Synopsis by Hal Erickson
In 1931, nine young black drifters were arrested in Scottsboro, Alabama on the charge of gang-raping a white woman. Despite the flimsiness of the case and the questionable morals of the plaintiff, eight of the nine were sentenced to death by an all-white jury. The U.S. Supreme Court, sensing that the Scottsboro case was an example of racism run amok, reversed the decision. Arguing that the boys had not received proper council, the Court (in a landmark decision) demanded that the case be retried. The judge on the case is James E. Horton, a popular Decatur, Alabama jurist who places his career--and his life--on the line to see to it that the Scottsboro five are given a fair trial. Among the many iniquities arising from this hot-potato case was the utter vilification of the honest Horton by his former friends and associates; he died in 1973, a virtual pariah in his community. Arthur Hill stars as the judge in the made-for-TV Judge Horton and the Scottsboro Boys, which was written by John McGreevey and first telecast April 22, 1976.
capital-punishment, judge, racism, trial [courtroom]