In Florida, a elderly white female (Mrs. Stevens) is robbed at gun point by a black male youth, during the robbery she is shot and killed, witnessed by her husband (Mr. James Stevens). The assailant of the crime is described as a skinny black male, approximately six feet in height, aged 20 to 25 years of age.
Brenton Butler, a 15 year old black male is arrested, Butler is much younger and shorter than the criminal the police are looking for. However Butler is guilty of the crime of being black in the area of the crime scene, much like the crime of driving while black (DWB), which is utilized by the police as a pretext for making a traffic stop. Butler is placed in a patrol car and shown to the husband, who at that time makes a positive eye witness that Butler is the man who shot and killed his wife.
Butler is taken to the police station for interrogation without his parents being present or the aid of an attorney. The police tell him that he can have an attorney and that they will work on getting him one, but never act on it and continue to question Butler.
Butler is questioned by Detective Glover, who is a large stocky intimidating individual. Glover works on Butler, trying to get him to confess and to give the location of the pistol used in the crime. Butler who has committed no crime and has no knowledge of any gun, is taken by Butler into a section of woods near the crime scene. Alone in the woods with Butler, Detective physically assaults Butler, twice in the stomach and once in the face, this is documented by a medical doctor and later presented as evidence in the trial.
After Butler is not able to obtain a confession, another detective, Dwayne Darnell, is brought in to work on Butler. Detective Darnell prepares a written confession in his words (not Butler’s), and makes Butler sign the confession. This written confession becomes part of the evidence for the trial.
Patrick McGuinness and Ann Finnell from the public defenders office take up the case of Butler vs. the state of Florida. As the lawyers for Butler, they systematically destroy the case of the prosecution and their limited evidence produced for the trial, which mainly consist of the eye witness testimony from Mr. Stevens, the husband and the written confession that was obtained from the police after psychologically and physically torturing Butler…