Saturday, April 29, 2017

AZ: Flagstaff Judge rules Police Video of Suspect Inadmissible as "Prejudicial"

Photo taken days after the shooting

The trial involving the Flagstaff shooting of a mob of drunken fraternity members who attacked an 18 year old pistol owner, is almost over.

The shooting occurred in October of 2015.  As of 27 April, 2017, the jury is considering the case.

A motion for mistrial by the defense has been refused by the trial judge, Dan Slayton.  Slayton previously took the unusual stance of ruling the police video from the scene as "prejudicial".  In the video, a bloodied and hysterical 18 year old, Steven Jones, tells the police how glad he is that they are there, and that he thought he was going to die.

Then, in the closing arguments to the jury, the prosecutor claimed that Steven Jones, the shooter, never claimed self defense until he "had an audience at the police station". The defense cried foul. From

A Coconino County Superior Court judge Thursday morning denied a mistrial for prosecutor misconduct in the Steven Jones murder trial.

But he ordered that the jury be given an instruction about inaccurate statements made by the prosecutor in his closing argument that would diminish Jones' claims of self-defense.

Before the trial began, prosecutors Ammon Barker and Bryan Shea convinced the judge to preclude statements Jones made to witnesses and police at the scene of the October 2015 shooting that left one student dead and three others wounded on the Northern Arizona University campus.

Immediately after the incident, Jones told another student that he acted in self-defense, and when he was in a police car after being detained, he was recorded on camera as saying, "Why were they going to hurt me?" and "I thought I was going to die."
Consider if, in the police video, Steven Jones had said, "They were evil and deserved to die". Do you think it would have been admitted as evidence? Want to take any bets?  Of course it would have been admitted, to show the shooters state of mind. But clear evidence of the shooter's state of mind, taken minutes after the shooting, was excluded, because it favored the defense.
The jury has been out for about a day. It hasn't turned in a verdict yet.  If it comes up with a guilty verdict, expect an appeal.
There is considerable punishment simply in the process.
The Coconino County Prosecutor's office is the same office that prosecuted Harold Fish.
I do not know who the prosecutor in this case is, but Michael J. Lessler is the Chief Deputy Attorney in Coconino County. He is the prosecutor who was in charge of the infamous Harold Fish case. Lessler claimed, for example, that Fish's use of a 10mm and hollowpoint bullet were somehow indications of malice.

An appeals court finally reversed and remanded Fish's conviction in 2009. Harold Fish had been in prison for three years. The Harold Fish prosecution was so over the top, it resulted in the Arizona legislature making three separate changes in Arizona law, to stop the abuses obvious in the case, and to insure that Harold Fish was able to obtain a new trial.
Fish died not long after being released from prison.

The shooting was originally covered in the media as a "school shooting". That was the take before details started coming out that indicated a self defense case.

Things like the shooter immediately surrendering to police, and thanking them for being there.  Things like being outnumbered by a mob of drunken fraternity members (all the people shot had blood alcohol far beyond being legally drunk, and traces of marijuana). Things like the Steven Jones having no alcohol or drugs in his blood. The person who was killed was shot at a range of two feet or less, as he was moving toward Jones.

News coverage today is far more even than it was in the early days after the shooting.

The verdict will be very interesting.

If the verdict is not guilty, will the LA Times will issue a retraction over its early coverage?

We will know the verdict in a few days.

©2017 by Dean Weingarten: Permission to share is granted when this notice is included.


Anonymous said...

I think the people that will do anything to get a conviction. when that conviction is over turned on appeal. the corrupt people that cheated should automatically serve the sentence the wrongly convicted should have served. a lot of people have been removed from the death house on appeal. Lying cops crooked attorneys and corrupt judges need to be removed from our legal system. there has to be a severe penalty for corruption. corruption can hurt way to many people in any number of ways. corruption is rarely uncovered because so many help cover it up and they wonder why people go postal. right is right and wrong is wrong. Even a little lie or a little wrong end in Wrong. so it is wring to start with. something has to be fair, right,. Almost fair, almost right, almost equal or slightly wrong Is not why lady justice holds a balance scale. it has to be one way or the other. Just ice s either right or wrong there is no third position on the balance scale. a little sin is still sin. You can only spell sin one way there is no small, medium or large. sin is sin and wrong is wrong and right is right. we are grown ups we have to work in absolutes. Children work with fantasy as they grow they are expected to accept reality. You can be alive or you can be dead. the same as a fertilized egg is either alive or it is dead. if it is not alive it never grows into any thing. if it is a being it eventually grows into a full grown person. that person grows until it dies. then it is dead. Interrupting that pattern is killing. that kind of killing is murder. Is the little fertilized egg a little a live or a little dead?

Otto Didact said...

"If the verdict is not guilty, will the LA Times will issue a retraction over its early coverage?"

Sure; right after the Grand Muftis of Mecca and Medina come out of the closet as Evangelical Christians.

Deserttrek said...

and immunity will protect crooked prosecutors and cops. guys like the prosecutor and the judge belong behind bars for the rest of their lives to protect society

Anonymous said...

I'm beginning to think there may be a few people that think like me on this site. Corruption is a cancer and one of these days we are all going to have to be cancer surgeons. that cancer has created over 63 million laws, acts and regulations across our country and a very high percentage of those laws, acts and regulations are unconstitutional and most of them are unconstitutional for several reasons. If you need to evaluate the legality of a law do a little analytical thinking like is it fair, is it equal and is it specific. then do they have any authority to address the object of the law under the constitutional limits of authority. we elect law makers to make laws about issues we have given them the authority to make laws about. they do not get to invent reasons to make laws. read the ninth amendment it is very important to this topic. I have written several emails to the white house concerning several existing laws that could be used to resolve many of the current national issues. California politicians could be examining some of their modern prisons they have built from the inside when they start getting charged as accomplices to the crimes committed by the illegal aliens they are giving aid and comfort to. Illegal entry is a felony by its self. Murder is a felony, armed robbery is a felony. any one helping a felon before or after the crime can be charged with that crime. it may be the way the swamp gets drained. Personally I can't wait for the federal government to start charging politicians with sedition and throwing them out of our country. Personally I think Obama should be charged with sedition and Treason.