During my chat with Lou Collins last week about Common Law and the American Constitution...
…Lou mentioned the film 12 Angry Men; a film I hadn’t seen. For someone who takes such an interest in all matters to do with Trial by Jury and the Common Law this was probably surprising. If you haven’t seen it, you must!
Now I found the film quite profound - and I’ll come onto explain why in a moment. But before I do, it is probably worth laying out my disappointments - and these had nothing to do with the film itself but, predictably with the prevalent misunderstandings of Trial by Jury; some of which were discussed in my chat with Lou.
The most obvious of course was the concept of either a ‘Hung Jury’, which was discussed briefly in the film as it would have been a possible outcome, or the second concern, which was the requirement for a ‘majority’ verdict. Both of these do not exist in genuine Common Law and these two distortions have been allowed to creep into our modern understanding of how Trial by Jury works - assisted and enabled by treacherous members of the establishment in both the US and the UK (among other countries too). It is not hard to see their intentions in these efforts: clearly it is harder for liberty to win the day and for justice to be done. In authentic Common Law, all jurors must decide guilty, for a man to be be found guilty.
The third abhorrence is the incorrect understanding that the jury must judge on the facts of the case only. This is totally incorrect according to genuine Common Law in which the Jury can and must judge on all aspects of the case: the facts, the admissibility of evidence, the sentence and the law itself. As we know, the law is changed to the opinion of the jury and not the other way around!
It is important we understand the above, but despite this, the drama of the film got to me in a number of ways.
It was interesting to see the shallow, dismissive attitude of those in the jury who had better things to do! The profound importance of their role was lost on most of the jurors at the start and their perspective and attitude to their job was clearly going to go through a radical change as the film progressed. This demonstrated the importance of jury education.
The infectious nature of the one single man in touch with his conscience was astonishing to see as each juror, in their own time, began to see the grave and sobering importance of their role.
The single jury member; a man truly in touch with his own conscience, influenced, in turn, all the others. Jurors 2 to 12 almost represented an ever-deepening reflection on something dark within their own psyche. An increasingly profound realisation of something difficult or uncomfortable within their own shadow - to use Karl Jung for a moment. Until, finally, the last juror found himself going through a dark-night-of-the-soul experience and came face to face with his own demons.
The profound nature of the Trial by Jury experience on the accused is perhaps reflected also in the members of the jury, and demonstrates precisely the power of Judicium Parium for all who take part in it.
Trial by Jury is a vehicle for the raising of consciousness for all, in line with the Natural Law principle of correspondence - the holographic nature of the universe. Tapping into the collective consciousness in the macro, whilst reflecting on one's own shadow, the micro: as above, so below.
Dramatically, the film ended in the right place, but it would have been interesting to witness the shock and incredulity of those in the court as the proper (but surprising) verdict was delivered. The reaction of the prosecution team and the judge would have made a memorable scene to be sure.