Was Lee J. Cobb Right?


Writing in The Spectator, Leo McKinstry argues that the defendant in 12 Angry Men was clearly guilty and that "The self-righteous [Henry] Fonda character twists every piece of evidence, and stretches the term 'reasonable doubt' beyond any logical breaking-point." Blogger Matt Sinclair Tiberius Gracchi replies with a passionate defense of Fonda, the film, and trial by jury. The Volokh Conspirators weigh in as well, with Orin Kerr pointing out that the author of the original play was "deliberately…unclear" about the guilt or innocence of the accused. (No one brings up the feminist angle: Why were there no women on the jury?)

If you haven't seen the movie or play, here's a condensed version: