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You must remember that the events of To Kill a Mockingbird takes place in the Deep South during the 1930s. Jim Crow laws were still in effect, and there was no place for a black man to turn when it came to expectations of a fair trial in Alabama. There is no mention in the book of a possible change of venue due to excessive publicity, as many trials would be today. Judge John Taylor did make the nearly unprecedented decision to appoint Atticus as Tom's attorney instead of
... Maxwell Green, Maycomb's latest addition to the bar, who needed the experience. (Chapter 22)
Such a case would never reach trial today; in fact, it is likely Tom would never have been charged simply on the accusation made by Mayella's father, Bob Ewell. There were no other eyewitnesses, no doctor's affidavit, and no rape kit taken (since such a procedure had not yet been invented). Tom's trial is unusual only in that a black man is charged with raping a white woman--a scenario in which most black men would not allow themselves to be placed. Had such a case actually gone to trial today, most juries would clearly see what the Maycomb jury refused to see: that Tom's crippled arm prevented him from causing Mayella's injuries, and that the conflicting testimony presented by the Ewells is untruthful.
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