Dear Justyce

Dear Justyce

by

Nic Stone

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Dear Justyce can help.

Dear Justyce: Snapshot: A Prelaw Yale Undergrad, a Defense Lawyer, and a District Attorney in a Law Office Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Justyce is in awe of Attorney Marcus Anthony Baldwin Sr., even though he’s technically here to oppose the DA. The man is tall, stately, and Black—and seems proud when Attorney Friedman introduces Justyce as a prelaw intern. Justyce explains to Baldwin that he’s known Quan since childhood and they’ve been exchanging letters since January. They don’t plan to enter the letters as evidence, but Justyce wants to share a few things. First, Quan’s weapon didn’t fire the fatal shot. Baldwin agrees to order the right information but notes that there’s a confession on file.
District Attorneys are the most powerful law enforcement official in their jurisdiction, and for Justyce, it’s a huge deal to see a Black man in this position of power. It shows him what’s possible—that one day, he could find himself in a similar position of power. Baldwin also demonstrates that he’s not trying to abuse his power when he’s receptive to this new information on Quan’s case. His interest, it seems, is in actually making sure Quan gets the justice he deserves.
Themes
Justice, Racial Bias, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Identity, Support, and Community Theme Icon
Justyce cuts Attorney Baldwin off and immediately regrets it. But he presses on and says that he thinks Quan’s Miranda rights were violated. Attorney Baldwin takes a few notes and promises to investigate these matters. Justyce forces himself to meet Baldwin’s eyes as the DA compliments Attorney Friedman for taking Justyce on. Baldwin then tells Justyce that Quan is lucky to have him as a friend and an advocate. Justyce says he doesn’t want to see another Black boy incarcerated for a crime he didn’t commit—and he hopes Baldwin feels the same way. Baldwin blinks and agrees.
Miranda rights include a person’s right to remain silent and request legal counsel—which the police officers violated during Quan’s interrogations. When Baldwin says that Quan is lucky to have someone like Justyce on his side, he bleakly implies that most kids who end up in Quan’s situation don’t have a supportive person to advocate on their behalf.
Themes
Choices vs. Fate Theme Icon
Justice, Racial Bias, and Growing Up Theme Icon
Identity, Support, and Community Theme Icon