Blog Assignment 2: Defending Tom Robinson

Gentlemen of the court, I stand before you with the most humble respect for the law and the role you play in delivering justice upon those who have wronged the community. But that is not why you were called today. Today you were called to the hallowed ground of this courthouse to assuage the guilt of a young woman who in her poverty ridden misery, violated the most sacred law of our community. You were called to hide the true felon behind a cloak of bigotry and hatred.

The state, which so righteously defends Miss Ewell’s honor has yet to provide one piece of evidence which indicates Mr. Robinson committed this crime. They say she was beaten, with fingerprints all about her neck, and her right eye blackened. But esteemed panel, must I point out that this is impossible for Mr. Robinson to have accomplished? It doesn’t take a man of your intelligence to see that a man possessing only one hand could not have so encompassed her neck and covered it in bruises. Furthermore, to have blackened her right eye, the assault must have come from someone swinging from their left arm, which we have proven is impossible for Mr. Robinson to have done with his paralysis. Now don’t mistake me, there is ample evidence that a crime has been committed, but it is nigh indisputable that Mr. Robinson did not commit said travesty.

In 1776, a group of men, not unlike yourselves sat before a table and penned the greatest document to ever grace this country. They wrote that “we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” (“Declaration”)[1]. The man which sits before you today deserves the same consideration which would be provided to any other in this courtroom. I entreat you, gentlemen, not to take away Mr. Robison’s unalienable right to Life, and not to forgo his children’s right to Happiness. The only crime committed by the man who sits before you was to do as the Lord commanded, to “love your neighbor as yourself” (“Mark”). So as tenable citizens of this community, and devout servants to the Lord, I pose a question to you on this dark day: do you follow the Lord as Mr. Robinson does, with unwavering kindness and self-sacrifice?[2]

I know you gentlemen, and I understand the desire in your hearts to protect the kind Miss Ewell; but it is clear to everyone in this courtroom today that convicting Mr. Robinson will in no way make her safe. In fact, putting an innocent man to death will only enable her true tormenter to continue his violent transgressions. Today you have the power to show the true criminal that he cannot hide behind the color of his skin.

The law of this court states that “a defendant in a criminal action is presumed to be innocent until he is proved guilty” and “in case of reasonable doubt whether his guilt is satisfactorily shown, he shall be acquitted” (Davis)[3]. I have no doubt that today some of you entered this courtroom with a predisposed opinion on the proceedings. But as rational gentlemen, you, and every soul in this courtroom can clearly see that there is more than reasonable doubt as to Mr. Robinson’s guilt.

I close with this: the factual evidence not only doesn’t indicate Mr. Robinson, it sets him free. The rights of this great country that each one of us holds close to our hearts stand behind him. He has carried the word of God with unwavering piety and belief, and belief in you. He, as we all have, put his faith in your hands to listen as judicious observers, and discern the truth of this ugly matter. Do right by this community, this country, and the Lord.

Works cited:

Davis v. State. Court of Appeals of Ohio. 7 Nov. 1929. Web.

“The Declaration of Independence: A Transcription.” National Archives and Records Administration. National Archives and Records Administration, n.d. Web. 13 Sept. 2016.

“Mark 12:28-31.” Bible Gateway. Bible Gateway, 9 Sept. 2010. Web. 13 Sept. 2016.

[1] All citations are in MLA format and can be found above, under the section entitled “Works cited”.

[2] This argument is operating under the assumption that most, if not all of the southern gentlemen in the court were christian.

[3] The case Davis v. State occurred in 1929, so it is assumed that Atticus could have found the documentation and quoted the regulations it outlined.

34 thoughts on “Blog Assignment 2: Defending Tom Robinson

  1. The author uses the logos appeal while restating the evidence presented during the case. This appeal targets the logical side of the jurors to make a simple decision. It points out that Tom couldn’t have possibly harmed Ms. Ewell on the terms that his left hand, the one used in the assault, is rendered useless. There is no possible way for him to strike someone with it if he cannot even move it at all. This is the information presented to the jury, an path to justice that is laid out for them.

    The setting of the film is a racist, malicious time in our history. Black men were put to death over things that white people would get so much as a ticket. Therefore, if I were to be in this time period, nothing would persuade me. Societal values would drive not only my own values, but of the values of every other person in that courthouse. So even if I had disagreed to convict Tom Robinson, I still would have been judged by the entire audience. Which, is full of neighbors, aunts, uncles, and friends.

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