Watch The Last Appeal
- 1 hr 55 min
The Last Appeal is a heart-wrenching drama from 2016 directed by Rob Diamond. The movie revolves around a poor African-American man, Joseph (played by Jason Sims-Prewitt) who is falsely accused and convicted of murder. He is awaiting execution on death row in Louisiana. However, his case comes to the attention of a corporate lawyer, Matthew (played by John Eric Bentley), who has been searching for a pro-bono case to take on.
The movie begins with the murder of a white woman, Jennifer, in her home. Joseph, who is seen walking nearby with a white woman, becomes the prime suspect in the case. Despite the lack of evidence against him, Joseph's race and economic status make him an easy target for the cops. With the help of an eyewitness who saw a white man leaving the scene of the crime, Joseph maintains his innocence. However, the prosecution convinces the jury that Joseph is guilty, and he is sentenced to die on death row.
Matthew hears about Joseph's case and decides to take it on, hoping to prove his innocence before he's executed. Matthew's girlfriend Hillary (played by Kimberly Arland), who is also a lawyer, is skeptical of the case, but Matthew is determined to prove Joseph's innocence. He begins delving into the case, studying every document, and talking to anyone who was involved.
As Matthew prepares for the appeal hearing, he runs into several obstacles. The loudest of which is the stubbornness of the state prosecutor who refuses any cooperation. He meets Joseph's mother, Mrs. Jackson, who is still in shock about her son's conviction. She's uneasy about another lawyer trying because Joseph has had his hopes up only to have them crushed. However, Matthew gains her trust and tells her of his plan to take the case to the Supreme Court. Matthew persuades her that the only way to save her son's life is to fight until the end, no matter the cost.
Throughout the movie, tension arises as Matthew realizes that the case was more complicated than he thought. He discovers that the prosecution had withheld crucial evidence that would have exonerated Joseph. The police did not reveal the eyewitness testimony that saw a white man escaping the crime scene. The state had tampered with evidence and bribed witnesses. Furthermore, the judge at the original trial had a bias against Joseph, and the jury was coerced.
Over time, Matthew becomes heavily invested in Joseph's case as he uncovers the corrupt aspects of Louisiana's justice system. Along with Hillary and his team, he argues for Joseph in the Appeals Court. However, the state prosecutor is still hesitant to accept the new evidence and struggles to give up their win. The case gets complicated when the prosecutor threatens a witness, pushing her to recant her evidence. Defense attorney Hillary uses her wit to protect the witness, and she eventually agrees to testify.
Matthew's efforts pay off when the Appeals court sees the new evidence and declares Joseph's conviction null and void. But the State governor ordered a re-trial, which was a shock to Matthew and his team. Meanwhile, Joseph is troubled by his conscience, feeling guilty about his situation. Joseph is later told by the lawyer to use his faith in God to overcome his guilt and endure the storm, not lose hope, and keep believing that God would fight his battles.
The movie culminates in the final appeal hearing where Matthew and the state prosecutor present their cases to the judge. Joseph's case hangs in the balance as the judge reviews the evidence presented by both sides. The outcome of the trial determines whether Joseph is released or sent back to death row. The courtroom is filled with spectators waiting for the judge's verdict, and the tension is palpable.
The Last Appeal is a gripping movie that raises critical issues to the forefront of our justice system. It's an emotional journey that highlights the importance of fighting for justice and standing up against corruption. The movie shows how compassion, determination, and faith can overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles. It serves as a reminder that everyone, regardless of their race, ethnicity, or economic status, deserves a fair trial and a chance at justice.
The Last Appeal is a 2016 drama with a runtime of 1 hour and 55 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.3.