Esteemed gentlemen, a tragedy has befallen Maycomb County. But not for the reason we think. We are here because Tom Robinson has been accused of rape, against a young white woman no less. But in this court, against the Bible upon which they swore they would tell the truth — someone has told a lie.
We have learned that Miss Ewell was very clearly beaten about the right side of her face, which must have been done by an individual who favored their left. She claims that Tom Robinson, who lost use of his left hand in his boyhood, who swore upon the Bible with the only hand he could, his right, had beaten her so savagely about the right side of her face and raped her. And yet, there has not been a single shred of medical evidence to prove that a rape took place, nor would it have been possible for Tom Robinson to beat her with his left hand. No, the only evidence provided was testimony. Testimonies that fail to line up or show how Tom Robinson could have been possibly involved, if at all.
Quite simply, we are here for another reason entirely. Guilt. Guilt because young Mayella Ewell kissed Tom Robinson. No law was broken, just an ingrained tradition. But still a shame, apparently, to our society. So much so that young Mayella Ewell would go as far as to claim rape, to drive away the source of her guilt. Guilt because Tom Robinson would pass by her home twice everyday and every time he did, she would be reminded of the shame and the humiliation of having kissed a black man. Now, it isn’t that people don’t do things they regret, especially young people. But to go as far as to condemn a man for a crime he never committed to erase the memory of mistake is deplorable. And Mayella Ewell’s supposed guilt was not a memory for her. He is an actual human being. Tom Robinson. Miss Ewell seeks to shrug off her guilt on an innocent man. A man who has done nothing but work diligently everyday, tip his hat as he passes by, and help out others without asking for a thing in return. We are sitting here today because a person felt guilt so intolerable and had such little responsibility for their own actions, that they thought condemning an innocent person would absolve them of their sin. Would finally relieve them of that heavy guilt weighing on their conscience.
People are not to be treated as toys or tools. Black or white, we are all human. Humans are not disposable, regardless of color. We do not exist to cater to the whims and fancies of others as sacrificial lambs. Lives are not to be trifled with. Despite this, Mayella Ewell has put Tom Robinson, innocent man, before this court, falsely accusing him of a crime he never committed to ease her guilty conscience. But I ask you jurors, are you willing to condemn Tom Robinson and go home to your families with that same guilt weighing on your shoulders? Knowing that you have torn an innocent man away from his family?
In these courts, “all men are created equal.” Every human is entitled to justice. It is up to you gentlemen to deliver it.