Saint Judy (2018) - full transcript

The true story of immigration attorney Judy Wood, and how she single-handedly changed the U.S. law of asylum to save women's lives. - stop by if you're interested in the nutritional composition of food
Subtitles by explosiveskull

Ah, you're a godsend, Judy.

I thought yesterday
was your last day.

Apparently not.

What the hell
are you doing here?

I wanted to squeeze one more in.

You should have
your head checked.

Introduce me.

Your Honor, a notice of
appearance for my co-counselor.

Judy Wood.

The court so notes.

You at least want to know
what the prosecution said

during their opening statement?


I hope you know
what you're doing.

You're gonna be fine.

May it please the court.

Ladies and gentlemen,
this case,

above all other things,
this case is about love.

Oh, sweet Jesus.

Actually about grand theft auto.

It will be my job
to tell you about Lonan.

Growing up fatherless
with an alcoholic mother,

working two jobs,
so he could put his two sisters

and brother through college.

Now thanks to Lonan's
generosity and selflessness,

his brother, Mohan,
is an engineer,

and his sister, Ela,
is a teacher,

and the youngest, Nashota,
is pre-med.

Now, Lonan will tell you

so that he could
have a life,

a life like he'd given
his siblings,

he made one simple mistake.

All right. Your Honor,
we'd like a side bar.

Did you just interrupt
defense's opening statement?

I don't think she's gonna mind.

We've got a pretty good
plea deal lined up.

Gabriella, I know
it's not ideal,

but you'll see your son
before he leaves for college.

Six years is three-and-change
if you don't screw it up.

And I know you won't do that
to your family.

Good, good, good.

You don't know when to quit.

And don't even think about
giving Zapato to Roger.

It's his third strike,

and Roger couldn't acquit
the Dalai Lama.

What did I say to you
on your first day?

I know, but it's
my last day, so...

All right, I gotta go.

Good seeing you.


Good talk!

See you around, kiddo.

- Hey.
- Hey, sweetie.

That's cute.

They spelled California wrong.


Well, onwards and upwards,

- Right.
- All right, hold on.

- You ready to do this?
- Yes.

Limbs in? All right.

- I'm so excited.
- You're excited?

I like your spirit.


It doesn't matter.


If we drive all night,
I'm gonna throw up.

If we don't drive all night,
your father's gonna divorce me.


I'm pretty sure
you can't get divorced

if you're already divorced.

Why are we doing this again?

Your father
gets shared custody.

So LA, here we come.


Do you have any idea
where we're going?

At all?

Lock the door.


I'm Judy Wood.

I'm looking for 123 and a half.

That's my kid.

We're new here.

Looks like you found it.


You need some help, Judy Wood?

Yes, I need help.

Where's my room?

Uh, right.

Well, check this out.

Here we go.


Just until I get
my first paycheck, all right?

We're not even gonna unpack.

Yes, thank you so much.

I start at
an immigration firm tomorrow.

- Mom!
- We look illegal or something?

No, but I sure should hope
you know a few.

Yeah, our cousins,
brothers, uncles, nephews.

Appreciate your help.

I'll see you
in the neighborhood.

Judy Wood here to see
Ray Hernandez.

Ms. Wood?

Ray Hernandez.

Nice to meet you.

Very nice to meet you too.

So, 36% win rate
as a criminal defender.

You got any prosecutors
in New Mexico?

Different ballgame here, honey.

But your old boss said I'd be
a fool not to snap you up.

So what do you know
about immigration law?

No, wait, don't answer that.
I don't want to suborn perjury.

Welcome to
your new corner office.

And when you start
booking your own clients,

maybe we can reassess.

But in the meantime,

let me introduce you
to your new best friend.

That's the sound
I want to hear,

like the gavel
at the end of a hearing.

We've got to keep
the lights on here,

and everybody pays up front.

Follow me.

I don't have time
to be your mentor,

but real cases
are always the best teacher.

Dealer's choice.

Asefa Ashwari,

national of Afghanistan,

entered on a counterfeit visa...

Hold it right there.

I have just the remedy
for a case like this.

"Voluntary removal."

But she wants to stay.

Well, I want a yacht.

This is a magic pill.

Gives the subject two months
to clear up their affairs,

then they can go back home.

Okay, there might be something
else here that I'm missing,

so maybe I'd like to speak
to Miss Ashwari

before she signs.

Well, Lancaster's beautiful
this time of year.

Just get her signature.

Guess what.

I'm meeting
my first client today.

I want cereal.


- Stop it.
- Never.


Miss Ashwari?

I'm Judy Wood,
your new attorney.

Ray Hernandez
referred your case to me.

He suggests that you opt
for a voluntary removal,

but I have a few questions
about your case

before you do that.

If you accept my services,
I need you to sign this form.

Miss Ashwari?

Mr. King?

Who's your client?

Asefa Ashwari.

I need her A number,
on the Notice of Appearance.

Asefa Ashwari.

Are you aware of her condition?

Your client was medicated

because she was
a danger to herself.

She needs to be unmedicated and
transferred out for treatment.

She is not competent
to assist in her defense.

- Miss...
- Wood.

I take it
you're new to practice.

I've been a public defender
for 10 years.

Well, Miss Wood,
this isn't a criminal trial.

Your client's not accused.

She doesn't have
those protections.

The burden of proof is on her.

In here, you're guilty
until proven innocent.

So to be clear,
she's not a criminal,

so you're treating her
worse than a criminal.

No, we're trying to remove her
from the country.

So you're trying to ship them
out as quickly as possible.

Your client has been at
this facility for over a year.

Or didn't you know that,


Well, you got that right.
Very good.

I just saw Asefa.

- Who?
- Asefa Ashwari, national...

Oh, yeah, yeah, sad case.
Sometimes you gotta move on.

She doesn't know where she is
or what's happening.

When did you say
you last talked to her?

Yes, sir, well, you know,
that's a testament

- to who we are...
- Ray.

and how we do business.

- Ray!
- That's right, absolutely.


Yes, sir.

That sounds absolutely fine.


Judy! Judy!

Judy! Judy!

Judy! Judy! Judy!

Judy! Judy! Judy! Judy!

She's a teacher.

- Miss?
- Wood.

What brings you back,
Miss Wood?

I'm serving you.

Los Angeles County
Superior Court.

What's this,
a habeas corpus petition?

For her medical record

and assessment
by independent expert.

This is a woman
of accomplishment,

nothing like the person
I met yesterday.

All this shows me,
Miss Wood,

is that you found
the one California judge

who doesn't understand
federal jurisdiction.

Which your plucky team
of fired-up attorneys

can explain in detail
at the hearing.

Who's your expert?

What are we doing here?

Helping somebody who needs us.
It's what we do.

Can I get a taco?

Keep the door locked.

Mr. Mustafa.

Mr. Mustafa.

Dikembe Mustafa.

No English.
We are closed.

You have a doctorate
in clinical psychology

from Cambridge.



You petitioned for a variance
on the work visa quota

for mental health professionals
from Africa.

Ray Hernandez
started the process,

then asked for more money,

which you can't get
without a work permit.

It's a hell of a Catch 22.

That is a good case summary,

but I don't deal with
scumbag lawyers anymore.

Here's your work visa.

I got it approved.

How can I be of assistance?

I am Dr. Mustafa.

I have come here to help you.

That is no good for you.

Your instincts were right.

This is a clear case
of custodial overkill.

There's no justification
for those dosages.

- Good.
- No, it is bad.

No, but it's good
for our case.

What next?

No more Clozapine.
No more Benzodiazepines.

Slowly, we take
everything away.


Wait for the drugs to
metabolize out of her system.

We'll see if anyone is home.

And you're saying?

We'll just have to be patient.

That is all we can do.

How can I help you?

You remember this guy?

I invite you into my home.
I feed you off my table.

What do I have to show for it?
These are complicated cases.

I can handle them.

Registered mail, photocopying,
Lexis, and Westlaw.

It all costs.


Dad! Dad!

Dad! Dad!

- Stay back!
- Dad!

Stay back!

- Stop, stop.
- Dad!

Stay back! Stay back.

You guys meeting someone?

My husband.

What's his name?


If your husband does get
sent back to Honduras,

it's likely he will be
persecuted by the secret police

because he's a journalist.

If we can prove that,

then we have a very good case
for asylum.

No one's ever explained it to me
like that before.

Judy, I have some friends.

I'm not promising anything,
but I'll do my best.

Judy, gracias.

Of course.

I'm Judy Wood.
I'm an immigration lawyer.

If there's anything
that you need help with...

Judy, come here.

This is Asefa's uncle, Omar.


Omar is a highly valued client
with a very promising case.

We're hoping for some
excellent news very soon.

Judy's here to fill me in

on the progress
with Miss Ashwari,

who I referred to Ms. Wood
because of her...

...unique skill set.

Ms. Wood, have you seen Asefa?
How is she?


Judy, we need to talk.
Would you excuse us, Omar?

Yes, of course, please.

Mommy! Mommy!

You wanted clients,
here they are.

I got a phone call about you
from the detention center.

I have them on the run.

You embarrass this office, Judy.

You embarrassed me.

You don't serve an ICE officer.

You're supposed to go
through the proper channels!

It worked though, didn't it?

You were there
to introduce yourself,

to learn the ropes,

to show them you're someone
they can work with.

I work for my clients, Ray.

You can't take these kind of
risks on a case you won't win.

Ask the hundreds of lawyers
who have wasted their time

on cases just like this.

You never talked to her.

- Excuse me?
- You never talked to her.

You don't know
anything about her.

Of course I didn't talk to her.
The woman's catatonic.

She was a schoolteacher, Ray.
She taught girls.

You know how I know that?
Take a guess.

You can't help her.

I know I can.

I have seen
that detainee register,

and I have walked that yard,

and there are
a thousand women just like her.

Have you ever read
this book, Judy?

Have you read this one?

Don't give them false hope.

You know, you're not
qualified for this.

You hired me.

You cannot change
the world, Judy.

It won't do you or them
any good.

Trust me.
I've been down that path.

Clearly not that far.

This was a big mistake.

You're firing me.

That's right.

And take your clients with you.

Please don't let them
deport her.

She'll die if she goes back.
You have to save her.

I'm trying.

- Judy Wood.
- Hey. Jenny.

- Nice to meet you.
- Nice to meet you.

Come on in.
I'll show you the space.

Great restaurant
across the street.

I think this place
will be perfect for you.

You'll just have to do
a little cleanup.

So first and last month's rent,
and it's yours.

I'll take it.

Okay, here we go.


- Mister...
- You can call me Parker.

- Parker?
- Yeah.

What is your interest
in immigration law?


Yeah, um...

Good. I, uh...

Personally, for me, I...

You know, um, uh...

P-Parents, my grandparents,
immigrants, you know.


Honestly, I...

I need an internship
to graduate,

so I can work at
my father's law firm.


Is that gonna be a problem?

Honestly, I just need
to be in Lancaster

in under an hour.

You don't say much.

That's because I'm listening.

Would you like me to read back
to you what I have so far?

"My name is Asefa Ashwari.

My father's a tribal leader.

I went to vocational school
in Pakistan,

and upon my return, I taught
at a school for girls..."

I started the school
for girls.

You started the school.

What happened
when the Taliban came?

I could marry Omar.

Then there wouldn't need
to be a trial.

He has a very good case.

- But he's your uncle.
- How will anyone know?

You have
attorney privilege, right?

And it wouldn't be
a real marriage.

You need to have your own case.

Asefa, you are smart enough
to do my job,

and once you testify,
they will beg you to stay,

but you must tell your story.

What happened?

We were walking to the school.

- We?
- The students...

and Nazeera,
the other teacher.

Usually we taught
in secret,

but not that day.

We walked in the street
to show them we were strong.

There were men there,
not from the village.

Some Taliban fighters arrived.

Take your time, Asefa.

They took me to jail.

How long were you there?

Were you questioned?

Were you beaten?

She doesn't know
how long she was held.

When she was released,

her friends smuggled her
across the border to Pakistan.

She fled to the US
and was living with her uncle,

when she was picked up by ICE.

We were able to obtain
her medical record.

She suffered a broken wrist,
bruised ribs, concussion,

injuries to the face,
loss of blood.

Miss Ashwari,
based on your testimony today...

I find sufficient evidence
to support your plea for asylum

based on a credible
fear of persecution.

I therefore refer your case
to a judge for trial.

I also order your release
from this detention facility.

Thank you.

We'll get you processed
as soon as possible.

Good luck, Miss Ashwari.

It's only gonna
get harder from here.

Even if a mountain is very high,
it has a path to the top.

Hello, this is Judy Wood.

Your son threw this
in a crowded room.

Someone could've been
seriously hurt.


What did you just tell him?

The truth and nothing
but the truth.

Did you throw this?

I need you to speak up.

You need to defend yourself.

No, I didn't throw it.

My son didn't do this.

There were witnesses.

Because whoever did do it

would never try to blame it
on the new kid.



That's the art room.

But this happened
in my son's regular classroom.

- That's right.
- It's Wednesday,

and my son has art
first thing after roll call.

So you claim my son
stole this at 9 a.m.

and then carried it
around with him

through math, lunch, PE,

to only throw it in the middle
of the class this afternoon?

I don't claim to know
what he was thinking.

Well, let's talk to Mr. Padilla,
his art teacher.

That is his name, isn't it?

Because if someone stole
his stapler this morning,

then he would have had
five classes in the interim,

and 200 students
is an awful lot of handouts,

and you think he might have
noticed it was missing.

Ms. Wood, I am not
starting this with you.

But you did start it with me.

Did you investigate
the incident at all?

I mean, at the very least,
we should speak to Mr. Padilla.

He has left for the day.

Then I will
come back tomorrow,

and I will question him
and anyone else

with knowledge of that matter.


There's no suspension.

There's nothing on his record.

My son's a good boy.

He's a wonderful boy.

If you bothered
to get to know him.


- Alex.
- What?

You can't just leave it
up to me like that.

You have to speak up
for yourself.

- I did.
- You should have tried harder.

She wouldn't believe me.

You've got to make them
believe you.

You know how these things work.

You have to fight
for everything.

You have to stand by the truth.

She believed you.

That is because
I didn't give up.

I'll never give up.

We're filing an I-130.

That will allow your husband
to stay in the country

with you and your children
for a while.

You being a lawful
permanent resident helps,

but it's not everything.

Uno momento.

Uh, no espanol hable.

Lo siento. Uh...

Uh, nosotros, filing,
you know...

J-J-Just stop, stop.
What are you trying to say?

The visa, the I-130.

Okay, just stop, I got this.


I failed Spanish and French.

You don't say.

Well, I also make
a mean posole, so...

I can, uh...

I could make it for you
sometime, if you, uh...

- Judy?
- Dikembe.


Hasta luego.

- Thank you.
- Here you are.

It's good to be a doctor again.

You're good at it.

Follow me. I have a case
from Sierra Leone,

a soldier suffering from PTSD.

No. Come here.

You must understand,
those people. I know them.

I've seen what they can do.

They are nothing but killers,
all of them.


What are you doing?
What are you...

My name is Dikembe.

What is yours?


- Okay? You understand?
- Sure.

Omar, did we have
an appointment?

No, and I'd like to know why.
We have a trial coming up.

You should teach Asefa
what to say.

Ray tells me what to say.

I believe it's not good
to sound over-rehearsed.

But you should be
preparing her.

And I will, as soon as
the government files motions.

I'd love to hear
how Asefa's doing.

Ask her yourself.


You're staring.

You're a completely
different person.

Thanks to you.

My mother gave this to me,
and I want you to have it.

It's beautiful.

Thank you.

I'm glad you came in.

I'm ready to get started
if you are.

- Thank you.
- Yes.

Trials are always hard.

We may get a tough judge,

and there will also be
government lawyers

trying to poke
holes in your story.

But she's not lying.
They can't prove that.

They don't have to.

The burden of proof is on us.

And we don't have
a clear-cut case.

And the Law of Asylum
only protects you

if you are part
of a persecuted group.

And, Asefa, you are Muslim,

and ethnically,
you are a Pashtun.

It's gonna be hard to prove
that you're a minority.

I'm gonna need to know
exactly what happened to you

that night in jail.

Omar, I'm gonna need you
to step out.

What was that?

Have your memories come back?


I'll do what I can, but at
trial, you'll have to testify.

It's like this all be
happening all over again.

Your famous silences.

Do you want me to read back
what I have so far?

Parker, you might strive to keep
the speed below the temperature.

Oh, no, these are kilometers.

No, they're not.

Oh. Oops.

You got me.

What's that?

Give 'em hell, guys.

Hear ye, hear ye.

Please be seated.

Ms. Wood, I have not
had the pleasure

of having you in my courtroom.

I see this is
your very first trial here.

It is, Your Honor.

Wanna know how I knew that?

Your Honor?

You're wearing perfume

in these close quarters,
in this heat.

If you have a chance
to try another case,

I hope you take that
under advisement.

Thank you, Your Honor.

Is your client ready?

Vinny, your cue.

Please stand.

Raise your right hand.

Do you swear to tell the truth,
the whole truth,

and nothing but the truth?

I do.

Be seated.

Asefa, what made you
want to be a teacher?

I wanted to teach girls.

Were girls normally taught
in your village?

No. They did not
want us to read.

They did not want us to think.

Who taught you
to read and think?

I learned to think on my own.

My mother taught me to read
in secret.

Objection, narrative.

Settle down, Benjamin.

Yes, Your Honor.

After you received
formal schooling,

why did you return
to your village in Afghanistan?

My mother was dying,
and I had to take care of her.

And after she passed,
why did you stay on?

My father was sad.

Let's talk about
your school for girls.

Did the village support it?

Objection, leading.

Okay, I'll shut up.

They did not support it.

They wouldn't let
the girls come.

Most days, we only
had two or three.

Did you receive any support
from the government?

The Taliban? No.

Asefa, what happened
on April 9th?

The students,
the other teacher, and I

walked to class together.

Why did you do that?

To show them we didn't care
what they thought.

And what happened then?

Some men
from outside the village

started throwing dirt.

Then the police came.

I was arrested.

You spent the night in jail?

I know. Calm yourself.

You spent the night in jail.

You must use words,
Miss Ashwari.


What's the next thing
you remember?

Waking up at the clinic.

Your witness.

Your Honor, if I may.

I have a few questions first.

Miss Ashwari, you loved
your mother very much.


That's why you returned
to your village.


You stayed on, you say,

because your father was sad
after her death.


You must love your father
very much.

I do.

You love your brothers?


And yet...

you apply for asylum
in the United States.

You must know
that if it is granted,

you will never see
any of them again.

Not your brothers,
not your father.

Yet you say you love them.

I do.
I'm going to visit them.


I hope to visit them someday

when there is no threat
of persecution.

Nice save, Ms. Wood.
You coached your client well.

Benjamin, you may proceed
with your cross.

Thank you, Your Honor.

Miss Ashwari, you were
very brave to testify today.

I thank you for keeping
your testimony truthful.

You don't remember everything
that happened that day, do you?

No, I don't.

Why is that?

Because I suffer from
post traumatic stress disorder.

You're not going to object
that she's not an expert?

I accept
Miss Ashwari's expertise

in the state of her own mind.

Miss Ashwari, now, you said that
men from outside your village

threw dirt at you.


Were those the same men
who arrested you?


They weren't police?

There were just random guys?

They weren't in uniform?


And the dirt they threw at you

was actually hard-packed
lumps of clay.


You testified
that you remember waking up

at the hospital the next day.

Do you remember your injuries?


You had injuries to your face,

bruised ribs,

and a concussion.


Any other injuries?

Do you remember anything
of the night you spent in jail?


Then how can you be sure
these injuries

were caused by the police?

You testify your PTSD
makes it hard

for you to remember that day.

Objection, badgering.

- Your Honor.
- Overruled.

Weren't all these injuries
caused not by the police,

but by those random men
who threw lumps at you?

No answer?

I have only
one more point to make.

Miss Ashwari,
do you remember your arrest?


You testified you were arrested
at a demonstration.

Yes. I was arrested because
I wanted everyone to know

that girls
should think for themselves.

Your Honor,


I draw your attention
to exhibit B,

the warrant for Asefa Ashwari's
arrest on April 9th.

Objection, Your Honor.

Prosecution hasn't shared
any of this evidence with me.


This is not a criminal court.

And those are not
the rules of evidence

in this courtroom, Ms. Wood.

My apology, Your Honor.
Apologies to counsel.

But this? This is not something
I could have access to.

I only obtained it
in an effort to corroborate

Miss Ashwari's claims
of persecution.

Objection overruled.

The warrant states that
you were arrested on April 9th,

just as you said,

but it doesn't mention
any demonstration.

Your Honor, counsel should
not be allowed to argue

that my client
on the one hand

was injured
at the demonstration,

and then on the other that the
demonstration never happened.

Do you have an objection?

My objection is logic.

That is not a legal objection.

And that's not what I'm saying.

There was a demonstration,
and there was an arrest.

But Miss Ashwari wasn't
persecuted because of it.

Ms. Wood, if you would please
show Miss Ashwari exhibit B.

Miss Ashwari, this is a copy
of the original arrest report

in your native language.

calls for legal conclusion.


Miss Ashwari...

would you please read
the name of the informant?

The informant who reported you
to the police.

Your mother taught you to read.

What name is written there?

What does it say?

Naiem Ashwari.

Who is that?

My father.

My father.

I can't breathe.

Your Honor, this is not
a political persecution.

- I can't breathe.
- It's a family squabble.

Ma'am, I'm gonna
need you to sit down.

Ma'am, I'm gonna need
you to sit down.

It's my fault. I failed.

When will I be deported?

What? No.
The trial's been continued.

We'll have redirect
in one week,

and I can prepare you.

How could my father do that?

It's not about him
no matter what they say.

What counts is what happened
to you in that jail cell.

And, Asefa...

What are you telling my client?

What kind of lawyer are you?
Just give her the words to say.

I know the law,

and I know a little bit more
about trials than you do.

All she needs to do to win
is to tell the truth.

I used to think like you,

about my country,

but it's the same everywhere.

You're dragging her
to that trailer

to be tortured for nothing!


Not for nothing.

I swear to you,
not for nothing.

Oof! Uh, you got smoked.

We got smoked.

You're actually
a part of this now.

Tell me how he did it.

Well, if she was bruised by some
assholes throwing dirt clods,

then she wasn't persecuted
by the government.


And if her dickhead father
asked for her to be arrested...

Jesus Christ, not even my dad's
that big of a prick...

then she wasn't singled out
for her politics.

That's the whole of it.

It's her fault if she loses.

I'm sorry, but if
she doesn't have the cojones

to say what really happened
to her...

Would you?

Would you tell your father?

Would you tell your friends?
Would you tell me?

- Tell you what?
- That you were raped.

But you are right.

If she doesn't testify,
we'll lose.

What's this?

It's, uh, bills.

We got a lot of them.

Turns out you're actually
supposed to pay those.

Hey, Mom, can Jorge and Raul
sleep over?

Is this my fault?

Vamanos. MaƱana, Alex.

I asked you a question.

I was just borrowing
some things.

- Shoplifting?
- No.

Where did you get the money
to buy an iPod?

Kids leave stuff
lying around at school.

And you take them.

You don't take what doesn't
belong to you, Alex.

You know better than that.

Why do I have to be perfect?

You learned that
from your father.

Let me tell you something, kid.

There's a big difference
between this and perfection.

Just let them suspend me.
I hate that school.

I'm calling your father,

and you're gonna return all of
this tomorrow with an apology,

and then we'll discuss

Ah, in LA?

Hello, this is Judy Wood.

Yes, it is, but I'm gonna
have to call you back.

Okay, I promise.

So the adventure continues.

Not even here six months,
and you spawn your own practice.

I need you to talk to Alex.

He got into trouble,
you want me to fix it.

I love how when he's Good Alex,
he's yours,

but when he's Bad Alex, I'm the
one who has to deal with it.

Can you talk to him, Matthew?

I have always done
everything you've asked.

What am I asking you,
just to be clear?

I will take him to return
the shit he stole

from his classmates,

and he will apologize,
trust me.

He can hate me
if he wants to.

Thank you.

I hope he inherited the best
qualities of the two of us

and not the worst.

He's resilient like you.

Turns out
that can come in handy.

Hello. Please leave a message.

Asefa, it's Judy Wood again.

Your hearing's tomorrow.

So, please, would you
call me back, please?

And listen.

You can do this.
You are stronger than you think.

Stronger than all of them.

Please stand.

Raise your right hand.

Do you solemnly swear
that you will tell the truth,

the whole truth,
and nothing but the truth?

I do.

Have a seat.

Asefa, did you know
that your father

was the one who reported you
to the police?

- No.
- Why do you think he did that?


What was your relationship like?

I wasn't the daughter he wanted.

I didn't listen.
I talked back too much.

I didn't marry.

Did others in your village
feel that way?

Yes. A lot wouldn't send
their girls to the school.

They thought I would
teach them to be like me.

They didn't like how you
expressed yourself as a woman.

counsel is testifying.

That's why your father
had you arrested.

- Objection.
- Ms. Wood.

Asefa, did you ever steal
anything from your father?

- Never.
- Did you ever hit him

- or try to hurt him physically?
- No.

And you had a right
to be in his home.

You weren't trespassing,
were you?

- No.
- Oh.

We've ruled out
larceny and battery.

Asefa, this is your warrant,

which the government attorney
so helpfully procured.

Will you read the charge?

- "Crimes against God."
- Mm-hm.

Asefa, what do you think
those crimes were

for which you needed
to be taught a lesson?

- Objection.
- I will allow it.

Trying to be
an independent woman.

Teaching girls to read.

Asefa, I want to remind you

that you are under oath
to tell the whole truth

and nothing but the truth.

Are you ready to do that?

I am.


were you injured in any way
during the demonstration?


When were you injured?

In jail.

At night, after my arrest.

Three Taliban
beat me in my cell.

Are you sure?

- Because you didn't remember...
- I remember it.

Earlier they vandalized
the classroom,

and now they brought in
some books.

My mother's books.

And some textbooks I bought.

What happened next?

They hit me with them.

In my ribs.

My head.

They tore out pages
and stuffed them in my mouth.

Then they...

They put their fingers in me.

And... the rest.

They took turns all night.

They raped me.

And you remember this now.

I remember everything.

Thank you, Asefa.

Miss Ashwari.

You say now you remember
everything that happened?


But before, you said
you had memory loss.


You testified in this court
you had memory loss.


Did you ever tell anyone
your story before today?


You told everyone
you couldn't remember.


Your father too?
Your brothers?


Did you really have
memory loss?

No. I always remembered

And yet, you told me,
the immigration official,

your lawyer,
all those people,

you told you had memory loss,

but in fact you were lying.


All those times
you were lying.


You lied very well.

So how do I know
you're not lying now?

I'm telling the truth.

I want to believe you,
but I'm bothered by something.

Your hospital report
after your arrest

mentions all those injuries...

the bruised ribs,
the concussion...

it doesn't say you were raped.

I wouldn't let them look.

Don't you think
that's awfully convenient?

The one injury
you could not have gotten

from being hit by a rock.

The one thing that would prove

that you were hurt by the police
and not by the bystanders,

you chose to hide.

In fact, you lied about it
to anyone who asked.

Would have kept on lying had
your lawyer not convinced you

that was the only way
you were gonna win this trial.


Why'd you wait so long?

Why didn't you tell the truth
right away?

Why did you keep lying?

My brothers
would have killed me.

Ms. Wood?

Asefa's father
is a tribal leader.

With Asefa testifying
about what really happened,

making it public,

her male relatives
become duty-bound

to protect their family honor
and kill her.

Do you have anything
in your exhibits

to corroborate this claim?

I do.

If you'll give me a moment.

Is counsel prepared at all?

Your Honor, based on
the state department report,

honor killings often occur
in that particular region.

Thank you, Benjamin.
I've heard enough.

Your witness.

Your Honor,
no further questions.

The government rests.


I am ready to rule.

Miss Ashwari,

I believe you told the truth
in this courtroom today.

I believe your testimony.

I believe you were persecuted

by officials
of the Afghan government,

and that after a demonstration
you led in your village,

you were arrested, beaten,
and raped by the police.

You've had to endure so much.

I'm horrified
by how you were treated.

I'm impressed by your strength.

You, young lady,
are an admirable human being.

I wish I could grant
your plea of asylum,

but my hands
are tied by the law.

The Law of Asylum
does not recognize women

as a protected class.

Ethnic minorities,
religious minorities,

political dissidents, yes,
but not women.

It's not enough
just to be a woman.

There are thousands of cases
like yours.


And as a woman,
I applaud you.

As a judge,
I must rule against you.

They'll kill her.
They will.

How was your sleepover?

Dad wants me to go live with him
all the time.

Is that what you want?

Count time!

Count time!

On your racks,
legs crossed, arms out.

Stay in place
during the count.

C4, return to your block
for roll call.


Yes, I have my pillow.

Okay, we're about to eat.
I gotta go.

Love you too.

Okay. Comer.

Please watch over Alex,
our guest.

Please watch over
Tomasito and Sofia,

and please, please, help Judy
bring their father home soon.


Bourbon, neat.

It's a cash bar.

Not a lot of perks championing
the huddled masses, are there?

You know why
I gave you that case?

I didn't give it to you
so you could help her.

I gave it to help you.

So you could make friends
for later.

She deserved
a hell of a lot better.

And you didn't give it to me.

Judy, you know that phrase

"truth, justice,
and the American way?"

You know why it's like that?

Because they are
three separate things.

Sometimes they come together,
but you can't count on it.

Oh, that's one hell
of a bedside manner.

Is that what you tell
all your clients, Ray?

They know.

My clients drink tequila,
not the Kool-Aid.

The one thing
you have to understand...

Ms. Wood,

I hope you don't
mind me saying this.

It was a privilege to be
with you in that courtroom.

You tried a good case.

Hello, I'm...

I know who you are.

You're the rising star,

climbing up the ladder.

So what's next for you?

Assistant DA?

Or are you one of those
federal judge types?

Oh, leave him alone, Ray.

He's one of the good ones.

Wait, you're not
Ray Hernandez, are you?

INS vs. Ladha?

You convinced
three hostile judges

that refugees
fleeing a war zone

could be forgiven
for misplacing their passports.

I cited that one
twice this week.

You don't argue cases
anymore, do you?

I was a different person then.

That is a tragedy.

Fuck off, Atticus Finch.

On that note...

- Are you okay?
- It's been a tough day.

Why don't you find
Ms. Wood a taxi?

I'd rather walk.

It was an honor to meet you.

And I alone was left alive
to tell the tale.

I'll see you in court.


What are you doing here?

I was just driving
home from Mammoth.

I stopped here to take a leak.

I don't know if you saw it,
but they're kicking us out.

I'm hungry.

Give me ketchup.
I want ketchup.

I want to bathe in ketchup.

All that's open
is gonna be Chinese.

Chinese, it is.

Okay, I don't know how
you do it, Judy. You...

You have like a hundred cases.


Exactly, okay?

And each one,
you listen to their stories,

and you meet their kids.

You fight like
it's your life at stake.

I've grown up watching
my dad, you know,

the king of commercial
construction legal,

and he's got the practice,

and he's got the beach house
and the ridiculous cars

and the stuff that...

all the stuff that you obviously
don't give a shit about.

I'm not that noble.

I want a car with an engine.

From him,
I learned that clients

are a way to get the things
that he really wants.

But for you, it's like clients
are the only thing that matters.

Did you know that
in two-thirds of the world,

being a woman who thinks
is a crime?

These women are broken,

and I'm not talking
about their bones.

I'm talking about
their spirit.


And a person
who has a broken spirit...

that's why I fight.

- Omar.
- Hi, Judy.


How can I help you?

What kind of judge
thinks like this?

A very highly respected one.

Asefa told me everything.

I was wrong about you.

You're a good lawyer.

A great lawyer.

Please, take this.

Omar, Ray is your lawyer.

This is for Asefa.

You haven't been paid anything
for all your work.

I knew that
when I accepted the case,

and you need this money
to pay Ray.

No more legal fees.

The court refused
to hear my appeal.

I'm going to disappear.
I'm not going back.

But you could.

You could still have
a life there.


I was also arrested
for crimes against God.

So you see,

I know what she went through.

I know exactly.

Everything they did to her,

they did to me.

I know your case.
You never testified...

And I never will.


Is that what
you were saying to Asefa?

To stay silent?


But Asefa is stronger than me.

And now she will be deported

to be killed by her father
and her brothers.

You lost the case.

She'll lose her life,

and her blood
will be on your hands,

unless you do something.

Did you hear that?

Enough, yeah.

He was raped.

Yes, yes.

Jesus Christ.

Just like Asefa,
and for the same reason.

She wasn't raped
for being a woman,

She just happened
to be a woman.

She was raped
because she was a threat.

The Law of Asylum doesn't
specifically protect women,

but they didn't do it
because she was a woman.

They did it
because she was dangerous.

They raped Asefa
because she voiced

unpopular political opinions.

- About women.
- No, that doesn't matter.

The law covers
all unpopular views.

- So the judge was wrong.
- Very wrong.

We have a compelling basis
for an appeal.

We just need a rock-solid brief
for the Ninth Circuit.

Judy, I start working
for my dad on Monday.

- We need to look at every case.
- Or not.

Every administrative advisory,

every legislative commentary.

- I'm on it.
- Okay.

This is it.

We got the appeal.

We got the appeal.

This is good news.


Yes. We have one last chance.

That's absurd,
absolutely absurd.

Hey, buddy,
let me call you back.

Why hasn't my client
been released?

Has the government accepted
all the facts of your case?

We had an entire trial
about this,

and the judge believes her.

- I need this document signed.
- Oh, come on!

I need sign-off.

Come with me.

Ms. Wood.

Miss Ashwari.


If we are gonna
release this detainee,

it's your call.

Have a seat, please.

When I started here,
we were called INS,

and Naturalization Service.

We were a service.

After 9-11,
they changed the name

to ICE, ice,

and Customs Enforcement,

a name that equates
people to things.

We're not a service anymore.

Words matter.

We're a nation of immigrants.

Like Albert Einstein,
like Fernando Valenzuela,

like my father.

They all come to the vineyard.

Some welcome, some not.

Some didn't even choose
to come here.

My job is to uphold the law.

It's a beautiful day.

We don't get many of these
around here.

Thank you, Benjamin.

- Hey, sport.
- Hi, Dad.

- You helping pack up?
- Yeah.

- You're a good man.
- Thanks.

You know, I always wanted him
to live with me.

How noble of you.

Al, why don't you come give me
a hand outside with this.

Judy, when I asked you
to move here,

I didn't expect you
to actually do it.

Alex should know his father.

Well, I don't think
he's gonna be disappointed.

You think it's gonna be
so easy being a dad.

When my day is over,
I forget all about my clients.

I can go home and devote
everything I have to Alex.

But you? You bring
everything home with you.

What does that leave him?

He's never had all your love

because you save it
for your clients.

He sees it.
He can feel it in his heart

that he can never
have all of you.

And neither could I.

There it is.

There it is.

But your criminals
and those immigrants...

Shame on you.

I am the only one
that they can count on.

Oh, Saint Judy.

You know why
they call you that?

It's not because
you are a saint.

It's because you act like one.

They're just clients,

and I want mine to pay me.

You want yours to save you.

- That's the courthouse?
- Yes.

- It looks like a palace.
- It is, kind of.

Won't these judges
say the same thing?

In court,
there are no guarantees.

If you want to disappear
like Omar,

I'm not going to stop you.

But what about all those
other women like me?

Will they be sent back
to die?

What would you do in my place?

I can't even begin to imagine.

I'm so much luckier
than you are.

Because you were
born in America.


Because of where
I happened to be born.

Do you know
what the difference is?

I was thrown in jail
in Afghanistan,

I was thrown in jail here.

There, they beat me
and took my womanhood.

Here, they pumped me
full of drugs

and took my mind.

Took away years of my life.

In both countries,
people hate me

and want me to go away.

But in America,
I can fight back.

I need a sponsor to be
admitted to the Ninth Circuit.

What an honor.

Well, you showed me.

You took an ugly duckling
right from under my nose,

and you made it
a beautiful swan.

I hope the Ninth Circuit

don't make her fly south
for the winter.

Thank you for your wishes, Ray.

So smug.

You know even if you win,
you lose.

Everybody... everybody...

is gonna want
a miracle from you.

You can't save them all.

I can try.

You know who you remind me of?


Before I realized I had to put
two kids through college.

- You should come.
- I wish I could.

Too busy.

I'll read the decision
if they bother to publish.


Good luck.

Hello, Mr. Nunez.
This is Ray Hernandez.

I'm calling because
I've been going over your file,

and I think I found something
that I may have overlooked.

There's hope.

So call me.
I'll be at the office late.

Thank you.

Yes, go on through.

He insisted I bring him.


And nothing but.

Ashwari vs. United States.

Come see what we did.

Sorry. There was a long line.

I got, uh, carne asada,
extra ketchup.

Hear ye, hear ye!

Please be up
standing for the judges.

Be seated.

Is this
Ashwari vs. United States?

Yes, I believe so.

Here it is. Thank you.

May it please the court.

I'm Judy Wood, representing
the appellant, Asefa Ashwari.

Are we supposed to grant asylum

to every persecuted woman

We should, definitely,

in my personal opinion,
as a country.

But that is not
the question before you.

The question before you

is that if a woman
fights for her rights,

doesn't that count as politics?

And if the Law of Asylum
excludes that,

where does it precisely say so?

Does it have to?

It expressly applies
to minorities,

and women are
one half the population.

The law applies
to persecuted groups.

Even large majorities
can be persecuted,

in apartheid
South Africa, for example.

Ah, but it was passed pursuant
to an international treaty

and signed by many countries
who define women's rights

differently from us.

Now, would they have done it

if it were seen
as a grab for their women?

"Come on over here, babe!
You're persecuted!"

They can rest assured that
Miss Ashwari was not lured here.

She came of her own free will,

and she pleads not to be sent
back to an almost certain death.

If I may, I think
my colleague's point is,

the law protects only
the victims of persecution.

It explicitly does not
protect the persecutors.

And in the instant case,
didn't appellant herself

testify that the girls' mothers
kept them away from the school?

So were they the persecutors
or the persecuted?

Miss Ashwari was not arrested,
beaten and raped

because she's a woman.

She was arrested,
beaten and raped

for speaking out
on behalf of women,

for organizing a demonstration,

for being a political activist.

Did she see herself
as a political activist?

I don't know, Your Honor.

She saw herself
as a teacher of girls.

Was she a member
of a political party?


Did she run for office?

Did she distribute pamphlets?

Did she write letters
to her local paper?

Was she political in any way?

Your Honor, that is not
the question before you.

The Law of Asylum
is quite clear on this.

It is not how the victim
sees herself,

but how the persecutors
see the victim.

If they consider it politics,

then she's protected
by the law.

And did they in this case?

Without question, Your Honors.

Miss Ashwari was not persecuted
randomly for being a woman.

She was specifically targeted
for what she stood for.

A warrant was issued
by the government

for her arrest
for crimes against God.

The Taliban
had enacted into law

a twisted version of Islam.

It was this law
that the police were enforcing

by beating and raping her,

which, by the way, is
tantamount to a death sentence

in an area
rife with honor killings.

It is that law that Miss Ashwari
opposed with her actions,

with her teachings,
with her love,

with every fiber of her being.

As a woman,
as her mother's daughter,

as a teacher of girls,

she was the definition
of a political activist.

Ms. Wood, you are asking us
to reverse an opinion

of not just
one respected judge,

but of every judge
who decided a similar case.

The law does not protect women
as a class,

but it shouldn't
sacrifice us either.

So all those judges,
every one of them, are wrong.

Yes, all those judges are wrong.

But you don't have to be.


Hello, this is Judy Wood.
How may I help you?

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