Heavens Fall

Topics: Scottsboro Boys, Jury, Samuel Leibowitz Pages: 3 (1155 words) Published: May 28, 2013
Heavens Fall is an American film based on the Scottsboro Boys incident of 1931. In the film, two white women, Victoria Price and Ruby Bates, accuse nine black men of raping them on a gondola cart in Alabama. Alabama at this time was a segregated state. Their ages ranged from twelve to twenty years. The nine black young men were sentenced the death penalty by the electric chair. The Scottsboro Boys became a cause célèbre (a legal case of widespread interest) that fueled the fire of socialism worldwide, forcing an appeal to the United States Supreme Court and resulting in new trials for all nine defendants. Samuel Leibowitz was a lawyer from New York who had heard about this case and accepted to defend these boys in their second trial in Decatur, Alabama 1933, due to the fact that their first trial was unfair.

The rights of nine young black boys were atrociously violated. Throughout their trial, heroes emerged on both sides of the argument. Samuel S. Leibowitz and Judge James E. Horton, two men whose social and political backgrounds could not have been more different, sacrificed a great deal in their fight for justice. At the risk of being an outsider, ordinary Alabamians rallied for the unconditional release of the Scottsboro Nine. Still, governments and politicians turned away from these cries and nine innocent boys suffered the consequences. In turn, society suffered the consequences as well. Our nation began by declaring that “All men are created equal.” At the time the Scottsboro boys were being tried it declared “All men are created equal except Negroes.” In their first trial, these nine men where not given the right to counsel. The right to counsel gives the defendant the right to a fair trial, the right to be assisted by counsel, and if one cannot afford his own lawyer the government should appoint one. The Scottsboro defendants did not have a fair trial. They were not appointed a lawyer before any of their trials. They were all tried separately....
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