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Bad Impression on Lawyers & Judges as Shown in Films

In "Suspect," it is only the particular judge assigned to the case who is corrupt. In the final climactic scene, after attorney Kathleen Riley (Cher) has discovered the proof of his guilt, marshalls come into the courtroom to arrest him. "Suspect" thus implies that while some judges are corrupt, the system is potentially capable of identifying them and rooting them out.

In both "And Justice For All" and "Presumed Innocent," the failures of the legal and judicial systems are portrayed as far more pervasive, and the endings of the films themselves are correspondingly more ambiguous. "And Justice For All" ends almost immediately following attorney Arthur Kirkland's (Pacino's) spectacular courtroom outburst. Though Kirkland has declared his client's guilt in open court, his outburst would certainly lead to a mistrial, so it is unclear whether the guilty judge will ever be convicted. (We may presume, however, that his public career will be destroyed.) While "And Justice For All" involves no broad conspiracy, it does imply political pressures working to protect a criminal judge, while another judge is portrayed as mentally. There is no evidence that the conditions which put the rapist and the lunatic on the bench will be corrected.

"Presumed Innocent" ends with Deputy District Attorney Rusty Savitch (Ford) hearing his wife's confession to the murder. A voice-over informs us, however, that "two people can never be tried for the same crime" (presumably for reasons of political embarrassment), so that she will go free. There is no hint that the pervasive political corruption revealed in the film will be corrected, or even that it has been revealed. In both of these last two films, therefore, the viewer is left with a sense of a legal and judicial system that is out of control.

Indeed, a feature of all of these films save "From the Hip" is that they portray judges as both politically corrupt and involved in other crimes. I...

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Bad Impression on Lawyers & Judges as Shown in Films. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 13:22, August 17, 2017, from
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