In order to write sharp topic sentences for either text response or a comparative essay, you must be clear about Rose’s views, values and message. The following statements will help you organise and structure your essays.
Problems with the justice system: Factors that prevent a fair trial
- Through characters such as the 3rd and 10th jurors, Rose suggests that biased opinions of jurors may prevent justice and may cloud the jurors’ judgement.
- A miscarriage of justice often occurs for individuals in a position of social and economic disadvantage.
- Rose states that it is improper and unjust to send a boy to die based on a juror’s preconceived ideas, hasty presumptions and/or personal priorities.
- Rose also states that other personal factors such as one’s own family situation may also cloud one’s judgement.
- Rose shows the extent to which racial and social profiling threaten to undermine the justice system. Owing to their biases, many jurors automatically accept the evidence because they prejudge the accused.
- Because of their prejudice, Rose shows that the jurors are too quick to accept the evidence. They overlook the problems associated with the eye-witness testimonies. They also place too much trust in the prosecution team.
- Furthermore, a miscarriage could also occur because many jurors are either disrespectful or ignorant of the jury process.
Positive: factors that promote a fair trial
- According to Rose, it is important for jurors to discuss all aspects of the evidence with an open mind. They must patiently and systematically investigate the facts that are presented to them. They must not arrive at conclusions based on biased assumptions.
- According to Rose and the 8th juror, every accused person has the right to a fair trial, irrespective of their social background and economic status.
- The jurors must adhere to fundamental principles of justice; the main point of a trial is to make sure that there are no areas of doubt or inconsistent points in the evidence. Where there is reasonable doubt, the jurors must not send a boy to die.
- If applied with rigour, Rose believes that the concept of reasonable doubt, will ensure that individuals receive a fair trial.
- He seems to suggest that under the circumstances, the correct verdict is reached.
- The symbols of the locked door and the knife reflect Rose’s view that it is important to bring an open mind to the legal process. The jurors must investigate the facts without fear or favour and without the automatic presumption that a boy is guilty.
- Throughout the discussion among the jurors, Rose also points out that it is important to view the “facts” or the “circumstantial evidence” from a variety of perspectives. Once the jurors try to imagine or identify with the boy or with the eye-witnesses they become more aware of their own prejudices and potential errors of judgement.
- Through the characterisation of the 8th juror, Rose suggests that it takes courage to withstand the opinions of a dominant and assertive group.
- Rose also suggests that group dynamics of the jury team play a role in the discussion process. This is clearly evident in the 12th juror’s case as he changes his mind three times.
- Rose uses numbers to identify each of the jurors. This depicts his view that each juror should remain anonymous and their personal background should not interfere with the legal process. At first, the 8th juror seems to be the only juror who only looks at the evidence. However, Rose also gives each juror a personal narrative to show that, despite ideal principles, they do not remain anonymous. Many of the jurors do bring their own personal stories and backgrounds to the discussion process.
The legal environment
Rose also suggests that the physical environment influences the discussion process and the jurors’ mindsets. In this case, the “drab and bare room in need of painting”, has an adverse and negative impact upon the attitudes of many jurors who are feeling oppressed because of the heat. This “drab” setting promotes an impatient and ill-disposed (angry, recalcitrant) mind set. This influences the discussion process and could, potentially, lead to a miscarriage of justice.
There is a clear message here for the legal system; it is important for jurors to represent a cross-section of the community and they must keep an open-mind and try to minimise their prejudice and personal views. They must question the evidence and apply the legal principles of justice and “reasonable doubt”.
Justice vs Truth vs doubt
- Rose suggests that there is a difference between justice and the truth and this difference impacts upon legal outcomes.
- Through the viewpoint of the 8th juror, Rose suggests that it is difficult to work out (ascertain) whether the boy did in fact kill his father. However, the point of the judicial discussion is to work out whether the evidence clearly leads to guilt. If there is reasonable doubt, Rose suggests that a not-guilty verdict is the only “just” course of action. Based on the “circumstantial evidence”, the 8th juror believes that he may not be able to work out whether the boy did murder his father. “I know as much as you do”.
- The 8th juror also questions the bias evident in the defence case.
- Evidently, Rose suggests that the correct verdict is reached. This is because the 8th juror systematically shifts the focus onto reasonable doubt. Therefore the jurors carefully consider the flaws in the evidence and realise that they will never conclusively know whether the boy is guilty or innocent. Rose suggests that under these circumstances the jurors must focus on the “facts” and if there are problems with the evidence, the defendant cannot be sent to die.
- Based on ‘reasonable doubt’, a verdict of ‘not guilty’ is reached, which Rose suggests is the only correct verdict under these circumstances. As the evidence is not conclusive, the jurors are not able to confidently prove the boy’s guilt.
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