Atticus Finch defends Tom Robinson who is falsely accused of raping Mayella Ewell.
************** direct of Sheriff Tate *********
..........On the night of August 21st, I was just leaving my office to go home when Bob, Mr. Ewell, came in. Very excited he was, and he said to get to his house as quick as I could. That his girl had been raped. I got in my car and went out there as fast as I could. She was pretty well beat up. I asked her if Tom Robinson beat her like that. She said yes, he had. I asked if he'd taken advantage of her. She said yes, he did. That's all there was to it.
Prosecutor: Thank you.
**************** cross ***********
Defense: Did anybody call a doctor, sheriff?
A: No sir.
Q: Why not?
A: Well I didn't think it was necessary. She was pretty well beat up. Something sure happened--it was ugly.
Q: Now Sheriff, you say she was mighty beat up. In what way?
A: Well she was beaten around the head. There was bruises already comin out her arms
She had a black eye starting.
Q: Which eye?
A: Well she, her left.
Q: Well, now, was that was her left facing you, or looking the way that you were?
A: I guess that would make it her right eye. It was her right eye, Mr. Pierce. She was beaten up that side of her face.
Q: Which side again, Hank?
A: The right side. She had bruises on her arms. She showed me her neck. There were definite finger marks on her gullet.
Q: All around her neck at the back of the throat?
A: I'd say they were all around.
Judge: Witness may be seated.
************* direct of Bob Ewell ***********
Bailiff: Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth so help you god?
A: I do.
Bailiff: Sit down please.
Q: Now, Mr. Ewell, you tell us, just in your own words what happened on August 21st.
A: Well, that night I was coming in from the wood with a load of kindling and I heard Mayella screaming as I got to the fence. So I dropped my kindling and I run just as fast as I could but I run into the fence. When I got loose I run up to the window and I seen him with my Mayella. (pointing at defendant).
Q: What did you do after you saw the defendant?
A: I run around the house trying to get in but he done run through the front door just ahead of me. But I seen who it was all right. I seen him. And I run in the house and pulled Mayella up and I run for Mr. Teagues just as quick as I could.
Prosecutor: Thank you Mr. Ewell.
********* cross *************.
Q: Folks were doing a lot of running that night. Let's see now, you say that you ran to the house, you rant to the window, you ran inside. You ran to Mayella. Since you were doing all this running why didn't you run to the doctor?
A: Wasn't no need to. I saw who done it.
Q: Do you agree with the sheriff's description?
A: I agree with everything Mr. Tate said. Mighty beat up.
Q: All right now, Mr. Ewell. Can you read and write.
A: Yes Mr. Finch, I can read and I can write.
Q: Good. Then would you write your name. Right there. Would you show us?
(Witness writes his name with his left hand.)
Q: You are left-handed, Mr. Ewell.
A: What's that got to do with that, judge? I'm a god-fearing man. Atticus Finch is trying to take advantage of me. You got to watch tricky lawyers like Atticus Finch.
Judge: Quiet, quiet, then. The witness may take his seat.
************ direct of victim ***********
Bailiff: Mayella Ewell. Put your hand on the bible please. Do you swear to tell the truth the whole truth so help you god?
Prosecution: Now Mayella suppose you tell us just what happened, huh?
A: Well, Sir, I was sitting on the porch and he come along there was this old shifarobe in the yard and I said. You come in here boy and bust up this shifarobe and I'll give you a nickel and he came on in the yard and went in the house to get the nickel and I turn around before I know it he's on me and I fought and hollered but he had me around the neck and he hit me again and again . And the next thing I knew papa's in the room standin' over me hollerin', "Who done it? Who done it?"
Prosecution: Thank you Mayella. Your witness, Atticus.
Defense: Now Miss Mayella, is your father good to you? I mean, is he easy to get along with?
A: Just tolerable.
Q: Except when he's drinking. When he's riled, has he ever beaten you?
A: My pa's never touched a hair on my head in my life.
Q: Your saying you asked Tom to come in and chop up a--what was it?
A: A shifarobe.
Q: Was that the first time that you ever asked him to come inside the fence?
Q: Didn't you ever ask him to come inside the fence before?
A: I might've.
Q: Can you remember any other occasion?
Q: You say, "He caught me, he choked me, and he took advantage of me," is that right? Do you remember him beating you about the face?
A: No, I don't recollect if he hit me. I mean yes, he hit me, he hit me.
Q: Thank you. Now will you identify the man who beat you.
A: I will. I most certainly will. Sitting right yonder.
(She points at Tom)
Q: Tom, will you stand up please. Let Miss Mayella have a good long look at you. Tom, will you catch this please? (Atticus throws a glass to Tom, who catches it with his right hand.) Thank you. Now then, this time will you please catch it with your left hand?
Defendant: I can't, sir.
Q: Why can't you?
A: I can't use my left hand at all. I got it caught in a cotton gin when I was 12 years old. All my muscles were tore loose.
Q [to Mayella]: Is this the man who raped you?
A: It most certainly is.
A: I don't know how. He done it he done it.
Q: You have testified that he choked you and he beat you. You didn't say that he sneaked up behind you and he knocked you out cold but that you turned around and there he was. You want to tell us what really happened?
A: (Crying) I got something to say and then I ain't gonna say no more. He took advantage of me and if you fine fancy gentlemen ain't gonna do nothing about it, then you're just a bunch of lousy yellow stinking cowards the whole bunch of you and your fancy airs don't come to nothing. Your manners and your Miss Mayellas, it don't come to nothing, Mr.Finch (She breaks down.)
Judge: Sit down there. Atticus? Mr. Gilmer.
Prosecution: The state rests, Judge.
************** direct of accused ***********
Bailiff: Tom Robinson, take the stand. Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth so help you god?
A: I do.
Bailiff: Sit down.
Q: Now Tom, were you acquainted with Mayella Violet Ewell?
A: Yes sir. I had to pass her place going to it from the field every day.
Q: Is there any other way to go?
A: No sir, none's I know of.
Q: And did she ever speak to you?
A: Why yes, sir. I tipped my hat when I go by. Then one day she asked me to come in and bust up a shifarobe for her. She gave me the hatchet and I broke it up. And then she said I reckon I'll have to give you a nickel, won't I?
Q: I said, "No ma'am, there ain't no charge."
A: Then I went home. Mr. Finch, that was way last spring, way over a year ago.
Q: And did you ever go on the place again?
A: Yes sir.
A: Well, I, I went lots of times. It seemed like every time I passed by yonder, she'd have some little something for me to do, chopping kindling and toting water for her.
Q: Tom, what happened to you on the evening of August 21st, last year?
A: Finch, I was going home as usual that evening, when I passed the Ewell place, with Mayella on the porch, like she said she was. And she said for me to come there and help her a minute. Well, I went inside the fence and I looked around for some kindling to work on, but I didn't see none. And then she said to come in the house, she has a door needs fixing, so I follows her inside and I looked at the door, and it looked all right. Then she shut the door. All the time, I was wondering why it was so quiet-like. Then it come to me. There was not a child on the place. And I said, Miss Mayella, where are the children. She said, they all gone to get ice cream. She said it took her a slap year to save seven nickels, but she done it, and they all gone to town.
Q: What did you say then?
A: Uh, I said something like, uh, "Why Miss Mayella, that's right nice of you to treat 'em." She said, "You think so?" "Well," I said, "I best be going." I couldn't do nothing for her and she said Oh yes I could, and I asked her what. And she said to just step on the chair yonder and get that box down from on top of the shifarobe. So I done like she told me and I was reaching, when the next thing I know she grabbed me around the legs. She scared me so bad I hopped down and turned the chair over. That was the only thing, the only furniture disturbed in the room, Mr. Finch, I swear, when I left it.
Q: And what happened after you turned the chair over? Tom? You've sworn to tell the whole truth. Will you do it? What happened after that?
A: Mr. Finch. I got down off the chair and I turned around. And she sort of jumped on me and hugged me around the waist. She reached up and kissed me on the face. She said she'd never kissed a grown man before and she might as well kiss me. She asked for me to kiss her back. I said, "Miss Mayella let me out of here." And I tried to run. Mr. Ewell cussed at her from the window, said he's gonna kill her.
Q: And what happened after that?
A: I was running so fast, I don't know what happened.
Q: Tom, did you rape Mayella Ewell?
A: I did not, sir.
Q: Did you harm her in any way?
A: I did not.
*************** cross ************
Prosecution (who has had his feet up on his chair, dangling off the side.): Mr. Robinson, you're pretty good at busting up shifarobes and kindling with one hand, aren't you? Strong enough to choke the breath out of a woman and sling her to the floor?
A: I never done that sir.
Q: But you're strong enough to.
A: I reckon so, sir.
Q: Uh-huh. How come you so all-fired anxious to do that woman's chores?
A: Looks like she didn't have nobody to help her. Like I said, she--
Q: With Mr. Ewell and seven children on the place? You did all this chopping and work out of sheer goodness, boy? You a mighty good fella, it seems. You did all that for not one penny?
A: Yes sir. I felt right sorry for her. She seemed--
Q: You felt sorry for her? A white woman? You felt sorry for her?
**************** defense closing argument ***********
To begin with, this case should never have come to trial. The state has not produced one iota of medical evidence that the crime Tom Robinson is charged with
ever took place. It has relied instead upon the testimony of two witnesses whose evidence has not only been called into serious question on cross examination,
but has been flatly contradicted by the defendant. There is circumstantial evidence to indicate that Mayella Ewell was beaten savagely by someone who led
almost exclusively with his left. And Tom Robinson now sits before you, having taken the oath with the only good hand he possesses, his right. I have nothing
but pity in my heart for the chief witness for the state. She is the victim of cruel poverty and ignorance. But my pity does not extend so far as to her putting a
man's life at stake, which she has done in an effort to get rid of her own guilt, I say guilt, gentleman, because it was guilt that motivated her. She has committed
no crime. She has merely broken a rigid and time-honored code of our society, a code so severe is hounded from our midst, is unfit to live with. She must
destroy the evidence of her offense. But what was the evidence of her offense? Tom Robinson, a human being. She must put Tom Robinson away from her.
Tom Robinson was to her a daily reminder of what she did. Now what did she do? She tempted a Negro. She was white and she tempted a negro. She did
something that in our society was unspeakable. She kissed a black man. Not an old uncle, but a strong young Negro man. No code mattered to her before she
broke it, but it came crashing down on her afterwards. The witnesses for the state, with the exception of the sheriff for Macon county, have presented
themselves to you gentleman, to this court, in the cynical confidence that their testimony would not be doubted. Confident that you gentleman would go along
with them on the assumption, the evil assumption, that all Negroes lie, that all negroes are all basically immoral beings. All Negro men are not to be trusted
around our women. That assumption one associates with minds of their caliber, and which is in itself a lie, which I do not need to point out to you. And so, a
quiet, humble, respectable Negro who has had the unmitigated temerity to feel sorry for a white woman has had to put his word against two white people. The
defendant is not guilty, but somebody in this courtroom is. Now gentleman, in this country, our courts are the great levelers. In our courts, all men are created
equal. I'm no idealist to believe firmly in the integrity of our courts and our jury system. That's no ideal to me, that is a living, working reality. Now I am
confident that you gentlemen will review without passion the evidence that you have heard, come to a decision, and restore this man to his family. In the name
of God do your duty. In the name of God believe Tom Robinson.