12 Angry Men Essay

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Jeffery Small11/9/11
Ms. Stephens310
12 Angry Men Essay

In the book “12 Angry Men” by Reginald Rose, a verdict of not guilty was given to the boy after the fact that apparently all the jurors except one thought that the boy was guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. All of the key evidence presented in the court was rejected by the jury, which led the jurors to have a reasonable doubt about the boy’s guiltiness. This evidence in the book will go by chronological order and support why there is a reasonable doubt that would lead each juror to change their view of the case. In my opinion some of the counter evidence presented was kind of weak, but the whole point of this essay is to show the trail of evidence to lead the jurors to a reasonable doubt.

The first key idea, and probably the most important, is that the boy was poor and couldn’t afford a decent attorney. He had a court appointed attorney who probably had many other cases to argue. This attorney had no attachment to the client; there was no glory that the attorney could look towards. The attorney would really have to believe in the client in order to deliberate the case properly. It was pointed out in the movie that the boy had a very poor attorney and didn’t ask the right questions. If the boy had a good attorney, he would have brought up all the points that countered the key evidence that some of the jurors pointed out.

There are a few points about the knife that would lead to reasonable doubt. One point made in the courtroom was that the person who sold the boy the knife said it was one in a kind. It would be highly unlikely that another person would have the same knife. However juror #8 went to the area where the boy lived and bought the same exact knife from a pawnshop. This would prove that the knife wasn’t one of a kind, it was fairly common. This means that anyone could  have bought the same knife and used it to kill the boy’s father. This evidence proves that the knife that the boy purchased wasn’t necessarily the murder weapon.

An interesting question was brought up by one of the jurors. “Why did the boy show the murder weapon to his friends just a couple of hours before the murder actually occurred?” If he were planning on killing his father then he wouldn’t show it to his friends, where it could easily be identified after the murder occurred. The murder weapon is the only thing that could link the boy to the murder. It just doesn’t make sense to me that the boy would show off the murder weapon hours before he supposedly murdered his father. At this point of the movie these three points leads juror #9 to change his vote to not guilty.

One of the ideas pointed out by one of the jurors was motive. The father was noted to have an antisocial personality. He was in prison for crimes unknown. He was a drunk who liked to gamble and was always around “tough” guys and always got into fights with others. As far as motive, anyone of the people who the father was in contact with could have had a motive to kill him. He could have cheated someone out money while gambling, or beat someone up who wanted revenge. This proves that the boy isn’t the only person who would have a motive for killing the father.

In the courtroom, the old man testified that he heard the boy yelled out “I’m going to kill you!” then he heard the body hit the floor. It was also proven that the old man supposedly heard this while the L-train was passing just outside the window of the apartment. Juror #8 said that he use to live next to an L-train, and when it passed it was so loud that he could hardly hear himself think. How could the old man hear the boy say, “I’m going to kill you!” with the noise of the L-train passing by. Juror #6 refutes the evidence that it would be nearly impossible for the old man to hear this, because he worked in a house next to an L-train and said it would be too loud. Even if the old man did hear the muffled voice, how was he so sure that...
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