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August 31, 2020

Prosecutor of Murder Trial Plays Sons of Anarchy Clips for Jury | Cup of Joe

Prosecutor of Murder Trial Plays Sons of Anarchy Clips for Jury

 I’m protecting the innocent. If I step on a few toes in the meanwhile, so be it.

Gemma (Motorcycle Gang Matriarch) – Sons of Anarchy

This week, we head over to Steuben County, located in the western lands of the Southern Tier, about a 4½-hour drive northwest from Manhattan, and just under a 2-hour drive southwest from Syracuse. The County Court is located in a town called Bath – founded in 1793. Bath has an annual dairy festival in June to celebrate the strong dairy-based economy of the area.

The trial this week is about the violent death of a drug-dealer, white supremacist. But this is no ordinary murder trial. What happened during the trial of Jacob Horn, has never been seen in any movie or television show. Will the jury find its way to justice through a barrage of Hollywood spectacle? 

This is Jacob’s trial.

Testimony of Police Officer

Q: Did you enter the home at the address you were dispatched to?

A: Yes. We entered the mansion and did a safety sweep. I opened a cupboard and discovered a body – it was the victim in question.

Q: Did you speak to Jacob?

A: Yes. Jacob told us that he killed the victim in self-defense – he said they were having an argument about Adolph Hitler. But I questioned his fiancée who Jacob told something different: Jacob told her that he killed the victim in a rage. When we pressed him on that, he said that his accomplice forced him into participating in the murder and coerced him into lying to the police.


Testimony of Jacob

Q: What did you see during the attack?

A: I saw Mikey, the codefendant, strike the victim multiple times in the back of the head with a fire poker.

Q: What happened next?

A: Mikey then handed me the poker and demanded that I hit the victim as well. 

Q: Did you do it?

A: Yeah, I did it. The victim was probably dead already and I really felt threatened by Mikey because he had claimed to have killed another person, and, you know, I was horrified to see the victim killed in such a brutal manner by Mikey. So I swung the fire poker once at the victim. But he didn’t move. It was like hitting a rolled-up rug.


Cross-Examination of Jacob by Prosecutor

Q: Jacob, isn’t it true that you lied to your fiancée in order to convince her to have unprotected sex with you?

A: Whut??

Q: By falsely telling her that you had not had unprotected sex with other women?

JACOB’S LAWYER: OBJECTION –That’s irrelevant!

PROSECUTOR:  Your Honor, Jacob may be cross-examined concerning any immoral acts of his life that have a bearing on his credibility as a witness. Jacob’s credibility IS relevant

JUDGE: OVERRULED! The testimony here is relevant to Jacob's credibility and will be admitted for impeachment purposes. Please answer the question.

PROSECUTOR:  Your Honor, I would now like to play for the jury a scene from the film, The Boondock Saints

JACOB’S LAWYER: OBJECTION –That’s irrelevant!

PROSECUTOR:  Your Honor, the relevance of the scene is that Jacob posted quotations from it on social media two days after the victim's murder and one day before he gave the allegedly coerced statement to the police.

JUDGE: OVERRULED! The jury will be permitted to view the film.

THE FILM: The scene takes place inside a courtroom, where the protagonists threaten everyone with pistols. Some people in the scene, presumably those playing the jurors, watch in astonishment while ducking for cover. The protagonists make loud, self-aggrandizing statements, declaring themselves vigilantes tasked by God with bringing justice to the world (e.g. "Each day we will spill their blood till it rains down from the sky!"). For those who do not behave morally, the protagonists offer a message: "One day you will look behind you and you will see we three . . . and we will send you to whichever God you wish." The protagonists put their guns to the back of the defendant's head while he is knelt on the floor in an execution-style pose. Gunfire erupts, and everyone runs out of the courthouse screaming.

PROSECUTOR:  Your Honor, I would now like to play for the jury a scene from the television show Sons of Anarchy that defendant had posted on social media.

JACOB’S LAWYER: OBJECTION –That’s irrelevant! It is a video depicting a violent scene! 

JUDGE: OVERRULED! It was on Jacob’s website. The jury will be permitted to view the film.

PROSECUTOR:  Your Honor, I would now like to present to the jury a photograph depicting a "666" tattoo on Jacob’s neck.

JACOB’S LAWYER: OBJECTION –That’s irrelevant!  

JUDGE: OVERRULED! It was on Jacob’s body. The jury will be permitted to view the photograph.


Jury's Verdict:

We the Jury find the defendant, charged with murder in the second degree, criminal possession of a weapon in the third degree and tampering with physical evidence…GUILTY OF ALL CHARGES.

Jacob’s lawyer appealed. The arguments on appeal focused on the fact that the judge allowed the film clips and photograph of the “666” tattoo into evidence and requested a new trial.


The Appeal:

Here is what the Appeals Court had to say:

Sons of Anarchy

The court allowed a clip featuring a video montage of the Sons of Anarchy television program, which Jacob posted on his social media page. We conclude that the Sons of Anarchy video was relevant, and that its value as proof was not outweighed by the possibility of confusing or misleading the jury.

The Boondock Saints

Because the value as proof of the scene from The Boondock Saints video was substantially outweighed by the danger that its admission would prejudice Jacob or mislead the jury, the trial court abused its discretion in admitting it.  BUT:

We conclude that the error is harmless. The evidence against Jacob is overwhelming and there is no "significant probability" that the jury would have acquitted Jacob even if the video was not viewed by the jury.

The conviction is AFFIRMED.  


Conclusion:

Jacob goes to jail. 

Mikey pled guilty to murder in the second degree in return for a sentence promise of 20 years to life.

Now, we must all fear evil men. But there is another kind of evil which we must fear most, and that is the indifference of good men.

Monsignor, The Boondock Saints (1999)

Click HERE to read the full decision.

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