A SCOTT FENNEY, ESQ., stood before the twelve members of the jury and said: “When I was a boy, my mother used to read her favorite book to me at bedtime, To Kill a Mockingbird. You might’ve read it or seen the movie. It’s the story of a little girl and her father, a lawyer named Atticus Finch. He was an honorable man and an honorable lawyer, unusual even back then, in the 1930s when the story took place.
“Every night my mother would say to me, Scotty, be like Atticus. Be a lawyer. Do good. She even named me after him, Atticus Scott Fenney. Well, my mother’s dead and I’m a lawyer, but I’m no Atticus Finch. I haven’t done much good. I made a lot of money, but I didn’t make my mother proud.
“But that’s another story.
“Or maybe it’s the same story. Because this story, our story, the story playing out in this courtroom, is also about making your mother proud.
“See, in the book, Atticus was appointed to represent a black man named Tom Robinson. Tom was accused of beating and raping a white girl. Atticus showed the jury that the girl had been beaten by a left-handed man because the right side of her face was bruised, but that Tom’s left hand was disabled due to an accident years before. Atticus proved that Tom didn’t do it. And Atticus also showed the jury that the girl’s father was left-handed and a mean drunk to boot. Well, everyone in the courtroom knew that Tom didn’t commit the crime and that her father did. But the jury, twelve white men, convicted Tom Robinson anyway, just because he was a black man.
“Now, that story took place in Alabama in the thirties – in a different time and a different world – back when the color of law was black-and-white. But our story is taking place seventy years later, in Dallas, Texas. The world’s a different place today, things have changed – not everything and not everywhere and not enough, but in our courts of law things have surely changed. Judges have changed. The color of law has changed. It’s no longer black-and-white. My former senior partner told me the color of law is now green. Today, he said, the rule of law is money. Money rules. And he’s right. Lawyers use the law to make money, politicians sell the law to special interests for money, people sue each other for money. Everywhere in the law, it’s all about money – except one place. Right there where you’re sitting, in that jury box. You’re not here for money. You’re here for the truth.