Patty Hearst Trial Essay, Research Paper
Mock Trial Evaluation
The Patty Hearst Trial
The Patty Hearst trial is a well-known criminal case originally tried in the 1970s. Wesley Walker and I reenacted the Patty Hearst case as the prosecuting attorneys. In this case there were several facts we had to provide to the jury in order to effectively prosecute this case. Patty was on trial for the use of an assault weapon to commit felony bank robbery, and we had to prove to the jury, beyond a reasonable doubt, that she indeed committed bank robbery. Although in our case the class was split on the verdict, in Patty s real trial she was found guilty by the jury in California. In this paper, I will show how Wesley and I effectively worked together, using both ethos and logic, to provide the jury with a well organized presentation of the facts in the trial of Patty Hearst.
The Patricia Hearst case is not a simple case; rather it is a case involving a kidnapping, brainwashing, and force. As the prosecution we could not simply present the facts showing that she committed the crime, rather we had to additionally convince the jury that brainwashing was an explanation for her actions, but not a justification for her crime. We also had to provide the jury with evidence that Patty committed this crime of her own free will.
The defense made this a hard one to prove. They had proof from our own textbook to show the jury that Patty was brainwashed, and our job was to convince the jury that brainwashing is not a justification. Also a test question from the Thursday before the trial referred to the to Patty s brainwashing. We therefore concluded that it would be difficult to show that she was not brainwashed. Therefore, rather than try to prove that she was not brainwashed, we decided to convince the jury that brainwashing was not legal justification for her actions. We also brought in recordings of her voice saying that she had joined forces with the SLA as evidence to show that she was no longer a victim, rather a full-fledged SLA member, willing to fight for their cause.
We started using persuasion techniques from the very beginning in our voir dire. We asked the jury questions on whether or not they believed our laws were established to protect them, later using their answers to show them that we were prosecuting a criminal under the laws that they abide by. We needed the jury to believe everything that we were telling them. In order to convince the jury that Patty was guilty, we knew we had to appeal to the emotions of the jury. The defense was doing a good job of convincing the jury that Patty was a victim, and we needed them to see that she was a willing participant. In order to effectively persuade them of this I used ethos, which is the image of integrity and the goodwill the speaker projects to an audience.
I effectively used the evidence showing that she was a willing participant in the robbery to further my logical argument. I used all of the evidence to show the jury that I was a confident expert on the subject, making the jury respond in a more positive manner towards what I had to say. We have studied that a voice can touch the emotions of a crowd; therefore I made sure that I never used a hostile voice, which may scare the jury. I effectively used my voice by projecting it my at times when I wanted to make a strong point, while stating the facts in a calm, clear voice at other times.
Wesley and I worked on this project for several weeks in an effort to accomplish our goals of using a strong logical case, backed by strong ethos to win our case. This required many hours of both research and practice. In order to convince the jury that we were both competent prosecutors, we had to know all of the facts of the case. We read several articles, watched two news documentaries, and read a book on the trial. We then organized all of the notes we had taken into an outline that we could work from. After we had a basic outline to work from, we put all of the evidence together and decided what we were going to use, and what we were going to leave out. We did not want to confuse the jury with long, drawn out explanations, rather we wanted to use the least amount of names as possible and stick to the facts. After we had everything figured out we started practicing.
We figured out who was going to say what, and for how long. We timed ourselves speaking several times to make sure we were in the allotted time frame. Some of the arguments we had originally planned on using in the case, we threw out and replaced with what we felt would be more effective arguments.
Throughout the process we talked with the defending attorneys. I feel that this was also very helpful because we were able to work as a team. Although we were working on separate ends of the case, we remained friends, all working for a common goal, to convince the jury to take our side. This made the entire project much more enjoyable because I did not feel the competition that was obvious in many other groups in the mock trials. I felt comfortable presenting the entire time, because even though we were on separate ends of the court, I knew we were still on the same team, just with slightly different goals.
Wesley was a wonderful partner to work with. He was always available and eager to help throughout the entire process. Often times I am hesitant to work in groups because I feel as if I end up doing most of the work, but Wes was great.
I actually learned an immense amount of information from working on this case. I had only known a minimal amount of information concerning Patty Hearst before doing this project, but I left feeling very competent in my knowledge of the case. I must admit it was difficult for me at times to work as the prosecution because I do feel that Patty was brainwashed by the SLA. Throughout the project I had leave my personal feelings aside and approach the case as if I believed she was guilty. I feel as if I did a pretty good job of convincing everyone that I believed she was guilty. Like the book, The Power of Persuasion, says, how people perceive a persuader is not necessarily what he really is (Hazel,15).