Group Work - A person's background is an important factor...

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A person’s background is an important factor to consider in a jury situation. Background factors played a positive role in the decision making process when it led the jurors to either change their vote, or ask for more information. One of the first jurors to change his vote was Joseph Sweeny. He was also the oldest. His age gave him valuable insight into the thought processes of the witnesses. The juror played by Jack Klugman had grown up in the slums. This gave him insight into the way that people tend to use switchblade knives. The juror played by George Voskovec had very strong beliefs about the benefit of the jury system, and stressed the importance of taking the case seriously. This is primarily due to the fact that he came to the United States as an immigrant. Background factors didn't always prove to be helpful in decision making. In a few cases they became a great hindrance to thinking clearly. Ed Begley and Lee J Cobb both had preconceived ideas about the defendant. Ed believed that because the defendant was from the slums he was a bad person. Lee harbored feelings of resentment towards “kids” in general. He had difficulties raising his own son, and felt that there were a lot of problems with “kids today”. These preconceived notions made them unable to fairly analyze the evidence. Juror Roles Though the 12 jurors gathered to make one decision, there were a number of roles that they took on. There were those who took on roles that contributed to the task at hand, some who built up the group, and those who took on self serving roles. The first set of roles are task-related roles. Martin Balsam was juror number one. He was the initiator-contributor of the whole process, and the primary coordinator. George Voskovec, Joseph Sweeney, and John Fielder were information seekers. They
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often asked questions, or expressed their ideas in such away that opened the doors for others to discuss a subject. Some of the jurors were information givers. John Fielder had written down all the evidence against the defendant and could provide it at a moments notice. Jack Klugman had grown up in the slums and provided information about living there. Edward Binns provided information about the loudness of a passing L train and Joseph Sweeney gave insight into the workings and motives of the witness’s actions. The orienter in the group was George Voskovec who stressed the importance of the task at hand. He pointed out that it was just as important for you to have a reason for your vote as it was to cast it. Henry Fonda, Joseph Sweeny and E.G. Marshall were men who worked to evaluate the information as it came. Some of the men worked to get the other jurors riled up, or energized. John Fielder, George Voskovec, and Joseph Sweeny did this. Finally, there were two opinion givers. The jurors played by John Fielder and Ed Begley were quick to give their opinions, often without facts to back up their beliefs. As well as task related roles, there were those who took roles to build up the
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Group Work - A person's background is an important factor...

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