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The Judge (2014)

Initial Release:
Director:
Starring:

09 October 2014
David Dobkin
Robert Downey Jr.
Robert Duvall

CANON/S APPLICABLE
A LAWYER SHALL UPHOLD THE CONSTITUTION, OBEY THE LAWS OF THE LAND
AND PROMOTE RESPECT FOR LAW OF AND LEGAL PROCESSES.
PLOT
Hank Palmer (Robert Downey Jr.) is a brilliant-ivy-league-school-educated but morally
shady lawyer who is well known for defending corrupt and guilty clients. Hank has an
estranged relationship with his family, especially with his father, Judge Joseph Palmer
(Robert Duvall). The story begun when Hank returned to his hometown upon learning that
his mother died. This return relived the tension between him and his father. Said tension
was due to the dislike of his father of his morally shady practice of law.
This tension erupted one morning when an argument between him and his father flared
up, prompting him to leave the town. However, he immediately went back as his father
was arrested for allegedly committing a hit-and-run. At first, his father was reluctant to
have his son as his counsel, only to concede later on that Hank is the best option he got.
The main argument to which the defense of the case rests is that Judge Palmer does not
remember what happened at the night of the accident. However, as the hearing of the
case goes, Judge Palmer suddenly remembered that on the night of the accident, he saw
the victim at a convenience store after which he tailed the victim (which was caught on
camera that he drove to the same direction the victim was driving). However, it was only
up to that part which he remembers.
ANSWER AGAINST THE CRITERIA FOR REVIEW AS PROVIDED BY THE
PROFESSOR
1. The main conflict presented was when Judge Palmer admitted to Hank that he
might have intentionally hit the victim. Notwithstanding, he still doesnt remember
the whole story. Upon learning this, Hank then convinced his father not to testify or
say anything which he is not entirely sure of, and warned his father of his conviction
should he refuse to follow him. This strategy was employ by Hank to make sure that
his father wont state in court that he might have intentionally hit the victim as Judge
Palmer relayed to him.
Another defense that Hank thought off was to state in Court that his father has
cancer which affects the sharpness of his memory. This defense strategy, however,
was greatly contested by his father because once this was admitted in Court, all the
case decisions he made in the past might be challenged on the ground of his
mental health.
The ethical issues presented in the movie are as follows:
1.1 The dilemma on choosing between Judge Palmers acquittal grounded on
the defense of the deterioration of his health which could possibly result to
appeal/overturning of the decisions on cases he made in the past OR his
conviction should he choose not to divulge the state of his health.

1.2 The dilemma to whether or not admit that he might have intentionally hit the
victim due to his anger.
The issues presented therefore portray/concern Canon 1 of the Code of
Professional Responsibility which states that A LAWYER SHALL UPHOLD THE
CONSTITUTION, OBEY THE LAWS OF THE LAND AND PROMOTE RESPECT
FOR LAW OF AND LEGAL PROCESSES.
2. The conflict was resolved when Hank was able to have his father testify in Court,
despite the latters refusal, to admit that hes suffering from memory loss due to
cancer. However, Judge Palmer admitted in Court that he might have wanted to
intentionally hit the victim.
The Jury found that on the crime of murder, Judge Palmer was found not guilty. On
the crime of voluntary manslaughter, Judge Palmer was found guilty.
3. I do not agree with the decision of the court on acquitting Judge Palmer on the
crime of Murder. In the Philippines jurisdiction, at least, I submit that the elements
of the Crime of Murder are present in the case. According to Article 248 of the the
Revise Penal Code :
Any person who, not falling within the provisions of Article 246 shall kill another,
shall be guilty of murder and shall be punished by reclusion temporal in its
maximum period to death, if committed with any of the following attendant
circumstances:
By means of inundation, fire, poison, explosion, shipwreck, stranding of a
vessel, derailment or assault upon a street car or locomotive, fall of an
airship, by means of motor vehicles, or with the use of any other means
involving great waste and ruin.
Intent can be established on the case due to the admission of Judge Palmer that he
might have intentionally hit the victim with his car.
Foregoing considered, I believe that the elements of crime of Murder being present
and there begin no exempting or justifying circumstances to acquit Judge Palmer of
the crime herein committed, Judge Palmer shouldve been convicted.
COMMENT/S
I admire the moral integrity of Judge Palmer on choosing his conviction against the
overturning of the cases he previously decided by admitting to the Court that he might
have committed the crime intentionally. Judge Palmer and his actions are the epitome of
moral integrity that a lawyer, a Court Judge, no less, should possess. He exemplified
Canon 1 of the Code of Professional Responsibility which provides that A LAWYER
SHALL UPHOLD THE CONSTITUTION, OBEY THE LAWS OF THE LAND AND
PROMOTE RESPECT FOR LAW OF AND LEGAL PROCESSES. He would rather choose
to suffer than sacrifice the moral integrity of the court and put it in a place where its
competence and integrity might be questioned and doubted.