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A character is holding out for innocence on a jury. Sometimes another main character is on the jury, too, and tries to change his mind. Occasionally subverted when it turns out the defendant is actually guilty. A rather common plot for Sit Coms.

This is a common template for a Courtroom Episode.

Examples of Rogue Juror include:


Comic Books

  • A Batman comic once had Bruce Wayne selected to sit on the jury of a man whom he, as Batman, had arrested attempting to kidnap a wealthy couple's baby. As the rest of the jury were taken in by the defendant's innocent act, he had to convince them that the defendant was actually guilty. Contained an amusing moment where Bruce, honestly answering a jury selection question about whether he was fit to sit on the jury, confessed that he was prejudiced about the case because he was actually Batman - and after everyone stopped laughing, the judge told him to stop jerking around and take things seriously.
  • One of the City of Heroes comics (the Blue King run, not the Top Cow run) throws superpowers into this mix, with Apex appointed to the superpowered jury, when a superhero stands accused of second-degree murder - and naturally, he has to face a jury of his peers. Needless to say, the case does NOT go smoothly...

Film

  • The Trope Codifier is 12 Angry Men. A Rogue Juror is the sole holdout on a case which appears to indicate fairly straightforwardly that the accused is definitely a murderer. However, as the jury is forced to analyze the evidence in detail, they slowly discover that almost all of it is flawed in some way. Worth noting that, unlike some other examples, the Rogue Juror isn't 100% convinced of the accused's innocence at first - he just wants to make sure they've done their job properly, as the accused is facing a mandatory death sentence.
    • Interestingly, while #8 is trying to get everyone else to do their job properly, he is not. Conducting your own investigation and bringing a weapon into the jury room are both serious juror misconduct. This leads to a bit of Values Dissonance between lay people and legal professionals watching the same film / play.
  • Jury Duty is pretty much the same thing, played for laughs.
  • In the film, Suspect, a juror not only holds onto the notion that the murder suspect is innocent, but he also passes information to the defense attorney, then meets with her in person and helps her with her case, actions that would likely get her disbarred in real life.
  • How the movie Ernest Goes To Jail starts out. A henchman of bank robber Felix Nash realizes that one of the jurors on his murder trial, Ernest Warrell, looks exactly like his boss. He arranges for the jurors to visit the prison where the crime was committed, after which Nash knocks out Ernest and changes places. After that, Nash insists on finding his henchman innocent, keeping the henchman from getting his sentence upped to life, and then Nash walks out of the courthouse a free man, leaving Ernest in jail to serve out Nash's sentence (of Death).

Literature

  • This happens offscreen at the beginning of the Lord Peter Wimsey novel Strong Poison; Lord Peter's associate Miss Climpson is the jury holdout in the murder trial of Harriet Vane. This leads to a hung jury and a retrial, allowing Peter--who has fallen instantly in love with Harriet--time to find the evidence to clear her.
  • Done in a City of Heroes novel.
  • Pavel Young's court martial in the Honor Harrington novel Field of Dishonor has White Haven (the senior admiral of the jury) accuse half the jury of acting like this for political reasons, at which point the lowest ranking officer there turns around and accuses him right back. Eventually, one of the dissenting admirals negotiates a political compromise and agrees to vote with White Haven (breaking the deadlock 4-2), provided the death penalty charges are dropped, resulting in Young's dishonorable discharge and setting the stage for the second half of the book.. The other two never change their votes.

Live Action TV

  • Little House On the Prairie: In "Barn Burner," a black man named Joe Kagan (Moses Gunn, in a rerurring role) is the lone holdout on a jury that has voted to convict racist farmer Judd Larabee for burning down Jonathan Garvey's barn. Ironically, Larabee had objected to forming a cooperative specifically because Kagan -- the lone black farmer in the Walnut Grove area -- would also get to enjoy the co-op's benefits, and Larabee was fingered as the suspect after Garvey confronted Larabee at his home. Kagan's instincts prove right: Andy Garvey, who had been assaulted by Larabee on the night of the barn fire, had accidentally caused the fire after leaving a burning lantern hang on a hook just outside the barn door, and the wind swept the flames into the dry tinderwood. Larabee is acquitted of barn burning (a crime that was punishable by death) ... and he shows his "gratitude" by going on a tirade about blacks. By this point, everyone is tired of his rants, and he is left to die a lonely, bitter man.
  • On The Odd Couple Felix and Oscar tell the Pigeon sisters how they met during jury duty. Though the defendant was innocent, he was, after the trial, driven to actually commit the violent assault he had been falsely accused of after being trapped in an elevator with Felix. Interestingly, Jack Klugman was a juror in the original Henry Fonda movie.
  • In The Dead Zone, Johnny becomes a rogue juror because he has a psychic vision of the accused being shanked in prison. Even with his powers, he's much like the original Juror No. 8 in that he doesn't know for sure the accused is innocent until further examination of the evidence.
  • Monk in the episode "Mr. Monk Gets Jury Duty". And done deliberately by another juror--she was only there to prolong the trial until she could help another defendant escape, so she looked over the shoulder of the juror next to her and voted the opposite way. As it happened, the person next to her was Monk, the only "not guilty" vote, so she ended up voting the same way as the other ten jurors.
  • One episode of CSI has the holdout on a jury found dead. The suspicion is that he was murdered to end the deadlock, when in truth he was stung by a bee that had flown into the jury room through an open window and died from a massive allergic reaction.
  • Inverted in the Veronica Mars episode "One Angry Veronica," where Veronica is forewoman of a jury and one member is the single holdout for a guilty verdict. Over the course of the episode the jurors find additional information which does, in fact, point the finger at the defendants; eventually, there is only one holdout for innocence, who agrees to vote guilty because he's sure the defendants will get off on appeal.
  • MacGyver used this trope in one episode. Mac goes so far as to break sequester and sneak out to the crime scene to gather evidence himself. Of course, in the real world, that would get you a sentence for contempt of court and the trial itself would be declared a mistrial, but real life never gets in the way of TV justice.
  • On one episode of Quincy, the titular character found himself on a jury in an apparently open and shut murder case and proceeded to annoy everyone by continually asking questions about the evidence (and deducing the real killer, of course).
    • This also doubles as an Actor Allusion - Jack Klugman (Quincy) starred as Juror #5 in the 1957 movie version of 12 Angry Men (in fact, out of the 12 actors in that movie, Klugman is the last who still lives).
  • Subverted in 3rd Rock from the Sun ("11 Angry Men and a Dick"), where Dick meets the guy briefly in the courthouse lobby and likes the guy before finding out he's the defendant in the case he's serving on. It's obvious he's guilty, but Dick goes out of his way to invent completely random reasons he might be innocent.

 "Well, Foster SAID he didn't do it. Are you calling him--AND his attorney--a liar?!"

  • Also inverted in an episode of 7th Heaven, in which one of the main characters of the show persuades a reluctant jury to accept the testimony of the police and find the defendant guilty.
  • Edith did it in All in The Family, even reusing an argument from the film: when one racist juror says "those people" are born liars, Edith asks why she believes a key prosecution witness who is the same race as the defendant, to big applause from the audience.
  • In Family Matters, Steve and Carl wind up on the same jury. Steve believes the defendant to be innocent; Carl and the other jurors are sure the guy is guilty, as his face shows up clearly in security camera footage. Steve proceeds to prove his case by taking a blow-up of a frame of footage in which the real criminal's face is seen in a reflection; the defendant's face had been edited in, but he hadn't reckoned on someone checking that closely.
    • Never mind the fact that Carl would have been excused from jury duty because he is a policeman.
      • Or, barring that, at least one of them would have been removed due to a prior personal relationship.
  • Leslie Knope on Parks and Recreation goes rogue as a member of a beauty contest judging panel. She wants to give the award to a talented girl who does a lot of charity work, while everyone else wants to give it to a super-hot giggling moron.
  • On Happy Days, Fonzie uses his knowledge of motorcycles to prove the defendant's innocence to Howard and the other jurors.
    • Like the All in the Family example above, this episode has racism as a central point of the plot. At the end, the grateful defendant who was found not guilty (a black man) hugs the racist jurist when he thanks him for serving on the jury.
  • Done in Malcolm in the Middle, after viciously calling for the conviction of a teenage thief, Lois realizes that she was projecting her feelings about her eldest son on the defendant and resigns, but not until she's convinced everyone else and wasted an insane amount of time. It's made worse by the fact that everybody had already agreed on guilty to get out early, she just forced them into a deadlock so that they had to think about it with due respect.
  • An episode of Charmed had Phoebe on a jury receive a vision of someone other than the defendant committing the crime. After unsuccessfully attempting to convince them by normal means, she proceeds to use magic to summon the victim, and then memory dust to make them forget it.
  • Played fairly straight in The Andy Griffith Show when Aunt Bea is a holdout for a not guilty verdict, but is completely inarticulate about why. She merely keeps insisting that she doesn't think the accused is guilty, and winds up hanging the jury. As the court is preparing for another trial, Sheriff Taylor discovers that the real perpetrator was watching the trial from the gallery, and arrests him.
  • The Single Guy used actual clips from the movie at one point.
  • Subverted in Peep Show, in which Jez starts dating the defendant and convinces the fellow jury members that she is innocent, but after discovering that she actually gets into fights for fun he decides he doesn't want to go out with her any more and convinces them back to the guilty verdict... Double subverted in fact in that the defendant really is innocent of that specific crime but has committed several more along the same lines and got away with it.

  Jez: Justice has been served... well, not actual justice. But what I wanted to happen. Which is pretty much the same thing.

    • Also lampshaded:

  Jez: I'm in Twelve Angry Men! I'm the only one who's not angry. I'm horny.

  • Done on The Good Wife where a trial was hung due to one crazy cat lady juror deciding the defendant was innocent and refusing to vote otherwise.
    • In the episode 'Blue Ribbon Panel', protagonist Alicia Florrick becomes this when she suspects that police are covering up what really happened in a shooting. She wins over other members of the panel... only for the chain of evidence to lead back to her husband, the State's Attorney, forcing her to recuse herself.
  • In Early Edition Gary tries to avoid getting on a jury because of his ability to get tommorrow's newspaper however he ends up on the jury anyway. He finds out that the man everyone believes is guilty has been framed (and hangs himself after the guilty verdict) and tries to prove his innocence to everyone else's annoyance.
  • In one episode of Murder, She Wrote, Jessica is forewoman in a murder trial. Her fellow jurors are generally sure that the defendant is guilty, while Jessica asks them to take some time to review the facts. In a somewhat subversion, the jury acquits, because while the defendant did commit murder (disguised as an accident), he is not guilty of the murder he's on trial for, and convicting would've allowed the real killer to go free.
  • Newhart took a turn with this plot too.
  • On The Dick Van Dyke Show, Rob is the lone holdout in the trial of an attractive woman. Naturally, Laura isn't happy when she hears about this.
  • On Crossing Jordan, the rogue juror is Jordan (in quite possibly the most unrealistic trial of this type ever; just for starters, Jordan is already acquainted with the prosecutor). No one is surprised.
  • In the TV movie We The Jury, it is actually an inversion, as one juror is convinced that the defendant is guilty and convinces the other jurors of this.
  • Was in fact the title of an episode of Hancock's Half Hour in which both Tony Hancock and Sid James were on the jury.
    • And a remake starring Paul Merton.
  • On the episode "Samson, He Denied Her" of The Nanny, Fran and C.C. are called for jury duty, and Maxwell hopes it'll take Fran's mind off the fact that he had recently told her he loved her and then took it back. In the trial, the defendant is a housekeeper who is accused of assaulting her boss with a pair of scissors to chop off all his hair, but the trial also reveals that she did it because her boss told her she loved her and then took it back. This prompts Fran to immediately sympathize with the defendant and insist she's not guilty, even after the defendant blurted out a confession on the witness stand. Fran proceeds to drive the other jurors crazy because she refuses to vote guilty.
  • One episode of the live-action Batman show had Batman for some unexplained reason (He might know a lot about the law, but he never took the bar exam, nor does he work for the D.A.'s office) acting as the prosecutor in a trial against Joker and Catwoman. The whole jury voted innocent despite the evidence, at which point Robin realized that Joker's lawyer had managed to get the entire jury filled with ex-henchmen of the two criminals. Batman and Robin beat up the crooks, and the trial gets redone. This ignores the fact that both sides of a judicial case are supposed to be screening the jury to be ensure that the jurors aren't prejudiced before the trial even begins, and a provable close association with the defendants is an automatic disqualification.
  • Inverted in the B-plot of the two-part Cheers episode "Never Love a Goalie", in which Diane serves on a jury in an assault case filed by a woman against her husband, and Diane is the only one convinced of the defendant's guilt, to the exasperation of the other jurors. Ultimately, the woman drops the charges and the deliberations are ended prematurely, but when the woman and her husband visit Cheers at the end of the episode, Diane manages to provoke the husband into threatening his wife, thereby demonstrating his guilt in front of witnesses.
  • Subverted in an episode of the Marlo Thomas-starring sitcom That Girl (entitled "Eleven Angry Men and That Girl", though not all of the other jurors are male), in which Thomas' character, Ann Marie, is the lone member of a jury convinced that a man accused of striking his wife with an ashtray is innocent. When a male juror makes a pass at her and she slaps him, she realises that the wife's injuries are on the wrong side of her face for a strike by her right-handed husband. The subversion comes when the husband is acquitted and begins arguing with his wife anew... and grabs a nearby ashtray and hits her across the face backhanded, thereby explaining the anomaly that had persuaded Ann, and the other jurors, to acquit him.
  • In Shameless, Frank Gallagher becomes one when he discovers he can claim extra benefits as long as he is on jury service. From that point onward, he tries to drag the deliberation for as long as possible, continually reversing his opinion whenver he cleverly convinces everyone to see things his way.
  • Played with in Castle, in a case where a juror is poisoned; he's killed before deliberations start, but it's revealed that he managed to get himself placed on the jury in the first place in order so that he could act as one of these. Specifically, he knows that the defendant didn't commit the crime because his brother was with the person who did at the time, but while he doesn't want to throw his brother to the wolves he can't in good conscience let an innocent man go to jail for it.
  • On Republic of Doyle Jake serves on a jury in the trial of a woman accused of killing her husband. He is the only one who believes her to be innocent and resorts to his regular antics to stall the deliberations and conduct his own investigation. The judge lets him get away with a lot because the courthouse is being renovated and there is a massive backlog of cases so he does not want to declare a mistrial and have another trial. However, he finally throws Jake off the jury when presented with definite evidence of misconduct: Jake stole the judge's cell phone to make a call while sequestered. In the end it turns out it was actually a suicide and the jury foreman was also a Rogue Juror who was trying to get a publishing deal

Theatre

  • Done before the Trope Maker by Ladies of the Jury (play in 1929, filmed in 1932 and 1937).

Web Comics

  • Heavily, almost excessively, subverted in the webcomic Superosity. Main character Chris (who is dating Arcadia, the defence attorney) is the only one who thinks a boy is innocent of murder. Then the defendant tells Arcadia he loves her and plans to kill Chris to get her out of the picture -- turns out he is innocent of this crime, "but not thousands of other murders". Arcadia gets Chris to vote guilty for his own good, but by this time the other jurors have changed their mind. Finally Chris appeals to the other juror's worst instincts, such as racism and the desire to be quoted in the newspaper, to get them to change their minds back, and when he succeeds he declares, "Yippee! The system works! Kinda!".
  • Twisted to hell and back in a strip of Super Stupor, where it's 11 jurors scared that the supervillain on trial will kill them if he's found guilty...and the 12th, an ex-supervillain who convinces them otherwise...because he wants to die.

Western Animation

  • Parodied in The Simpsons: Homer votes "innocent" merely to deadlock the jury, because he's enticed by the notion of being sequestered in a free hotel room with free food and Free Willy. It's just coincidence that the defendant was actually innocent.

 Homer: I'm only doing what I think is right. I believe Freddy Quimby should walk out of here a free hotel.

  • Viciously spoofed in Robot Chicken, with "Twelve Angry Little People"(the toys, that is), wherein the protagonist is very, very wrong...
  • King of the Hill had an episode centered around this trope, except the trial was a focus group for the new bells-and-whistles lawnmower that would render Hank's lawnmower obsolete. Hank insists the focus group (including his neighbors and his dad) remain for the scheduled length as he convinces them that the new mower is junk.
    • In another episode, Hank is a member of the city council because he objects to the low-flow toilets, which he realizes are required by law because one of the other councilmen makes a profit from their sale. He pulls a fillibuster and refuses to vote until every member of the council has an opportunity to use a low-flow toilet.
  • A memorable episode of Hey Arnold featured this trope almost to the letter, where Eugene was on trial for pulling the fire alarm (apparently the school rules state that he can only be expelled if found guilty by a jury of his peers), and Arnold (of course) is the only one who thinks he might be innocent and sucessively disproving the evidence against him. As it turns out, Eugene was framed by Curly, who, as a member of the jury, then proceeds to flip out and confess to everything, laughing maniacally all the time.
  • Pepper Ann had Pepper Ann's mother on a jury trying a man for spitting on a security camera. It was actually a fairly close parody of the original Twelve Angry Men.

 Angry Juror Woman: I SPIT ON YOU!

Lydia, smirking: You don't REALLY mean you spit on me, do you?

  • In The Flintstones, Fred takes up this role in one episode, defending the Obviously Evil Mangler, and coming up with ridiculous excuses for him until finally giving up. Guess who the Mangler goes after once he escapes.
  • Inverted on American Dad. Roger is on trial and virtually all the evidence points to him being guilty, but he manages to endear himself to everybody except Stan, who's on the jury. Everybody else wants to let him off just because they like him, but Stan forces them to keep reviewing the evidence until they vote guilty just to get him to stop. (They break down crying during the conviction.)

Other

  • A 1959 Saturday Evening Post cove rby Norman Rockwell shown at the top of the page depicts a lone female juror holding out while her male counterparts argue heatedly with her.

Real Life

  • In real life, some trials can be forced to be retried if just one out of the twelve dissented. This has lead to majority verdicts (in England, 10-2) in some countries and American states to solve this problem (though in the US it is limited to some states and usually only for minor crimes).
  • Even an entire jury can go rogue and declare a defendant not guilty despite waterproof evidence against him/her. This process is known as "jury nullification" and takes place when a defendant is legally wrong but morally right (or at least sympathetic). Indeed, the jury could declare someone guilty with no evidence, but the judge has the right to dismiss a jury or overturn a verdict in this case.
    • The concept of jury nullification is important in the history of common law; in medieval times, a jury, if present, only served to rubber stamp a judge's verdict. The case that enshrined the supremacy of the jury was William Penn's charge of illegally preaching Quaker sermons; while he had broken the law, and despite the judge threatening to jail the jury, they refused to convict. A following case formally enshrined this right.
    • Of course, jury nullification can be used for evil as well. In the Bad Old Days, white supremicists in the Deep South could always count on a "not guilty" verdict if they ever went to trial for murdering a black man. And of course the reverse can be true, Black men convicted on unbelievably flimsy "evidence," as dramatized in To Kill a Mockingbird.
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