Saint Judy (2018) Script

Ah, you're a godsend, Judy.

I thought yesterday was your last day.

Apparently not.

What the hell are you doing here?

I wanted to squeeze one more in.

You should have your head checked.

Introduce me.

Your Honor, a notice of appearance for my co-counselor.

Judy Wood.

The court so notes.

You at least want to know what the prosecution said during their opening statement?


I hope you know what you're doing.

You're gonna be fine.

May it please the court.

Ladies and gentlemen, this case, above all other things, this case is about love.

Oh, sweet Jesus.

Actually about grand theft auto.

It will be my job to tell you about Lonan.

Growing up fatherless with an alcoholic mother, working two jobs, so he could put his two sisters and brother through college.

Now thanks to Lonan's generosity and selflessness, his brother, Mohan, is an engineer, and his sister, Ela, is a teacher, and the youngest, Nashota, is pre-med.

Now, Lonan will tell you himself, so that he could have a life, a life like he'd given his siblings, he made one simple mistake.

All right. Your Honor, we'd like a side bar.

Did you just interrupt defense's opening statement?

I don't think she's gonna mind.

We've got a pretty good plea deal lined up.

Gabriella, I know it's not ideal, but you'll see your son before he leaves for college.

Six years is three-and-change if you don't screw it up.

And I know you won't do that to your family.

Good, good, good.

You don't know when to quit.

And don't even think about giving Zapato to Roger.

It's his third strike, and Roger couldn't acquit the Dalai Lama.

What did I say to you on your first day?

I know, but it's my last day, so...

All right, I gotta go.

Good seeing you.


Good talk!

See you around, kiddo.

Hey. Hey, sweetie.

That's cute.

They spelled California wrong.


Well, onwards and upwards, right?

Right. All right, hold on.

You ready to do this? Yes.

Limbs in? All right.

I'm so excited. You're excited?

I like your spirit.


It doesn't matter.


If we drive all night, I'm gonna throw up.

If we don't drive all night, your father's gonna divorce me.


I'm pretty sure you can't get divorced if you're already divorced.

Why are we doing this again?

Your father gets shared custody.

So LA, here we come.


Do you have any idea where we're going?

At all?

Lock the door.


I'm Judy Wood.

I'm looking for 123 and a half.

That's my kid.

We're new here.

Looks like you found it.


You need some help, Judy Wood?

Yes, I need help.

Where's my room?

Uh, right.

Well, check this out.

Here we go.


Just until I get my first paycheck, all right?

We're not even gonna unpack.

Yes, thank you so much.

I start at an immigration firm tomorrow.

Mom! We look illegal or something?

No, but I sure should hope you know a few.

Yeah, our cousins, brothers, uncles, nephews.

Appreciate your help.

I'll see you in the neighborhood.

Judy Wood here to see Ray Hernandez.

Ms. Wood?

Ray Hernandez.

Nice to meet you.

Very nice to meet you too.

So, 36% win rate as a criminal defender.

You got any prosecutors in New Mexico?

Different ballgame here, honey.

But your old boss said I'd be a fool not to snap you up.

So what do you know about immigration law?

No, wait, don't answer that. I don't want to suborn perjury.

Welcome to your new corner office.

And when you start booking your own clients, maybe we can reassess.

But in the meantime, let me introduce you to your new best friend.

That's the sound I want to hear, like the gavel at the end of a hearing.

We've got to keep the lights on here, and everybody pays up front.

Follow me.

I don't have time to be your mentor, but real cases are always the best teacher.

Dealer's choice.

Asefa Ashwari, national of Afghanistan, entered on a counterfeit visa...

Hold it right there.

I have just the remedy for a case like this.

"Voluntary removal."

But she wants to stay.

Well, I want a yacht.

This is a magic pill.

Gives the subject two months to clear up their affairs, then they can go back home.

Okay, there might be something else here that I'm missing, so maybe I'd like to speak to Miss Ashwari before she signs.

Well, Lancaster's beautiful this time of year.

Just get her signature.

Guess what.

I'm meeting my first client today.

I want cereal.


Stop it. Never.


Miss Ashwari?

I'm Judy Wood, your new attorney.

Ray Hernandez referred your case to me.

He suggests that you opt for a voluntary removal, but I have a few questions about your case before you do that.

If you accept my services, I need you to sign this form.

Miss Ashwari?

Mr. King?

Who's your client?

Asefa Ashwari.

I need her A number, on the Notice of Appearance.

Asefa Ashwari.

Are you aware of her condition?

Your client was medicated because she was a danger to herself.

She needs to be unmedicated and transferred out for treatment.

She is not competent to assist in her defense.

Miss... Wood.

I take it you're new to practice.

I've been a public defender for 10 years.

Well, Miss Wood, this isn't a criminal trial.

Your client's not accused.

She doesn't have those protections.

The burden of proof is on her.

In here, you're guilty until proven innocent.

So to be clear, she's not a criminal, so you're treating her worse than a criminal.

No, we're trying to remove her from the country.

So you're trying to ship them out as quickly as possible.

Your client has been at this facility for over a year.

Or didn't you know that, counselor?


Well, you got that right. Very good.

I just saw Asefa.

Who? Asefa Ashwari, national...

Oh, yeah, yeah, sad case. Sometimes you gotta move on.

She doesn't know where she is or what's happening.

When did you say you last talked to her?

Yes, sir, well, you know, that's a testament to who we are... Ray. and how we do business.

Ray! That's right, absolutely.


Yes, sir.

That sounds absolutely fine.


Judy! Judy!

Judy! Judy!

Judy! Judy! Judy!

Judy! Judy! Judy! Judy!

She's a teacher.

Miss? Wood.

What brings you back, Miss Wood?

I'm serving you.

Los Angeles County Superior Court.

What's this, a habeas corpus petition?

For her medical record and assessment by independent expert.

This is a woman of accomplishment, nothing like the person I met yesterday.

All this shows me, Miss Wood, is that you found the one California judge who doesn't understand federal jurisdiction.

Which your plucky team of fired-up attorneys can explain in detail at the hearing.

Who's your expert?

What are we doing here?

Helping somebody who needs us. It's what we do.

Can I get a taco?

Keep the door locked.

Mr. Mustafa.

Mr. Mustafa.

Dikembe Mustafa.

No English. We are closed.

You have a doctorate in clinical psychology from Cambridge.



You petitioned for a variance on the work visa quota for mental health professionals from Africa.

Ray Hernandez started the process, then asked for more money, which you can't get without a work permit.

It's a hell of a Catch 22.

That is a good case summary, but I don't deal with scumbag lawyers anymore.

Here's your work visa.

I got it approved.

How can I be of assistance?

I am Dr. Mustafa.

I have come here to help you.

That is no good for you.

Your instincts were right.

This is a clear case of custodial overkill.

There's no justification for those dosages.

Good. No, it is bad.

No, but it's good for our case.

What next?

No more Clozapine. No more Benzodiazepines.

Slowly, we take everything away.


Wait for the drugs to metabolize out of her system.

We'll see if anyone is home.

And you're saying?

We'll just have to be patient.

That is all we can do.

How can I help you?

You remember this guy?

I invite you into my home. I feed you off my table.

What do I have to show for it? These are complicated cases.

I can handle them.

Registered mail, photocopying, Lexis, and Westlaw.

It all costs.


Dad! Dad!

Dad! Dad!

Stay back! Dad!

Stay back!

Stop, stop. Dad!

Stay back! Stay back.

You guys meeting someone?

My husband.

What's his name?


If your husband does get sent back to Honduras, it's likely he will be persecuted by the secret police because he's a journalist.

If we can prove that, then we have a very good case for asylum.

No one's ever explained it to me like that before.

Judy, I have some friends.

I'm not promising anything, but I'll do my best.

Judy, gracias.

Of course.

I'm Judy Wood. I'm an immigration lawyer.

If there's anything that you need help with...

Judy, come here.

This is Asefa's uncle, Omar.


Omar is a highly valued client with a very promising case.

We're hoping for some excellent news very soon.

Judy's here to fill me in on the progress with Miss Ashwari, who I referred to Ms. Wood because of her...

...unique skill set.

Ms. Wood, have you seen Asefa? How is she?


Judy, we need to talk. Would you excuse us, Omar?

Yes, of course, please.

Mommy! Mommy!

You wanted clients, here they are.

I got a phone call about you from the detention center.

I have them on the run.

You embarrass this office, Judy.

You embarrassed me.

You don't serve an ICE officer.

You're supposed to go through the proper channels!

It worked though, didn't it?

You were there to introduce yourself, to learn the ropes, to show them you're someone they can work with.

I work for my clients, Ray.

You can't take these kind of risks on a case you won't win.

Ask the hundreds of lawyers who have wasted their time on cases just like this.

You never talked to her.

Excuse me? You never talked to her.

You don't know anything about her.

Of course I didn't talk to her. The woman's catatonic.

She was a schoolteacher, Ray. She taught girls.

You know how I know that? Take a guess.

You can't help her.

I know I can.

I have seen that detainee register, and I have walked that yard, and there are a thousand women just like her.

Have you ever read this book, Judy?

Have you read this one?

Don't give them false hope.

You know, you're not qualified for this.

You hired me.

You cannot change the world, Judy.

It won't do you or them any good.

Trust me. I've been down that path.

Clearly not that far.

This was a big mistake.

You're firing me.

That's right.

And take your clients with you.

Please don't let them deport her.

She'll die if she goes back. You have to save her.

I'm trying.

Judy Wood. Hey. Jenny.

Nice to meet you. Nice to meet you.

Come on in. I'll show you the space.

Great restaurant across the street.

I think this place will be perfect for you.

You'll just have to do a little cleanup.

So first and last month's rent, and it's yours.

I'll take it.

Okay, here we go.


Mister... You can call me Parker.

Parker? Yeah.

What is your interest in immigration law?


Yeah, um...

Good. I, uh...

Personally, for me, I...

You know, um, uh...

P-Parents, my grandparents, immigrants, you know.


Honestly, I...

I need an internship to graduate, so I can work at my father's law firm.


Is that gonna be a problem?

Honestly, I just need to be in Lancaster in under an hour.

You don't say much.

That's because I'm listening.

Would you like me to read back to you what I have so far?

"My name is Asefa Ashwari.

My father's a tribal leader.

I went to vocational school in Pakistan, and upon my return, I taught at a school for girls..."

I started the school for girls.

You started the school.

What happened when the Taliban came?

I could marry Omar.

Then there wouldn't need to be a trial.

He has a very good case.

But he's your uncle. How will anyone know?

You have attorney privilege, right?

And it wouldn't be a real marriage.

You need to have your own case.

Asefa, you are smart enough to do my job, and once you testify, they will beg you to stay, but you must tell your story.

What happened?

We were walking to the school.

We? The students...

And Nazeera, the other teacher.

Usually we taught in secret, but not that day.

We walked in the street to show them we were strong.

There were men there, not from the village.

Some Taliban fighters arrived.

Take your time, Asefa.

They took me to jail.

How long were you there?

Were you questioned?

Were you beaten?

She doesn't know how long she was held.

When she was released, her friends smuggled her across the border to Pakistan.

She fled to the US and was living with her uncle, when she was picked up by ICE.

We were able to obtain her medical record.

She suffered a broken wrist, bruised ribs, concussion, injuries to the face, loss of blood.

Miss Ashwari, based on your testimony today...

I find sufficient evidence to support your plea for asylum based on a credible fear of persecution.

I therefore refer your case to a judge for trial.

I also order your release from this detention facility.

Thank you.

We'll get you processed as soon as possible.

Good luck, Miss Ashwari.

It's only gonna get harder from here.

Even if a mountain is very high, it has a path to the top.

Hello, this is Judy Wood.

Your son threw this in a crowded room.

Someone could've been seriously hurt.


What did you just tell him?

The truth and nothing but the truth.

Did you throw this?

I need you to speak up.

You need to defend yourself.

No, I didn't throw it.

My son didn't do this.

There were witnesses.

Because whoever did do it would never try to blame it on the new kid.



That's the art room.

But this happened in my son's regular classroom.

That's right. It's Wednesday, and my son has art first thing after roll call.

So you claim my son stole this at 9 a.m. and then carried it around with him through math, lunch, PE, to only throw it in the middle of the class this afternoon?

I don't claim to know what he was thinking.

Well, let's talk to Mr. Padilla, his art teacher.

That is his name, isn't it?

Because if someone stole his stapler this morning, then he would have had five classes in the interim, and 200 students is an awful lot of handouts, and you think he might have noticed it was missing.

Ms. Wood, I am not starting this with you.

But you did start it with me.

Did you investigate the incident at all?

I mean, at the very least, we should speak to Mr. Padilla.

He has left for the day.

Then I will come back tomorrow, and I will question him and anyone else with knowledge of that matter.


There's no suspension.

There's nothing on his record.

My son's a good boy.

He's a wonderful boy.

If you bothered to get to know him.


Alex. What?

You can't just leave it up to me like that.

You have to speak up for yourself.

I did. You should have tried harder.

She wouldn't believe me.

You've got to make them believe you.

You know how these things work.

You have to fight for everything.

You have to stand by the truth.

She believed you.

That is because I didn't give up.

I'll never give up.

We're filing an I-130.

That will allow your husband to stay in the country with you and your children for a while.

You being a lawful permanent resident helps, but it's not everything.

Uno momento.

Uh, no espanol hable.

Lo siento. Uh...

Uh, nosotros, filing, you know...

J-J-Just stop, stop. What are you trying to say?

The visa, the I-130.

Okay, just stop, I got this.


I failed Spanish and French.

You don't say.

Well, I also make a mean posole, so...

I can, uh...

I could make it for you sometime, if you, uh...

Judy? Dikembe.


Hasta luego.

Thank you. Here you are.

It's good to be a doctor again.

You're good at it.

Follow me. I have a case from Sierra Leone, a soldier suffering from PTSD.

No. Come here.

You must understand, those people. I know them.

I've seen what they can do.

They are nothing but killers, all of them.


What are you doing? What are you...

My name is Dikembe.

What is yours?


Okay? You understand? Sure.

Omar, did we have an appointment?

No, and I'd like to know why. We have a trial coming up.

You should teach Asefa what to say.

Ray tells me what to say.

I believe it's not good to sound over-rehearsed.

But you should be preparing her.

And I will, as soon as the government files motions.

I'd love to hear how Asefa's doing.

Ask her yourself.


You're staring.

You're a completely different person.

Thanks to you.

My mother gave this to me, and I want you to have it.

It's beautiful.

Thank you.

I'm glad you came in.

I'm ready to get started if you are.

Thank you. Yes.

Trials are always hard.

We may get a tough judge, and there will also be government lawyers trying to poke holes in your story.

But she's not lying. They can't prove that.

They don't have to.

The burden of proof is on us.

And we don't have a clear-cut case.

And the Law of Asylum only protects you if you are part of a persecuted group.

And, Asefa, you are Muslim, and ethnically, you are a Pashtun.

It's gonna be hard to prove that you're a minority.

I'm gonna need to know exactly what happened to you that night in jail.

Omar, I'm gonna need you to step out.

What was that?

Have your memories come back?


I'll do what I can, but at trial, you'll have to testify.

It's like this all be happening all over again.

Your famous silences.

Do you want me to read back what I have so far?

Parker, you might strive to keep the speed below the temperature.

Oh, no, these are kilometers.

No, they're not.

Oh. Oops.

You got me.

What's that?

Give 'em hell, guys.

Hear ye, hear ye.

Please be seated.

Ms. Wood, I have not had the pleasure of having you in my courtroom.

I see this is your very first trial here.

It is, Your Honor.

Wanna know how I knew that?

Your Honor?

You're wearing perfume in these close quarters, in this heat.

If you have a chance to try another case, I hope you take that under advisement.

Thank you, Your Honor.

Is your client ready?

Vinny, your cue.

Please stand.

Raise your right hand.

Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?

I do.

Be seated.

Asefa, what made you want to be a teacher?

I wanted to teach girls.

Were girls normally taught in your village?

No. They did not want us to read.

They did not want us to think.

Who taught you to read and think?

I learned to think on my own.

My mother taught me to read in secret.

Objection, narrative.

Settle down, Benjamin.

Yes, Your Honor.

After you received formal schooling, why did you return to your village in Afghanistan?

My mother was dying, and I had to take care of her.

And after she passed, why did you stay on?

My father was sad.

Let's talk about your school for girls.

Did the village support it?

Objection, leading.

Okay, I'll shut up.

They did not support it.

They wouldn't let the girls come.

Most days, we only had two or three.

Did you receive any support from the government?

The Taliban? No.

Asefa, what happened on April 9th?

The students, the other teacher, and I walked to class together.

Why did you do that?

To show them we didn't care what they thought.

And what happened then?

Some men from outside the village started throwing dirt.

Then the police came.

I was arrested.

You spent the night in jail?

I know. Calm yourself.

You spent the night in jail.

You must use words, Miss Ashwari.


What's the next thing you remember?

Waking up at the clinic.

Your witness.

Your Honor, if I may.

I have a few questions first.

Miss Ashwari, you loved your mother very much.


That's why you returned to your village.


You stayed on, you say, because your father was sad after her death.


You must love your father very much.

I do.

You love your brothers?


And yet...

You apply for asylum in the United States.

You must know that if it is granted, you will never see any of them again.

Not your brothers, not your father.

Yet you say you love them.

I do. I'm going to visit them.


I hope to visit them someday when there is no threat of persecution.

Nice save, Ms. Wood. You coached your client well.

Benjamin, you may proceed with your cross.

Thank you, Your Honor.

Miss Ashwari, you were very brave to testify today.

I thank you for keeping your testimony truthful.

You don't remember everything that happened that day, do you?

No, I don't.

Why is that?

Because I suffer from post traumatic stress disorder.

You're not going to object that she's not an expert?

I accept Miss Ashwari's expertise in the state of her own mind.

Miss Ashwari, now, you said that men from outside your village threw dirt at you.


Were those the same men who arrested you?


They weren't police?

There were just random guys?

They weren't in uniform?


And the dirt they threw at you was actually hard-packed lumps of clay.


You testified that you remember waking up at the hospital the next day.

Do you remember your injuries?


You had injuries to your face, bruised ribs, and a concussion.


Any other injuries?

Do you remember anything of the night you spent in jail?


Then how can you be sure these injuries were caused by the police?

You testify your PTSD makes it hard for you to remember that day.

Objection, badgering.

Your Honor. Overruled.

Weren't all these injuries caused not by the police, but by those random men who threw lumps at you?

No answer?

I have only one more point to make.

Miss Ashwari, do you remember your arrest?


You testified you were arrested at a demonstration.

Yes. I was arrested because I wanted everyone to know that girls should think for themselves.

Your Honor, counsel, I draw your attention to exhibit B, the warrant for Asefa Ashwari's arrest on April 9th.

Objection, Your Honor.

Prosecution hasn't shared any of this evidence with me.


This is not a criminal court.

And those are not the rules of evidence in this courtroom, Ms. Wood.

My apology, Your Honor. Apologies to counsel.

But this? This is not something I could have access to.

I only obtained it in an effort to corroborate Miss Ashwari's claims of persecution.

Objection overruled. Proceed.

The warrant states that you were arrested on April 9th, just as you said, but it doesn't mention any demonstration.

Your Honor, counsel should not be allowed to argue that my client on the one hand was injured at the demonstration, and then on the other that the demonstration never happened.

Do you have an objection?

My objection is logic.

That is not a legal objection.

And that's not what I'm saying.

There was a demonstration, and there was an arrest.

But Miss Ashwari wasn't persecuted because of it.

Ms. Wood, if you would please show Miss Ashwari exhibit B.

Miss Ashwari, this is a copy of the original arrest report in your native language.

Objection, calls for legal conclusion.


Miss Ashwari...

Would you please read the name of the informant?

The informant who reported you to the police.

Your mother taught you to read.

What name is written there?

What does it say?

Naiem Ashwari.

Who is that?

My father.

My father.

I can't breathe.

Your Honor, this is not a political persecution.

I can't breathe. It's a family squabble.

Ma'am, I'm gonna need you to sit down.

Ma'am, I'm gonna need you to sit down.

It's my fault. I failed.

When will I be deported?

What? No. The trial's been continued.

We'll have redirect in one week, and I can prepare you.

How could my father do that?

It's not about him no matter what they say.

What counts is what happened to you in that jail cell.

And, Asefa...

What are you telling my client?

What kind of lawyer are you? Just give her the words to say.

I know the law, and I know a little bit more about trials than you do.

All she needs to do to win is to tell the truth.

I used to think like you, about my country, but it's the same everywhere.

You're dragging her to that trailer to be tortured for nothing!


Not for nothing.

I swear to you, not for nothing.

Oof! Uh, you got smoked.

We got smoked.

You're actually a part of this now.

Tell me how he did it.

Well, if she was bruised by some assholes throwing dirt clods, then she wasn't persecuted by the government.


And if her dickhead father asked for her to be arrested...

Jesus Christ, not even my dad's that big of a prick...

Then she wasn't singled out for her politics.

That's the whole of it. Thoughts?

It's her fault if she loses.

I'm sorry, but if she doesn't have the cojones to say what really happened to her...

Would you?

Would you tell your father?

Would you tell your friends? Would you tell me?

Tell you what? That you were raped.

But you are right.

If she doesn't testify, we'll lose.

What's this?

It's, uh, bills.

We got a lot of them.

Turns out you're actually supposed to pay those.

Hey, Mom, can Jorge and Raul sleep over?

Is this my fault?

Vamanos. Maņana, Alex.

I asked you a question.

I was just borrowing some things.

Shoplifting? No.

Where did you get the money to buy an iPod?

Kids leave stuff lying around at school.

And you take them.

You don't take what doesn't belong to you, Alex.

You know better than that.

Why do I have to be perfect?

You learned that from your father.

Let me tell you something, kid.

There's a big difference between this and perfection.

Just let them suspend me. I hate that school.

I'm calling your father, and you're gonna return all of this tomorrow with an apology, and then we'll discuss punishment.

Ah, in LA?

Hello, this is Judy Wood.

Yes, it is, but I'm gonna have to call you back.

Okay, I promise.

So the adventure continues.

Not even here six months, and you spawn your own practice.

I need you to talk to Alex.

He got into trouble, you want me to fix it.

I love how when he's Good Alex, he's yours, but when he's Bad Alex, I'm the one who has to deal with it.

Can you talk to him, Matthew?

I have always done everything you've asked.

What am I asking you, just to be clear?

I will take him to return the shit he stole from his classmates, and he will apologize, trust me.

He can hate me if he wants to.

Thank you.

I hope he inherited the best qualities of the two of us and not the worst.

He's resilient like you.

Turns out that can come in handy.

Hello. Please leave a message.

Asefa, it's Judy Wood again.

Your hearing's tomorrow.

So, please, would you call me back, please?

And listen.

You can do this. You are stronger than you think.

Stronger than all of them.

Please stand.

Raise your right hand.

Do you solemnly swear that you will tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?

I do.

Have a seat.

Asefa, did you know that your father was the one who reported you to the police?

No. Why do you think he did that?


What was your relationship like?

I wasn't the daughter he wanted.

I didn't listen. I talked back too much.

I didn't marry.

Did others in your village feel that way?

Yes. A lot wouldn't send their girls to the school.

They thought I would teach them to be like me.

They didn't like how you expressed yourself as a woman.

Objection, counsel is testifying.

That's why your father had you arrested.

Objection. Ms. Wood.

Asefa, did you ever steal anything from your father?

Never. Did you ever hit him or try to hurt him physically? No.

And you had a right to be in his home.

You weren't trespassing, were you?

No. Oh.

We've ruled out larceny and battery.

Asefa, this is your warrant, which the government attorney so helpfully procured.

Will you read the charge?

"Crimes against God." Mm-hm.

Asefa, what do you think those crimes were for which you needed to be taught a lesson?

Objection. I will allow it.

Trying to be an independent woman.

Teaching girls to read.

Asefa, I want to remind you that you are under oath to tell the whole truth and nothing but the truth.

Are you ready to do that?

I am.

Asefa, were you injured in any way during the demonstration?


When were you injured?

In jail.

At night, after my arrest.

Three Taliban beat me in my cell.

Are you sure?

Because you didn't remember... I remember it.

Earlier they vandalized the classroom, and now they brought in some books.

My mother's books.

And some textbooks I bought.

What happened next?

They hit me with them.

In my ribs.

My head.

They tore out pages and stuffed them in my mouth.

Then they...

They put their fingers in me.

And... The rest.

They took turns all night.

They raped me.

And you remember this now.

I remember everything.

Thank you, Asefa.

Miss Ashwari.

You say now you remember everything that happened?


But before, you said you had memory loss.


You testified in this court you had memory loss.


Did you ever tell anyone your story before today?


You told everyone you couldn't remember.


Your father too? Your brothers?


Did you really have memory loss?

No. I always remembered everything.

And yet, you told me, the immigration official, your lawyer, all those people, you told you had memory loss, but in fact you were lying.


All those times you were lying.


You lied very well.

So how do I know you're not lying now?

I'm telling the truth.

I want to believe you, but I'm bothered by something.

Your hospital report after your arrest mentions all those injuries...

The bruised ribs, the concussion...

It doesn't say you were raped.

I wouldn't let them look.

Don't you think that's awfully convenient?

The one injury you could not have gotten from being hit by a rock.

The one thing that would prove that you were hurt by the police and not by the bystanders, you chose to hide.

In fact, you lied about it to anyone who asked.

Would have kept on lying had your lawyer not convinced you that was the only way you were gonna win this trial.


Why'd you wait so long?

Why didn't you tell the truth right away?

Why did you keep lying?

My brothers would have killed me.

Ms. Wood?

Asefa's father is a tribal leader.

With Asefa testifying about what really happened, making it public, her male relatives become duty-bound to protect their family honor and kill her.

Do you have anything in your exhibits to corroborate this claim?

I do.

If you'll give me a moment.

Is counsel prepared at all?

Your Honor, based on the state department report, honor killings often occur in that particular region.

Thank you, Benjamin. I've heard enough.

Your witness.

Your Honor, no further questions.

The government rests.


I am ready to rule.

Miss Ashwari, I believe you told the truth in this courtroom today.

I believe your testimony.

I believe you were persecuted by officials of the Afghan government, and that after a demonstration you led in your village, you were arrested, beaten, and raped by the police.

You've had to endure so much.

I'm horrified by how you were treated.

I'm impressed by your strength.

You, young lady, are an admirable human being.

I wish I could grant your plea of asylum, but my hands are tied by the law.

The Law of Asylum does not recognize women as a protected class.

Ethnic minorities, religious minorities, political dissidents, yes, but not women.

It's not enough just to be a woman.

There are thousands of cases like yours.


And as a woman, I applaud you.

As a judge, I must rule against you.

They'll kill her. They will.

How was your sleepover?

Dad wants me to go live with him all the time.

Is that what you want?

Count time!

Count time!

On your racks, legs crossed, arms out.

Stay in place during the count.

C4, return to your block for roll call.


Yes, I have my pillow.

Okay, we're about to eat. I gotta go.

Love you too.

Okay. Comer.

Please watch over Alex, our guest.

Please watch over Tomasito and Sofia, and please, please, help Judy bring their father home soon.


Bourbon, neat.

It's a cash bar.

Not a lot of perks championing the huddled masses, are there?

You know why I gave you that case?

I didn't give it to you so you could help her.

I gave it to help you.

So you could make friends for later.

She deserved a hell of a lot better.

And you didn't give it to me.

Judy, you know that phrase

"truth, justice, and the American way?"

You know why it's like that?

Because they are three separate things.

Sometimes they come together, but you can't count on it.

Oh, that's one hell of a bedside manner.

Is that what you tell all your clients, Ray?

They know.

My clients drink tequila, not the Kool-Aid.

The one thing you have to understand...

Ms. Wood, I hope you don't mind me saying this.

It was a privilege to be with you in that courtroom.

You tried a good case.

Hello, I'm...

I know who you are.

You're the rising star, climbing up the ladder.

So what's next for you?

Assistant DA?

Or are you one of those federal judge types?

Oh, leave him alone, Ray.

He's one of the good ones.

Wait, you're not Ray Hernandez, are you?

INS vs. Ladha?

You convinced three hostile judges that refugees fleeing a war zone could be forgiven for misplacing their passports.

I cited that one twice this week.

You don't argue cases anymore, do you?

I was a different person then.

That is a tragedy.

Fuck off, Atticus Finch.

On that note...

Are you okay? It's been a tough day.

Why don't you find Ms. Wood a taxi?

I'd rather walk.

It was an honor to meet you.

And I alone was left alive to tell the tale.

I'll see you in court.


What are you doing here?

I was just driving home from Mammoth.

I stopped here to take a leak.

I don't know if you saw it, but they're kicking us out.

I'm hungry.

Give me ketchup. I want ketchup.

I want to bathe in ketchup.

All that's open is gonna be Chinese.

Chinese, it is.

Okay, I don't know how you do it, Judy. You...

You have like a hundred cases.


Exactly, okay?

And each one, you listen to their stories, and you meet their kids.

You fight like it's your life at stake.

I've grown up watching my dad, you know, the king of commercial construction legal, and he's got the practice, and he's got the beach house and the ridiculous cars and the stuff that...

All the stuff that you obviously don't give a shit about.

I'm not that noble.

I want a car with an engine.

From him, I learned that clients are a way to get the things that he really wants.

But for you, it's like clients are the only thing that matters.

Did you know that in two-thirds of the world, being a woman who thinks is a crime?

These women are broken, and I'm not talking about their bones.

I'm talking about their spirit.


And a person who has a broken spirit...

That's why I fight.

Omar. Hi, Judy.


How can I help you?

What kind of judge thinks like this?

A very highly respected one.

Asefa told me everything.

I was wrong about you.

You're a good lawyer.

A great lawyer.

Please, take this.

Omar, Ray is your lawyer.

This is for Asefa.

You haven't been paid anything for all your work.

I knew that when I accepted the case, and you need this money to pay Ray.

No more legal fees.

The court refused to hear my appeal.

I'm going to disappear. I'm not going back.

But you could.

You could still have a life there.


I was also arrested for crimes against God.

So you see, I know what she went through.

I know exactly.

Everything they did to her, they did to me.

I know your case. You never testified...

And I never will.


Is that what you were saying to Asefa?

To stay silent?


But Asefa is stronger than me.

And now she will be deported to be killed by her father and her brothers.

You lost the case.

She'll lose her life, and her blood will be on your hands, unless you do something.

Did you hear that?

Enough, yeah.

He was raped.

Yes, yes.

Jesus Christ.

Just like Asefa, and for the same reason.

She wasn't raped for being a woman, She just happened to be a woman.

She was raped because she was a threat.

The Law of Asylum doesn't specifically protect women, but they didn't do it because she was a woman.

They did it because she was dangerous.

They raped Asefa because she voiced unpopular political opinions.

About women. No, that doesn't matter.

The law covers all unpopular views.

So the judge was wrong. Very wrong.

We have a compelling basis for an appeal.

We just need a rock-solid brief for the Ninth Circuit.

Judy, I start working for my dad on Monday.

We need to look at every case. Or not.

Every administrative advisory, every legislative commentary.

I'm on it. Okay.

This is it.

We got the appeal.

We got the appeal.

This is good news.


Yes. We have one last chance.

That's absurd, absolutely absurd.

Hey, buddy, let me call you back.

Why hasn't my client been released?

Has the government accepted all the facts of your case?

We had an entire trial about this, and the judge believes her.

I need this document signed. Oh, come on!

I need sign-off.

Come with me.

Ms. Wood.

Miss Ashwari.


If we are gonna release this detainee, it's your call.

Have a seat, please.

When I started here, we were called INS, Immigration and Naturalization Service.

We were a service.

After 9-11, they changed the name to ICE, ice, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, a name that equates people to things.

We're not a service anymore.

Words matter.

We're a nation of immigrants.

Like Albert Einstein, like Fernando Valenzuela, like my father.

They all come to the vineyard.

Some welcome, some not.

Some didn't even choose to come here.

My job is to uphold the law.

It's a beautiful day.

We don't get many of these around here.

Thank you, Benjamin.

Hey, sport. Hi, Dad.

You helping pack up? Yeah.

You're a good man. Thanks.

You know, I always wanted him to live with me.

How noble of you.

Al, why don't you come give me a hand outside with this.

Judy, when I asked you to move here, I didn't expect you to actually do it.

Alex should know his father.

Well, I don't think he's gonna be disappointed.

You think it's gonna be so easy being a dad.

When my day is over, I forget all about my clients.

I can go home and devote everything I have to Alex.

But you? You bring everything home with you.

What does that leave him?

He's never had all your love because you save it for your clients.

He sees it. He can feel it in his heart that he can never have all of you.

And neither could I.

There it is.

There it is.

But your criminals and those immigrants...

Shame on you.

I am the only one that they can count on.

Oh, Saint Judy.

You know why they call you that?

It's not because you are a saint.

It's because you act like one.

They're just clients, and I want mine to pay me.

You want yours to save you.

That's the courthouse? Yes.

It looks like a palace. It is, kind of.

Won't these judges say the same thing?

In court, there are no guarantees.

If you want to disappear like Omar, I'm not going to stop you.

But what about all those other women like me?

Will they be sent back to die?

What would you do in my place?

I can't even begin to imagine.

I'm so much luckier than you are.

Because you were born in America.


Because of where I happened to be born.

Do you know what the difference is?

I was thrown in jail in Afghanistan, I was thrown in jail here.

There, they beat me and took my womanhood.

Here, they pumped me full of drugs and took my mind.

Took away years of my life.

In both countries, people hate me and want me to go away.

But in America, I can fight back.

I need a sponsor to be admitted to the Ninth Circuit.

What an honor.

Well, you showed me.

You took an ugly duckling right from under my nose, and you made it a beautiful swan.

I hope the Ninth Circuit don't make her fly south for the winter.

Thank you for your wishes, Ray.

So smug.

You know even if you win, you lose.

Everybody... Everybody...

Is gonna want a miracle from you.

You can't save them all.

I can try.

You know who you remind me of?


Before I realized I had to put two kids through college.

You should come. I wish I could.

Too busy.

I'll read the decision if they bother to publish.


Good luck.

Hello, Mr. Nunez. This is Ray Hernandez.

I'm calling because I've been going over your file, and I think I found something that I may have overlooked.

There's hope.

So call me. I'll be at the office late.

Thank you.

Yes, go on through.

He insisted I bring him.


And nothing but.

Ashwari vs. United States.

Come see what we did.

Sorry. There was a long line.

I got, uh, carne asada, extra ketchup.

Hear ye, hear ye!

Please be up standing for the judges.

Be seated.

Is this Ashwari vs. United States?

Yes, I believe so.

Here it is. Thank you.

May it please the court.

I'm Judy Wood, representing the appellant, Asefa Ashwari.

Are we supposed to grant asylum to every persecuted woman anywhere?

We should, definitely, in my personal opinion, as a country.

But that is not the question before you.

The question before you is that if a woman fights for her rights, doesn't that count as politics?

And if the Law of Asylum excludes that, where does it precisely say so?

Does it have to?

It expressly applies to minorities, and women are one half the population.

The law applies to persecuted groups.

Even large majorities can be persecuted, in apartheid South Africa, for example.

Ah, but it was passed pursuant to an international treaty and signed by many countries who define women's rights differently from us.

Now, would they have done it if it were seen as a grab for their women?

"Come on over here, babe! You're persecuted!"

They can rest assured that Miss Ashwari was not lured here.

She came of her own free will, and she pleads not to be sent back to an almost certain death.

If I may, I think my colleague's point is, the law protects only the victims of persecution.

It explicitly does not protect the persecutors.

And in the instant case, didn't appellant herself testify that the girls' mothers kept them away from the school?

So were they the persecutors or the persecuted?

Miss Ashwari was not arrested, beaten and raped because she's a woman.

She was arrested, beaten and raped for speaking out on behalf of women, for organizing a demonstration, for being a political activist.

Did she see herself as a political activist?

I don't know, Your Honor.

She saw herself as a teacher of girls.

Was she a member of a political party?


Did she run for office?

Did she distribute pamphlets?

Did she write letters to her local paper?

Was she political in any way?

Your Honor, that is not the question before you.

The Law of Asylum is quite clear on this.

It is not how the victim sees herself, but how the persecutors see the victim.

If they consider it politics, then she's protected by the law.

And did they in this case?

Without question, Your Honors.

Miss Ashwari was not persecuted randomly for being a woman.

She was specifically targeted for what she stood for.

A warrant was issued by the government for her arrest for crimes against God.

The Taliban had enacted into law a twisted version of Islam.

It was this law that the police were enforcing by beating and raping her, which, by the way, is tantamount to a death sentence in an area rife with honor killings.

It is that law that Miss Ashwari opposed with her actions, with her teachings, with her love, with every fiber of her being.

As a woman, as her mother's daughter, as a teacher of girls, she was the definition of a political activist.

Ms. Wood, you are asking us to reverse an opinion of not just one respected judge, but of every judge who decided a similar case.

The law does not protect women as a class, but it shouldn't sacrifice us either.

So all those judges, every one of them, are wrong.

Yes, all those judges are wrong.

But you don't have to be.


Hello, this is Judy Wood. How may I help you?