The Lincoln Lawyer , starring Matthew McConaughey as criminal defense attorney Mick Haller, was released in March 2011. The movie grossed $117 million worldwide and was nominated for several awards, including an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor for Benicio del Toro’s performance as Detective Hahn. The Lincoln Lawyer and the Case of Jésus Menendez

Who Is Saul Huezo

Saul Huezo, who played Mexican cartel kingpin, Javier Acosta in The Lincoln Lawyer was born on November 29, 1961. Saul grew up in Colonia Juárez which is located close to Tijuana. As a child he became interested in playing football and joined his school’s team. He soon caught some attention as he had been chosen to play for teams that were much older than him. Soon after Saul had been given an opportunity to join a professional team but an injury would end his career early at age 18. It was at that time when someone offered him to take a trip to Hollywood with hopes of landing him an acting role in Mexico.

Saul Huezo as Jésus Menendez

While on a business trip, Mickey Haller’s young daughter was hit by a car. When he arrived to pick her up at school, he found that she wasn’t there. A week later, Haller gets a call from Saul Huezo (Jésus Menéndez),

The Lincoln Lawyer and the Case of Jésus Menendez
The Lincoln Lawyer and the Case of Jésus Menendez

an old client of his who had been convicted of two homicides based on evidence planted by another lawyer named Javier Arguelles. One year after Huezo’s conviction Arguelles was shot in a parking lot outside his office by an unknown assailant. Several days later as Haller listens to Huezo talk about his own case over lunch in Santa Monica, someone throws a Molotov cocktail through Arguelles’ widowed window and sets his house on fire.

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A powerful performance

Watching The Lincoln Lawyer , it’s impossible not to feel deeply for Jésus. When we first meet him, he’s a terrified boy who is just trying to help his mother find an attorney after she’s been arrested for drug possession. As things get more serious and we learn about Jésus’ childhood, you realize what a remarkable young man he really is. In one scene early in the film, Mickey meets with a prosecutor to discuss some potential evidence in Jésus’ case. Their conversation is cut short by Mickey as he tells her that she doesn’t have all of her facts straight.

A complete transformation

Let’s start with an interesting fact about The Lincoln Lawyer: Saul Huezo, who plays Jésus in it, was also an old client of Mickey Haller’s. In real life, Huezo was a gang member who was arrested at 15 for armed robbery; he spent two years in prison before dropping out of school and committing another robbery. While on parole he pled guilty to another crime he did not commit, to please his probation officer, who threatened to send him back to prison. Because Huezo refused to accept a plea deal that included extra time due to his prior criminal record, his case went all the way up through California’s courts, eventually landing at its Supreme Court level.

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A strong family connection

The most memorable story in The Lincoln Lawyer is one told by Mickey Haller’s daughter, Maggie McPherson. A promising high school athlete at age 16, Maggie was attacked on her way home from a cross-country meet by two men in ski masks who pulled her into their van, locked it from outside, then robbed and raped her for an hour. During that hour she did not struggle because she instinctively understood that fighting back would do no good. Afterward, she got through it with support from family members. This story reveals Mickey’s love for his daughter.

The Lincoln Lawyer and the Case of Jésus Menendez
The Lincoln Lawyer and the Case of Jésus Menendez

A transformation with a conscience

Mickey Haller, a disillusioned defense attorney in Los Angeles, decides to quit defending guilty people accused of serious crimes. His law practice isn’t doing so well, but he manages to eke out a living by doing pro bono work for his ex-wife, an assistant district attorney. In an effort to generate more business from personal injury cases, Mickey is referred a case involving Jésus Menendez—the son of Mexican immigrants who has been wrongfully convicted for murder and is about to be executed. Huezo’s character may have had legal representation at trial (another court will decide that), but it was not from Mickey Haller. And there was no doubt that in real life Huezo was innocent; he had never even met Monica Stoval before her death.

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All in the eyes

In The Lincoln Lawyer, a compelling legal thriller adapted from Michael Connelly’s novel, Matthew McConaughey plays Mickey Haller, a smooth-talking Los Angeles defense attorney. While handling various cases — including one involving a wealthy Beverly Hills playboy suspected of killing his girlfriend — Mickey encounters an old client (played by Michael Peña) who may have been wrongfully convicted. Though first reluctant to take on what seems like an open-and-shut case for both cops and prosecutors, Mickey ultimately decides to pursue it. He does so in part because he believes in second chances, but also because he realizes he can make money on it; if he wins, he gets paid at twice his usual rate.

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