Atticus chooses to defend Tom Robinson, a black man accused of raping a white woman, because he is standing up for his own sense of justice. He is one of the strongest lawyers in the town of Maycomb, and it is out of the ordinary for Atticus to offer his services to Tom Robinson. Because of his race and social status, many of the townspeople are already convinced of Tom Robinson's guilt. Atticus is standing up for what he views as right. He knew he could never live with himself if he didn't defend Tom Robinson. Though Tom Robinson is black, he is obviously innocent. Atticus could not allow any innocent man to be sent to jail - no matter their race. The things that are most important to Atticus are justice, restraint and honesty.