Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of Law defines reasonable doubt as a doubt about the guilt of a criminal defendant that arises or remains upon fair and thorough consideration of the evidence or lack thereof all persons are presumed to be innocent and no person may be convicted of an offense unless each element of the offense is proved beyond a reasonable doubt. The jurors provide a mixture of different backgrounds and lifestyles. None of the jurors are named, and they don't formally introduce themselves to each other except for two of them in the final brief ending. Jurors are labeled with numbers based on their jury numbers and seats at a conference table in the jury room in clock-wise order, with juror number one at the head of the table acting as the foreman.
Juror number one was a high-school assistant head coach. Due to his need for authority and need to keep the proceedings formal, he was often easily frustrated and sensitive when someone objected to his control or when juror number eight would start to overshadow him with his natural leadership and start to step in as the "new leader." Some might say he was inadequate for the job as foreman because of his lack of natural leadership abilities, however he managed to stay the foreman and keep control throughout the deliberation. Juror number one is the ninth juror to change his vote from guilty to not guilty. Juror number two was a slightly wimpy, bank clerk who was easily persuaded, and at times very meek, and hesitant. He easily went along with the majority. After the initial vote when asked why he voted guilty he meekly and quite flustered struggled to put his opinions into words he finally came to say "I just think he's guilty.
I thought it was obvious from the word 'go.' I mean, nobody proved otherwise" During an open ballot vote juror number two changes his vote to not guilty and at that time brought the vote to a tie. Juror number three ran a messenger service, he was a bullying, rude, loud-mouthed, husky man, who was extremely opinionated and biased. At times he was very temperamental and quite vengeful. He from the very beginning pushed for a guilty verdict. He was straight forward in his vote of guilty saying that "these are facts - you can't refute facts,"and the boy is definitely guilty." Later in the deliberations when everyone but him had changed their votes he threatens the other jurors by saying "you lousy bunch of bleeding' hearts"You " re not going to intimidate me.
I'm entitled to my opinion." After this he pulls out his wallet and a picture of his son falls to the table. Then he makes the comment "Rotten kids, you work your life out!" and then starts to break down and sob as he rips the picture and lays his head on the table still sobbing and changes his vote to not guilty, he is the last juror to change his vote. In this very emotional scene the estrangement from his own teenaged son is seen to be the reason that he is hateful and hostile toward all young people including the defendant. Juror number three was arrogant, quick-angered, quick-to-convict, and defiant until the very end. Juror number four was a well-educated, smug, and conceited stockbroker who was presumably wealthy. He possessed an incredible recall and grasp of the facts of the case.
He was dispassionate, cool-headed and rational, yet stuffy and prim. He treated the case like a puzzle to be deductively solved rather than as a case that may send the defendant to death. Juror number four states that the boy's entire alibi was "flimsy" as his reason for voting guilty in the beginning. Later in the deliberations he changes his vote after he hears how the only eye witness's eyesight is questionable, he was tenth to change his vote to not guilty. Juror number five is naive, insecure, and reserved. He had a slum-dwelling upbringing that the case resurrects in his mind, a guilty vote would distance him from his past in his mind.
He is nicknamed "Baltimore" by juror number seven because of his support of the Orioles. He may be Hispanic but this is only speculation. After the initial vote when the jurors were explaining their votes he passed, he was the third juror to change his vote to not guilty. Juror number six was a typical "working man," probably a manual laborer, he was dull-witted, and experienced difficulty in making up his own mind. He was a follower and very respectful of the older juror (juror number nine) and willing to back up his words with fists. When he voted guilty he admitted to being "convinced very early in the case." Later on he is the sixth to change his vote to not guilty.
Juror number seven was a clownish, impatient salesman who sold marmalade the previous year. He was a flashy dresser, and was an obsessed baseball fan who wanted to leave as soon as possible to attend an evening game. He threw wadded up paper balls at the fan, and often used baseball metaphors and references throughout all his statements for example when he tells the foreman to "stay in there and pitch." He seems to lack complete human concern for the defendant and for the immigrant juror. He keeps up amusing chatter throughout deliberations.
He usually voted with the majority, but suddenly he switched his vote to not guilty, because he was "sick of all the talking" he was seventh to vote not guilty. Juror number eight was an architect named Davis, he is the one who instigates a thoughtful reconsideration of the case against the accused. He was a liberal-minded, patient truth-and-justice seeker who uses soft-spoken, calm logical reasoning. He was well-spoken and concerned. He was considered a do-go oder who was "just wasting others' time" by some of the prejudiced jurors. He never once gave up on convincing all the other jurors that there was reasonable doubt that the boy did not in fact commit the crime.
He suggests not voting guilty in a hasty fashion, and proposes that they discuss things for at least an hour. He reviews the sociological background of the boy's childhood and all the evidence and in the end manages to change all of the other eleven jurors minds. He was the first to vote not guilty. Juror number nine the eldest man in group named Mcardle, was soft-spoken but perceptive and fair-minded. During the ballot vote he changes his vote to not guilty and says he does so because he "respects juror number eight's independence of thought", he was second to change his vote to not guilty. Juror number ten was a garage owner, who simmered with anger, bitterness, racism and bigotry.
He segregates the world into 'us' and 'them' and apparently relied on the support of others to reinforce his manic rants. Juror number ten believes that the testimony of the woman across the street who witnessed the killing is conclusive. He claims that "Everything fits." A few disputes arise in him believing the testimony of the ethnic woman though. He is the juror who with support of one other juror says that they should go in the court room as a hung jury, but later changes his vote to not guilty. He was also the tenth to change his vote to not guilty. Juror number eleven was a watchmaker who speaks with a heavy accent of German-European descent.
He was a recent refugee and immigrant and expresses reverence and respect for American democracy. He was the fourth to vote not guilty on his realization that there is reasonable doubt. Juror number twelve the final juror. He was a well-dressed business ad man. He doodled cereal box slogans and packaging ideas throughout deliberations. He was easy-going and lacked deep convictions or a belief system.
He often used advertising talk and at one point he used the line "run this idea up the flagpole and see if anybody salutes it." He was the eighth juror to vote not guilty. All the jurors eventually come to the same conclusion and find the defendant not guilty. The jury of twelve men are entrusted with the power to send an uneducated, teenaged boy to the electric chair for killing his father with a switchblade knife. They are literally locked into a small, claustrophobic rectangular room on a stifling hot summer day until they come up with a unanimous decision. This film examines the twelve men's deep-seated personal prejudices, perceptual biases, weaknesses, in differences, anger, personalities, unreliable judgments, cultural differences, ignorance and fears that threaten to taint their decision-making abilities and cause them to ignore the real issues in the case.
The twelve jurors decide to take an initial vote during this process they come to an eleven to one vote. They then decide to discuss things then take another vote. Juror number eight brings up the fact that it is possible that even though the boy's friends identify the murder weapon as being identical to the knife the boy had, it is still possible that the boy really did in fact lose his knife through a hole in his pocket like he had said. Then there is a discussion of the credibility of the testimony of the old man and old woman.
Juror number eight brings up many things questionable in these testimonies. First he questions whether it would have been that easy to hear and identify the voice that issued the threat, he also speculates how long it would take a six-car el train going at medium speed to pass a given point, they find it to be about ten seconds which then leads them to wonder about the contradictory timing of the testimony of the old man and woman. How could the old man in the apartment downstairs distinctly hear the threat and the body hit the floor a second later, while the woman across the street was viewing the killing through the last two cars, when an el train was making a deafening noise as it passed? The next thing he brings up is the lameness of the old man and how it would have took him longer than what was stated to get to the door so he could have in fact not have seen the boy but have seen some one else or just a basic figure but nothing clear. The issue of the defendant's "only alibi" on the night of his father's murder is revisited - the boy was allegedly at a theatre, but he could not remember the names of the movies he saw or the stars that appeared in them on the night of the murder.
Juror number eight however proves a point that the defendant's alibi is credible and could very possibly be true. He proves this by showing that one of the jurors could not remember facts about movies they had seen when they were not under any kind of stress, therefore it is very normal that the boy being under such emotional stress could not remember facts about the films he saw that night, he also brings up the point that the boy could now tell about each movie he saw. The next thing they review is the angle of the stab wound. Through a demonstration they show how it would be near impossible for the son, a boy who is used to using a switchblade to have made the four inch deep cut in the fathers chest. First they hit on the height difference the father was around six to seven inches taller than the boy.
This means it would have been very hard for the boy to have made an in and downwards cut on the man. Finally one of the last issues the jurors review is the eye witness. While going over all of this they bring up the fact that she had marks on her nose from glasses which means her vision was impaired in someway. She testified that she was laying in bed trying to get to sleep and looked out the window to see the boy murder his father. But as juror number four pointed out he does not sleep in his glasses where as most people do not, and the lady would not have had time to put her glasses on and see the boy therefore it is possible she did not see the boy but did see the murder and just think she saw the boy.