Movie Analysis: 12 Angry Men Essay Example


In 12 Angry Men, an eighteen-year-old boy is on trial for the murder of his father. Many thought this case was going to end quickly as the boy and his father lived in the slums and the boy had a record of violence from his earlier years which went further against his case. This didn't help his case as this gave the people reason to believe that he did kill his father due to his violent past, witnesses, and his abusive father as the motive. As well as, the boy's alibi was weak as he said he was at the movies, but couldn't even remember what movie he went to see. After watching the trial the jurors had to go vote on the verdict. 

When the jury goes back to vote guilty or not-guilty they must have a unanimous, 12-0 vote. But one man voted ‘not guilty’ due to insufficient evidence and will not vote ‘guilty’ until the boy is proven guilty without a doubt. The other jurors tried to convince him to vote ‘guilty’ as many were eager to just get the case closed and go on with their day. But after going over the evidence more, more jurors started to re-vote and choose ‘not guilty’ as the evidence didn’t seem strong enough. In the end, the jurors reach the verdict of ‘not guilty’ as there is significant doubt that the boy committed the murder.

This movie relates to chapter twelve of We the People as it was set in a courtroom in 1957 and was about a jury trying to reach a verdict in a murder case. Furthermore, it brings up many key aspects that are throughout chapter eleven. One of these aspects is how criminal cases work through U.S. court and criminal law, which defines crimes and sets the punishments for actions considered illegal. The movie relates to criminal law as the eighteen-year-old boy was being prosecuted for a criminal offense, murder, where the punishment is death by the electric chair. In the movie, the boy was the defendant, which is the person who supposedly did the crime, and the government was the plaintiff that brought the crime to the court for trial in federal court since the case fell under the court’s jurisdiction. 

Moreover, the movie also shows other points that relate to chapter twelve besides a basic court overlay of witnesses, a defendant, and a plaintiff. These points include, but are not limited to, socioeconomic status, original jurisdiction, sufficient evidence, and the due process of law. First off, original jurisdiction is when a court hears a case for the first time - this is most likely the case in the movie as it is only a federal court, not a higher court unless the verdict was to be appealed by someone through their right of due process of law. If it was appealed by someone who disagreed with the verdict the case would go to a higher court. In some cases, this can lead to the highest court issuing a writ of certiorari, which is when four of nine Supreme Court justices decide to review the case to make certain that the law was followed and that proper punishment/verdict was given - but criminal cases such as murder very rarely go to the Supreme Court. This does not apply to the case in the movie as it stayed in its original jurisdiction in the movie. Due to having original jurisdiction of the case, this meant the court was responsible for having the evidence, testimonies, and facts of the case documented in its entirety.

 

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