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NEBAB, JENUAREE G.

3-B
LEGAL COUNSELING AND SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY
REACTION PAPER IN
MY COUSIN VINNY
The movie was released in my birth year which is 1992 so the
movie was as old as me. Classic muscle cars and good old songs
was the first thing that attracted my interest in watching the movie.
The setting was a small town in Alabama where you hardly see
establishments and the main characters were from New York. You
can just imagine the reactions of Yankees being stranded to places
like Alabama.
The story started when Bill and Stan shopped at sac-o-suds
and Bill forgot to pay the canned tuna which he placed in his
pocket. The combinations of the characters were very odd which
made the story more attention-grabbing. Obviously, they were good
guys because they never intended to steal the canned tuna and it
was just a bad luck that they matched the description of the real
suspects in killing the clerk at the sac-o-suds.
I was very amused by Stan because he was the panic guy in
the story. When Bill told him about the tuna, he was very terrified
of being arrested for shoplifting. And when they were followed by a
police car, he got even more scared and started mumbling and
blaming Bill.
Bill was the cool one in the story. He took the situation very
composed and tried to calm Stan because he know the crime he did
was light, not intentional and no grave damage was done. He only
started panicking when he learned that he was not just arrested for
shoplifting but for first degree murder and Stan as an accessory in
aiding him.
Technically speaking there was a grave error made by the
arresting officer because the officer never informed Stan and Bill of
the reason for their arrest and specially their rights. Even the

sheriff made a mistake in questioning Stan and Bill. If they only


knew in the first place that it was a murder, Bill couldnt have
admitted that he did. Even Stan and Bill had a fault for their
imprisonment because they didnt tell the officers what they are
confessing about. It was the crime of shoplifting not murder. It was
a total misunderstanding.
The evidence presented by the Sheriff of Bills statement that
I shot the clerk was a mistake. I shot the clerk!? and I shot the
clerk. had a very dissimilar meanings. To be precise, Bill uttered
the first. It was a question not a declarative statement. The sheriff
said it wrong.
Then theres Bills cousin Vinny: A newly passed lawyer who
had no experience yet in court and doesnt know the proper
decorum in court. Stan and Bill couldnt afford a lawyer so they
were forced to hire Vinny. Clearly, Stan, who was freaked out
doubted Vinnys ability to defend them because of the latters
background. If I was charged for murder, I wouldnt hire a newly
passed lawyer who took the bar 6 times and had never appeared in
court. It was indeed a gamble for Bill and Stan.
Vinny did a bold move when he lied about his credentials to
the judge just to impress the latter. If he was caught, he could be
disbarred. Well at least he was able to practice for 6 weeks. Vinny at
first screwed up with his attire, blew up the arraignment, cited for
contempt and sent to jail twice. Because of this, Stan was forced to
hire another attorney. Too bad for Stan, he hired a worse one. His
new counsel gets nervous and couldnt talk properly when already
in front of the judge and the jury. I hope this wouldnt happen to me
on my first appearance in court even when the judge was
intimidating as the judge in the movie.
The funny parts of the movie were the troubled sleep of Vinny
at dawn. They were very unfortunate in finding a place to sleep.
When you practice law, you will face many distractions and as for
Vinny, his sleepless nights. Another funny part was when his fianc
read about disclosure of evidences in the book of Rules of Procedure
in Alabama Court that was given to Vinny by the judge. He even
went hunting with the DA so that he could have a grip with the
evidences against his clients when in fact, he was entitled to them.
A lesson for all is that it pays to read and know the rules.

They were losing and Bill started to visualize himself in the


electric chair already. In Alabama, death through electric chair was
the penalty waiting for Bill if they lose the case. Vinny needed a
push so Lisa encouraged Vinny and told him that the life of the two
innocent youths was the issue and their marriage will be at stake if
he didnt do better. Finally, Vinny gained his momentum and
crushed the evidences against his clients one by one. I admired the
cleverness of Vinny in convincing the jury of the innocence of his
clients. The highlight of the trial for me was the testimony of Lisa as
an expert witness. They totally nailed it. The prosecution had no
other choice but to withdraw the charges against Stan and Bill.
Stan and Bill were fortunate for being arrested in Alabama and
tried by the courts that practice fast phased trials. If they were tried
by the Philippine courts, they could be still in jail right now. This is
the problem with the justice system of the Philippines; the very slow
progress of cases which lead to the walking away of criminals and
the imprisonment of innocent ones.
The movie teaches us that you have to love what you are doing,
have some respect and confidence to yourself. You have to believe
you can do it because the welfare of your clients depends on you.
Also, you have to make smart choices and sound decisions to avoid
consequences that are detrimental to you or your clients because
the clients are bound by the acts of the lawyers.
By doing better in your profession, you will gain the respect of
the people around you and obliterates the doubts they have against
you. Never be afraid to ask help or never decline a hand that is
willing to help. Remember that no man is an island and one cannot
die from lowering his ego. Everybody needs help, even Batman
needs Robin.
Overall, the movie was great.

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