see I'm shriveling away here?

I'm shriveling.

Say, Jake? Yeah, what's up, Dwayne?

Didn't you defend Billy Ray Cobb few years back?

What kind of case was it?

Caught him selling dope.

Spent time in Parchman. Got out last year.

No, I think some Memphis lawyer handled that.

Why do you ask?

Well, we picked him up for rape. Him and Pete Willard.

Who'd they rape?

You know Carl Lee Hailey?

Sure, I defended his brother Lester.

It was his little girl.

Little Tonya?


How old is she?

She's 10.

Mr. Willard, I'm Sheriff Ozzie Walls.

My mama voted for you.

I seen you play for the Rams.

Way I figure, a nigger sheriff's okay, been on TV and all.

No offense.

What's your full name?

James Lewis Willard.

Four, which is a difference of 110.60.

Who's there?

Carl Lee.

How is she?

She holding on.

Doctor says she ain't out of the woods yet, though.

They worked her over something good, Jake.

You remember them four white boys raped that little black girl in the Delta last year?


They, uh....

They got off, didn't they?



I was in a jam, you'd help me out, wouldn't you?

Sure, Carl Lee.

What kind of jam you talking about?

You got a daughter, Jake.

What would you do?

Dream some good dreams, baby girl.

Good night, Daddy.

Night, baby.

Is she asleep? Yeah.

Is she the sweetest thing? Yeah, she is.

Next to you.

Tell you what, I look at her, though, and I cannot help but think about little Tonya.


Don't do that to yourself.


Something else wrong?

Tonya's father...

Carl Lee Hailey... came by the office today.

Man's heart is torn wide open, baby.

I don't know, but... sounded to me like he was thinking about doing something.

Like what?

Something like maybe killing those two boys.

Was he serious?

I don't know. I don't know.

It could've been just the hurt talking, you know?

But when you think that it's possible that those two animals could... go free... and be walking the streets....


I don't know.

After what that man has been through, he's probably capable of anything.

Somebody should do something.

You should call Sheriff Walls.


To release the owner from assessment.

I hope I'm having a heart attack because then I'd get to sue you.

Don't stand on ceremony, come on in.

What? No clients?

Just waiting to pick yours up on appeal, Harry.

And you, are you on vacation?

Fortunately for me, my lovely... divorce doesn't go on vacation.

However... not even the richest, most ridiculous settlement I ever bring in... is gonna be as satisfying as watching those two hyenas... across the street get what's coming to them.

Oh, dear.

You know I'm a fool for those, um, German-type convertibles.

Come on, lover boy, let's get to court.

Lucien thinks the two hyenas just might get off.

You saw Lucien?

When? Where?

How is he?

Has he been eating any better?

Just curious.

Um, Miss Ethel... refresh my recollection, how long were you and Lucien together for exactly?

We were never together.

I was his secretary for 20 years.

Come on, old girl.

You can tell us, you know. He was your boyfriend.

I am an upstanding, God-fearing, respectable Southern woman... with unimpeachable morals who has been happily married for 27 years.

And I have never had or ever will have any boyfriend.

And if I did... it certainly would not be that old pickled scoundrel Lucien Wilbanks.

She did him. Oh, yeah, a lot.

All right, Billy Ray, step on back.

Come on out. Willard.

All right, boys, today's your big day.

We're gonna take a trip to the courthouse.

The judge is gonna set your bail.

Then we're gonna come back here, all nice and peaceful-like.

I get any trouble out of you, I'm going to integrate this jail.

Mama, Daddy's home! Daddy's home!

Hannah girl, let's go inside for a minute.

Give Daddy some time to himself.

Let's... Let's find a book, okay? I wanna see Daddy.


Jake? Jake? Are you hurt? Jake, what happened to you?

Jake, honey, are you okay? What happened to you?

What is this? What is going on with you? What happened?

Jake, baby.

What happened?

Okay, okay.

See you, Gwen.

Is the sheriff gonna make a statement?

He might, he might not. I don't know.

Is it first-degree murder? I'm not sure yet.

What happened? Can you tell us something?

Sheriff, will you give us a statement. I got no comment. No comment.

Hey. Hey, Jake. Hey, Jake, Carl Lee said you'd be coming.

Sir, are you an attorney? Are you an attorney?

Now, I'll make a statement. I want y'all to get these vans out of here.

Sir, we've gotta get something for our newscast.

Didn't think I'd do it, did you?

How you holding up?

I ain't had nothing against them boys till they messed with my baby.

And I feel sorry for their mamas and their daddies, but...

I ain't sorry for what I done.

How's Looney?

You blew his knee right off his leg.

Doctors are still with him.

What's gonna happen to me now?

There's gonna be a preliminary hearing.

Probably tomorrow.

After that, Buckley will push for a fast trial.

Who's Buckley?

Rufus Buckley.

District attorney.

He's mean, he's ambitious, and he's gonna eat this up because of the publicity.

But you've done beat him, ain't you?


Not in a murder case.

Think I can win?

All depends on the jury, Carl Lee.

Pick the right jury, and you walk.

DA picks the jury... and you get the gas.

Well, how much...?

How much a case like this cost?

Probably 50 grand.

I can pay maybe 10.

Well, not a lot of white lawyers would've took my brother Lester's case.

You did and got him off.

I figure there's a lot of people out there tired of all the raping and killing.

They'd be sympathetic to a man who took the law into his own hands... even if he is black.

You said you'd help me out if I was in a jam, Jake.

Well, I'm in one now.

What you say?

What can you tell us, sheriff? Can you tell us what happened?

Are you with the police department? No, I am a lawyer.

Are you Carl Lee Hailey's attorney?

Sir, are you Mr. Hailey's attorney?

Yes, I am.

What's your name, sir? Brigance. Jake Brigance.

That's with one G.

Hailey's hired an attorney.

Jake Brigance.

And today ain't even my birthday.

Brigance couldn't tie his own tie without that old drunk Wilbanks.

Telling the press he never lost a murder case.

Well, he's never tried one against me, has he?

What time's the preliminary? Tomorrow at 3.

Judge Omar Noose presiding.

Oh, I was wrong. It is my birthday.

All right. First things first, Brigance will file for a change of venue.

Guy would be a fool if he didn't. Why's that?


Should we tell our young, uninformed law clerk... the reality of jurisprudence in this county?

Evelyn, get me the state file on race statistics.

You see, Taylor, it's quite simple.

This county's 26-, 30-percent black, give or take.

Almost every other county is 40-, 45-, in some cases 70-percent black.

Blacks are more sympathetic to other blacks.

If he gets it moved, he has a greater chance of color in the jury.

We know what that means.

But if the trial stays here, it's an all-white jury for sure.

Now, Taylor, this is for you... to integrate your brain with before 3:00 tomorrow.

Yes. He means without blacks on the jury...

Hailey hasn't got a chance in hell.

All right, Noose is up for re-elect? Yeah, November.

Reach out to our friends in the legislature.

Have them call on Noose. We're gonna help him decide to keep this case in Canton.

Also, send a case of whatever it is he's drinking these days to Lucien Wilbanks.

I believe that's Dewars. Keep that old drunk on the sidelines.

Yeah, get me Sam.

And, gentlemen?

No mistakes. This is the one we've been waiting for.

Justifiable homicide will never hold up.

Then my only chance is to find a shrink who'll testify...

Carl Lee was insane at the time of the murders.

Well, I might know a man who owes me a favor.

You'll file for change of venue. Of course.

Judge Noose denies it... then you'll get an all-white jury and you'll lose.

Thank you for the encouragement.

Well, bear in mind that Mr. Hailey is as guilty as sin under our legal system.

It does not permit vigilante violence, and he took the law into his own hands.

He murdered two people.

Two people who had raped his 10-year-old daughter.

You know... you can win this case... and justice will prevail.

But lose... and justice will also prevail. Now, that's a strange case.


I could use your help.

The sons of bitches decertified me, Jake.

I swore I will never enter another courtroom ever.

Lucien, you're the best lawyer I've ever seen.

Now, I know how much it hurt when they took your license away... but they can't take your mind unless you let them.

Good speech.

Well, I had a good teacher.

Now, you remember when I came to you out of law school?

In a ridiculous blue suit.


Now, you sat me down and you said to me, "Young man, I cannot promise you riches.

What I can offer you is a chance to save the world... one case at a time."

Well, I'm saying the same words back to you right now.

How about it, Lucien?

The Lord is my shepherd. I shall not want.

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.

He leadeth me beside still waters.

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death...

I will fear no evil, for thou art with me.

Thy rod and thy staff comfort me.

Thou preparest a table before me....

Sure am sorry about your brother, Freddie.

Old Willard too.

Good boys, both.

Ten years ago, that nigger would be hanging by the end of a rope... with his balls in his mouth.

You tell me what's wrong with this country.

Klan would know what to do.

My granddaddy, he was Klan.

Ain't no Klan around here for years. Oh, there's still some boys around.

Them skinheads who want to blow up the government?

No, sir. Good God-fearing Klan.

I got a friend, used to be active.

I could give him a call.

You do that, Winston.

You tell them boys we need some Klan down here in Canton.

I mean right quick.

Hurry up, honey.

Coming, coming, coming.

Something you can tell us? What did Carl Lee tell you?

There's Ozzie.

To our family's television debut. To the big time.

I cannot believe he didn't take you seriously when you warned him.

Well, baby, you know, some folks think those boys got what they deserved.

Here, sweet pea. Carl Lee Hailey may very well spend his life in prison.

That is nothing his family deserves.

Yeah. You did call Ozzie...

Lookit here. Look who's... Daddy's on TV.

I intend to show the men and women of the South to look past color and see the truth.

That here in the South... In the new South, justice is and will be colorblind.

Impressive. Honey, that was really good. Hmm?

Isn't Daddy smart? Mm-hm.

Yeah. Brigance.

Mm-hm. That was great.

Yeah. No, we just saw it.

All right, Harry Rex. Yeah.

Baby, I'm proud of you.

Good stuff, huh? Mm-hm.

You hear this? Put it on speakerphone.

Don't be gross.

Ahem. F. Lee Bailey's office. Brigance.

You nigger-loving son-of-a-bitch, you won't live if the nigger walks.

Hey, hey. Hey.

Do you have any sympathy for the defense?

Well, of course I do, Stephanie. You're a mother, I'm a father.

We all have families. Who wouldn't?

Don't presume the district attorney is insensitive.

But the people of the state of Mississippi... entrusted this office to uphold the law of the land.

Our society cannot condone men who take the law into their own hands.

No matter the circumstance.

If you get a conviction, will you ask for the gas chamber?

Yes, I will seek the death penalty for Mr. Hailey.

What do you think of Mr. Brigance?

Isn’t that boy still in law school?

Say hey to your husband for me, Kim. That's all.

Hey, Cora Mae, don't you worry. Hey, Wayne, how are you?

Good luck.

You plead him guilty today, I'll ask for life. Otherwise, he dies.

You drop your case now, and I won't bury you before the entire county, Rufus.

All rise.

Court is in session. The Honorable Omar Noose presiding.

Good afternoon, citizens.

Be seated.


And you, sir.

Are you Carl Lee Hailey? Yes, sir.

Uh, Mr. Hailey, I am holding a copy of an indictment returned... by the grand jury of Mississippi presenting that:

"Carl Lee Hailey did murder Billy Ray Cobb, a human being... and James Lewis Willard, a human being... and did attempt to kill Dwayne Looney, a peace officer... against the peace and dignity of the state of Mississippi."

Now, do you understand the charges against you?

Yes, sir. How do you wish to plead?

Not guilty, Your Honor.

The defense enters a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity, Your Honor.

Your trial is set for July 22.

All pretrial motions and matters should be filed no later than July 8.

Is there anything further? Yes.

Your Honor, in response to the insanity plea... the state requests the defendant be examined by its own doctors.

Request granted.

Additionally, the state opposes any request for bail.

Your Honor, we haven't yet asked for bail.

Now, Governor Buckley cannot oppose a request until one is made.

He should've learned that in law school.

Your Honor, even Mr. Brigance's meager legal experience... should've taught him two things. One, I have not been elected governor yet.

And number two, he is required to request bail.

The state opposes any such request.

In the future, why don't we just wait till he makes the request, huh?

Thank you, Your Honor.

Your Honor, we would like to request bail. Denied.

I have never allowed bail in a capital-murder case... and don't feel that an exception is called for today.

Good enough.

We will be filing for a change of venue.

I anticipated this.

Let me save you some time, Mr. Brigance.

Your motion is denied.

Your Honor, we have not yet filed.

We are simply indicating our intent to file in writing by letting you...

I said, request denied.

Your Honor... how can you summarily deny this request?

It is quite clear that Carl Lee Hailey cannot receive a fair trial here.

Now, we feel... That's enough. Sidebar.

Your Honor, we have a right...

Mr. Brigance.

I will not tolerate grandstanding in my courtroom.

Get back to work.

Excellent technique, counselor.

Your Honor.

We feel it would be remiss not to tell you that in State v. Johnson... and State v. Fisher... both in 1985... failure to properly consider a change of venue... has been a reversible decision on appeal to the state supreme court.

No.... No trial judge likes his rulings overturned.

I guess you get to submit that brief after all. Have it on my desk by Tuesday morning.

Mr. Hailey, you are hereby ordered... to remain in custody of the Madison County sheriff until trial.


Find me that state doctor. What's his name? Rodeheaver.

Get him down here to interview Hailey.

Since he's not able to afford a real one, find who Brigance is using for a shrink.

I want him discredited. You want professional or personal dirt?

I don't wanna know how. Get me enough to shatter him.

We can do that. Taylor.

This is $900, Carl Lee. We said a thousand down.

My kids gotta eat.

Mine too.

All right, when do I get the rest?

Them folks over at the bank, they won't loan me no money on my house.

Why not? Your house is almost paid for. You borrowed on it before for Lester's trial.

Said I wasn't in jail before.

Said to Gwen, how am I gonna pay sitting on death row?

And I lost my job at the mill.

They called Gwen.

Worked 20 years, I'm out five days and they fired me.

Carl Lee, I can't try a capital-murder case for $900.

Carl Lee, I need to live.

Me too, Jake.

I need to live too.

Nice night.

Finder of precedents, mystery woman of the courthouse.

Yup. Care for a beer?

I assume that's the infamous change-of-venue motion under your arm.


Ellen Roark. R-O-A-R-K.

That's Roark in Boston, but it seems to be Roark in Mississippi.

Boston, huh? Yup, I was born there.

My father's the notorious Sheldon Roark.

Attorney to the stars, yes.

Duly impressed.

What brings you to Mississippi, Roark? Slumming?

No, law school at Ole Miss.

It's a.... It's a family tradition.

Mom was a sweet little sorority girl there till Dad... Till Dad married her.

I married a sweet little sorority girl from Ole Miss myself.

Well, they have an excellent selection. Yes, they do.

Now, really, what brings you to Canton?

I'm not believing they don't have cars to sit on on campus.

Carl Lee Hailey.

Really like to help you with the trial.

Now, what makes you think I need help?

You're trying one of the largest murder cases... these parts have seen and you work alone.

You have no paralegals, no clerks, researchers... nor can you afford to hire any... so if Noose doesn't accept that motion under your arm... you go to trial in less than a month. Trust me, you need help.

Now, how do you know this? Well, I'm an excellent researcher.

I see that. Look, I've played gofer... for 7 capital-murder cases, I've witnessed 2 executions...

I have written briefs for the ACLU, I'm top 5 percent of my class... editor of the law review, I'm published, I'm young.

And when I graduate...

I intend to spend a glorious career stomping out the death penalty.

Let's see, what else? Oh, genius runs in my family.

You'll get me on the way up... and I really think, you know, now is a good time to, you know, grab me.

Mm-hm. Is there anything else I should know?

Uh, let's see, anything else?

Oh, my father's filthy rich, so I'll work for free.

What do you think?

I think I'll drop this brief off in Noose's night slot.

Go home and see my family.

Thank you, Roark, but I can handle the case myself.


You might wanna look at these precedents.

Look at State v. Cooper and State v. Roundtree.

Both revenge killers, both acquitted.

You'll change your mind.

See you.

Get out. Come on.


Come on.

Mr. Cobb, this is Stump Sisson, grand dragon of Mississippi.

He heard you were looking to see us.

You were right to call us, Mr. Cobb.

They say the Klan is dead.

Klan don't show up for a few years and people say the Klan is dead.

Fact is, it just looks dead.

The Klan has always been right there... under the surface.

Just waiting for the opportunity to deliver God's justice.

I wanna help.

I wanna kill that nigger.

Niggers got plenty of protection nowadays.

They got the NAACP and the ACLU.

Even the federal government.


White folks ain't got a chance.

Except the Klan.

I'm gonna tell you what.

You get five or six of your friends of similar thinking... and we'll initiate the Madison County Klavern.

Even make you leader.

Now, you tell me... who's that nigger's lawyer?

Local boy.

His name's Brigance. He's got a pretty good reputation.

He got family?

Yes, sir. He.... He has a wife and a daughter.


Two, two.

What the hell is he doing here? Now, calm down.

No. Come on, calm down.

Calm down. He has no right after what he did.

No, he's got no right, sheriff.

Don't get your mom upset now.



I made Ozzie bring me.

Shit, Dwayne, we...

We known each other since we was kids.

It's my fault.

No matter what gets said in court...

I knew what I was doing, and I sure didn't intend to hurt you... but just them two boys.

I know it don't mean much now... but I'm sorry.

Some folks think that a black man cannot receive a fair trial in the South.

I intend to show the men and women of the South will look past color and see truth.

It sure is a nigger's world.

Not for long.

Boys, I am very proud to invite you to become soldiers... in the war to protect our Christian homes and families.

To resurrect our country from the fires of racial degradation.

And to make white people the sole masters of our nation's destiny.

What I'm saying, fellas... it's time for the nigger to pay.

Something wrong with your telephone? No, we just had the number changed.

That's what the operator said.

To an unlisted number. Yeah.

I'm sorry you had to come all the way up here.

I should've called you, but this case...

This case has us all worried sick about you all, Jake.

And you know this thing could get ugly. And dangerous.

Jake, he shot them in cold blood.

They raped and almost murdered his daughter, Sarah.

What if the same thing happened to Hannah?

Brigance! Mr. Brigance! Mr. Brigance!

May we ask a few questions? Can we get a quote?

Mr. Brigance. Excuse me a second.

I'm going to go take a few questions.

Jake, this isn't the time. This is really good for Carl Lee.

I'll be right back.

Thank y'all for coming.

I guess we'll have to read about it in the papers.

Praise Jesus!

Reverend Agee? Yes.

I'm Isaiah Street.

Well, it's an honor to meet you, Reverend.

I saw you march with Dr. King.

Well, well. The struggle continues today here in Canton.

Carl Lee Hailey's on trial because he's black.

No other reason.

These people are with the NAACP. Oh?

Reverend Agee. How do you do?

How do you do?

Reverend Agee, the black community's concerned that Mr. Hailey's attorney... is not sensitive to the needs of the movement.

The NAACP wishes to provide him with a new lawyer.

We need to raise funds to support Carl Lee Hailey.

I don't know, Reverend. Time's awfully tight here.

Obviously, we would expect you to take... a modest administration fee for your troubles.

Your loyalty has been forged in a baptism of fire.

Rise, knights of the Ku Klux Klan... and let your brethren never regret... they believed you worthy of fellowship.

Welcome to the Klan.

I need to talk to Jake Brigance.

He's not in. May I ask who's calling?

Uh, well...

Mickey Mouse.

Who? Mickey Mouse.

Get out right now.

Who is this?

Get your daughter out of the house right now.


Hannah? Mommy!

Hannah? What is it? Oh, my God!

Max! Max, come on!

Fire! Aah!

It's a good thing Hastings was nearby and got here fast.

The whole place could've burned down.

Yeah, I appreciate it. Take care, man.

See you in the morning.

She asleep, baby?

The Ku Klux Klan is burning crosses on our lawn, Jake.

Baby, there's been no Klan around here for years, okay?

This is just a couple of dorks with too much time on their hands and too many beers.

I'm sorry. About what?

That you weren't home when someone practically burned our house down?

That you missed supper and didn't even bother to call?

That lately you've become more interested in getting on the news... than what's going on with your family?

Or that Hannah comes home bawling because of kids calling her a nigger-lover?

What exactly are you sorry about, Jake?

Remember the other night?

I told you Carl Lee came by the office?

Remember what we talked about then?

About me calling Ozzie?

You never called him, did you?

You never called Sheriff Walls?

I didn't call him, baby.

Lord have mercy, Jake, you had a responsibility.

Carl Lee chose you.

He told you what he was thinking.

He told me what he was thinking, but I didn't know...

Jake Tyler Brigance, we agreed, you were gonna call the sheriff.

Now look at everything that has happened.

I am sorry to tell you this, darling, but those two boys are in the ground... and you were in a position to prevent every bit of this.


Are you and Daddy fighting?

No, baby. Come here. Come here, baby. Come here.

Mommy's just upset because some silly man played a real bad joke, okay?

There's nothing to worry about.

Nothing at all, okay?

What that Memphis doctor say about her?

She's doing good.

Her jaw is healing.

She can't run and jump yet, but it won't be long.

How about the other?

There was too much damage.

She ain't gonna never have kids.

You know, I think about them two boys.

Dead, buried... probably starting to rot.

And I remember them walking in court... one proud, the other scared.

I remember how they fell.

One on top of the other, and screaming and squirming and not going nowhere.

God help me, Gwen, but... that's the only thought gives me comfort.

They took up a collection for us at church Sunday night.

Some kind of defense fund.

Reverend Agee gave a good service.

We need some money around the house, Carl Lee, for groceries and bills.

How much you got?

Less than 50.

I'll think of something.

How you think you going to get some money while you stuck here in jail?

Trust me, Gwen.

I just get scared.

Look here.

Tell me exactly what Reverend Agee said when he passed around the collection plate.

I don't care. We are dealing with life and death here.

I'm gonna have to talk to my supervisor. Well, you go talk. Get out of here.

Morning, John. How are things at the electric company?

The electric company. That is the second time this week I've had to hold him off.

How much do we owe? Two thousand dollars.

How much do we have? One hundred dollars.

Now, look, this week nothing, nothing has come in at all. Look.

What about Buck Britt's retainer? There's 2 grand.

That check bounced. What do you mean, bounced?

It bounced, Jake.

It's been sitting on your desk for a week.

Not that you'd notice.

Since you took this case, you... You stopped talking to your clients... you don't take your calls, you...

You're obsessed. That's what you are. You're obsessed, Jake.

Boy, your obsession is going to break us. Hey, hey, hey.

What's wrong, girl? We've been through hard times before.

Oh, not like this, Jake.

Not like this.

We've been getting calls.

At home.


You know Bud has survived two strokes. I don't think he would survive a third.

Why didn't you tell me?

Why, Jake?

Would you drop the case?

Jake Brigance's office.

Until they cut the phones off.

Oh, right.


Right. That was Sheriff Walls.

You better get down to that jail.

What's going on here, Carl Lee?

I'm Isaiah Street. Jake Brigance.

Uh-huh. Uh....

I believe you know Reverend Agee. Jake.

And this is... Norman Reinfield.

I've seen your picture in the paper.

I assume these boys carry your briefcase.

Just a small part of my legal defense team.

Pleasure, Mr. Brigance.


If this is a party, boys, where's the chips and beer?

Otherwise, you being here seems a bit like illegal client solicitation.

With Carl Lee already having a lawyer and all.

Well, now, just a minute, Jake.

Carl Lee invited us here.

Mr. Brigance... let me be frank.

Mr. Hailey's case has far-reaching ramifications.

Carl Lee's acquittal for the killings of two white men... would do more for black people in Mississippi... than any event since we integrated the schools.

His conviction, on the other hand, will be a slap at us.

A symbol of deep-seated racism.

Perhaps enough to ignite a nation.

See how important this case is?

Enter Mr. Reinfield's death squad, right?

It's an unfortunate nickname, but apropos.

My lawyers and I handle only capital-murder cases, Mr. Hailey.

Yeah, and of all your cases, Norman, how many are supposed to be lost...

...so you can martyr the victim? Now, Mr. Brigance.

How much a defense like that cost?


Would you say about 100,000?

We are prepared to accept 7000 in litigation expenses.

Well, Carl Lee doesn't have $7000.

Do you, Carl Lee?

The NAACP has raised $5000 for Carl Lee's legal defense fund.

And we raised an additional $2000 from the local churches.

Let me ask you something, Reverend.

How much of that cash you offer my wife and kids?

Well, that money is to go to pay for lawyers' fees and stuff like that.

That ain't what you told the church, now, is it?

You almost cried when you told them... how my family might starve if they didn't donate all they could, didn't you?

Well, the money is for you and your family, Carl Lee... but we thought it'd be better spent on your legal defense.

Well, speaking of that defense fund... can I use that for any lawyer I want?

Well, it's not that simple, Carl Lee.

Actually, it is that simple, Carl Lee.

Unless the NAACP wants to go on record as soliciting funds under false pretenses.

Listen, Carl Lee, we raised that money... for these men to get you out of here, not for this cracker to...

Now, hey, hey, hey. Hold on. Hold on right there, now.

Let me just get this straight here, Reverend.

If you don't give my wife that cash...

I'm gonna see to it everybody in this town knows you're a lying crook.

I'm sure your congregation will be interested to know...

Gwen and the kids can't eat because you want in with the NAACP.

That's right. By the time I get through with you... you won't be able to collect 2 cents in that collection plate on Sunday.

We'll expect the check for the Hailey family this afternoon, Reverend Agee.

Reverend Street, I sure do appreciate your fine work... but I'm gonna take my chances with Jake here.

Thanks for coming down, Mr. Reinfield.

Uh, and we'll be expecting that check for Jake's legal services... around the same time this afternoon.

Good day, men.




You set that whole thing up, didn't you?

Couldn't have did it without you, Jake.

Make one hell of a team, Carl Lee.

You out there, Jake. I'm in here.

We ain't no team.

There's trouble.

Oh, lookie there.

No, here's trouble, Harry Rex.

Hi. You are...?

Roark, meet Mr. Harry Rex Vonner... the most effective, connected, morally compromised lawyer in the country.

Oh. Ellen Roark, brilliant law student. Do with me as you will.

Looking forward to it. Okay.

Um, well, thought this might interest you.

In all murder trials, it seems the insanity plea only makes up 1 percent overall.

And of the 1 percent of that that resulted in acquittal... success rested almost wholly on the...

On the defending psychiatrist regardless of the quality of the psychological testimony.

Yeah. Shazam.

She is brilliant.

"She." That would be me?

Now, who else would she be? So she would be me.

She is saying that if I take this plea to trial... the verdict is going to hinge on whose shrink the jury finds more credible.

She would be correct.

She would.

So are you sure you don't need any help?

I do. I'm hiring. Right now. Me.

Roark, I am sure that I don't need any help. Thank you, though.


I guess that would just have to be your loss, then, huh?

Nice to meet you, Morally Compromised.

Pleasure's all mine.


Got to love the Lord for making things like that.

Sure you don't wanna at least take a peak at her résumé?

Not like you couldn't use the help.

No, I don't want to look at her résumé, Harry Rex, because I have you.

You do? Yeah, buddy.

This is your chance to put aside your shady sources, back-alley deals... your greedy divorcées, and do some real law for a change.

Mr. Vonner, in short... you now have the opportunity to work on a case that matters.

Let me get this straight.

You want me to put aside my empty, soulless, shady... astonishingly lucrative, divorcée practice... come work with you on an unwinnable, bleeding-heart, lose-all-my-friends... straight-to-the-gas-chamber case because it matters?

That is a novel idea, I know.

No way, never, presumptuous little shit.

Good night, y'all.

Hello? I need the sheriff.

He's sleeping now. Well, get him up.

Who is this? Someone's gonna die tonight.

Unh! I got him!

Get his ass, Ozzie! What's in the case?

This thing's ticking. What's in the case?

I ain't saying, nigger.

Family out of the house? Yeah.

It's locked.

Now I want you to open that.

Oh, man....

Defuse it.

I'm gonna take you and this nigger-lover to hell with...

Ain't nothing more dangerous in this world than a fool with a cause.

Lay that thing back down there. Let's get the hell out of here.

Carla loves this house.

How you doing, Stan? Hey, how you doing?

Come here, girl.


Daddy, are you coming to Grandpa's too?

Mm-mm. Not this time, baby. Daddy's gotta stay here and work.

You and your mama have a good time, okay?

All right. All right. You be good.

Go get your stuff down there.

You said you'd withdraw if it got too dangerous.

I know.

But I can't quit now, you know that.

Carl Lee Hailey's facing the gas chamber, baby. The man is counting on me.

I understand that, Jake.

I want you to remember that we're counting on you too.

What if something happens to you?

Nothing's gonna happen to me, baby. Come here.

Give me a hug? Hmm?

Everything's gonna be all right.

I'm gonna be fine, you're gonna be fine. Okay?

Okay, babe?

I promise.

Watch you don't make your wife promises you can't keep.


You ready? Uh-huh.

Last boarding call.

Good afternoon. Good afternoon.

Come in.

Good afternoon. Good afternoon.

You may come this way. The judge is upstairs.

Thank you, sir.

Judge Noose.

Thanks for coming.

Heard you had a little trouble last night. Yes, sir.

Makes you wonder about the sensibleness of taking this case.

This is a beautiful place you have here, judge.

I'll get to the point.

I've thoroughly reviewed your brief request in that change of venue.

And I agree with you. I think it's impossible to find a fair and impartial jury in Canton.

In fact, I think it's impossible to find a fair and impartial jury anywhere in Mississippi.

And as such... a jury here would be... as fair as a jury anywhere else.

So I've decided to deny your request for a change of venue.

Well, I guess that... gives me something to appeal.

Uh, actually, no.

I spoke to Judge Dent... and he led me to believe that the supreme court would uphold my ruling.

You certainly have covered your bases, judge.

Jake, you're a good lawyer.

You're bright and ambitious. Talented. You could be somebody around here.

You sure you wanna be known as the man that defended that murderer?

Could be very unpopular.

Talk to your client.

He pleads guilty...

I'll recommend Buckley accept a plea of manslaughter.

He'd be out in 20.

Yeah. And how's his wife supposed to raise his family alone?

Better than being a widow.

Think about it.

Why toss away a promising career, hmm?

Good day, judge. Thanks for coming.

All right, Lucien. Where the hell is this guy?

Born alcoholic.

But the man cannot hold his liquor.

Jake, allow me to present Dr. Willard Tyrell Bass.

Expert witness for the defense.

W.T., this is Jake Brigance, my protégé.

Dr. Bass.

Are you kidding me? No, relax.

When he's sober, he's terrific.

He has his license, his credentials are impeccable.

Well? I need a drink.

Three in the afternoon?

My, oh, my. What would your wife say? I am my own man, Lucien.

I drink when I want. When did she leave town?

This morning. Ha-ha-ha.

God! Unh!


Oh, my...

That's enough.

Now, you tell your boss... next time people are gonna die.

Oh, Bud.

Oh, Bud.



Nice parking job. Late night?

Yeah. Hmm.

So, um, here.

Oh, thank you. Your wife lets you sleep at the office?

My wife left town.

That's too bad.

So listen, I heard that Judge Noose turned down your change of venue.


I think it's time you let me take you out to breakfast.


Quit playing with that food. But, ladies, y'all come back.

You need to finish that before Christmas. Thank you, treasure.

Now, the other night, you said you're opposed to the death penalty.

Yes, sir. Why?

You're not? Mm-mm.

Actually, I'm very much in favor of it.

I'd like to go back to hangings on the court lawn if we could.

You're kidding, right? No.

The only problem with the death penalty, Roark, is that we do not use it enough.

Well, have you told your client Carl Lee Hailey this?

Carl Lee does not deserve the death penalty.

The two men who raped his daughter did. How do you decide... who dies and who doesn't?

Well, simple. Okay, you take the crime and you take the criminal.

Now, say a crack dealer guns down an undercover cop.

Well, you strap his ass to the chair, flip the switch.

For some reason, I thought you were a liberal.

Well, I am a liberal, Roark.

What I am not is a card-carrying ACLU radical.

I do not believe in forgiveness, nor in rehabilitation.

I believe in safety. I believe in justice.

I see. Well, let me ask you something.

Have you ever seen a man executed?

Not that I recall. Then what I suggest you do... is you go watch a man be executed.

You watch him die, watch him beg, watch him kick and spit the life out of him... until he pisses and shits in his pants, until he's gone.

Then you come back here and sing this crap to me about justice...

Roark, spare me your Northern, liberal, cry-me-a-river... we-are-the-only-enlightened-ones bullshit.

I'm so sorry, yes, you are the enlightened. Yes, you are.

And that's why you brought me to this black diner in this black neighborhood.

So you can convince me you're this JFK-meets-Jesus-Christ white boy.

Is that what it is?

Or because you're another repressed, hypocritical provincial... who maybe didn't want to be seen around town with a woman like myself?

Yes, you sure are enlightened. You know what?

I'm terribly sorry, I've made a mistake. I thought you were one of the good guys.

Thank you very much for your time, Mr. Brigance.

Do it.

I get a little worked up.

Guess that's not the best way to apply for a job, huh?

I don't want the jury to see those pictures of the dead rapists. Can we keep them out?


It is vital that I admit the rape. I want the jury to know details.

I'm gonna need briefs on both.

I don't like your politics, Roark, but you do have passion... and that's something Carl Lee needs right now... and maybe so do I.

Are you getting this?

I'm writing it down.

All right, here's what we got. It's official.

The trial of Carl Lee Hailey will be held in Canton.

Today, presiding Judge Noose issued 150 summonses for potential jurors... in a sealed envelope.

Now, to prevent tampering... that list will be kept strictly confidential until jury selection begins on Wednesday.

No one, not even Mr. Brigance or myself... will know the identities of the potential jurors in this case.

Free Carl Lee! Free Carl Lee! Free Carl Lee!

Free Carl Lee! Free Carl Lee!

Free Carl Lee! Free Carl Lee! Free Carl Lee!

Beautiful day, isn't it?

There he is.

Any word on Bud? Ethel's still with him.

Thank you for coming, sir.

Well, well, well.

The Pillsbury Doughboy.

Still practicing exploitative law?

Thought you were dead.

I'm trying. Who do we have here?

Miss Roark, I would like to introduce to you...

Lucien Wilbanks, third white man in Mississippi to join the NAACP... permanently disbarred by the superior court... for attacking police who busted a picket line in the EPSO oil strike.

It is a pleasure, Ms. Ark.

All right, everybody, jury selection begins this afternoon.

Now, to win this case, we need a sympathetic jury willing to acquit... and a jury that can use the insanity plea as an excuse to do so.

I'm gonna need a drink.

No drinking.

What do you mean, no drinking? It's my building... built by my grandfather, leased to you for a reasonable rent... and I want a drink.

Ms. Ark, I have all the respect in the world for you.

I believe in your right to equal pay, equal work, to bear a child... or to abort one. I think you should be treated just like a man.

And since you are a law clerk... genderless in my eyes...

I think you should be the one to go buy the beer.

ERA she-woman, that would be an excellent activity for you this afternoon.

Hey. No drinking. Not today.

Now, ahem, Noose selects this panel at random.

If we get too many bad candidates, we're sunk.

Luck of the draw.

What you need... is young fathers who wanna do what Carl Lee Hailey did.

Agreed. I think we need young men with families here.

Now, I would prefer no one over 50. Less bigotry, as a rule, with youth.

So we stay away from women, rednecks and old men.

Uh, citizens, thank you.

Now, counsel, you each have 12 challenges. Let's begin.

Your Honor, the state challenges Jurors Number 6, 10 and 32.

Your Honor, the defense strikes Jurors 1, 4, 8 and 2.

Twenty-six, 27, 28 and 31.

Your Honor, the defense also strikes Jurors 22 and 29.

Now that's it, then. Mr. Brigance, you're all out of challenges. We're done.

Jurors, you will be sequestered starting tonight.

Opening statements begin tomorrow morning.

That's a jury of my peers?

God bless America.

My name is Stump Sisson... and I'm proud to be a grand dragon... for the Invisible Empire of the Ku Klux Klan.

What the hell?

And I'm here to say that the law-abiding white folks of Mississippi... are sick and tired of niggers stealing, raping, killing and getting away with it.

Ozzie, let's get them out of here.

We demand justice.

We demand this nigger be convicted... and his black ass sent to the gas chamber.

Who you calling nigger?

You pointy-headed, white-faced, no-good, wife-beating son of a whore!

Shut up, you wild animal!

Animal? You're the damn animal! I'll drag your ass out of here!

You're the damn animal! Unh!

Come on!

Come on!

Come here, come here!

That's right, go on!

Hastings! Hastings! Hastings!

What's going on?

This is for Billy Ray.

Open! Open the gate! Open the gate!

Turn around.

I can't get to this. Just take off your pants.

Come on, Roark, do I look that easy?

Are you afraid I'm gonna see you in your underwear?

With Carla gone, the laundry's piling up. I'm not wearing any.

It's all right, I haven't worn any in years.

Look, I'm not gonna watch, I promise. Now strip, please.

All right. Fine. Batter up.

What I need from you, Roark... Do tell.

Is a way to discredit the state's shrink, Dr. Rodeheaver.

Unless you discredit the shrink....

Carl Lee does not have a chance. Ow.


Sorry. Sissy.

I think he's got a very good chance.

There you go. I think you're gonna live. All right.

Thanks. Whoo.

Good butt.

Ugh. So, uh....

What do you folks do around here to blow off steam... besides trying to kill each other?

You got discos or strip bars or malls or anything to go to?

Stump's dead.

He's dead, Freddie.

Come on, Freddie. Let's go on home.

It's all over.

It ain't near over.

How you doing? Good to see you. Excuse me.

Hey, I'll be right back.

Here are your mud bugs. Mm-hm.

There you go, darling.

Anything else? Yeah, a couple of dinner specials... and some fried dill pickles.

You got it, honey. Thank you, Sugar.

That wasn't sexist at all. Really, I never order my own food.

I can't do another shot.

All right, fine, I'll take another shot. Just a splash.

Just a splash.

All right.

To.... To....

Carl Lee Hailey.

May our jury find that man loony as a proverbial fruitcake.

Hear, hear.

No more.

So, um....

Do you think he was crazy when he did it?

No, he wasn't crazy.

He told me he was gonna do it.

I tried to tell myself he wasn't serious.

I think I really wanted him to do it.

I came home that night and I was looking at Hannah laying there... looking how tender she is.

All I could think about was all the monsters out there... and any one of them can come steal her innocence.

Take her life, if they wanted.

Yeah, I wanted those boys dead. You're goddamn right I did.

I guess I helped killed them.

So tomorrow, when we get in court... it's not just Carl Lee I'm trying to get off.

Burn in hell, Brigance!

Good job.

Nice place... How is it you'll drive an hour and half... outside of town to take me to dinner, but you have no problem... walking me into my motel room?

Well, with everything that's going on...

I don't think we can be too careful.

Just wanna make sure it's all safe in here.

I'm not scared.

Oh, yes, I am. Of what?

Of what's going to happen tomorrow.

All the other cases I've worked on have only been paper defendants.

It's just I never knew the towns, and I never touched the lives or anything.

So I don't know what it's like.

Tomorrow morning...

Buckley will try to kill Carl Lee Hailey.

Now, it's on us to stop him.


So tonight, go over the battle in your mind.

Argument, rebuttal, examination and cross. All of it.


Remember something. Hmm.

You are one of the good guys. Okay.

And good guy has the spicy on her lip. Spicy.

But still one of the good guys.

I'm going home.

Lock the door behind me, Roark. I'll see you in the morning.

It's gonna blow, sheriff. It's gonna blow.

Oz is right over there!

Wait. Wait. Hold it, Jake. Hold it, Jake.

My dog's in there. Jake...

My dog's in there!


Come on. Come on.



It's too late.

Move, move, move.

Hey, buddy.

Seen my dog?

Looking for my dog.

Max, come here, boy! Let's go! Come on, Max!

I booked you on the 9:15 to Gulfport. Economy, of course.

Go see your wife and daughter, Jake.

What'd you do that for, Harry Rex?

We got trial in less than three hours.

Oh, come on.

Noose would give you a continuance in a flash.

NAACP boys be down here before lunch. Drooling.

Max, let's go, boy! Come on!

Jake, listen to me.

Your marriage is on the rocks, you're about to have an affair.

Your career's in ruins if you're lucky, and if you're not, you're dead.

Don't get me wrong, my friend.

What you've put into this case, you even inspired me, and I'm...

I'm uninspirable.

Do everyone a favor, though.

Drop the case.

No, I can't.

I won't. I'm not gonna quit.

I quit now, and all this is for nothing. No.

Max, come on now. Max, where are you? Come on, Max!

Max is dead, and you're next.

Walk away.

Max. Come here, boy.

Come here. Come here, boy. Ha-ha-ha.

Come here. Come here.

Who's got the goods, huh? Huh?

Pretrial strategy at my office in less than two hours... and I expect to see your ass there.

Free Carl Lee! Free Carl Lee! Free Carl Lee!

Free Carl Lee! Free Carl Lee! Free Carl Lee!

Fry Carl Lee.

Free Carl Lee!

Fry Carl Lee! Fry Carl Lee! Fry Carl Lee!

Free Carl Lee!

Free Carl Lee! Free Carl Lee!

Fry Carl Lee! Fry Carl Lee! Fry Carl Lee!

Fry Carl Lee! Fry Carl Lee! Fry Carl Lee!

Now, Mr. Buckley, you may begin.

Thank you, Your Honor.

Good morning. Good morning.

You are Cora Mae Cobb, the mother of Billy Ray Cobb the deceased, are you not?

Yes, sir.

And where were you when your son was murdered?

I was right outside that door right there.

Me and Freddie was waiting for his hearing.

He was walking up the stairs... in handcuffs.

Can you tell us how old your son was at the time of his death?


You say your son was 23 when he died?


In those 23 years, Mrs. Cobb... how many other children did your son kidnap?

Objection, Your Honor! Objection!

Sustained. You... You are out of order, Mr. Brigance.

Withdraw the question. The jury will disregard... the last question from Mr. Brigance.

Mrs. Cobb, in your son's 23 years... how many other children did he rape?

Mr. Brigance. In my chambers.

Court will recess for lunch.

I don't get it. Why is he antagonizing the judge?

He should've known Noose'd pull him into chambers.

Of course he knew. Jake got to draw first blood and he knows that's more important.

Hello, Harry. Hi, Rufie.

Sweetheart, come play on a winning team. How's that impotence thing, Rufus?

You're not being paid for the work you're doing, are you?

No, sir.

Well, I guess Jake's paying you in other ways, then, isn't he?


Yep. Girls talk.

Sheriff, if you would, will you please identify this weapon?

It's the weapon found at the scene.

And were you able to identify any of the fingerprints found on this gun?

Yes. The prints on the gun matched those of Carl Lee Hailey.

You're sure?


Your Honor, I'd like to enter this into evidence as Exhibit S18.

We have no further use of this witness.

Sheriff Walls.

Did you arrest Cobb and Willard?

Yes, I did.

I arrested them for the rape... and attempted murder of 10-year-old Tonya Hailey.

And is it true that Pete Willard... signed a written confession... saying that he and Billy Ray Cobb did rape Tonya Hailey?

Objection. That's inadmissible, and Mr. Brigance knows it.

Mr. Brigance, I've spoken to you before.

We are not trying the rape of Miss Hailey today... but the murder of two young men, and if you continue in this performance...

I'll hold you in contempt.

Now, is that understood?

Yes, sir.

I have no further questions, Your Honor.


You say something, sheriff?

Yes, he did sign a confession. Objection, Your Honor!

Jurors, you will disregard the last remark of Sheriff Walls.

Court is adjourned till tomorrow morning 9:00.

I'm taking Bud back to Oxford.

He always missed Oxford.

I don't know what to say, Ethel, I don't know.

There's nothing you can say.

I know you didn't want any of this to happen... but it happened all the same.

You wagered all our lives on this.

You just went ahead and did what you felt you had to do, no matter what the cost.

Some folks think that's brave.

Not me, Jake.

Now, you may win... but I think we've all lost here.

Would you help an old lady to her car? You don't need any help, Ethel... but it would be my honor to escort you to your automobile.

Didn't like that one?

Buckley is presenting his shrink tomorrow.

I can't come up with one way to bring him down. Not one.

I keep asking myself, "What would Jake do? What would my father do?

What would Lucien do?"

That's your problem right there.

What you gotta ask yourself is, "What would Harry Rex do?"

What would Harry Rex do?


Cheat like crazy.

Yeah. Yeah, I did.

I'll bring her around the side.


Hey, Cheryl. Hi.

So we gotta talk about it.

Now, wait a minute.

The judge said absolutely not to discuss this case.

That judge ain't stuck here away from his wife and kids.

The sooner we start talking about it, the sooner we can get home.

I wanna get out of here just as much as anybody else.

Let's get on with it.





Not guilty?

That nigger's dead, y'all.

I know, I know. Folks in town just can't get enough of this trial.

And that's why my editor said I needed to come down and interview Rodeheaver.

I'm afraid Dr. Rodeheaver's in court today.


If a pretty girl like you wants to be a reporter... maybe she should do some better research?

Yeah. Ha.

Well, um, you know what? I don't... I don't mind waiting... because my paper really wants this interview... so is he still in Room 369? I'll just go there.

No, dear. Wrong again. He's in 128. But he's gone all day.

You can't see him today.

You wanna come back to my office and we can schedule an appointment?

You know what? I'll come back another time... when he's got time to talk, when things kind of die down.

I appreciate it. Thank you. You can call me any time.

Okay. Bye-bye.

Your Honor, the state calls Deputy Dwayne Looney.

Good morning. Good morning.

Would you please state your name for the record?

Deputy Dwayne Powell Looney.

Thank you, Deputy Looney.

You were present at the murders of Billy Ray Cobb... and James Lewis Willard, were you not?

Yes, sir. I was.

If you can remember... describe how you were wounded for the members of the jury.

I think bullets bounced off the floor, caught me in the knee.

And what happened to your leg?

Doc cut it off.

And after the loss of your right leg, Detective Looney... are you still able to serve as a police officer?

I'm able to perform....

I'm able to perform a number of services.

Did you get a good look at the man with the gun?

No, sir.

However, Mr. Hailey did personally apologize for his shooting me.


So Mr. Hailey admitted shooting you.

Yes, sir.

I have no further questions, Your Honor.

Mr. Brigance. No questions, Your Honor.

Wait a minute.

Uh, Mr. Buckley? Yes, Your Honor.

The state would like to call...

Give me a moment to speak with my client.

Take your time.

Ask him if he thinks I ought to go to jail.

Carl Lee, they amputated his leg because you shot him.

He's a witness for the prosecution.

You're my lawyer, ain't you? Yeah.

Ask him.

Your Honor, one question. Make up your mind, Mr. Brigance.

Deputy Looney.

Do you think Carl Lee shooting you was intentional?

No, sir.

It was an accident.

Ask him.

Do you think he should be punished for shooting you?

No, sir.

I hold no ill will toward the man.

He did what I would've done.

What do you mean by that, Deputy Looney?

I mean I don't blame him for what he did.

Those boys raped his little girl.

Objection, Your Honor. The witness's opinion on this matter is irrelevant.

Your Honor, I believe Deputy Looney has earned the right to speak here today.



Go ahead, Dwayne.

I got a little girl.

Somebody rapes her, he's a dead dog.

I'll blow him away just like Carl Lee did.

Objection, Your Honor!

Do you think the jury should convict Carl Lee?

Don't answer that question, deputy.

He's a hero. You turn him loose.

Jury will disregard.

Turn him loose!

Your Honor, you silence that witness!

Turn him loose!


People say whatever the hell they want in this courtroom!


Any more of that nonsense... and you're all out of here.

Now, Mr. Buckley, you may begin.

Thank you, Your Honor.

Would you please state your name and occupation for the members of the jury.

My name is Dr. Wilbert Rodeheaver, chair of Psychiatry... at Mississippi State University... and clinical director of the Whitfield Facility for the Criminally Insane.

Thank you, doctor. Your credentials speak for themselves.

Now, doctor, can you please explain, as you do so eloquently in your book... the McNaughton Rule for the jury?


The McNaughton Rule states... that a person must be unable to tell right from wrong... and/or be unaware of the consequences of his actions... to be termed legally insane.

Now, did you examine Mr. Hailey?

Yes. Mr. Hailey and I spoke about his childhood, his family... his experiences during the war.

And the rape of his daughter?

Yes, we spoke at length about the brutal rape of his daughter Tonya.

What is your diagnosis of Mr. Hailey's mental condition... on the day that he shot Billy Ray Cobb and James Lewis Willard?

At the time of the murders, his mental condition... was without any defects of any nature.

Mr. Hailey was sane.

But wait a minute, doctor. The defense contends...

Why, Mr. Brigance has gone to great effort to prove to this jury... that Mr. Hailey is a nutball.

Is a slow coach.

Or what's the clinical definition?


Do you disagree? Yes.

Carl Lee Hailey knew very well what he was doing.

He slaughtered those men in cold blood.

Thank you, doctor.

I have no further questions, Your Honor.

Buddy, where the hell is Roark? I got no clue.

Cross-examination, Mr. Brigance?

Your Honor, we would request a recess until...

No, we will not need a recess, Your Honor, but just a few moments.

Mr. Brigance?

When you and Lois Lane are ready....

Just a few questions, Your Honor.

Doctor, who do you work for?

State of Mississippi.

In your 11 years... how many times have you testified where the insanity defense was used?

This is my 46th trial.

Forty-sixth trial.

Well, of those 46 trials... how many times have you testified that the defendant was legally insane?

Objection, Your Honor! The good doctor cannot be asked... to recall all of his testimony at these previous trials. It's absurd.


Thank you, Your Honor.

I can't remember.

Could it be, doctor, the reason you can't remember... is that in 11 years and 46 trials... you never have seen a defendant whom you have found insane?

I can't recall at this time.

Can you recall testifying at the trial of one Dan Baker?

Objection! Your Honor, this has nothing to do with the proceedings here.


This.... This better be good, Mr. Brigance. Thank you, Your Honor.

I'll ask again. Can you recall testifying the trial of one Dan Baker?

It's a rather brutal double homicide where you found the defendant legally sane?


A dissenting psychiatrist disagreed with you, doctor.

And Mr. Baker was found insane and institutionalized.

Where is he currently, doctor?

At Whitfield.

Who is the chief psychiatrist at Whitfield?

I am. You are.

Dr. Rodeheaver is the chief psychiatrist at Whitfield.

Now, help me make this clear to the jury, doctor.

In 1985, you testified that Dan Baker was legally sane.

The jury disagreed with you.

And Mr. Baker was found not guilty by reason of insanity.

Since that time, he has been a patient in your hospital, under your care... as a paranoid schizophrenic. Is that correct, doctor?


Do you normally admit patients... keep and treat them for 10 years if they're of sound mind and body?

Of course not.

Then it would be fair to say... that you find insane people sane for the purposes of trial?

Objection, Your Honor! This is argumentative!

Withdraw the question, Your Honor. No further questions.

Genius, Roark.

Mr. Brigance! Mr. Brigance! Yes. Yes.

How do you expect to get a fair trial in Mississippi?

Get him!

Get an ambulance, get, get! Come on.

So is there any news on the guard who was shot?

Ozzie says he's probably paralyzed.

Some stranger... somebody's husband... somebody's son... put himself in harm's way... for me.

When I saw the blood...

I got so scared because I thought that was you.

Do you want me to stay?


I want you to stay.

So you better go.


Oh, shit.

Speed limit's 45, not 70, ma'am.

Haven't been drinking, have you? I guess I just wasn't...

Let me ask you to get out of the car.

Is that really necessary? Just get out of the car.

Isn’t it usually customary to ask for a license and registration?

You bitch. No!

Get her in the car.

No! No! Come on.

Get in there.

Shut up!

You can't blame a nigger for being a nigger... no more than you can blame a dog for being a dog.

But a whore like you... co-mingling with mongrels, betraying your own... that makes you worse than being a nigger.

So I'll tell you what I'm gonna do.

I'm gonna leave you tied up here naked.

First it'll just be the bugs eating at you.

One day, maybe two.

That sun's gonna be cooking you.

But them animals?

They're gonna pick up your stink.

They're gonna come looking for something to eat.

Carl Lee Hailey should've shot you too.

Come on, boys. Let's go.

No. No. No.

No. No.

Shh. It's okay.

It's okay.

It's okay now.

It's okay.

Mr. Brigance, you may call your first witness.

Yes, Your Honor. Defense calls Dr. Willard Tyrell Bass.

Buddy, have you seen Roark? Not yet.

Doctor, would you explain to the jury... the effect his daughter's rape had on Mr. Hailey's condition?

Tonya's rape caused a relapse... a temporary break with reality.

But yesterday, a Dr. Rodeheaver... suggested that Mr. Hailey's act of calculation was... the very definition of sanity.

That's ridiculous.

Many of the most famous schizophrenics are calculating.

John Hinckley, for example.


And legally insane.

All right, so, Dr. Bass, how would you diagnose Mr. Hailey... at the time of the murder?

Mr. Hailey experienced a recurrence of a dissociative condition... as a result of the trauma caused by the rape of his daughter.

Now, since Mr. Hailey was unaware of the reality of his actions... he could not tell right from wrong.

Nor could he understand the consequences of his actions.

He was, therefore, legally insane.

Could not tell right from wrong... nor understand the consequences of his actions.

Therefore, legally, insane.

Thank you, Dr. Bass. Your Honor, I have no further questions.

Mr. Buckley?

Mr. Buckley. Yes?

Your witness.

Oh. I'm sorry, excuse me. Thank you, Your Honor.

Good morning. Good morning.

Dr. Bass, could you please state for the record your full name?

Willard Tyrell Bass.

Tyrell Bass. That's a very unique name.

Now, doctor, have you ever been convicted of a felony?

No, of course not.

You're certain? Yes.

As certain of that as you are of the testimony you've just given before this jury?

Of course.

So let me understand this now... since you are under oath.

You're telling me, and this jury, that on October 17th, 1960... you were not convicted of statutory rape?

Objection, Your Honor!

Dr. Bass is not on trial here.

This goes to the heart of the credibility of the witness.

Overruled. Continue, Mr. Buckley. Thank you.

Now, doctor... were you convicted of statutory rape?

You got the wrong man.


I have some mighty interesting photographs of you... taken with a female underage... in a motel by the Dallas Police Department on September 11th, 1960.

Would you like to look at these images and see if they refresh your memory?

No, I didn't think so.

Your Honor, we would like to enter into evidence these court and police records... showing that on September 15th, 1960, this man, one Tyrell Bass... pled guilty to statutory rape.

Now, doctor, I'm gonna ask you one last time... were you or were you not convicted of statutory rape?

Well, I can explain... Not interested in your explanation.

Answer the question, yes or no.

Yes. Yes, I was.

That's enough.

I have nothing further.

Redirect, Mr. Brigance?

None, Your Honor.

Court will recess one hour for lunch.

You told me you knew him, he was a credible witness.

I didn't know. The record was expunged.

Buckley really outdid himself this time.

Damn. Lucien, I was counting on you.

And I can't win... You wanted this case.

Well, you got it.

It isn't easy saving the world one case at a time, but you stick with it.

You might just have a knack for it. Don't do what I did. Don't quit.

What are you talking about, quit?

You're a hero, Lucien. Oh, hero, my ass.

Do you think the world needed me beating cops' heads on that picket line?

I was needed here, in that courtroom.

And I let them push me.

I gave them an excuse to kick me out... and now I can never plead a case in there again.

But you can.

You're an attorney.

Be proud.

Your job is to find justice, no matter how well she may hide herself from you.

So you go on in there... and you do your job.

Hurry up, now.

They'll be starting without you.

Come with me.

I can't, Jake.

I love you... but I can't.

You know that.

I'll never go in another courtroom again.

And I can't be you, Lucien.

Don't be me.

Be better than me.

All rise for the Honorable Judge Omar Noose.

And how did you feel?

I felt, um....

I don't know.

It was like I was outside myself... watching myself.

All the while I kept hearing my baby say:

"I called for you, Daddy.

When them men was hurting me, I called for you over and over... but you didn't never come."

Thank you, Mr. Hailey.

I have no further questions, Your Honor.

You have an emergency phone call.

Mr. Buckley.

Mr. Hailey... before you stepped outside yourself to watch yourself shoot Willard and Cobb... were you aware that if convicted they might be freed in only 10 years?

Yes, I heard people say that. Yes, sir.

Do you think men who kidnap a child should be free in 10 years?

No. Think men who rape a child should be free?

No, sir.

Do you think two men who hang a child should be free in 10 years?

No. What should happen? What would be fair?

Objection. Do you think they deserve to die?

Now, Mr. Buckley... Carl Lee don't answer that!

Yes, they deserved to die and I hope they burn in hell!

I have nothing further, Your Honor.

Summations begin tomorrow.

Court adjourned.

Jake, they found Roark.

Ellen.... Hmm.


So... this is what I had to do to get you to call me "Ellen"?

I'm so sorry.

This is all my fault.


Don't sweat it, really.

They didn't... They didn't hurt anything that won't heal.


Besides, um, Dr., uh...

What's-His-Name said I'll be out in a couple days... so I'm fine.

How'd we do?

Bass turned out to be a felon.

Carl Lee got trapped on the stand by Buckley.

People been terrorized, Roark.


Killed. It...

It's not worth it. It's not.

It's only not worth it if Carl Lee goes to the gas chamber.

Listen, this case is not over until the summation.

Remember that.


And you've got one big fat chance... to reinvent yourself.

To make that jury see this whole case... This whole case through your eyes.

And they're good eyes.

Now, get out of here, go to work.

I'll keep in touch with you.

No, you won't.

Big liar.

Win or lose, Roark... we make one hell of a team.

We might have.

We really might have.

You really want to kiss me right now, don't you?

Yes, I do.



Hey, Max. Hey.

Where's Hannah?

I left her at Mother and Daddy's.

How did you get here?


In the storm?

Got something to say, it needs to be said in person.

The truth is, I've been blaming you for all that's happened.

But it's not your fault. You didn't kill those boys.

You were trying to make things right.

I know that now.

I thought you took this case because you wanted to prove... what a bigtime lawyer you were.

But I was wrong.

You took this case because... if those boys...

had hurt Hannah the way that they hurt Tonya... you would've killed them yourself.


Baby, come here.

Come here.

I love you, Jake.

I thought I was gonna lose you.

We're gonna lose this case, Carl Lee.

There are no points of law to argue here. I wanna cop a plea.

Maybe Buckley will cop us... a second-degree murder and we can get you just life in prison.

Jake, I... I can't do no life in prison.

You gotta get me off. Man, if it was you on trial...

It's not me.

We're not the same, Carl Lee.

The jury has to identify with the defendant.

They see you, they see a yard worker.

They see me, they see an attorney. I live in town. You live on the hill.

Oh, you white and I'm black.

See, Jake?

You think just like them.

That's why I picked you.

You're one of them, don't you see?

You think you ain't, because you eat in Claude's... and you're out there trying to get me off on TV, talking about black and white.

But the fact is... you're just like all the rest of them.

When you look at me, you don't see a man.

You see a black man.

Carl Lee, I am your friend.

We ain't no friends, Jake.

We're on different sides of the line.

I ain't never seen you in my part of town. I bet you don't even know where I live.

Our daughters, Jake, they ain't never gonna play together.

Now, what are you talking about?

America is a war... and you are on the other side.

How a black man ever gonna get a fair trial... with the enemy on the bench and the jury box?

My life in white hands.

You, Jake.

That's how.

You my secret weapon because you're one of the bad guys.

You don't mean to be, but you are.

It's how you was raised.

Nigger, Negro, black, African-American.

No matter how you see me... you see me as different.

You see me like that jury sees me.

You are them.

Now, throw out your points of law, Jake.

If you was on that jury... what would it take to convince you to set me free?

That's how you'll save my ass.

That's how you'll save us both.

Is Carl Lee Hailey insane?

It's a notion so outrageous... the only witness the defense could produce to support it... was a convicted felon.

No. Carl Lee Hailey is not insane.

This is a man who is a confessed murderer.

This is a man who admitted on this stand... to carrying out the sentences he believed the alleged rapists... of his daughter deserved.

He's taken justice out of your hands.

And put it in his own.

And with those hands, he took the lives of two young men.

We feel terrible over what happened to his daughter.

But feeling terrible... and knowing something is wrong does not give any of us... a right to kill.

Ladies and gentlemen, your duty is clear.

All in this courtroom know the truth.

All in this state know the truth.

Now you need only find the courage to speak the words:

"Carl Lee Hailey is guilty."

Guilty. Guilty.

State rests, Your Honor.

Now, I had a great summation all worked out... full of some sharp lawyering.

But I'm not going to read it.

I'm here to apologize.

I am young, and I am inexperienced.

But you cannot hold Carl Lee Hailey responsible... for my shortcomings.

But you see, in all this legal maneuvering... something has gotten lost.

And that something is the truth.

Now, it is incumbent upon us lawyers not to just talk about the truth... but to actually seek it, to find it, to live it.

My teacher taught me that.

Let's take Dr. Bass, for example.

Obviously, I would've never knowingly put a convicted felon on the stand.

I hope you can believe that.

But what is the truth?

That... That he's a disgraced liar?

What if I told you... that the woman he was accused of raping was 17, he was 23... that she later became his wife, bore his child... and is still married to the man?

Does that make his testimony more or less true?

What is it in us that seeks the truth?

Is it our minds?

Or is it our hearts?

I set out to prove a black man could receive a fair trial in the South... that we are all equal in the eyes of the law.

That's not the truth.

Because the eyes of the law are human eyes... yours and mine, and until we can see each other as equals... justice is never going to be evenhanded.

It will remain nothing more than a reflection of our own prejudices.

So until that day... we have a duty under God to seek the truth... not with our eyes, and not with our minds... where fear and hate turn commonality into prejudice... but with our hearts... where we don't know better.

I wanna tell you a story.

And I ask you all to close your eyes... while I tell you this story.

I want you to listen to me. I want you to listen to yourselves.

Go ahead. Close your eyes, please.

This is a story about a little girl... walking home from the grocery store one sunny afternoon.

I want you to picture this little girl.

Suddenly, a truck races up.

Two men jump out and grab her.

Drag her into a nearby field...

and they tie her up.

And they rip her clothes from her body.

Now they climb on.

First one, then the other.

Raping her.

Shattering everything innocent and pure with a vicious thrust... in a fog of drunken breath and sweat.

And when they're done... after they've killed her tiny womb...

murdered any chance for her to bear children... to have life beyond her own...

they decide to use her for target practice.

So they start throwing full beer cans at her.

They throw them so hard... that it tears the flesh all the way to her bones.

Then they urinate on her.

Now comes the hanging.

They have a rope.

They tie a noose.

Imagine the noose coiling tight around her neck... and a sudden blinding jerk.

She's pulled into the air and her feet and legs go kicking....

They don't find the ground.

The hanging branch... isn't strong enough.

It snaps and she falls... back to the earth.

So they pick her up... throw her in the back of the truck... drive out to Foggy Creek Bridge... pitch her over the edge.

And she drops some 30 feet down to the creek bottom below.

Can you see her?

Her raped... beaten... broken body...

soaked in their urine... soaked in their semen...

soaked in her blood.

Left to die.

Can you see her?

I want you to picture... that little girl.

Now imagine she's white.

The defense rests, Your Honor.

Innocent! He's innocent!

Innocent! He's innocent!

Hailey's innocent!

He's innocent!

We won! We won!

Ellen, we won! Aren't you happy?

Oh, my God, Ellen, you have to be happy. He's innocent. Carl Lee is innocent.

He's coming home.


That was....

That was....

Hey, I'm one of the bad guys, remember?

Thank you. Thanks.

Freddie Lee Cobb!

We got something to talk about.

Hastings... you belong over there with them.

Get over.

Congratulations, counselor.

Thank you.

You must be overwhelmed right now.

Give me... After you...


Was I good or what? All right.

Oh. Ha-ha-ha.

Here you go.

Carl Lee. Look. What?



Hi. Hi there.

Hannah, this is Miss Hailey.

This is Hannah. Hi.

Hi, Hannah. Ain't she so pretty. Thank you.

Brought you some peach cobbler. Oh, thank you.

Come on in. Come in.


Hannah, this is my daughter, Tonya.

Hi, Tonya. Hi, nice to meet you, Hannah.

Just thought our kids