12 ANGRY MEN
In the movie 12 Angry Men, eleven jurors vote to convict a young man of stabbing and killing his own father. Initially, the men are decisive on sending the boy to the death chamber relying solely on the testimony given by the two eyewitnesses. Despite Juror #8 raising questions about the reliability of the eyewitnesses’ testimonies, the majority of the jurors stick by their guilty votes. Juror #8 maintains his not guilty verdict and through the film, continues to raise questions and shows the jurors where there are areas that raise doubt. Although there were only two eyewitness accounts, this movie shows how strong the power of eyewitness testimony can be in court. In addition to the power of eyewitness accounts, this movie displays a great example of group polarization—the process by which the public opinion divides and goes to different extremes. When looking at jurors, a group of individuals, when they are alone and are thinking about the case, may be undecided, become fiercely opinionated once they enter the deliberation room. In this version of the movie, interestingly, Juror #10, played by Mykelti Williamson, a black actor, goes on a racist tyrannical rant about how Hispanics are “born to lie, they are crack heads” and are “multiplying like rabbits” He believes that they are second- class citizens and don’t deserve to be in society. He believes that they are killers by nature and are trying to take over. The eyewitness testimony is profoundly affected by the complex personalities of the jury. For example, Juror #3, the very last man standing, is hung on the words “I’m going to kill you” being said to the boy’s own father and takes on the pain of the murder as his own. He wants the boy to pay for what he did, as he believes that the boy is guilty based on the eyewitness testimony. He has a hard time accepting the reasonable doubt and is the very last one to do so at the close of the movie. Juror #4 is also...
References: Group polarization & how it impacts your verdict. (2011, August 25). Retrieved from
Internet movie database (imbd) [0 series episode]. Retrieved from
Sunstein, C. (2000, October 4). Deliberative trouble? why groups go to extremes.
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