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Judgment ( (さば) Sabaki?) is the one hundred and fifty-ninth chapter of Gege Akutami's Jujutsu Kaisen.

Summary

Hiromi Higuruma is a criminal defense lawyer who takes difficult cases because he believes in the truth. He's currently defending young Keita Oe, who has been unfairly branded guilty by the broken justice system. Pushed to the edge by one unjust verdict after another, the future Culling Game player decides to issue judgment of his own.

Plot Details

Keita pleads his innocence despite the overwhelming evidence against him.

In Japan, ninety-nine percent of criminal trials end in a guilty verdict. Hiromi Higuruma, a public defense lawyer for criminals, speaks with his client, Keita Oe.

Keita explains that he had a cat who was lost and while looking for it, he was confronted by the police and decided to flee because his cat would've died. It's a rule where he lives that he can't have a cat so no one knows that he has one.

In March of 2016, a mother and daughter were both slain in Morioka City in Iwate Prefecture. The prosecutors suspected Keita Oe, who is a local resident. They arrested him and charged him with suspicion of murder and robbery. After Keita fled the initial questioning by police officers, they followed him to his home and found a bloody blade. Lab analysis confirmed the blood on the knife matched the DNA of the victims. Despite the outstanding evidence and practically being caught red-handed by the cops with the murder weapon in his possession Keita insisted that he was innocent.

Not even Higuruma's associate Shimizu believes Keita.

Higuruma reviews Keita's case with his office co-worker named Shimizu. Keita told Higuruma that he picked up the blade even though it wasn't his. Shimizu doesn't believe that and believes he fled from authorities because he was guilty. Higuruma argues trauma because Keita was illegally harassed by police officers in the past because of an acquaintance who was using drugs.

Keita claims he was going to give the knife to the police later because his live-in job didn't allow him to call the police or ambulances. His job runs as a shelter for the elderly who have nowhere to go but they didn't pay wages. Employees are only given money under the table on the new year on top of lunches and groceries while still being overcharged 50,000 yen a month for rent. More than a few residents have a criminal record and ever since earthquake relief fund money started pouring into the region, more shady nonprofit businesses have begun appearing. Higuruma believes it's likely that the weapon was actually lying around and Keita is actually telling the truth.

Keita thanks Higiruma after they win an innocent verdict in the first trial.

Higuruma forms a plan to take on the case. He wants to continue gathering information while Shimizu takes care of all the other logistics. Shimizu thinks she's getting the bulk of the work and is even asked to look after Keita's cat. Shimizu believes that public defenders like them are underpaid and overworked. In a murder case like this one, there's no chance of a suspended sentence and the defendant can even receive the death penalty. Shimizu doesn't understand why they're even trying in such a hopeless case but Higuruma states that taking difficult cases once in a while to keep their skills sharp. Annoyed, Shimizu thinks out loud and says that it's not "sometimes".

Shimizu meets with a friend and fellow lawyer named Takagi inside the cafe she owns. Takagi used to work with Higuruma and apparently he never changes. He's the type who isn't interested in money and Takagi believes he may have even gotten worse. She gives an example of a past case where Higuruma defended a nineteen-year-old who was forced to drink and drive by his job. The defendant was angry with Higuruma because he wasn't found innocent. Higuruma never told him he would be found innocent, only that he could get his sentence suspended. Takagi pointed out the way clients abuse their lawyers and how it isn't worth it but Higuruma replied that he understands that people are just against the wall financially and emotionally, so they take it out on their lawyers. Concerned, Takagi asked about how it was affecting Higuruma's mental state.

Higuruma is mortified that Keita is unjustly convicted in the second trial.

Higuruma and Shimizu work tirelessly until the day of the trial and manage to earn an innocent verdict for Keita. Shimizu is surprised they actually got the verdict but Higuruma knows the prosecution will immediately appeal. In the media, the court of public opinion assumes that the prosecution was bribed, that the wrong verdict was reached, and justice had failed in some capacity, the opposite of the truth.

In a post-trial meeting, Higuruma reveals to Keita that nothing from the robbery that was stolen was found in his room and someone disappeared from the residence soon after the crime. Above everything else, Keita also appeared on convenience store camera footage at the same time as the estimated time of death. Keita thanks Higuruma but the lawyer simply emphasizes there will be a second trial. Sobbing, Keita specifies that he means he just wants to thank Higuruma for believing in him.

"Even if I'm the only one... I want to keep my eyes open."

However, at the second trial, Keita is unfortunately found guilty and sentenced to life in prison. Independent defense lawyers like Higuruma's office rely on limited funding and small staffing. Public prosecutors have access to tax money and much greater manpower. No new evidence was even presented at the second trial and the court passed out this sentence on the shaky argument that there was no reason to suspect the missing person. A third trial before the highest court is unlikely because they refuse to hear most cases. Getting a fair hearing is improbable and the system unfairly branded Keita guilty from the very beginning.

Desperate and angry, Keita looks at Higuruma with sorrow and disappointment in his eyes. Higuruma is shocked and asks himself why the clients look at him in this way, losing touch with the rationalization he gave Takagi. Back when Takagi asked him about his mental state, Higuruma replied that it wasn't his intention to save the weak. He's always been the type of person who couldn't ignore things. Justice is supposed to be blind and people close their eyes to spare themselves from harsh truths, but Higuruma wants to keep his eyes open even if he's the only one.

Culling Game Player: Hiromi Higuruma.

The judge announces that objections to the guilty verdict against Keita Oe must be filed within fifteen days. Higuruma abruptly interrupts the announcement by slamming his table with a judge's gavel of his own. This surprises the prosecutor, the judge as well as Shimizu, who backs away from her partner as a curse begins to form behind him. Refusing to allow the trial to end in this unjust manner, Higuruma snaps and tells everyone that nobody is allowed to leave because they're having a retrial. Higuruma has been chosen as a Culling Game player and this event has served as a catalyst for his powers to awaken.

Character in Order of Appearances

Jujutsu

Shikigami

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