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Justice (2004)

 -  Drama  -  12 May 2004 (USA)
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Under pressure to accept a plea bargain resisted by a street-wise client, public defender Carter stands by his client, angering the judge, then his boss. At home, Carter's wife Sharice, a ... See full summary »

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Cast overview, first billed only:
Chief Public Defender Poole
Judge Bennett
T. Mychael Rambo ...
Joe Minjares ...
Amy Matthews ...
Kevin West ...
Ron 'C' Collier II ...
David Simmons ...
Officer Hegg
Jason Lausche ...
Officer Anderson
Clyde Lund ...
Judge Arthur
Joe Thomas ...
Gavin Lawrence ...
Kat Carrol ...


Under pressure to accept a plea bargain resisted by a street-wise client, public defender Carter stands by his client, angering the judge, then his boss. At home, Carter's wife Sharice, a socialite who grew up in the suburbs, chafes at the financial and personal strain of raising two young children in the inner city. Sharice pushes Carter to use her uncle's connections to get a job in a fancy downtown law firm. Carter agrees to leave the defender's office for a new job, though not to join a fancy law firm. Instead, following his conscience, he opens a law office in the inner city to fight against a criminal justice system that prizes efficiency over real justice. When Carter and his team of lawyers and activists launch a controversial direct action campaign targeting the court system, Sharice must decide whether to stay with her husband or take their two young children to the suburbs. Carter struggles to keep his family together, expand the direct action campaign, and survive a ... Written by Jujitsu Films, LLC

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


The time has come



Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive language, some sexuality and nudity


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Release Date:

12 May 2004 (USA)  »

Box Office


$740,000 (estimated)

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User Reviews

This is a must see for law school students!
16 July 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

A 10 for educational value, a 9 because of production value. The fact that it's not big budget doesn't discount the message, assuming you're willing to be educated.

"Justice" is about institutional racism in law enforcement & our judicial systems. After having the law school experience I was made acutely aware that a level of judicial & police racism still exists in 2005. It's not just political rhetoric. I'm sure if the "majority population" was willing to consume these types of movies, the budget would have been greater. Yet, that shouldn't matter if you're seeking to expand your understanding about the criminal procedure, and to understand why African Americans begin their analysis of criminal proceedings with skepticism concerning the racial motivations of the people in charge. It makes you aware why we have such a disconnect between blacks and whites in sensationalized trial outcomes.

Unfortunately - due it its narrow distribution, the folks that really need to see "Justice" (those in mainstream media, decision-makers, the guy next door, & leaders in the national debate on racism) probably won't see the film. "To Kill a Mockingbird" is still the preeminent "white" Law School Film Society Event being shown law students, which mistakenly imparts to students the subtle message that racism in law is a thing of the past! Even if these people mentioned do see the film, it will probably take more than this one film to "bring home" to them the continuing campaign to incarcerate African Americans (or at the very least burden them w/less civil rights by convicting them of felonies). After all, it's not the only film to highlight this subject.

As I viewed the film, everything I learned in law school about our racially-biased criminal justice system quickly unfolded before my eyes! For example: the deep rooted racially biased practices in the plea bargaining and DA's charging systems, unfair police procedure, judicial rulings, etc., are all portrayed in simple fashion for the viewer. It doesn't address why this occurs, nor does it delve into whether the "bad actors" are intentionally engaging in such practices or just going along w/the system to blend in/survive. But it shows that it still exists...and it shouldn't really matter why.

Roger Smith gave a convincing performance in the lead role as a criminal defense attorney helping African American defendants against the oppressive weight of the government. The film shows how our officials shamelessly dismiss/trample on defendant's rights in order to achieve calendar and resource efficiency, or promote their own hatred. The film shows the uphill battle of the lead character who was committed to change the system in his own way for the better of all people.

I applaud the producers of this film for making it. I wish American audiences more often could be exposed to the injustices depicted. It could help the majority class understand people of color, and maybe stand as a motivator to make changes instead of patently dismissing the fact that racism is still practiced today.

A "must see" for anyone seeking a position in the public defender's office. Bravo Black Starz!! Loved it! I've been thinking about this film all day.

5 of 7 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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