Conformity In 12 Angry Men

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The film 12 Angry Men opens in a courthouse where closing arguments have just concluded in the first-degree murder trial of an 18-year old boy accused of stabbing his father to death. The judge gives the jury instructions regarding their duties as jurors. The judge stresses the seriousness of the crime, what is at stake, and if they have a reasonable doubt regarding the accused’s guilt, they must bring him a verdict of not guilty. If, conversely, they have no reasonable doubt, then they must find the accused guilty. No matter what they ultimately decide, their decision must be unanimous. The judge finishes by reminding them that if the verdict is guilty, the death sentence is mandatory. The jurors then retire to a private room to begin their …show more content…

It is a public vote where each juror must raise their hand to indicate if they are voting guilty or not guilty. By making it a public vote, everyone in the room will know how everyone else voted, which places pressure on the group to comply. The foreman asks for those who are voting guilty to please raise their hands. Without hesitations, the foreman and five other jurors quickly raise their hands. Five more jurors, who will later voice their doubts about the boy’s guilt, look around to see how their fellow jurors are voting. After briefly hesitating, they raise their hands to vote guilty. Later, in the film, after performing a secret ballot, one of the jurors switches his vote to not guilty, which would suggest that in a public situation individuals feel more pressure to comply with the group, then when they can express their views anonymously. In addition, the first vote is also an example of compliance and acceptance. The jurors who were slow to vote guilty may have hesitated because they have their own personal doubts about the boy’s guilt, but feel the pressure from the group to vote guilty after seeing half the jury vote guilty. Instead of going against the group they make the decision to comply and vote with the majority. Jurors number three and number ten quickly vote guilty because they inwardly believe as many people in our society do that kids like the accused are no good. By voting guilty they are acting on this

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