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Sydney Parrish

Mrs. Field

LNG 322

28 March 2011

Tom Robinson’s Trial

On November twenty-first, Tom Robinson was accused of allegedly raping

nineteen year old Mayella Ewell in her own home. He was convicted of this heinous

crime, and sent to prison even though he is innocent. When trying to escape, the

guards did not shoot to injure him, they shot to kill. They did. Tom Robinson’s trial

was biased and unfair; the jury only looked at skin color. They let themselves be

influenced by racism, and ignored all physical evidence and witness testimonies.

The most important factors in this society are skin color and family

background. Since the jury consisted of only white men, they may have seen the

case only as white versus black. Tom is a poor black man, but he still has the

capability of pitying the white trash that lived nearby. He only helped Mayella with

chores because she needed a hand; the children could not help and Mr. Ewell would

not. Tom did not think in black and white, he saw the full picture.

Using physical evidence alone Tom should have been found innocent.

According to the testimonies of Bob and Mayella Ewell and Heck Tate, Mayella was

beaten on the right side of her face. She also had marks around her neck as if

someone tightly held her neck while beating her. This implies that either a right-

handed man was beating her in a very awkward position, or that the culprit is left-

handed. It was proved in court that Mr. Bob Ewell is ambidextrous. This means he

can use both hands equally well. Tom, on the other hand, is right handed, because

when he was twelve his left arm got caught in a cotton gin and tore all the muscle

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apart. He is not able to lift that arm, let alone beat someone. Heck Tate also said

that Mayella’s face was bruised when he got there, but how is that possible when

she had only gotten raped thirty minutes before? And why didn’t her father call a


The one thing that stood out in this case was the awkward confusion of the

witness testimonies. Mr. Ewell, Mayella, and Heck Tate all agreed, but Tom

contradicted everything they said. Though Mayella claimed to have asked him to

bust up a chifforobe for a nickel, Tom says she claimed to have work for him inside

the house. She also claims he raped her, but Tom says she came on to him. On top

of this, Mayella, Bob, and Heck Tate all seem uncertain in their testimonies. Mayella

could not remember if she had gotten hit in the face, and Heck seemed to be

uncertain of which side if the face was beaten. Bob just agreed with everything

Heck said, only adding a few crude comments in.

Tom was accused and convicted of these atrocious crimes, even though he is

clearly innocent. The unfair, biased trail took an innocent man away from his home,

friends, wife, and children. This trial took the life of an innocent man, while the true

culprit went on with his normal life. Tom’s innocence should have been proved by

the jury, but the prejudiced men let their racism get in the way, ignoring all the

evidence and testimonies.

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