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12 Angry Men Essay

4618 words - 19 pages

12 Angry Men
Webster University
PROC 5840

Character Listing
Juror One - Martin Balsam
Juror Two - John Fiedler
Juror Three - Lee J. Cobb
Juror Four - E.G. Marshall
Juror Five - Jack Klugman
Juror Six - Edward Binns
Juror Seven - Jack Warden
Juror Eight - Henry Fonda
Juror Nine - Joseph Sweeney
Juror Ten - Ed Begley
Juror Eleven - George Voskovec
Juror Twelve - Robert Webber

Major Case Issues
An 18 year-old man is being charged with murdering his father based solely on circumstantial evidence. Some of the reasons the jury are convinced of his guilt include:
* The accused man was born and raised in the slums and according to Juror Three, "everyone knows that the ...view middle of the document...

Coincidentally, the boy lost his knife some time that evening before he returned home at 3:00 AM.
* The accused man's alibi was that he was at the movies at the time that the murder occurred, but when he was questioned by the police when he returned home that night he was unable to recall the name of the two movies that he supposedly went to see. In addition, none of the employees of the movie theater recall seeing the accused man at the theater that night.
* The neighbor living in the apartment just below the accused man's father's apartment, an elderly man, claimed not only to have heard the murder, but to also have seen the accused run from the apartment seconds after the murder had taken place.
* A lady living in an apartment directly across a set of train tracks from the apartment where the murder took place claims to have seen the accused man murder his father. At the time of the murder the woman had been lying in bed, and had rolled over and looked out of her window just in time to see the murder occur through the windows of a passing "L" train.

Juror Eight - played by Henry Fonda
What was the primary premise of his negotiations approach?
According to Juror Eight, he would have an exceptionally difficult time sending an 18-year old boy off to die without at least talking about it first. He felt that not only was the boy dealt a crummy hand in life (his mother died at age 9; he lived in an orphanage for an extended period of time while his father was in prison, and he was beaten on a regular basis by his father); but he was also dealt a crummy hand with regard to legal representation in the case (the young civil defense lawyer presumably had big career aspirations and didn't see a high level of prestige with this case and therefore didn't put a large amount of effort on behalf of his client during the trial). Because the accused man had never been given a fair chance before, Juror Eight wanted to ensure that he was given one this time- especially since the outcome determined whether the accused would live or be sent to his death.
Unlike other members of the jury, Juror Eight did not feel as though the accused man's background automatically made him guilty (or even capable) of murder. In fact, Juror Eight spent a great deal of time not only trying to empathize with the accused man's situation, but also trying to put himself in his place. He even went so far as to go to the boys neighborhood the evening before the deliberation in attempt to buy a knife similar to the murder weapon- and was successful at doing so. He did this to prove that the weapon of choice, an illegal switchblade, wasn't nearly as hard to come across as they were led to believe by the shop owner during the trial. His empathy tactic was also successfully used when Juror Four was trying to convince the jurors that the accused man's alibi was flawed, and that regardless of his emotional state he should have been able to recall details from...

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