What if Atticus Finch Lived in the 21st Century?

First, Atticus would definitely fit in with his tasteful glasses and sophisticated three-piece suit. Second, his experience in the courtroom would be completely different from the events that happened during the infamous “Robinson v. Ewell” case. The single father and lawyer from the classic novel “To Kill a Mockingbird” has been a timeless example of honor, determination, and brilliance. He whole-heartedly defended and verbally fought for a man who had been rejected by society because Atticus knew the defendant was innocent.

Photo Credit: The Federalist

Mr. Finch pointed out the many discrepancies between the various accounts of the crime, and in the mind of the reader, he proved the innocence of Tom Robinson. Unfortunately, the efforts of this brilliant attorney weren’t enough. Tom Robinson was declared to be guilty, and he was later shot to death by prison guards.

Although the case presented in the novel is fictional, it is interesting to speculate what would have happened if the trial happened this year with all the available technologies and methods.

Atticus arrives at the courthouse with his trial presentation in hand; he has spent countless hours organizing his exhibits and timecoding the depositions of key players in the case. He put in a lot of effort, but he is confident that his presentation will be enough to convince the jury of a not-guilty verdict.

Throughout the trial, Mr. Finch uses his presentation software to show key segments of the depositions of Mayella Ewell, Tom Robinson, and Bob Ewell, which causes the jury to focus on key evidence without being distracted by irrelevant information.

Atticus also pulls up a document that has already been annotated with highlights and underlines onto the presentation screen, which outlines the accident Tom Robinson had as young boy getting his left arm caught in a cotton gin, now making it impossible for him to use that arm. The remainder of the trial continues with Atticus presenting key exhibits that allow the jury to be engaged and well-informed about all aspects of the case.

Mr. Finch presents his closing argument, supported by the numerous exhibits and facts he previously shared. As he finishes, the jurors find themselves in an interesting position: the material of the case was presented so fluidly and concisely that they can’t deny the certainty of Tom’s innocence, yet they still must face the social pressures of their community.

Skilled and determined litigators are powerful, but combine these litigators with an effective trial presentation and you have a successful team.

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