فصل 10

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کتاب های فوق متوسط

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فصل 10

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CHAPTER TEN

The Jury

During the seven days before the trial, the people of Clanton began to feel they were living in a foreign country. First, there were the bus loads of black people who arrived and set up a camp outside the courthouse. Their leader, the Reverend Agee, told the reporters that they would stay until justice was done and Carl Lee was freed. The crowd began to shout: “Free Carl Lee! Free Carl Lee!”

After the blacks came the Klan. They arrived in groups of two and three and came from all over the state. Their leader, Stamp Sisson, was pleased. He drank some whiskey as he checked their dress. He was proud of his men and told them so. This was the biggest meeting of its kind in years, he said. The march could be dangerous, he explained. Niggers could march and scream all day long and no one cared. But if whites tried to march it was dangerous. The niggers could do what they liked, but not white people.

Few people in Clanton had ever seen the Klan march, and as 2 p.m. approached a great wave of excitement went around the square. The shopkeepers and their customers came out to watch, and a group of young blacks gathered under a large tree. Ozzie smelled trouble, but they told him they had only come to watch and listen.

The Klan moved slowly in their white robes and tall pointed masks. Stump walked proudly in front of his men, leading them down the long sidewalk to the center of the square by the courthouse steps.

“You niggers were not invited to this meeting!” Stump screamed into the microphone, pointing at the blacks on the grass. “This is a Klan meeting, not a meeting for niggers!”

As he started to speak, the black people who had gathered around the square started to shout: “Free Carl Lee! Free Carl Lee!”

“Shut up, you wild niggers!” Stump screamed back. “Shut up, you animals!” His men stood facing him, with their backs to the screaming crowd. Ozzie and six deputies moved between the groups.

As the photographers and TV reporters moved in circles, trying to record everything that was happening, no one noticed a small window on the third floor of the courthouse. It opened slowly, and from the darkness a fire-bomb was thrown. It landed perfectly at Stump’s feet and exploded. Immediately, the Klan leader’s long white robe went up in flames. Stump Sisson was having his five minutes of fame.

The violence which followed the fire-bomb was the worst there had ever been in the small town. Blacks and whites fought with their hands, sticks, and knives, not stopping until Ozzie Walls and his deputies fired their guns in the air. When things became quieter, Ozzie went to the Town Hall. He asked the leader of the town council to contact the Governor. He wanted the National Guard to be called in. As sheriff he felt the situation was out of control, and he needed the army to help keep order. Clanton had seen nothing like it before.


Jake, Ellen Roark, Harry Rex, and Lucien spent the rest of the week preparing for the trial. They had two main jobs.

The first was to find the people who would make the best jury for Carl Lee. They studied the list of names again and again, trying to decide which ones to choose. They knew that Buckley would look for an all-white jury that would find Carl Lee guilty. They needed to get some black people on the jury - but they also knew it would be difficult because there were so few blacks in Clanton. The second job was to prepare Carl Lee’s insanity defense. This was Ellen’s responsibility.

By the end of the week, Jake knew the names and life histories of every person on the jury list, and Ellen had given him a thick file which contained everything he needed to present a strong insanity defense. He knew that he should feel confident, but he became more and more nervous as the first day of the trial came nearer.

Maybe it was the burning crosses that the Klan had put outside the houses of twenty of the people whose names were on the jury list. Maybe it was the late nights he was spending with Lucien, Harry Rex, and Ellen - and the large amounts of alcohol they all seemed to be drinking. Maybe it was just the fact that this was the biggest, most important trial he had ever worked on, that he had very little money, that his wife and daughter had had to leave town, and that his wife was still not speaking to him.


On the morning of Monday, July 22, the day they were going to choose the jury, Jake woke up in his office before the sun, feeling terrible after another late night and too much whiskey. Harry Rex came early with breakfast. Jake could not eat his, so Harry Rex ate for the two of them. Ellen arrived a little later, dressed in a dark gray suit. Harry Rex told her that it was the first time she looked like a lawyer.

As the sun rose, the National Guard started to move around the court building. Soldiers stood at each corner of the courthouse square, watching the groups of reporters, black people, and Klan members who had started to arrive. As soon as they saw the white masks, the black people started to shout: “Free Carl Lee! Free Carl Lee!”

The Klan replied by screaming back, “Fry Carl Lee! Fry Carl Lee!”

Soldiers carrying guns ran across the square and stood between the two groups.

By the time the buses carrying the possible jury members arrived, Jake felt terrible. When he was still a young lawyer, Lucien had told him to make friends with fear because it would never go away. Lucien had also said that the jury always listened to a lawyer who was brave enough to be himself. Jake knew about the fear, but was not sure if he wanted to be himself- his head ached too much.

“How are you, boss?” Ellen asked.

“Ready, I guess. We’ll leave in a minute.”

“There are some reporters waiting outside. I told them you had dropped the case and left town.”

“Wouldn’t that be nice?”


Jury selection was a long and complicated process. One hundred and fourteen people had been asked to do their duty as citizens. The twenty who had had a burning cross in their yards were told that they need not stay. That left ninety-four names.

Each lawyer then had the right to interview each juror. Buckley began with a list of a thousand questions. When Noose stopped him at five o’clock, he had still not finished. He said he would finish in the morning.


The next day the sun rose quickly. A morning mist hung over the ground, wetting the boots of the soldiers outside the courthouse. By the time breakfast was served, the day was already hot and the soldiers had taken off their jackets and stood around in their pale green undershirts.

The black church leaders and their followers returned to their part of the square, and the Klansmen kept together on their side. It was 9 a.m. of Day Two.

Jake had a difficult job to do after Buckley’s three-hour questioning the day before. His first question showed that he wanted to simplify things.

“Ladies and gentlemen. Do any of you believe that the insanity defense should not be used in a murder trial?”

The possible jurors looked at each other, but no hands went up. Insanity! Insanity! The seed had been planted.

“If we prove that Carl Lee Hailey was legally insane when he shot Billy Ray Cobb and Pete Willard, is there a person here who cannot find him not guilty?”

The question was hard to follow - that was the way Jake wanted it. Again there were no hands. A few wanted to answer, but they were not sure how to.

Jake looked at them carefully. He knew that most of them were confused, but he also knew that for this moment every possible juror was thinking about his client being insane. He would leave them there.

“Thank you,” he said with all the charm he could manage. “I have no more questions.”

Buckley looked confused. He stared at the judge.

“Is that all?” Noose asked. “Is that all Mr. Brigance?”

“Yes, sir. These citizens look fine to me,” Jake said. The group was not at all acceptable to Jake - too white, too many women - but there was no sense repeating the same questions Buckley had asked.

Now that the list of possible jurors had been agreed, the next stage of jury selection could begin. Judge Noose and the lawyers left the courtroom and sat at the table in the judge’s office. Noose looked at his numbered list and then looked at his lawyers.

“Gentlemen, are you ready? Good. Since this is a murder case, each of you has the right to refuse to accept twelve of the jurors. Mr. Buckley, you must now give a list of twelve jurors to the defense. Please start with juror Number One and refer to each juror only by number.”

As they worked through the selection process, it became clear that Jake’s worst fears were coming true. Buckley repeatedly suggested white jurors who were clearly against Carl Lee. Jake could not say no to them all - twelve was the limit - so he found himself accepting people he knew would be against his client. And each time Jake offered one of the few jurors he really wanted, Buckley refused him or her. The numbers were on Buckley’s side. For every juror that Jake thought might be good for Carl Lee, Buckley had ten who would be against him.

When the last juror had been chosen, Judge Noose and the lawyers returned to their places. His Honor called the names of the twelve and they slowly, nervously made their way to the jury box. Ten women, two men,’ all white. The blacks in the courtroom looked at each other in disbelief.

“Did you pick that jury?” Carl Lee asked Jake.


Stump Sisson died on Tuesday night at the burns hospital in Memphis. Four people had now died as a result of the rape of Tonya Hailey: Cobb, Willard, Bud Twitty, and now Sisson. When the Klan member’s met in the woods that evening, they wanted revenge. Stump Sisson would be remembered.


Around midnight, Jake walked up and down his office and gave his opening speech for the hundredth time. Ellen listened. She had listened, objected, criticized, and argued for two hours. She was tired now. He did it perfectly. When he finished they went to the window and watched the lights being held by the blacks sitting in the darkness of the square.

They could hear laughter from the card games in the soldiers’ tents. There was no moon.

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