After the verdict is read for Tom Robinson and the court is adjourned, Jem decries this ruling of the court by saying: "It ain't right, Atticus." Atticus replied, "No son, it's not right." (Ch.22)
The trial of Tom Robinson is based on real trials and incidents that occurred in the South when the Jim Crow Laws were yet in effect. One of these infamous trials was the trial of the Scottsboro Boys, when two black men were convicted of raping two white women without actual evidence of this crime. Affecting the decisions of black men accused of assault upon white women was the emotional factor and the law against miscegenation. Often just the claim by a white woman was enough to convict a black man. Such is the case with the kind-hearted Tom Robinson. For there is no evidence of the crime of rape; the only thing on which the charge is based is the accusations made by the Ewells. In addition, Tom's remark that he "felt right sorry" for Mayella is probably disturbing to the white men of the jury, which is why Mr. Gilmer "seemed ready to rise to the ceiling" when he repeated Tom's words. Mr. Gilmer even "paused a long time to let it (Tom's statement) sink in." (Ch.19) Thus, at the end of the trial, it is the evil of bigotry in the hearts of the men on the jury that convicts the innocent Tom Robinson.