American Film and Television Writer, Author of Twelve Angry Men
Facts may be colored by the personalities of the people who present them.
It's very hard to keep personal prejudice out of a thing like this. And no matter where you run into it, prejudice obscures the truth.
Look, this boy's been kicked around all his life. You know-living in a slum, his mother dead since he was nine. He spent a year and a half in an orphanage while his father served a jail term for forgery. That's not a very good head start. He's had a pretty terrible sixteen years. I think maybe we owe him a few words. That's all.
Nine of us now seem to feel that the defendant is innocent, but we're just gambling on probabilities. We may be wrong. We may be trying to return a guilty man to the community. No one can really know. But we have a reasonable doubt, and this is a safeguard that has enormous value in our system. No jury can declare a man guilty unless it's sure. We nine can't understand how you three are still so sure. Maybe you can tell us.
There were eleven votes for guilty. It's not easy for me to raise my hand and send a boy off to die without talking about it first.
It takes a great deal of courage to stand alone even if you believe in something very strongly.