Arc of Justice

Arc of Justice

by

Kevin Boyle

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Thomas Chawke is a white defense lawyer in Detroit who has achieved notoriety for representing members of the mob and for his aggressive defense style. When another case prevents Arthur Garfield Hays from rejoining the defense with Clarence Darrow, Darrow insists that Chawke join instead. Chawke is an immigrant himself, having been born in Ireland and raised in the world of working-class Detroit. He has an assertive presence in the courtroom, carefully dismantling witness statements in cross examination. After the second Sweet trial, however, his short-lived participation in the nascent civil rights movement ends and he returns to representing notorious gangsters and criminals.

Thomas Chawke Quotes in Arc of Justice

The Arc of Justice quotes below are all either spoken by Thomas Chawke or refer to Thomas Chawke. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Prejudice, Segregation, and Society Theme Icon
).
Chapter 10 Quotes

“Why deny that the greatest asset that the State has in this case is prejudice and the greatest handicap that we have on this side of the table is prejudice […] I thought this case was fraught with nothing but disastrous things, and apart from the testimony, when I viewed here the sinister figure of prejudice, sitting before you twelve men in a dispensary of justice, but as I sat here this morning, and I saw an attempt made to arouse that prejudice, in order to becloud the issue here, so that you twelve men would not decide this case upon the testimony…I was amazed to think that a public prosecutor should go to the burial place of Leon Breiner and drag his helpless body before you in order that you might send Henry Sweet to jail because Leon Breiner is dead and Henry Sweet is black instead of white.”

Related Characters: Thomas Chawke (speaker), Henry Sweet, Arthur Garfield Hays, Leon Breiner
Related Symbols: Houses
Page Number: 329
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Arc of Justice LitChart as a printable PDF.
Arc of Justice PDF

Thomas Chawke Character Timeline in Arc of Justice

The timeline below shows where the character Thomas Chawke appears in Arc of Justice. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 7: Freedmen, Sons of God, Americans
Prejudice, Segregation, and Society Theme Icon
Justice and Civil Rights Theme Icon
...but Rowlette’s terms—that he and his co-counsels remain involved and that no other than Thomas Chawke, Detroit’s most famous defense lawyer be allowed to join them—infuriate White. Chawke, known for defending... (full context)
Justice and Civil Rights Theme Icon
Self-Defense, Race, and Ownership Theme Icon
...Klan’s candidate to do well in the upcoming mayoral election—makes the proposition too risky. Only Chawke expresses willingness—for an unbearably high fee. (full context)
Chapter 10: Judgement Day
Prejudice, Segregation, and Society Theme Icon
Progress and Social Change Theme Icon
...in a high-profile case that prevents him from rejoining the defense. Darrow insists that Thomas Chawke replace Hays. This horrifies White, who earlier judged Chawke an inappropriate representative for such a... (full context)
Prejudice, Segregation, and Society Theme Icon
Justice and Civil Rights Theme Icon
...witnesses and make the exact same case as in the first trial. When Darrow and Chawke examine potential jurors, their questions point inexorably towards the idea of prejudice; they turn jury... (full context)
Prejudice, Segregation, and Society Theme Icon
...week and a half, Toms carefully builds his case with each witness, only to have Chawke and Darrow dismantle it through intense, sometimes combative cross-examination. When they can’t expose the lies,... (full context)
Prejudice, Segregation, and Society Theme Icon
...family from the area. By their questions and their significant looks to the jury box, Chawke and Darrow slowly transform neighborhood witnesses into “idiots” and “slope-browed simpletons.” And they press each... (full context)
Prejudice, Segregation, and Society Theme Icon
Justice and Civil Rights Theme Icon
...size and frenzy of the crowd the night before the shooting. New witnesses like Thomas Chawke’s German cleaning lady (who happens to live in the neighborhood) also corroborate reports of the... (full context)
Prejudice, Segregation, and Society Theme Icon
Justice and Civil Rights Theme Icon
Progress and Social Change Theme Icon
...Moll, who dismisses Ossian as “quasi-intelligent” and Rochelle and Butler as “so-called artists.” He excoriates Chawke and Darrow for their unwillingness to confront the specter of poor Leon Breiner bleeding out... (full context)
Prejudice, Segregation, and Society Theme Icon
Justice and Civil Rights Theme Icon
Progress and Social Change Theme Icon
...the first jury’s deliberations, no one expects a swift verdict; Darrow and his wife, Thomas Chawke, Josephine Gomon, and their entourage leaves the courthouse for a long, alcohol-fueled afternoon at a... (full context)
Epilogue: Requiescam
Justice and Civil Rights Theme Icon
Progress and Social Change Theme Icon
...the political and legal events of 1925 and 1926 fail to advance civil rights. Thomas Chawke returns to a lucrative career defending mob bosses. John Smith’s promising political career crumbles in... (full context)