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Max Verdict Certainly Wasn’t 12 Angry Men

Tampa, Florida- If you never saw the classic courtroom drama, 12 Angry men, watch it this weekend. It’ll probably give you an enlightened idea of what went on behind the scenes in the Max Hardcore obscenity case in Tampa.

In it, eleven jurors are unyielding and ready to convict a young kid of murdering his old man. And because they want to get out of a stuffy, sweaty room on the quick for whatever personal reasons- one guy- Jack Warden- grouses the entire time about missing a Yankees game, they’re minds are closed to any reasonable doubt and the necessary time required to hear pursuant arguments in the case. What develops is a remarkable study of human psychology in confined and tense spaces.

But one lone jury- Henry Fonda- thinks otherwise and spends the better part of the film convincing the others that they may all be wrong. Because he’s wrestling with his own doubts, Fonda heroically wins them over point by point in a detailed, objective argument.

But real life doesn’t parallel the movies. In the Max Hardcore case, AVN’s Mark Kernes not only did an excellent job in reporting the trial but offers some pretty eye-opening stuff about its aftermath. We’re told that three jurors were pretty sympathetic to Max, while the other nine were ready to hang him. One of the sympaticos in the end hugs Max, almost Judas-like, contritely apologizing, “We tried and we tried and we tried, but we just couldn’t get through to those others. They just beat on us and beat on us and beat on us until we gave in.”

Personally, I think this is a crock of shit because when it’s all said and done, jurors are human beings. Because no one wants jury duty thrust on them in the first place, they didn’t want to face the prospect of a weekend coming up and being deadlocked into this thing. So the three jurors caved in. And I bet they did it without too much of a fuss, either. I don’t care what tears and roses of sympathy were laid before Max’s feet.

The only thing I know about the legal system is what I got from watching LA Law, but, before the announcement of the verdict, I spent the better part of Thursday telling people that Max was going to go down for this very reason- what with the prospect of a weekend coming up, the jurors were going to say to themselves, what the hell- this is only a pornographer who makes piss and puke movies. What do we care.

Argue if you will, and the defense can beat itself in the head all it wants about strategies, I’m betting this is what really happened.


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