Tuesday, November 15, 2011

12 Angry Men Movie Essay

Review Essay: "12 Angry Men"

While watching "12 Angry Men" many political aspects caught my attention. This movie was not only interesting, but also realistic in the way a trial is run.

First, the numbers of jurors, the seclusion of the jurors was accurate. In a trial such as this one, a jury of twelve members is required. Twelve jurors are used rather than six to eight, so the decision making process is harder to achieve. As the movie shows, it is more difficult for twelve men to agree than six. Also, seclusion or "sequestering" the jurors is also necessary. Furthermore, to become a juror, he (not she at the time) must be at least eighteen years of age, and mentally and physically capable of performing the duties of a juror. He must also have no felony convictions, and able to understand and communicate in English. All of these criteria were fulfilled.

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In addition, a foreman is designated; this was juror #1. In criminal cases, the first juror drawn and accepted by both sides is usually appointed foreman. The foreman's duty is to make sure everything runs smoothly and sensible. In "Twelve Angry Men", this was portrayed accurately. Juror #1 called the preliminary vote along with the rest of the voting sessions, he tried his best so everyone got a fair chance to speak and he was the one who asked to see the evidence again.

Secondly, the evidence and testimonies became highly covered issues. Jurors are supposed to review the evidence and discuss their opinions. In this particular case, the jurors reviewed the evidence and testimonies several times. At one point, the men even asked to see the evidence one last time to help them reach their decision. Reviewing the evidence is very important, such as the jurors many discussions of the credibility of the testimony of the old man and old woman. This helps each juror come to the conclusion of the defendant being innocent or guilty. When coming to this conclusion, the juror's verdict must be based upon a "preponderance of the credible evidence." Also, they must be proven "beyond a reasonable doubt". This phrase was used several times during the deliberations. During one of the first scene's the Judge states, "If there's a reasonable doubt in your minds as to the guilt of the accused, a reasonable doubt, then you must bring me a verdict of not guilty. If however, there is no reasonable doubt, then you must in good conscience find the accused guilty. However you decide, your verdict must be unanimous." This is not only used in this criminal trial, but all criminal trials. If there is any reasonable doubt in a juror's mind of the defendant being innocent, his verdict must be not guilty. Juror # 8, Davis reminded the jurors of this numerous times throughout the movie.

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