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Recently I was fortunate enough to take a trip. My trip took me to Clanton, Mississippi, where I met Jake Brigance. Jake is a local lawyer who is always looking for a good case. He has a wife and a young daughter. I also met Carl Lee Hailey. Carl Lee is in jail for killing two men who raped his daughter. The sheriff at the jail was Ozzie, he is the only black sheriff in the entire state of Mississippi. He told me the whole story about how two white men got drunk and raped Carl Lee's daughter. They were caught and put on trial, but before they could make it to the trial, Carl Lee shot and killed both of them.
Carl Lee then hired Jake to be his lawyer. Jake was ready to take up the case and he had to do so for very little money. Carl Lee got as much as he could, but Jake still had to get on him for more if he wanted to keep his job. The trial was set only a few days, and already there were threats coming in to Jake telling him to drop the case, but he ignored them. Before the trial started, a friend of Carl Lee's from Memphis came and offered to let Carl Lee use his lawyer for free. Carl Lee liked the sound of that and fired Jake.
Jake used the persuasion of Carl Lee's brother to gain the case back and got Carl Lee back on track. A few weeks later the NAACP offered to pay for his lawyer as long as he used theirs. Carl Lee refused this time and said that Jake was the only man he trusted. The trial had begun and already the judge had put a gag order on the lawyers and their staff. They ended up with some sympathetic jurors, and the jury was hung. Carl Lee got off and everybody knew he deserved it.
2. Jake Brigance is a well-respected lawyer in Clanton although he is only in his early thirties. He is the typical middle-class American with the wife, kid and the dog. Jake loves the spotlight of the media and he knows that this case will put him on the map. He wants to be a devoted husband and father, but his work just means so much to him so he can't always be there.
Carl Lee was just an average black man in the south until he killed the two white men that raped his daughter. He never had any problems with anyone, but all it took was someone messing with his family to push him over the edge. When he found out who raped his daughter, he started planning an attack to kill both of them for revenge of his daughter.
Ozzie is the sheriff of Ford County, and he prides himself in being the only black sheriff in the state of Mississippi. He is always honest and that is what keeps him elected in a mostly white county. He is always fair and doesn't discriminate against whites or blacks. It seems that he always has some way of finding out who did what.
3. Have you read the new book by John Grisham? If not then you better get to the bookstore fast because these books are selling like hotcakes. It is the story of a black man on trial for killing the two whit men who raped his daughter. He finds the best lawyer in Ford County, Mississippi. Does he get the gas chamber? Get the book and find out.
4. I thought the book was pretty good. The author has a good way of letting you feel like you are right there in the courthouse. He is also very accurate in his portrayal of the goings on in the life of a capital murder trial.
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