Deputy Stuart Kofer is a protected man. Though he's turned his drunken rages on his girlfriend, Josie and her children many times before, the police code of silence has always shielded him. But one night he goes too far, leaving Josie for dead on the floor before he passes out. Her son, sixteen-year-old Drew, knows he only has this one chance to save them. He picks up the gun and takes the law into his own hands.
In Clanton, Mississippi, there is no one more hated than a cop killer - but a cop killer's defence lawyer comes close. Jake Brigance doesn't want this impossible case but he's the only one with enough experience to defend the boy.