In Scottsboro, Alabama, nine African Americans known as the “Scottsboro Boys” have been convicted of rape and sentenced to death. The U.S. Supreme Court overturns their convictions in Powell v. Alabama because their attorney had been appointed on the morning of the trial and had no opportunity to investigate the case or put on a meaningful defense. In a second trial, the nine men again are convicted, despite testimony by one of the alleged victims there has been no rape. Once again the Supreme Court reverses their convictions because of the exclusion of African Americans from the jury. At a third trial, four of the men are again convicted, while a fifth pleads guilty. Charges against the other four are dropped.