The Jury System
The jury system has been used for a very long time. The system works by recruiting twelve citizens to listen to the testimony of both the defendant and the prosecutor in a case. The first juror chosen is called the foreman and he or she is in charge of leading the deliberations. The twelve jurors then decide on a verdict of either guilty or not guilty. While deciding on their verdict the jurors stay in a quiet room to deliberate and discuss the facts brought to them by both the defense and the prosecution. The jurors can only come to a verdict if all twelve of them agree. If all twelve do not agree then a "hung jury" is called and another group of twelve is selected to come to a verdict. Most cases in the United States are settled before they go to trial and some cases do not need a jury. An accused person has a right to trial by jury but can instead agree to a bench trial. So therefore a jury trial usually takes place only in those instances where one side in a civil case, or the accused, in a criminal case, believes it is in their best interest.


In choosing a jury, both the defense and the prosecution look for citizens who are neither cold hearted nor too compassionate. The jury selection process is very log and tiresome. The prosecutors and defense attorneys ask questions to get a sense of the potential juror’s character. They look for fair people who would really analyze the situation in order to come up with the best verdict. They do not want people who are partial in decision-making.


In the play/movie 12 Angry Men, juror number three uses his assertiveness to convince the less opinionated jurors to vote guilty. In the play/movie some of the jurors only care about making a quick decision in order to go about their own business. They do


not attempt to put the facts and testimonies together in order to really see if the boy is guilty or not. Fortunately juror number eight really wants to give the boy a fair case and in the ending he gets all the jurors to realize that the evidence points to not guilty.


Although the jury system has some advantages over a one-person decision it is not very effective because the opinions of some who are more assertive can influence the opinions of others who are less expressive of their thoughts. This can lead to innocent people going to jail or guilty people being set free.