Anatomy of a Jury

Seymour Wishman was a former defense lawyer and prosecutor, and the author of “Anatomy of a Jury,” the novel “Nothing Personal” and a memoir “Confessions of a Criminal Lawyer. ” “Anatomy of a Jury” is Seymour Wishman’s third book about the criminal justice system and those who participate in it. He is a known writer and very highly respected “person of the law. ” Many believe that the purpose of this book is to put you in the shoes of not only the defendant but into the shoes of the prosecutor, the judge, the defense lawyer and above all the jury.

He did not want to prove a point to anyone or set out a specific message. He simply wanted to show and explain to his readers how the jury system really works. Instead of writing a book solely on the facts on how a jury system works, Wishman decides to include a story so it is easier and more interesting for his readers to follow along with. Seymour Wishman does not point this book in the direction of any specific audience. He simply is trying to explain to those potential jurors and also the “ex-jurors” how the system of choosing a jury really works.

Many do not know how the jury selection process takes place. Many people do not realize that the fate of a man or woman’s life is in the hands of these twelve complete strangers. As for myself, I think that this book was not meant for a specific audience. I feel that all people should be educated in this specific matter of the jury selection process. Eventually, each person who has read this book or anyone who will read this book will have to serve on the jury one way or another. This book taught me a lot about the jury system that I did not know of.

It helps that the author has had experience in this field and knows what he is talking about. If this book was not written by someone who has had experience I feel that it would be a little bit more difficult to relate. Seymour Wishman breaks the book down into sections. The book is broken down into four main parts. He first begins with Part One: Who Shall Judge Me? This section of the book is the beginning, where he describes the town in which the crime has taken place. Then he begins to explain and tell his audience about the crime that has taken place in this rural community.

The murder of Mrs. Collins has taken place on September 5, 1982. Her son walked into the house finding a rope leading to the body of his mother. The defendant was a man by the name of Leander Rafshoon. He was an African American male who worked for the Collin’s. He was married and had two little children. He was hired by Mrs. Collin’s husband to be her bodyguard and to drive her around. He describes the scene in detail and what happens to the defendant once he is found. Once the defendant is put into jail, he is assigned a defense lawyer.

Defense lawyer, Mike Bernstein, is assigned to the case by the state. Bernstein Through this section the author goes on describing each juror and gives the reader a little bit of information about their life. And the jury process continues through until the second section of the book. The author than begins the second part of the book, Part Two: Those Chosen To Judge. This section of the book is the whole process in how a jury is selected. The author uses real life examples and gives the reader real instances that have occurred throughout America.

By doing this he uses the characters in the books as examples of the jury process selection. This is where both lawyers, Bernstein and Ryan, and Judge Whitaker get to meet and ask questions to each juror. If the lawyer does not feel he or she is “intelligent” enough, fair enough, responsible enough or even if they do not like the color of their skin, they way they are dressed, they way they are sitting, they could easily be asked to leave and be dismissed from the case. Bernstein was a man of equality and understanding, he was intelligent.

He didn’t judge anyone by the color of their skin or by their background. He solely judged them on whether or not he thought they would give a fair verdict to his client. Whereas Ryan was a lair, an unfair, biased man who didn’t care about anyone. He was rude and told lies as long as it meant winning. He didn’t care that this innocent man, Rafshoon, would be sent to jail for life. Both Bernstein and Ryan eliminated members of the jury, but Ryan made those decisions based on race alone. But still Ryan knew his reasons and so did Bernstein and he knew just as well as Ryan that he was making unfair eliminations.

The lawyers do not need a reason to eliminate a juror They can simply just ask them to leave. This chapter is mainly devoted to the jury selection process and how it is taken care of. The third part of the book, Part Three: The Trial, simply is the trial taking place. Wishman starts off by giving clear descriptions of the jury and the people in the stands. He describes the court room in great detail and explains the emotions on everyone’s face in the court room. Wishman than begins the trial. He gives full and in depth detail of the trial, he tells his audience exactly what is going on.

He tells his readers what the lawyers say and what they are thinking, what the jury is thinking, what the judge says, the expressions on the faces of the people in the court room, and what the defendant himself is thinking. In between the trial, the author once again gives real life experiences and instances on things that have happened in the legal system, whether it be from today or from 1876. Wishman explains the trial in great depth so that his readers feel like they are in the shoes of some of these people. He gives us both sides of the story, the story of the defendant and the story of the prosecutor.

He makes sure that we know exactly what is going on so we too can be apart of the jury. Wishman is putting us in the position of the jurors in the book. He is giving us all the information they hear in the court room so we can try to decide if the defendant is guilty or not guilty. The fourth and final part of the book is Part Four: Judgments. This section of the book is where the jurors must come to a decision. Was Leander Rafshoon guilty or not guilty of committing this horrible crime of rape and murder? The jury had to decide the fate of a man that had never personally met before.

This decision they were about to make would be the decision that either ruins his life forever or gives him his life back. The jury realized that once it came down to making their final decision. They knew that the decision they were about to make was the most intension, serious decision they would make in a lifetime. The life of this man was in the hands of these twelve strangers. The jurors knew and realized that if they were in the defendants place that they would want those twelve jurors to take it seriously and with great thought.

Instead of just coming to a decision the jurors sat together and thought it out. They put the evidence of what they heard together and also made their own conclusions. At first they did not agree but after much thought and after putting together what they had heard they realized that Leander Rafshoon was not guilty. They realized that twelve perfect strangers came together and made a decision that could ruin someone’s life or give them their life back. It was the biggest decision anyone will ever have to make.

This trial changed the life of a lot of people in the court room that day, not just Leander Rafshoon but the life of those twelve jurors. When I began to read this book, it seemed so dull. I thought from the beginning this book was going to be boring and uninteresting. I was completely wrong. I was so interested in this book and I felt I learned a lot from it. The information in the book was sometimes a little bit boring and on going but what made it interesting was the story itself. It helped me to better understand why they chose the jury the way they did.

It helped me to understand the whole jury selection process. But it wasn’t just that, it also helped me to better understand the law. Wishman referred back to other instances and real experiences through out the book, proving to the reader that this really does happen. If the book was only about the information of how a jury was chosen I don’t think I would have read it or enjoyed it for that matter. By using a story line, it also helped me to remember all the specific details throughout the book. I think that Wishman did achieve the purpose he intended to.

I feel that his style of writing was simple to understand and easy to follow. He did not use terms people would not understand and if he did he explained them thoroughly. Wishman is a very clever and intelligent man and you can see that through his writing and his experience in law. I would definitely recommend this book to people, whether it be my mother, grandmother, sister, friend or even another teacher. Many people think they know what goes on in the court room by simply just sitting and listening in on a case, but no one really knows until your told the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. =).