|The Star Chamber|
|Directed by||Peter Hyams|
|Written by||Roderick Taylor|
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|Release date||August 5, 1983|
The Star Chamber is a 1983 American thriller film written by Roderick Taylor and directed by Peter Hyams. It stars Michael Douglas and Hal Holbrook. Its title is taken from the name of the notorious 17th century English court.
Judge Hardin (Douglas) is an idealistic Los Angeles jurist who gets frustrated when the technicalities of the law prevent the prosecution of two men who are accused of raping and killing a 10-year-old boy. They were driving slowly late at night and attracted the suspicion of two police officers, who wondered if the van's occupants might be burglars. After checking the license plate for violations, the policemen pulled them over for expired paperwork, claimed to have smelled marijuana, then saw a bloody shoe inside the van. However, the paperwork was actually submitted on time (it was merely processed late), meaning the police had no reason to pull over the van and Hardin has no choice (see fruit of the poisonous tree) but to throw out any subsequently discovered evidence, i.e. the bloody shoe. Hardin is even more distraught when the father of the boy attempts to shoot the criminals in court but misses and shoots a cop instead. Subsequently, the father commits suicide while in jail only after he informs Hardin that another boy has been discovered raped and murdered and tells him "This one is on you, your Honor. That boy would be alive if you hadn't let those men go." After hearing all this, Judge Hardin approaches his friend, Judge Caulfield (Hal Holbrook), who tells him of a modern-day Star Chamber: a group of judges who identify criminals who fell through the judicial system's cracks and then take actions against them outside the legal structure ....