12 Angry men (1957)
- based on the play and starring Henry Fonda, Jack Klugman
Neque enim aedem militares et
emperatoriae artes sunt
"Nor are the talents of the soldier and ruler the same"
12 Angry men is one of the most important courtroom/jury room dramas ever to come out of the United states. The question presented to us in this great movie offerings is this: Is there
justice in the level of discourse that is being offered. Is the
articulation on the issues in fact valid or is it semantic like
argument on feigns of dubious validity.
If a case appears as it should: open and shut - is that
reason enough to start to discount it? Should you decide that
everything that could go the other way hypothetically, no matter
how remote the possibility, that should be the order of the day of
a particular brand of "more pure" justice? Should the prejudices
carried by members of the jury or testifying witnesses be reason
enough to negate and retard their testimony? should they be
required as jury members to vote the other side instead?
The OJ Simpson criminal trial contained all of these elements in
the minds of those who assembled not too long ago on a PBS panel
inquiry headed by talk show host Mr. Charlie Rose. The ownership of
property in and of itself should never be sufficient qualification to sit on a jury to decide the fate of members of the community. Instead, a sound grounding in values that are humanistically pure
and demonstrably so, combined with sound reasoning skills and experience in the proper and right application of legal principles
that come from this sound philosophical basis should rule, and be
the requirement. So a panel of judges perhaps, appointed on more than their connections within legal circles as it presently is
comprised, rather on an open contest in which real votes for merit may be clearly exercised in the protection of all.
Otherwise, we could someday die for no other reason than a lack
of restraint in the environment caused by a complete breakdown
in the expectation of justice based on jury members that are nothing more than proxies for those that would inflict their own
brand of justice instead. The OJ Simspon affair should raise just such alarm bells as the second trial rightly pointed out, however it came too late to impose penalties to fit the crime - financial constraints that were imposed subsequently on the defendant could hardly be deemed sane enough for anyone that was looking in at the situation in objective fashion unable to do nothing but shake their heads in amazement that this could go on without a public scream that should never end until the righter outcome is seen through instead.
Michael Rizzo Chessman