In Ochopee, Florida, 11-year-old Joanie Shriver is kidnapped, raped, and murdered.
Bobby Earl Ferguson is arrested by officers Tanny Brown and J. T. Wilcox,
who proceed to beat Bobby into confessing to the murder.
Bobby is placed on trial, where Bobby's defense attorney McNair puts up a lousy defense for Bobby,
and Bobby is sentenced to be executed.
Now, eight years later, Bobby hands a letter to his grandmother Evangeline and asks Evangeline
to go to Cambridge, Massachusetts, to hire Harvard law professor Paul Armstrong to clear Bobby's name.
At Harvard, Paul is attacking capital punishment in a campus debate,
when Evangeline arrives and hands the letter to Paul.
Paul goes home, where his wife Laurie is throwing a birthday party for their young daughter Katey.
Laurie reads the letter and she encourages Paul to take the case, even though
he hasn't practiced law in 25 years.
Paul, Laurie, and Katey head to Florida, where Paul meets Bobby in the prison.
Bobby tells Paul his side of the story and what Tanny and Wilcox did.
Paul begins to believe that Bobby was railroaded.
Bobby tells Paul to speak to Blair Sullivan, a man who is also on death row.
Blair gives Paul some clues that could prove Bobby's innocence -- and Blair's own guilt.
But in the process of trying to clear Bobby, Paul learns some disturbing truths about Bobby,
putting Paul and his family in a fight for their lives.
Sean Connery ... Paul Armstrong
Laurence Fishburne ... Sheriff Tanny Brown
Kate Capshaw ... Laurie Prentiss Armstrong
Blair Underwood ... Bobby Earl
Ed Harris ... Blair Sullivan
Christopher Murray ... Detective T.J. Wilcox