Professor Ann Smith
English 103, Section 4296
26 April 26, 2014
There are various legal methods that can determine a “good” jury. However besides a clean record, there is not a valid way to evaluate the integrity of a chosen juror. A person with no violent background and a peaceful exterior could be prejudicial in a trial as proven in the movie Twelve Angry Men. A prime example of a good juror is Juror 8. He critically challenged the other jurors to reconsider their vote. Another ideal juror is Juror 9. He was not only sympathetic to the architect and open to hearing his argument for reasonable doubt, he also scrutinized the evidence. He noted that Juror 4 rubbed the bridge of his nose due to agitation from his glasses. He pointed out that the witness made the same motion in the trial, concluding that she wears glasses and could have seen a blur of the crime scene.
Another juror who signifies a good example of jury conduct is Juror 1. Though he was in favor of a “guilty” verdict at first, he acted as a democratic leader and took into consideration the other jurors preferences. He was not adamant about the voting process, instead asking if the rest of the jury were satisfied with the method in which they were arguing: asking if a preliminary vote was tolerated and if it were alright to sit in juror order. He is perceived as a non-confrontational person, and first uses logic and the facts presented to vote “guilty”, but as he sees his peers changing their minds he does too.
An undesirable type of juror would be Juror 7. He is indifferent to the case at hand, his only worry being that he missed the baseball game. He does not take his job seriously and only votes guilty, and later on not guilty, to move the voting process ahead. When confronted by Juror 11 about being honest about his vote, he stammers and says, “I just don’t think he’s guilty.” A good juror pays attention and understands that a person’s future is in jeopardy, and that it is not something to take lightly.
Along the lines of Juror 10, who was against the defendant because of his race, Juror 3 was also prejudice. Though he was adamant about the defendant being guilty, he had no support to his argument aside from yelling at the other jurors that they were twisting the facts. It was his own personal issues that kept him from accepting the doubt that all the others could see. He projected his son onto the defendant to keep him angry and set in his original vote. A juror with other issues preoccupying their mind is not fit for a trial because it could cloud their judgment and close the opportunity for further questioning.
In Twelve Angry Men, Juror 11 is a naturalized immigrant watchmaker who believes that serving on a jury is a great privilege that citizens are able to participate in. Not everyone will agree with this statement, mostly because many people feel they do not need to be bothered by sitting in a jury. I have heard many friends and peers complain about a jury summons they had received. The privilege of being on a jury is not the most patriotic of things an American can do but it is one necessary to uncover the truth so that the defendant can have a fair trial. I do feel, however, that the jury system we have in place is not functioning as it should.