"The Accused" Essay by Research Group

"The Accused"
This paper examines the nature of the legal tactics used in the rape trial portrayed in the 1988 film, "The Accused" directed by Jonathan Kaplan.
# 27163 | 751 words | 0 sources | 2002 | US
Published on May 27, 2003 in Law (Criminal) , Film (Analysis, Criticism, Etc.)

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The writer specifically discusses two legal tactics portrayed in the movie. The first involves the use of plea bargaining and the second whether or not someone witnessing a violent crime, such as rape, has the personal responsibility and legal liability to try to stop the rape. It also examines whether the legal tactics portrayed would work in a real court case.

From the Paper:

In the real case, two of the onlookers were charged as accessories to rape and were acquitted. The film presents a different verdict. Incidentally, after the real life acquittal, both Massachusetts and Rhode Island passed "duty to rescue" laws. The film version centers around the character of Sarah Tobias (Jody Foster) who convinces Assistant District Attorney Kathryn Murphy (Kelly McGillis) to battle the legal system. Ironically, the reason Sarah wants to bring the bystanders to justice is because Murphy agreed to a plea bargain which reduced the rape charges to reckless endangerment which makes parole easier and thereby prevented Sarah from her day in court. An outraged Sarah, deprived of justice and what she considers fairness, convinces Murphy to bring charges against three of the young men who cheered on the brutal rape."

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