What page does Atticus say he thinks that Tom Robinson is not guilty in To Kill a Mockingbird?

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litteacher8 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

When the men come to Atticus’s house because they are worried about his safety and the safety of his client, Atticus tells them he will not back down.  He says even in hard times people should accept that he needs work.  He is also determined to get his client his day in court, because he is innocent.

“Link, that boy might go to the chair, but he’s not going till the truth’s told.”

Atticus’s voice was even. “And you know what the truth is.” (Ch. 15, p. 195)

Atticus also explains to his children about the concept of reasonable doubt, and he says he will use that to help acquit his client.  As long as there is some doubt that the client is guilty, then a jury is not supposed to convict him.  That may be the legal truth, but when there is race involved it gets more complex.

Note: All book editions vary, but I have given you page numbers for the anniversary edition and the chapters, so you can find these quotes in your book.

At the trial, Atticus creates a defense based on the physical evidence of where the victim, Mayella Ewell, had injuries.  He tries to convince the jury that it was her father that hit her, because Tom Robinson is partially crippled and can’t use the arm he would have needed to use to injure Mayella.

“The state has not produced one iota of medical evidence to the effect that the crime Tom Robinson is charged with ever took place. It has relied instead upon the testimony of two witnesses whose evidence has not only been called into serious question on cross-examination, but has been flatly contradicted by the defendant. The defendant is not guilty, but somebody in this courtroom is. (Ch. 20, p. 271)

Atticus is convinced that his client is innocent.  Even after the guilty verdict, he tries to get Tom Robinson to appeal.  Robinson has lost his faith in the legal system though.  He commits suicide by jumping over the fence, trying to escape from prison.  He did not believe that another trial would have any different result that the first one.

Read the study guide:
To Kill a Mockingbird

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