Criminal Justice
Written byAndy Wolk
Directed byAndy Wolk
StarringForest Whitaker
Anthony LaPaglia
Rosie Perez
Jennifer Grey
Tony Todd
Saundra McClain
ComposerElliot Goldenthal
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
ProducerMichael Nozik
CinematographySteven Fierberg
EditorKatherine Wenning
Running time90 minutes
Production companiesElysian Films
HBO Showcase
Original networkHBO
Original release
  • September 8, 1990 (1990-09-08)

Criminal Justice is a 1990 American drama film written and directed by Andy Wolk. The film stars Forest Whitaker, Anthony LaPaglia, Rosie Perez, Jennifer Grey, Tony Todd and Saundra McClain. The film premiered on HBO on September 8, 1990.[1][2][3]


A young prostitute is robbed in the vestibule of a building after having bought drugs and in the encounter suffers a deep and disfiguring slash to her face.

The detectives called to the crime scene, take the injured victim to the police station where she is handed photographs of some felons on their records. She identifies the perpetrator of the crime in the photograph.

The police arrest the suspect and after the victim again identifies her assailant in the police line-up, the perpetrator is charged with aggravated robbery.

At the arraignment, his bail is set at an unaffordable amount. Despite having to remain in custody, he denies any wrongdoing to his keen legal-aid lawyer. On account of his repeated claims of innocence, he refuses to accept any plea-bargain deal, no matter how favourable.

On the other hand, the District Attorney, battles to make the best of the victim/complainant’s case which, despite her positive identification of the accused, is based only on her sole evidence. Coupled with this, the District attorney has reason to believe she might not have been truthful about her reason for being in the building where she was assaulted and robbed in the first place. The complainant is apprehensive about the legal system but certain that the accused was her assailant.

Bail is refused for the accused and several court appearances take place while he awaits trial. The complainant, who suffers the effects of a drug lifestyle is outraged at the refusal of the accused to plead guilty, and, becomes increasingly unwilling to testify.

The trial date is set and, to the relief of the District Attorney on the day, the complainant enters the courtroom to commence her testimony. Upon seeing her enter the courtroom, the accused volubly instructs his lawyer to make a plea-bargain deal so that the trial is stopped.

For pleading guilty to both the robbery and slashing of the complainant, he is sentenced to 3+12 years in the penitentiary. From their divergent perspectives both the complainant and the mother of the accused feel dissatisfied about the outcome of the case.



  1. ^ Ken Tucker (1990-09-07). "Criminal Justice". Retrieved 2017-12-17.
  2. ^ David Hiltbrand (1990-09-10). "Picks and Pans Review: Criminal Justice". Retrieved 2017-12-17.
  3. ^ Margolick, David (1990-09-02). "TELEVISION - This Courtroom Is a Long Way From 'L.A. Law'". Retrieved 2017-12-17.