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Twelve Angry Men Essay

1488 words - 6 pages

What do we know about the criminal justice system? The criminal justice system is a series of organizations that are involved in apprehending, prosecuting, defending, sentencing, and jailing those involved in crimes; along with the system, regular citizens are summoned for jury duty in order to contemplate whether the defendant is guilty or not. It appears to be a rather secure, fair, and trustworthy system; one that should work relatively well, right? Unfortunately, the criminal justice system is an ultra-costly and ultra-punitive; the system is neither protecting victims nor rehabilitating lawbreakers. For example, trial by jury; there is usually a small amount of people in the jury who ...view middle of the document...

He never assumed nor jumped into the bandwagon about the similarities of the knives. He did this because he also owned an exact replica of the knife, in which he purchased “last night in a little junk shop around the corner from the boy’s house. It cost two dollars.” Juror #8 stunned the other jurors with his knife; the knife was claimed to be “unique” although Juror #8 had purchased the same one for a mere two dollars. Because the knife was deemed to be so inexpensive, anybody could have purchased one for themselves; meaning, the chances of someone else being the murderer have increased. Juror #8’s argument is increasingly more credible because of this. The jurors also bring up another point, how unusual the stab wound is. Earlier in the play, the jurors accused the boy of being guilty because of his past, the boy is known for being picked up for knife-fighting. Juror #8 understands this and uses it to his advantage. A skilled knife-fighter using a “switch-blade” would not stab another in a “downward angle,” as it would be unusual. Juror #8 demonstrated how a switch-blade was used as he “closes the knife, flicks it open, and changes the position of the knife so he can stab over-handed.” This added to his credibility by showing how “awkward” it is for a known knife-fighter to take the effort and change positions of the knife before stabbing, that would be a strange tactic. A new vote was taken and what started as eleven “guilty” and one “not guilty” transformed and became four to eight: Juror #8’s argument is deemed convincing and reasonable.
Continuing on, throughout the trial the remaining jurors then claimed that one of the witnesses, an old man, gave evidence that he heard the boy say “I’ll kill you!” and that after rising from his bed he saw the boy running down the stairs from his father’s apartment. Juror #8 marks that this claim is flawed by explaining that it is literally impossible for an “elderly” man to have heard the boy yell “I’ll kill you!” since an “el train” was passing by: he revealed another hasty generalization. He explains that the noise of a passing “el train” is “almost unbearable” since he has experience with living by one. He reinforces his argument with exact argumentation such as “an el takes ten seconds to pass a given point or two seconds per car. That el had been going by the old man’s window for at least six seconds, before the body fell. The old man would have had to hear the boy say ‘I’m going to kill you,’ while the front of the el was roaring past his nose. It’s not possible that he could have heard it.” His exact logic made his argument more believable and increased the chances of the boy being innocent. Juror #8 even provides a real life comparison to the shouted phrase “I’ll kill you,” by showing that “we say it every day. This doesn’t mean we’re going to kill someone.” Juror #8 shows empathy for the defendant since he understands that this boy possesses a good amount of intelligence: no relatively...

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