A Woman Is the Judge
Cast & Crew
Newly appointed judge Mary Cabot's first trial is that of Tim Ryan, a gangster charged with heading a lottery racket. Although his lawyer insists upon asking for a change of venue because of Mary's friendship with prosecutor Stephen Graham, Ryan declares that he is delighted with the arrangement. This is because Ryan has photographs that prove that Justine West, one of his hirelings, is Mary's missing daughter Virginia who had been taken from Mary seventeen years earlier by her racketeer father. When one of Ryan's lawyers calls for a mistrial because of a slip made by Stephen, Ryan decides to play his trump card. He demands that Justine use the pictures to blackmail Mary, but Justine, insisting that her mother's distinguished career is the only thing of which she can be proud, refuses. As she tries to burn the photographs in the fireplace, Ryan attacks her with a poker, and in self-defense she points a gun at him. When the poker strikes the weapon, it explodes and kills Ryan. Justine flees but is traced by a purse she left behind and is taken into custody. Behind bars, Justine meets her court-appointed attorney, Robert Langley, but she refuses to discuss the case with him. Finding some photographs and a locket in a tin box belonging to Justine, her roommate Gertie deduces the link between Mary and Justine and bursts into the judge's chambers on the morning of the trial to explain her discovery. Shaken by Gertie's revelation, Mary resigns from the bench to defend Justine, but the girl, fearful that her mother's record will be tarnished, refuses to talk to her. In a stirring speech to the jury, Mary declares that any guilt should be hers and not her daughter's. A sympathetic jury acquits Justine, who then returns home to celebrate her birthday with her new family of Mary and Stephen.