Legal Groundup

Legal Studies from the ground up

Application Excercise 4k


The film ‘Twelve Angry Men’

1. The crime the accused was chargedwith is murder. Murder is the unlawful premeditated killing of one human being by another.

2. If the accused is found guilty, the sanction/ sentence wouldbe imprisonment.

3.Beforethejuryretiretodecidetheirverdictofguilty ornotguilty,the judge addresses thejury to clarify any issues.

4. ‘Beyond reasonabledoubt’is the legal burden of proof required to affirm a conviction in a criminal case. This means that the prosecution must convince the jury that there is no other reasonable explanation that can come from the evidence presented at trial.

5. The burden of proof in a criminal case lies with the prosecution to prove the case. Whereas, the standard of proof in a criminal case is the extent to which the case needs to be proven, that is, beyond reasonable doubt.

6. Evidence the prosecution has that appears to incriminate the accused is:

~ Same type of Knife (weapon)

~ Two witnesses

      ~ The fact that there appeared to be motive, he had suffered a 

         lifetime of abuse at the hands of his father

      ~ He had no alibi at the time of the murder, he claims to have been at

         a late night movie but cannot remember what he saw and no one can

         verify his whereabouts

      ~ The old man claims to have heard the boy say, “I am going to kill 

         you” and the body falls to the floor.

7. Juries are supposed to be unbiased and impartial. However, in this film one juror is biased. Juror #3 is biased against the accused because his own son had once hit him onthe jaw and had run away from home at the age of 15.

8. Yes one juror (Jack Lemnon) believes there is reasonable doubt in this case.

9. 11 (guilty) to 1 (not guilty) is the result of the first jury vote that takesplace.

10. The jury in the film votes numerous times. Each time the jurors vote, the out come of the jury vote changes where by more jurors have reasonable doubt believing the accused is not guilty. Therefore, each time the jury votes the number of jurors who vote not guilty increases and the number of jurors voting guilty decreases.

11. During the film the jury becomes dead locked when they take one of their votes. Some jurors want a hung jury to happen in this situation.

12. Three criticisms that can be concluded about the jury system based on the film are:

~ juries can be biased as jury members are not required to give reasons for their decision a jury’s bias or prejudice may never come to light.