“Seldom, very seldom, does complete truth belong to any human disclosure; seldom can it happen that something is not a little disguised or a little mistaken.”

-Jane Austen, Emma

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

From the movie, A Time to Kill: What is truth?

What is it in us that seeks the truth? Is it our minds or is it our hearts?

I had a great summation all worked out, full of some sharp lawyering, but I'm not going to read it. I'm here to apologize. I am young, and I am inexperienced. But you cannot hold Carl Lee Hailey responsible for my shortcomings. Do you see, in all this legal maneuvering, something has gotten lost. That something is the truth. Now, it is incumbent upon us lawyers not to just talk about the truth but to actually seek it, to find it, to live it. My teacher taught me that. Let's take Dr. Bass, for example. Now obviously, I would have never knowingly put a convicted felon on the stand. I hope you can believe that. But what is the truth? That, that he's a disgraced liar? What if I told you that the woman he was accused of raping was 17, he was 23, that she later became his wife, bore his child and is still married to the man today? Does that make his testimony more or less true? What is it in us that seeks the truth? Is it our minds, or is it our hearts?

I set out to prove a black man could receive a fair trial in the South, that we are all equal in the eyes of the law. That's not the truth 'cause the eyes of the law are humanized, yours and mine, and until we can see each other as equals, justice is never going to be even-handed. It will remain nothing more than a reflection of our own prejudices. So until that day, we have a duty under God to seek the truth - not with our eyes, and not with our minds where fear and hate turn commonality into prejudice, but with our hearts - but we don't know better

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