It is no coincidence that the number of passengers is the exact same number used in a court room jury, 12. In section two chapter eight, Colonel Arbuthnot responds to Poirot’s interrogation with “ Well you can’t go about having blood feuds and stabbing each other like Corsicans or the Mafia. Say what you like, but trial by jury is a sound system” (Christie 131). This statement not only shows no remorse for the actions committed but also indicates that the passengers concept of jury was not inaccurate. The jury system is used in the United States is to not burden any single person with the responsibility of someone’s life.
It takes every member for a guilty conviction just as it took all 12 train passengers to kill Ratchett. A court room jury has the power to induce capital punishment when seen fit by a judge but the law does not protect the train passengers for the same offense. These 12 people decided long before their interaction on the train that this man was to be killed. In section three chapter nine, Colonel Arbuthnot stated, “ We decided then and there- perhaps we were mad-I don’t know-that the sentence of death that Cassetti had escaped had got to be carried out,” (Christie 263).
Once well known to Ratchett, these 12 people witnessed first hand the heinous murder Cassetti committed in previous years and watched him get away with it when it was clear what he had done. At this time the passengers took it upon themselves to get revenge for the Armstrong family and kill this man. Legally this is forbidden under any circumstances but morally, they truly felt they were doing the right thing. By the end of this book, Detective Poirot announces two theories about how this murder could have taken place.
The first properly incriminates each individual and gives a rational explanation for their involvement, the second is polar opposite and claims a random stranger committed this crime at the train station. Even after establishing the detective’s originally theory was correct, Poirot still agrees to lie to the local police on their behalf. In section three chapter nine, Bouc concludes, “ In my opinion, M. Poirot, the second theory you put forward was the correct one- decidedly so. I suggest that this is the solution we offer to the Yugo-Slavian police when they arrive.
You agree doctor? ” (Christie 2640). After working so hard to discover the happenings of the previous night, the detective simply ignores his findings only because physiologically he can relate to the train passengers and to some extent agrees with them. In the US courts, evidence tampering, and obstruction of an investigation is a federal crime but still appears in active trials. The jury’s are almost never able to look at the case from an objective point of view and make and emotionally unattached decision. In a way this is exactly what the passengers did.
They were personally to close to the events to be able to make a rational decision and relied on instincts and emotions to carry them through. The characters and decisions made in the book Murder on the Orient Express revolved around a corrupt theme of justice that the passengers were clinging towards to make their actions morally acceptable. By twisting the traditional jury system, personally involving themselves in capital punishment, and abstracting an investigation, each passenger knowingly obstructed justice and the justice system granted to US citizens in the Bill of Rights.