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Twelve Angry Men. What is Reasonable Doubt?.

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what is reasonable doubt
What is Reasonable Doubt?

In the United States, juries must be instructed to apply the reasonable doubt standard when determining the guilt or innocence of a criminal defendant, but there is much disagreement as to whether the jury should be given a definition of "reasonable doubt."[8] In Victor v. Nebraska, the U.S. Supreme Court expressed disapproval of the unclear reasonable doubt instructions at issue, but stopped short of setting forth an exemplary jury instruction.[9]

reasonable doubt con t
Reasonable Doubt (con’t)

reasonable doubt:

n. not being sure of a criminal defendant's guilt to a moral certainty. Thus, a juror (or judge sitting without a jury) must be convinced of guilt of a crime (or the degree of crime, as murder instead of manslaughter) "beyond a reasonable doubt," and the jury will be told so by the judge in the jury instructions. However, it is a subjective test since each juror will have to decide if his/her doubt is reasonable.

hung jury
Hung Jury

A hung jury is a slang term for a hopelessly deadlocked jury in a criminal case, in which a decision on guilt or innocence cannot be made. Usually it means there is no unanimous verdict , although a couple of states don't require a unanimous verdict to convict. A mistrial will be declared by the judge in the case of a hung jury, and a new trial with a new jury is required.

rhetoric in twelve angry men
Rhetoric in Twelve Angry Men

Rhetoric is the art of using language effectively in order to persuade. In Twelve Angry Men Juror #8 and Juror #3 have different purposes for gaining the other jurors’ favor when they present their evidence. Juror #8 wants to rationalize the boy’s actions while Juror #3 desires that the jurors condemn the boy. Both men attempt to gain the other jury members’ favor by the use of ethos, pathos, and logos.


I’ve lived in a slum

all my life….

The writer or speaker appeals to

his/her own credibility and character

as a reasonable, reliable,

and good person.


Evokes audience’s

EMOTIONS through

hidden meanings, sarcasm,

irony, hyperbole, contrast,

and repetition.


Appeals to audience’s


By constructing a logical,


Argument and message;

May include the use of a concession or counterargument.


These twelve jurors have just heard the trial of an 18 year old boy who is accused of killing his father.

His father was abusive.

They lived in the ghetto of the city.

The evidence is questionable to some, to others it is clear.

The jurors MUST reach an unanimous verdict or a mistrial will be ordered.

juror 1 foreman
Juror 1/Foreman

Impressed with authority

handles himself formally

not overly bright

juror 2
Juror 2


Hesitant and finds it difficult to maintain any opinions of his own

Easily swayed

Adopts the opinion of the last person who has spoken

juror 3
Juror 3

Very strong and forceful

Extremely opinionated

Humorless man who is intolerant of other’s opinions

Accustomed to forcing his views and wishes upon others

juror 4
Juror 4


Presents himself well at all times

Thinks he is better than everyone else

Appalled at the behavior of the other jurors

Only concerned with the facts of the case

juror 5
Juror 5

Naïve, frightened young man

Takes his obligations seriously

Finds it difficult to speak up when his elders have the floor

juror 6
Juror 6

Honest man

Makes his decisions slowly and carefully

Finds it difficult to make positive opinions

Has to listen and digest opinions of others that he finds appeal to him

juror 7
Juror 7

Loud, flashy salesman

Feels he has more important things to do than to be on this jury

Quick tempered

Forms quick opinions on things he knows nothing about

He is a bully, and a coward

juror 8
Juror 8

Quiet, thoughtful, gentle man

See all sides to every question

Constantly seeks the truth

Has strength tempered with compassion

Wants justice done and will fight to make sure it is done

juror 9
Juror 9

Mild, gentle old man

Feels defeated by life

Waiting to die

Realizes exactly what he is

Mourns for days when he would have been able to be courageous

juror 10
Juror 10

Angry, bitter man

Antagonizes everyone

A bigot who holds no value for any life but his own

A man who has gone no where and is going no where

juror 11
Juror 11

A refugee from Europe

Speaks with an accent

Is ashamed, humble, almost subservient to others

Honestly seeks justice because he has suffered much injustice

juror 12
Juror 12

Bright advertising man

He thinks of individuals in terms of percentages, graphs, polls, etc.

Has no real understanding of people

Superficial snob, but tries to be a good guy