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Unanimous Verdicts are better that Majority Verdicts in Ref of "12 Angry Men"

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/1/2014 Category: Politics
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 3,732 times Debate No: 48165
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1.The Unanimous Jury system allows a deeper discussion and ensures more care to be taken from the initial vote of eleven to one. It was obvious that the majority of the Jurors had set their minds on "guilty", and in majority system, the boy would have been sent to his "mandatory" death sentence. However, because of Juror 8, further discussion was forced rather than being over and finished with for the other jurors as their carelessness become apparent. Carelessness was a common problem, juror seven had wanted to be at his ball game; Juror 12 kept fiddling, his excuse being "I have this habit of doodling".Rice Pops"" later juror 7 said "I"m a little sick of this whole thing already"I"m changing my vote to not guilty," although one cannot change someone"s interest, at least they were forced to consider and more likely unanimous systems can enforce them to become careful, smart and able to find the right choice.

2.Biasness, prejudice and influences may interfere with the jurors" decisions, accuracy and prudence. This was a large problem in the jury room as the simple background of the accused led many jurors" minds into thinking he was guilty. Leading on from the previous statement, only further discussion allowed them to put aside the prejudice, biasness and influences. Initially Juror 10 said "they"re born liars" and Juror 4 said "Slums are breeding grounds for criminals," Exemplifying their walking into the room thinking that the accused was a liar or criminal for certain. The Puerto Rican boy was also thought guilty because of his family background just because the father had hit the boy many times before. This was shown by Juror 4 as he noted, "It may have been two slaps too many" this is important because they were not seeing the boy as himself, instead seeing him as a part of the whole group. The background of where he came from resulted in many of the jurors" belief that he was a criminal.

3.The Unanimous verdict also enforced that all jurors were able express their opinions or reasonable doubts and allow a different insight from people with different views on the case. After Juror 8 bravely stood up against everyone else, he was able to prove much of the circumstantial evidence had been a puzzle and did not fit together well. Also, Juror 2 was a shy and quiet juror as he claimed that "(he) had never sat in court before" Juror 2 was able to provide reasonable doubt that made many of the jurors think more about their choices. Juror 2 had stated, "It"s a very awkward thing to stab down into the chest of someone who"s more than half a foot taller than you are." If it had been majority system, those jurors that provided reasonable doubt would not have been able to express the opinion and allow a change in votes.

The Unanimous system greatly reduces the chance of wrongfully sending an innocent to a sentence. Both systems have possible faults in them, however, in the majority system it is possible to punish the innocent and free the guilty as minor discussion is used. On the contrary, the unanimous system enforces discussion therefore greatly reducing the risk of wrongfully accusing the innocent. In New York State, it cannot be afforded to destruct the life of one innocent citizen.

It is my determination that the unanimous system should not be changed into majority system for the reasons above. They clearly state the pros of the unanimous verdicts. Unanimous system supports the fairness of a trial with the only downside of taking more time. But with one man"s life of stake, time is worth much less.


A brief thank you to my opponent for initiating the debate. Best of luck!

I would like to begin my argument by highlighting one key point: a majority verdict (technically called a supermajority verdict) requires a vote of 10-2 or 11-1. This is but a hair away from unanimity, and it still encompasses the desire of the majority, a democratic principle upon which many things are determined. Majority rules, if you will.

Unanimous verdicts have, as society has grown and evolved, become the social "norm." With unanimous verdicts, all twelve jurors must agree to find the defendant guilty or innocent--but, of course, making twelve people agree on a subject of such magnitude can be extremely difficult. In 6% percent of cases, juries are hung,[1] perhaps unsurprisingly given the aforementioned difficulty of making twelve people agree on one single thing. The axiom "it only takes one to hang"[2] is all too true--one single person disagreeing with the other eleven jurors has the power to hang the jury and give the defendant an entirely new trial, and to cost the government even more money to repeat the trial.

Too much power is in the hands of each individual with the unanimous verdict. For example: what if each and every citizen in the United States had to agree on who would be elected President? The ensuing result would be reelection after reelection, and in all likelihood, corruption and bribery, both of which are commonplace in trials where a unanimous verdict is required.

Ignoring the blatant wrongness of jury tampering for a moment, suppose you had twelve jurors deliberating. They need a unanimous verdict. Eleven of them agree that the defendant is guilty. Juror 3, however, has been bribed. Despite what he truly believes, he staunchly opposes the other jurors and finds the defendant innocent. The jury hangs and the defendant must be retried. However, if, in this case, a supermajority verdict is required, the jury will not hang. Juror 3's corruption does not alter the proceedings--he is silenced by the majority. The defendant is found guilty, 11-1. No retrials, no other jury, no more money going into this case. It is settled by the supermajority.

Supermajority verdicts, in addition to cutting the number of hung juries and bribed jurors, can virtually eliminate problems caused by rogue jurors and can reduce the number of compromise verdicts.[3]

In regards to the film 12 Angry Men, I would like to refute bring up major point: while the jurors did initially have an 11-1 vote (a supermajority) of guilty, this does not mean that Juror 8 would not have been allowed to plead his case, whether unanimity or a supermajority be required. He would have still had the opportunity to make a case for the innocence of the defendant. If a supermajority had been required in the film, the other jurors would not have had to convince the last two jurors (their numbers escape me for the moment)"the arguments would have been made, the discussions would have been had, and the verdict would have come in at 10-2 for innocent. Hypothetically speaking, let's assume that, in the film, the final two jurors would not have changed their vote. The jury would have hung and the defendant would have been retried and likely found guilty.

A supermajority eliminates that risk by taking what the majority wants--an intrinsically democratic and fair principle--and acting upon it. Unanimous verdicts only carry with them chances of corruption and an increased risk of hung juries.

Once again, thank you to my opponent for initiating this debate!

Debate Round No. 1
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Vote Placed by EndarkenedRationalist 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: Those one-round debates...they usually kill the instigator (haha, I'm punny). PRO had no sources and couldn't refute CON's points. CON wisely countered PRO's call for unanimous votes with supermajorities and explained the minority voters could still argue a case, thus refuting PRO's points. I recommend longer debates in the future.
Vote Placed by Josh_b 3 years ago
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Reasons for voting decision: I didn't watch the movie, however I think it's a movie because of it's portrayal of a fictional anomaly. A 10/11 vote should be sufficient for determining guilt.