(1989, rated R) James Woods (Eddie Dodd), Robert Downey, Jr. (Roger Barron), Margaret Colin (Kitty Greer), Yuji Okumoto (Shiu Kai Kim), Kurtwood Smith (Robert Reynard), Tom Bower (Cecil Skell), Miguel Fernandez (Art Esparza), Charles Hallahan (Vincent Dennehy), Luis Guzman (Ortega). Music: Brad Fidel (“Busload of Faith” written/sung by Lou Reed). Screenplay: Wesley Strick. Director: Joseph Ruben. 108 minutes.
Tags: Mystery, Courtroom Drama, “Criminal Justice YRW”
Notable: Downey as a baby-faced 24 year old; spun-off short-lived TV series Eddie Dodd, starring Treat Williams.
Eddie Dodd was a crusading lawyer in his day; now, he’s a burn-out, defending drug dealers that he knows are guilty in order to make points about the unfairness of governmental and police procedural flaws… so he says. Roger Barron, fresh out of law school, was impressed with Eddie’s early cases, comes to San Francisco to work with him, not sure that he’s even meeting the firebrand of years past. The knifing of a prison inmate by another inmate calls into question whether or not young Shiu Kai Kim (the alleged killer) should have been in prison in the first place. After all these years of having lost his own belief in The System, Eddie now has a chance to defend an innocent man. The question becomes… can he? Continue reading “True Believer”
(1979, Rated R) Al Pacino (Arthur Kirkland); Jack Warden (Judge Rayford); John Forsythe (Judge Fleming); Lee Strasberg (Grandpa Sam); Jeffrey Tambor (Jay Porter); Christine Lahti (Gail Packer); Sam Levene (Arnie); Robert Christian (Ralph Agee); Thomas Waites (Jeff McCullaugh); Larry Bryggman (Warren Fresnell); Craig T. Nelson (Frank Bowers). Music: Dave Grusin. Screenplay: Valerie Curtin and Barry Levinson. Director: Norman Jewison. 119 minutes.
Tags: Courtroom Drama, Social Satire
Notable: One of the finest courtroom “opening statement” scenes in movie history, with the oft-misquoted line, “You’re out of order! You’re out of order! The whole trial’s out of order!” (Pacino)
When corrupt Judge Fleming is charged with rape, idealistic lawyer Arthur Kirkland is quietly blackmailed into defending him. Kirkland has had problems with the judge in the past, including one incident when the judge wrongly sentenced his client, Jeff McCullaugh, because of a technicality. As Kirkland prepares this and two other cases, he faces a series of moral and legal dilemmas, including the possibility that the judge is guilty.
With the hearings regarding Judge Brett Kavanaugh going on, now is a great time to revisit this particularly relevant film. Continue reading “And Justice For All”
By Douglas C. Jones
Publication Year: 1976
Tags: Historical Fiction, What-If, Native American, Military History
George A. Custer, ranked as a General in the War Between the States but who was returned to the rank of Lt. Col. during his time commanding the 7th United States Cavalry, died at Little Big Horn. This what-if historical novel considers the question of Custer’s survival, and what a court-martial might find of the evidence presented to it of Custer’s actions that lead to a head-to-head battle of several hundred cavalrymen against several thousand Native Americans — or as they’re called in this book, with both historical accuracy and a conqueror’s prejudice, “Indians,” “renegades,” or “criminals who wouldn’t stay on the reservation”). Continue reading “Court-Martial of George Armstrong Custer, The”