Part of Noir-November
“How can a jury disregard what it’s already heard?” “They can’t, Lieutenant. They can’t.”
You need an excuse, not a justification. There is no justification for walking into a bar and shooting an unarmed man five times. It’s a crime of the most serious order—the intentional, premeditated and deliberate killing of another human being. The elements are there: the actus reus and the mens rea, the guilty act and the guilty mind. You’re going to jail, and for a long time—unless you can find an excuse. Not a justification.
So says Paul Biegler (James Stewart) to his client, Lt. Frederick “Manny” Manion (Ben Gazzara). Legally speaking, he’s absolutely right. An act that is justified by, say, self-defense…