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Tess Keating Blog for 11/9

The movie Just Mercy is a great depiction of how corrupt the legal system is and how it is so hard to change. It shows just how much is stacked against the black citizens of the United States. Although this movie is based in the 1980s, we still continue to see these issues and people fighting for them. The media has been able to expose more injustices in the legal system and police departments, making the whole country aware of it. The movie not only depicts racism towards criminals and people convicted of crimes, but Bryan, a lawyer from Harvard, too. Something sad to me was just how discouraged Johnny D (McMillan) was in the beginning of the movie, in his first conversation with Bryan. I can’t even imagine knowing I didn’t do something but feeling as if the odds were so stacked up against me that it wasn’t even worth it to fight. 

Something that stuck out to me was in the beginning of the movie when Eva and Bryan were talking about why they decided to go into this career. Eva states “a lot of the folks on death row either had shitty representation or none at all”. This was sad to me because it shows just how corrupt the legal system is. It is made so that if you get a good enough lawyer you have a better chance of getting a more favorable sentence, but good lawyers cost a lot of money. Not everyone can afford an expensive lawyer, and because of that they suffer and potentially get killed. This should not be how it is. A person should be judged based on the level of their crime, not how well their fancy lawyer argues for them. Johnny D, who was convicted of murdering a teenage girl, was only convicted because one man stated that he did it, and everyone believed it. The reasoning behind his conviction is completely unreliable and shows how if a white man said something about a black man, people were likely to believe it. I also just don’t understand the purpose of convicting a man of a crime he didn’t commit, because that leaves an actual criminal out on the streets. The logic makes no sense and shows the deep rooted racism in the justice system.

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  1. Olivia Cranshaw Olivia Cranshaw

    My main surprise about this movie is that I haven’t seen it before! I think it demonstrated how difficult the circumstances were, and still are, to have a fair trial when the odds are stacked against you, especially because of your race. I think showing this movie as an educational tool to teach the multiple levels of racism in the United States’ Justice Department could be extremely beneficial as media can have a big impact on a person’s understanding.

  2. Olivia Cosco Olivia Cosco

    That line also stuck out to me. Another one that stuck out to me was when McMillan tells Bryan he is hesitant about him trying to get another court date, because its hard to prove innocence, “when you’re guilty from the day you were born.” This line was eye opening to me. I know statistically black people get searched more often and therefore found guilty more often, but to hear that he never felt like he had innocence was heartbreaking.

  3. Kathrine Yeaw Kathrine Yeaw

    This movie made me feel just as confused and sad. The fact that someone can be so easily convicted of a horrible crime he did not commit, and be on death row for it is astonishing. I think it’s important for these cases to be highlighted like the film does, especially in the digital era when it is so easy to spread awareness around these things. Showing how often things like this happen is one of the first things we can do to stop them from happening in the future.

  4. Mohamad Kassem Mohamad Kassem

    This movie did a great job showing the biased racist system in the United States and it made me extremely sad to see that such issues are still present nowadays. I completely agree with you and it also seemed illogical to me to leave an actual criminal in the streets and putting a person in the prison and convicting them of a crime that they did not commit just because of their skin color.

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