Formal Assignment 1

First, there are sins, then there are laws. Sin regenerates with flexible appearances, as justice seconds the trait. Although meant to serve its people, law codes contain a major flaw: it is apathetic and rigid, nothing human.  Which is why the written laws alone cannot represent justice unless there’s also an input of contemporary and appropriate empathy. The definition of justice is ever changing. In order to carry out justice in court, the jurors must present “judicial empathy” (EJL), which stands for comprehensive, unbiased, and appropriate (empathize with all perspectives but not especially emotionally attached to any) empathy. In the movie A time to Kill, the Jurors are influenced by various factors including the commotion outside of the court, the words of witnesses, and the performance of the lawyers. All of which infests bias within the jurors, harming their ability to see from every possible perspective and act as a “judicious spectator”.

As the movie progresses, the jurors are presented with voluminous information for them to debate whether if Carl Lee’s killing is justified. They are ordinary citizens, who can see nothing deeper than rumors and Carl Lee’s skin before the trial started. While the viewer sees a bit more through his responses to his daughter’s tragic. Both the viewers of and the jurors in the movie are attaining Carl Lee’s side of the story far more than seeing the two supremacists’ (Nicky Katt and Doug Hutchison) (TK).  Moreover, the Jurors’ decisions depends chiefly upon how much they sympathize with the words coming from each attorneys’ mouth, and perhaps feel more empathy of one of the sides. Leaving the trial’s audiences to be more likely to stand with Carl Lee. First, there are hundreds of African Americans yelling outside of the court for Carl Lee to be free. Second, Deputy Dwayne Looney confesses that he cannot blame Carl Lee for his lost leg and believes he would have done what Carl Lee did if he was at the same situation. Third, Jake’s profound closing statement allow the Jurors to feel what Carl Lee was feeling when he saw what happened to his daughter (TK).%e5%b1%8f%e5%b9%95%e6%88%aa%e5%9b%be-2016-09-25-16-46-01

There are barely any stories from the supremacists’ side except for Billy Ray Cobb’s mother Cora Mae Cobb’s tears, which only had a brief appearance comparing to any other witnesses’ speech defending for Carl Lee’s actions (TK).  The also hint about the insufficiency in both stories by inputting Dr.Willard Tyrrel Bass’ experience. Where he was convicted statutory rape, where the victim become his current wife (TK). Both the viewer and jurors lack the essential information necessary to make a fair judgment. For all who believe that they are able to decipher whether if Carl Lee should be Guilty or not is not acting as a “judicious spectator” (RE) – “whose judgments and responses are intended to provide a paradigm of public rationality. Like what Jake recommended, most jurors have thought with their hearts but little analytics.%e5%b1%8f%e5%b9%95%e6%88%aa%e5%9b%be-2016-09-26-13-17-39

There is redundant “empathetic bias” mounted in the court, which is triggered by Jake’s speech ever so similar to a “victim-impacted statement” (EJL). When the jurors have to close their eyes and ingest a riveting experience of a little girl being abused, their empathy will arouse easily. The jurors will feel emotionally pressured to stand up for the Tonya, while losing focus on the actual case – the murder. Sarcastically, Jake, who the jurors based upon for their vote, have only heard the story from Carl Lee (JK). While Carl Lee carries a great amount of emotional color as he is telling about the tragic event. When Jake himself is affected by emotions and biased, who is really trustworthy on the court? Even the viewers only see the film majority from Jake’s point of view, which is not the primary document anymore. Meanwhile, the adversities that Jake, his family and his friends face are producing an “empathic feeling of injustice” (EJL) for the viewers. Jake didn’t commit any crime, yet his personal life is threatened by KKK as he fights for Carl Lee’s case. Instinctively, seeing someone “punished for more than he deserves” (EJL), most film audiences’ empathetic anger would lead them to trust the victim and desire the victim to achieve what he/she is struggling for; in this situation – for Carl Lee to win his case.

A “Judicious spectator” (RE) not only would realize there is a lack of information, he/she would also pull back and think in a bigger picture: “What would happen if Carl Lee wins his case?”, “Who else did Carl Lee harm when he murdered the men?” The fact is, Carl Lee set his own family at stake when he decided to commit the murder, knowingly. He knows they are incapable of supporting themselves, and he knows he might die. He begged/manipulated Jake to save him because he is ready to murder, but not ready to accept the consequence. He is not a follower of justice himself, despite his verbal pity for his victims’ parents(TK). Carl Lee would also be responsible the image he projects for his two growing boys. Carl Lee, as a role model for his two boys to look up to, used violence as the resort to attain the “justice” in his mind. When he is announced “innocent” (TK), what would the two young boys consider to be “right” or “just”? These are just a few examples of where. The jurors might be “too empathetic” to think about a bigger picture. Not to mention that Carl Lee plea for not guilty because he was “insane”, which can’t be proven.

In the film A Time to Kill, although Carl Lee’s case seems to be justice’s advocate in terms that the jurors look pass race to make their decision, any shuffle in perspective would suggest that the case is not black and white – the viewers don’t have enough information to judge whether if justice is served, or if empathy is placed in the appropriate place. Not many thought of Nicky Katt and Doug Hutchison’s parents or hear from their perspective. Without hearing them out, no one can name the resolution justice. The amount of distracting factors leads the jurors on to prejudice while concerning that they are definitely for justice. The film didn’t exist for its audience to say who is right or who is wrong, it is there to say no one is perfectly right. It comes to a perfect circle: Nicky Katt and Doug Hutchison spits at the African Americans in the beginning of the film, and the African American protestors spit at the KKK at the end of the film.

 

Works Cited:

“A Time to Kill,” Dir. Joel Schumacher. Perf. Sandra Bullock, Samuel L. Jackson, Matthew McConaughey, Kevin Spacey, Brenda Fricker, Oliver Platt. 1996.http://digitalcampus.swankmp.net/rochester274683/watch?token=6b856fd35ec9027d47a2ccbe87d8e5843937de4304f92e7d4c5743a463e11163.

Hoffman, Martin L. “Empathy, Justice, and Law.” https://learn.rochester.edu/bbcswebdav/pid-727601-dt-content-rid-1890782_1/courses/wrt105.2016fall.41376/hoffman_empathyjusticelaw.pdf.

Nussbaum, Matha. “Rational Emotions.” https://learn.rochester.edu/bbcswebdav/pid-731489-dt-content-rid-1904680_1/courses/wrt105.2016fall.41376/nussbaum_rationalemotions.pdf.

6 thoughts on “Formal Assignment 1

  1. After reading the essay, I realized that my sentences was structured poorly, the transition between ideas are rough, and the analysis provided for the reasoning are sometimes unclear.
    The main focus of the essay was mostly clear. However, presentation of the proofs can be displayed more efficiently and effectively.
    Avoid redundancy and focus on the thesis.

  2. 1. The thesis of the essay above is, “In the movie A time to Kill, the Jurors are influenced by various factors including the commotion outside of the court, the words of witnesses, and the performance of the lawyers. All of which infests bias within the jurors, harming their ability to see from every possible perspective and act as a ‘judicious spectator’.” Although not entirely obvious, the author is in fact stating that empathy does not promote justice in the film because it clouds the jurors’ judgement and prevents them from being proper “judicious spectators.”

    2. There is a tremendous amount of evidence used in this essay that provides overwhelming support for the empathy preventing justice taking precedence in A Time To Kill. I liked the point that stated how the lack of equal evidence on both sides meant that the empathy invoked was biased and that it made both the jurors and viewers biased towards the defendant. It provides support for the argument that the jurors were judicious spectators due to the evidence given to them and how they were swayed by it.

    3. This essay is not lacking use of evidence. Rather than a part of the essay where use of evidence needs to be strengthened, I feel that it is necessary for the author to pick out some key pieces of evidence and expand upon them for thorough analysis. I noticed that the author makes heavy use of how the film is narrated and portrays the stories of certain characters to invoke empathy. It seems like the author utilizes this as an overarching argument, which I believe can be improved upon by explaining what film techniques and perspectives filmmakers used to make jurors and viewers empathize with Carl Lee’s circumstance and with Jake’s closing argument. It speaks to the larger argument of how too much empathy may not be a good thing and I think that can be tied into the thesis more clearly with regard to how empathy does not promote justice.

    4. The use of the judicious spectator in this argument is very clear as well as critical in proving that empathy did not promote true justice in this film and is a great source to draw upon. This point is made clearly in the introductory paragraph and is expanded upon in later paragraphs when jurors fail to act as proper judicious spectators, furthering its importance. The use of the source is also what the entire essay’s argument hinges upon and thus its use was appropriate.

    5. With regard to the second sentence of the essay, I’m not sure exactly how justice might reinforce sin’s flexible appearance. Is this a necessary statement, if so I feel that it needs more clarity so that it does not disrupt the flow of ideas. Additionally in the fourth paragraph, I was confused about how the jurors only hearing Carl Lee’s perspective through Jake was “sarcastic.” I am also unsure of the following sentences’ relevance to the whole essay, as I can understand the argument without it, “Carl Lee would also be responsible the image he projects for his two growing boys. Carl Lee, as a role model for his two boys to look up to, used violence as the resort to attain the ‘justice’ in his mind. When he is announced ‘innocent’ (TK), what would the two young boys consider to be ‘right’ or ‘just’?”

    As mentioned earlier, I believe that much of the evidence used is quite related to the thesis. I’d recommend streamlining the primary argument through select pieces of evidence that are well-analyzed along with some secondary pieces of evidence as opposed to being given many examples the support the thesis but are scattered throughout the essay.

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