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Runaway Jury

Law and Film Presentation

Jack Benge

on 27 September 2012

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Transcript of Runaway Jury

Runaway Jury
by John Grisham Author and Novel Background Raised in Mississippi
Went to Ole Miss for law school
Practiced law for a decade, eventually served in the Mississippi state legislature
First book: A Time to Kill in 1989. Wood v. Pynex
Celeste Wood is the widow of Jacob Wood, who died of lung cancer
Pynex is one of the “Big Four” tobacco companies
In Biloxi, MS – known for generous tort laws
Plaintiffs have never won against Big Tobacco The Case and Characters Picking the Jury
Keeping the Jury In Line
The Trial
Advertising aimed at teenagers
Whistle-blower witnesses
The Deliberation
Issue with Damages: Hard to justify large punitive award Plot Synopsis The Novel
Hamiltonian View
- Free Choice & Assumption of Risk
- Capped Plaintiff & Attorney Fees Role of the Jury “Every jury has a leader, and the verdict belongs to him.” Themes
Published in 1996
The term “runaway jury” is generally referred to a grand jury that ignores a prosecutor’s direction, makes its own investigation, and draws its own conclusions. Essentially a “rogue” jury. Tobacco vs. Firearms
- The Insider (1999), Video Game Violence, Columbine Shooting
- FDA Labels Cigarettes an Addictive Drug in 1996
- Personal Agency Differences Between Novel and Film Evidence at Trial
- Whistle-blower Testimony
- Advertising vs. Business Practices - The Transactional Nature of the Law

- Power and Corruption

- Abuse of the Legal System

- Moral Ambiguity vs. Rules of Law Players
Wendell Rohr - Plaintiff's Attorney (Hoffman)
Durwood Cable - Defense Attorney (Davison)
Rankin Fitch - Jury Consultant (Hackman)
Nicholas Easter - Influential Juror (Cusack)
Marlee – Puppetmaster (Weisz) The Movie
Populist (Jacksonian) View
- The Common Man Cleaning Up a Corrupt System
- David vs. Goliath Role of Wendall Rohr
- Jacksonian Advocate vs. Fee Chaser Role of Nicholas Easter
- Manipulator vs. Rule of Law The Reveal
"I'm not a thief. I lied and I cheated because that's what your client understands." Two Views of the Same
Populist Ending Why the change to firearms? Questions Why is the film version of Wendall Rohr drastically altered? Populist reading of jury verdict? Small town/big corporation vs. innocent bystander/self-inflicted
Full transcript