As far as I’m concerned, “A Time to Kill” is a classic film. It will make your heart ache every time you view it. But, this essay will be about the way justice was served in this small southern Mississippi town. Carl Lee (the father), Jake (the lawyer), Ellen (lawyer’s assistant), and the two good old boys (the rednecks) will be the characters focused on in this article. We will be doing this using the Crime Control Model and the Due Process Model from Packer’s Two Models of Criminal Justice.
The Crime Control Model (assembly-line justice) is basically efficiency of operation, magnitude (speed and finality), and expertness (few restrictions on fact finding), and factual guilt (we know you did it), and presumption of guilt (a mood of confidence): from Packer’s Crime Control Model. When Ellen broke into the doctor’s office to get the dirt on him, I think she was trying to be efficient and speedy; which I think fall into the Crime Control Model. When Sheriff Ozzie had one of the good old boys in a neck grip with his baton, this would also fall into the Crime Control Model.
The Due Process Model (obstacle-course justice) is basically a chance in making errors (the possibility of mistake), quality control (no emphasis on finality), and skepticism (moral, utilitarian restrictions), and legal guilt (prove it in a court of law), and presumption of innocence (a mood of doubt): from Packer’s Crime Control Model. When Sheriff Ozzie went to arrest the two rednecks, he and his officers found a shoe, belonging to the ten year old rape victim, in the bed of the pickup truck. The Sheriff then proceeded to arrest the two good old boys, while at the local bar; this falls into the Due Process Model. Jake’s summation at trial changed the minds of all the juror’s, also falling in to the Due Process Model.
The M’Naghten Rule says that at the moment the criminal act was committed the accused did not know right from wrong. Meaning that at the time Carl Lee murdered the two white men he was, in fact, temporary insane. This is basically saying that the individual could not tell the deference between right and wrong. This rule is used in a majority of the states. A successful insanity defense will result in a jury giving a not guilty by reason of insanity verdict.
In the jail scene, while the two good old boys were being processed, did you notice the way it was segregated? Did you see the looks on the faces of all the black prisoners? Did you notice what Sheriff Ozzie said to those boys as they were being escorted to their jail ceil? He said, “I’ll desegregate this jail quick if you give me any trouble.” The KKK was all over it, they thought it was wrong for those two boys to be gun down by a black man. They created more racial tensions in town, by reinforcing the discrimination.
Through the entire movie I believed Carl Lee should be set free. I know that he was sane, he just plead insane by reason of insanity so he would not end up in prison or sentenced to death. I know what he did was completely wrong and illegal. On the other hand, if it were my daughter I would have done exactly what Carl Lee did. In my book, Carl Lee is an unpopular hero.
As far back as time can go, parents protect their young by all means necessary and yes, even to the death. Would you kill another to protect your child? What if she was your daughter, raped, and beaten; her attackers were one day away from being set free? You know the attackers will try to finish what they had started, what would you do to protect her?
Personally, I think that the Crime Control Model is the way to go, in most cases. The way Jake protected Carl Lee, the way he saw the crime as though it were his own daughter, and the way he tried the case as though he were the accused; that’s how it should be. If no one can see things through the eyes of another they may have no empathy for others. Sometimes, a book is more than just a book. There again, it may be that simple and just be a book.