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After Stephen Forbes helps send an innocent man to the electric chair, he resigns from the district attorney's office and goes into business for himself. When Steve defends a small businessman against a gangster and wins his case, he catches the attention of gangster J. B. Roscoe, who offers him work defending his men. Because he needs the money to keep his younger brother Johnny in law school, Steve agrees, becoming very wealthy from the work. After his graduation, Johnny joins Steve's firm. Gradually, he becomes aware of his brother's lack of ethics. Joan Reed, Steve's secretary, suggests to Johnny that they make it their business to keep Steve honest. Johnny is sickened when Steve drinks poison in court to prove that his client could not have murdered anyone with the contents of the bottle and then has his stomach pumped after the innocent verdict is read. Determined to save his brother from himself, Johnny gives the government crucial evidence of Roscoe's income tax evasion. Steve realizes that the information could only have come from Johnny, and to protect him, he tells Roscoe that he will no longer work for him. As revenge, Roscoe frames Johnny for a murder. Steve defends Johnny but loses his case. His only hope is to break the alibi of the man who actually committed the crime. With only minutes to spare before Johnny's execution, Steve gets a signed confession. The brothers are reconciled, and Steve is finished with his former life.