To Kill a Mockingbird Questions and Answers
by Harper Lee

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What evidence indicates that Tom Robinson is guilty or innocent in Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird?  

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David Morrison eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Well, first of all Tom isn't guilty; he's entirely innocent of the crimes for which he's been charged. The only reason he's been hauled in front of a court on these trumped-up charges is because of the color of his skin. A white woman has accused him of rape and assault, and as far as most people in Maycomb are concerned, that's enough "evidence" to show that he's guilty.

Even when Atticus demonstrates that it was physically impossible for Tom to have committed the crimes for which he's been charged, the jury—with one exception—still votes to find him guilty. Due to an injury sustained when he was a child, Tom's left arm is twelve inches shorter than his right arm. Because of this, he can't use his injured left arm, and his left hand is shriveled.

Yet Mayella Ewell claims that this was the hand that Tom used to beat her up. But when Atticus asks Tom to stand up in court and show everyone his hand, it's obvious to anyone with eyes that he couldn't have done anything with it. But because...

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