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Arthur Kirkland is a principled and dedicated Baltimore-based defense attorney. He stands up for what he believes in, and as such has spent time in jail for contempt for what he believed was the unfair treatment by the judge, Henry Fleming, for his innocent client, Jeff McCullaugh. It is thus well known that Arthur hates Fleming. It is because of that public knowledge that Fleming requests Arthur to be his defense attorney when he is charged with the violent rape of Leah Shepard. Due to circumstances, Arthur has no other option but to take Judge Fleming's case. As the case progresses, the judicial system around Arthur seems to be crumbling. His law partner, Jay Porter, is slowly falling apart due to the guilt associated with the actions of guilty clients for who he got acquittals. Judge Fleming still seems to be stalling on Arthur's request to review McCullaugh's case, McCullaugh who is still in prison, where he has been beaten and raped. In dealing with other issues, Arthur asks another colleague, Warren Fresnell, to handle the probation hearing for another of his clients, scared transvestite Ralph Agee; however, unknown to Arthur, Warren is more concerned with his billable time than he is in doing his colleague a favor. With all this happening around Arthur and evidence emerging that Fleming is indeed innocent of the charges against him, he is more determined than ever to see that justice is done, even for Fleming who he still hates. This goal is affected by the determination of the prosecutor, Frank Bowers, whose sole mission seems to be to see Fleming in jail as a figurative trophy on his mantelpiece, and the seeming self death wish of the presiding judge, Francis Rayford. Arthur uses as his ethical and legal touchstones his new girlfriend, Gail Patrick, a member of the legal ethics committee, and his paternal grandfather Sam, who raised him, is the reason that he became a lawyer, is his only surviving family member and who is slowly deteriorating from dementia.

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