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The Mendez Brothers Trial Essay

1797 words - 8 pages

Is it possible to sympathize with two calculated killers, if they claimed abuse? The jurors of the Menendez brothers’ first trial thought so. The Menendez brothers came from a wealthy family who lived in Beverly Hills, but everything was not as posh as it seemed. Lyle and Erik Menendez seemed to have it all, but their family allegedly had a deep secret. This secret eventually came out on the day that they murdered their parents in cold blood. The brothers shot their parents in their own home, like professional hit men. Aside from this trial, there have been many other cases showing conflicting ideas between jurors. In the play Twelve Angry Men, written by Reginald Rose, he portrays the modern-day problems with the justice system. Through researching this case and reading the play, Twelve Angry Men, one can infer that the jurors from this play would hav/e great difficulty in coming to a verdict in the Menendez Trial.
On August 20th, 1989 Lyle and Erik Menendez killed their parents inside their Beverly Hills home with fifteen shot gun blasts after years of alleged “sexual, psychological, and corporal abuse” (Berns 25). According to the author of “Murder as Therapy”, “The defense has done a marvelous job of assisting the brothers in playing up their victim roles” (Goldman 1). Because there was so much evidence piled up against the brothers, the defense team was forced to play to the jurors’ emotions if they wanted a chance at an acquittal. Prosecutor Pamela Bozanich was forced to concede that “Jose and Kitty obviously had terrific flaws-most people do in the course of reminding jurors that the case was about murder, not child abuse” (Adler 103). Bozanich “cast the details of abuse as cool, calculated lies” (Smolowe 48). While the defense was trying to make the brothers appear as victims, the prosecutors wanted people to look past these issues. Nothing can excuse cold-blooded murder. No matter what the defense and prosecution had planned, the jury is required to hold an unbiased opinion.
Despite the need to base their final decisions on facts, some jurors let their emotions get the best of them. One defense attorney believes, “Most of the women jurors had come to love the little brothers, or at a minimum, to pity them” (Berns 25). While the male jurors on both brothers’ jurys saw right through the defenses’ allegations, the female jurors took pity on them, and made it very difficult to come to a verdict. The fact that “in the first trial, the defense worked well enough to produce a hung jury- and nationwide outrage over the abuse excuse” shows how much media attention the case was receiving (Kaplan 2). In fact, if the case wasn’t headlining national news, then there is a possibility that the jury could have struggled less in their decision. The female jurors bought into the “abuse excuse” and wanted to move for an acquittal, or self-defense (Kaplan 2). On the other hand, the male jurors wanted to move for a charge of first...

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