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A Time to Kill (1996) Poster

Quotes

Jake Tyler Brigance: [in his summation, talking about Tonya Hailey] I want to tell you a story. I'm going to ask you all to close your eyes while I tell you the story. I want you to listen to me. I want you to listen to yourselves. Go ahead. Close your eyes, please. This is a story about a little girl walking home from the grocery store one sunny afternoon. I want you to picture this little girl. Suddenly a truck races up. Two men jump out and grab her. They drag her into a nearby field and they tie her up and they rip her clothes from her body. Now they climb on. First one, then the other, raping her, shattering everything innocent and pure with a vicious thrust in a fog of drunken breath and sweat. And when they're done, after they've killed her tiny womb, murdered any chance for her to have children, to have life beyond her own, they decide to use her for target practice. They start throwing full beer cans at her. They throw them so hard that it tears the flesh all the way to her bones. Then they urinate on her. Now comes the hanging. They have a rope. They tie a noose. Imagine the noose going tight around her neck and with a sudden blinding jerk she's pulled into the air and her feet and legs go kicking. They don't find the ground. The hanging branch isn't strong enough. It snaps and she falls back to the earth. So they pick her up, throw her in the back of the truck and drive out to Foggy Creek Bridge. Pitch her over the edge. And she drops some thirty feet down to the creek bottom below. Can you see her? Her raped, beaten, broken body soaked in their urine, soaked in their semen, soaked in her blood, left to die. Can you see her? I want you to picture that little girl. Now imagine she's white.

Jake Tyler Brigance: We're going to lose this case, Carl lee. There are no more points of law to argue here. I want to cope a plea, maybe Buckley will cop us a second degree murder and we can get you just life in prison.

Carl Lee Hailey: Jake, I can't do no life in prison. You got to get me off. Now if it was you on trial...

Jake Tyler Brigance: It's not me, we're not the same, Carl Lee. The jury has to identify with the defendant. They see you, they see a yardworker; they see me, they see an attorney. I live in town, you live in the hill.

Carl Lee Hailey: Well, you are white and I'm black. See Jake, you think just like them, that's why I picked you; you are one of them , don't you see?. Oh, you think you ain't because you eat in Claude's and you are out there trying to get me off on TV talking about black and white, but the fact is you are just like all the rest of them. When you look at me, you don't see a man, you see a black man.

Jake Tyler Brigance: Carl Lee, I'm your friend.

Carl Lee Hailey: We ain't no friends, Jake. We are on different sides of the line, I ain't never seen you in my part of town. I bet you don't even know where I live. Our daughters, Jake; they ain't never gonna play together.

Jake Tyler Brigance: What are you talking about?

Carl Lee Hailey: America is a war and you are on the other side. How's a black man ever going to get a fair trial with the enemy on the bench and in the jury box?. My life in white hands? You Jake, that's how. You are my secret weapon because you are one of the bad guys. You don't mean to be but you are. It's how you was raised. Nigger, negro, black, African-american, no matter how you see me, you see me different, you see me like that jury sees me, you are them. Now throw out your points of law Jake. If you was on that jury, what would it take to convince you to set me free? That's how you save my ass. That's how you save us both.

Ellen Roark: Do you want me to stay?

Jake Tyler Brigance: Yeah, I want you to stay. So you'd better go.

D.A. Rufus Buckley: Mr. Haley, before you *stepped outside of yourself* and watched yourself shoot Mr. Willard and Mr. Cobb, were you aware that' if convicted, they could be free in ten years?

Carl Lee Hailey: Yes sir. I've heard some people say that. Yes sir.

D.A. Rufus Buckley: Do you think men who kidnap a child should be free in 10 years?

Carl Lee Hailey: No sir.

D.A. Rufus Buckley: Do you think two men who rape a child should be free in 10 years?

Carl Lee Hailey: No sir.

D.A. Rufus Buckley: Do you think two men who hang a child should be free in 10 years?

Carl Lee Hailey: No sir.

D.A. Rufus Buckley: Well what do you think should happen? What would be a fair sentence?

Jake Tyler Brigance: Objection!

D.A. Rufus Buckley: Did they deserve to die, Mr. Hailey? Answer that!

Carl Lee Hailey: Don't answer that Carl Lee!

D.A. Rufus Buckley: Do you think they should deserve to die?

Carl Lee Hailey: Yes, they deserved to die and I hope they burn in hell!

Sheriff: [to rapists] If I get any trouble outta you guys, I'm gonna integrate this jail.

Jake Tyler Brigance: I need a drink.

Lucien Wilbanks: At three o'clock in the afternoon? What would your wife think?

Jake Tyler Brigance: I'm my own man, Lucien. I drink when I want to.

Lucien Wilbanks: When did she leave town?

Jake Tyler Brigance: This morning.

Carl Lee Hailey: Looney? Dwayne? I made Ozzie bring me. Shit, Dwayne. We knowed each other since childhood. It's my fault. No matter what gets said in court. I knew what I was doing, and I sure didn't intend to hurt you, but just them two boys. I know it don't mean much now, but I'm sorry.

Carl Lee: Ask if he thinks I should go to jail.

Jake Tyler Brigance: Carl Lee, they amputated his leg because you shot him. He's the prosecution's witness.

Carl Lee: You're my lawyer ain't ya? Ask him.

Jake Tyler Brigance: Your Honor, one question.

Judge Omar Noose: Make up your mind, Mr. Brigance.

Jake Tyler Brigance: Deputy Looney, do you think Carl Lee shooting you was intentional?

Deputy Dwayne Powell Looney: No sir. It was an accident.

Carl Lee: Ask him!

Jake Tyler Brigance: Do you think he should be punished for shooting you?

Deputy Dwayne Powell Looney: No, sir. I hold no ill will toward the man. He did what I would have done.

Jake Tyler Brigance: What do you mean by that?

Deputy Dwayne Powell Looney: I mean, I don't blame him for what he did. Those boys raped his little girl.

D.A. Rufus Buckley: Objection, your Honor! The witness's opinion on this matter is irrelevant.

Jake Tyler Brigance: Your Honor, I belive Deputy Looney has earned the right to speak here today.

Judge Omar Noose: Overruled. Continue.

Jake Tyler Brigance: Go ahead, Dwayne.

Deputy Dwayne Powell Looney: I got a little girl. Somebody rapes her, he's a dead dog. I'll blow him away just like Carl Lee did.

D.A. Rufus Buckley: Objection your Honor!

Jake Tyler Brigance: Do you think the jury should convict Carl Lee Hailey?

Judge Omar Noose: Don't answer that question.

Deputy Dwayne Powell Looney: He's a hero. You turn him loose.

Judge Omar Noose: The jury will disregard...

Deputy Dwayne Powell Looney: Turn him loose!

D.A. Rufus Buckley: Your honor, you silenced that witness!

Deputy Dwayne Powell Looney: You turn him loose!

Jake Tyler Brigance: What is it in us that seeks the truth? Is it our minds or is it our hearts?

Jake Tyler Brigance: And until we can see each other as equals, justice is never going to be even-handed. It will remain nothing more than a reflection of our own prejudices.

Lucien Wilbanks: If you win this case, justice will prevail, and if you lose, justice will also prevail. Now that is a strange case.

Jake Tyler Brigance: There ain't nothin' more dangerous in this world than a fool with a cause...

Ellen Roark: Ever seen a man executed?

Jake Tyler Brigance: No.

Ellen Roark: What I suggest is you go to an execution, and see a man be killed. You watch him die, and you watch him beg!

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Jake Tyler Brigance: I am a liberal Row-Ark. What I am not is a card-carrying ACLU radical.

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Lucien Wilbanks: It ain't easy saving the world, even one case at a time.

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Carl Lee: America is a wall, and you're on the other side.

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Jake Tyler Brigance: I can't be you, Lucian.

Lucien Wilbanks: Don't be me, Jake. Be better than me.

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Lucien Wilbanks: I can not promise you riches. What I can offer you the chance to save the world one case at a time.

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Jake Tyler Brigance: If this is a party, boys, where's the chips and beer? Otherwise, your being here seems a bit like illegal client solicitation, what with Carl Lee already having a lawyer and all.

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Lucien Wilbanks: You wanted this case, well you've got it. It isn't easy saving the world even one case at a time, but you stick with it. You just might have a knack for it. Don't do what I did. Don't quit.

Jake Tyler Brigance: What are you talking about, quit. You're a hero Lucien.

Lucien Wilbanks: Hero my ass. Do you think the world needed me beating cops heads on that picket line. I was needed here. In that courtroom. And I let them push me, I gave them an excuse to kick me out and now I can never plead a case in there again. But you can. You're an attorney. Be proud. You job is to find justice no matter how well she may hide herself from you. So you go on in there and you do your job.

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Carl Lee Hailey: You're white, and I'm black. See Jake, you think just like them. That's why I picked you. You're one of them, don't you see? Oh, you think you ain't 'cause you eat in Claude's and you out there trying to get me off on TV talking about black and white. But the fact is you're just like all the rest of them. When you look at me, you don't see a man, you see a black man.

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[On Ellen Roark]

Harry Rex Vonner: Got to love the Lord for making things like that.

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Ellen Roark: Did I mention that my father's filthy rich and I'll be working for free?

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Ellen Roark: I keep thinking, what would Jake do? What would my father do? What would Lucien do?

Harry Rex Vonner: Well see, there's your problem. What you should be thinking is, what would Harry Rex do?

Ellen Roark: What would Harry Rex do?

Harry Rex Vonner: Cheat. Cheat like crazy.

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Harry Rex Vonner: Lucien, I thought you were dead.

Lucien Wilbanks: I'm trying.

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Ethel Twitty: Will you help an old lady to her car?

Lucien Wilbanks: You don't need any help, Ethel. But I'd be honored to escort you to your automobile.

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D.A. Rufus Buckley: Our society cannot condone men who take the law into their own hands.

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Ellen Roark: Ah. Ellen Roark, brilliant law student.

Harry Rex Vonner: Do with me as you will.

Ellen Roark: Looking forward to it.

Harry Rex Vonner: Okay!

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Deputy Dwayne Powell Looney: [to Jake] Didn't you defend Billy Ray Cobb a few years back?

Jake Tyler Brigance: What kind of case was it?

Deputy Dwayne Powell Looney: Caught him selling dope. Spent time in Parchman. Got out last year.

Jake Tyler Brigance: I think some Memphis lawyer handled that. Why do you ask?

Deputy Dwayne Powell Looney: Well, we picked him up for rape. Him and Pete Willard.

Jake Tyler Brigance: Who'd they rape?

Deputy Dwayne Powell Looney: You know Carl Lee Hailey?

Jake Tyler Brigance: Sure, I defended his brother Lester.

Deputy Dwayne Powell Looney: It was his little girl.

Jake Tyler Brigance: Little Tonya?

[Deputy nods]

Jake Tyler Brigance: How old's she?

Deputy Dwayne Powell Looney: She's ten.

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Carl Lee Hailey: What that Memphis doctor say about her?

Gwen Hailey: She's doing good. Her jaw is healing. She can't run and jump yet, but it won't be long.

Carl Lee Hailey: How about the other?

Gwen Hailey: There was too much damage. She ain't never gonna have kids.

Carl Lee Hailey: You know, I think about them too boys. Dead, buried, probably starting to rot. And I remember them walking into court... one proud, the other scared. I remember how they fell. One on top of the other, screaming and squirming and not going nowhere. God help me Gwen, but that's the only thought that give me comfort.

Gwen Hailey: They took up a collection for us at the church. Some kind of defense fund. Reverend Agee gave a good service. We need some money around the house, Carl Lee, for groceries and bills.

Carl Lee Hailey: How much you got?

Gwen Hailey: Less than 50.

Carl Lee Hailey: I'll think of something.

Gwen Hailey: How you think you going to get some money when you stuck in jail?

Carl Lee Hailey: Trust me Gwen.

Gwen Hailey: I just get scared.

Carl Lee Hailey: Look here, tell me exactly what Reverend Agee said when he passed around the collection plate.

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Jake Tyler Brigance: I don't know what to say.

Ethel Twitty: There's nothing you can say. I know you didn't want any of this to happen, but it happened all the same. You wagered all our lives on this. You just went ahead and did what you felt you had to do, no matter what the cost. Some folks think that's brave. Not me, Jake. Now, you may win, but I think we've all lost here.

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Freddie Lee Cobb: You can't blame a nigger for being a nigger, no more than you can blame a dog for being a dog. But a whore like you, co-mingling with mongrels, betraying your own. That makes you worse than a nigger. I'll tell you what I'll do. I'll leave you tied up here naked. First, it'll just be bugs eating at ya. One day, maybe two. That sun's gonna be cooking you. And animals... they're gonna pick on your stink. They'll come looking for something to eat.

Ellen Roark: Carl Lee Hailey should've shot you too.

[Freddie knocks her out]

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Sheriff: Freddie Lee Cobb! We got something to talk about. Hastings, you belong over there with them.

[shoves Hastings over to Freddie]

Sheriff: Get over!

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Tim Nunley: Sure am sorry about your brother, Freddie. Ol' Willard too... good boys both.

Freddie Lee Cobb: Ten years ago, that n*gger'd be hanging by the end of a rope with his balls in his mouth. Now you tell me what's wrong with this country.

Winston: Klan would know what to do.

Freddie Lee Cobb: My granddaddy, he was Klan.

Tim Nunley: Ain't been no Klan around here for years.

Winston: Ah they's still some boys around.

Tim Nunley: What you mean them skinheads that want to blow up the government?

Winston: No sir, good god-fearing Klan... I got a friend, used to be active, could give him a call.

Freddie Lee Cobb: You do that Winston. You tell them boys we need some Klan down here in Canton. And I mean right quick.

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Jake Tyler Brigance: Your Honor, we would request a recess until-

[Roark walks in and goes to Brigance]

Jake Tyler Brigance: No, we will not need a recess, Your Honor, but just a few moments.

Judge Omar Noose: Mr. Brigance, when you and Lois Lane are ready...

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Judge Omar Noose: Good afternoon, citizens. Be seated. Counsel. And you, sir, are you Carl Lee Hailey?

Carl Lee Hailey: Yes sir.

Judge Omar Noose: Mr. Hailey, I am holding a copy of an indictment returned by the grand jury of Mississippi presenting that "Carl Lee Hailey did murder Billy Ray Cobb, a human being, and James Willis Willard, a human being, and did attempt to kill Dwayne Looney, a peace officer, against the peace and dignity of the State of Mississippi. Do you understand the charges against you?

Carl Lee Hailey: Yes sir.

Judge Omar Noose: How do you wish to plead?

Carl Lee Hailey: [pause] Not guilty, Your Honor.

Jake Tyler Brigance: The defense enters a plea of not guilty by reason of insanity, Your Honor.

Judge Omar Noose: Your trial is set for July 22. All pre-trial motions and matters are to be filed no later than July 8. Is there anything further?

D.A. Rufus Buckley: Yes, Your Honor. In the response to the insanity plea, the state requests the defendant be examined by it's own doctors.

Judge Omar Noose: Granted

D.A. Rufus Buckley: Additionally, the state opposes any request for bail.

Jake Tyler Brigance: But Your Honor, we have not yet asked for bail. Now Governor Buckley cannot oppose a request until one is made. He should have learned that in law school.

D.A. Rufus Buckley: Your Honor, even Mr. Brigance's meager legal experience should have taught him two things; number one, I have not been elected governor... yet. And number two, he is required to request bail; the state opposes any such request.

Judge Omar Noose: Well in the future why don't we just wait until he makes the request?

[DA Rufus Buckley nods lightly with a slight smile]

Jake Tyler Brigance: Thank you Your Honor. Your Honor we would like to request bail.

Judge Omar Noose: [Quickly] Denied. I have never allowed bail in a capital murder case and I don't feel that an exception is called for today.

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