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Jim Mitchell Trial: 1992

Video At The Trial

On January 24, 1992, in the second week of the trial, Prosecutor Posey gave to the defense team a copy of a computer-generated video animation of the shooting. In the tape, Artie Mitchell was represented as a robot-like figure that moved through the house during the shooting. The figure opened the bedroom door as the gunfire began, walked down the hall and was shot twice. The figure then entered the bathroom, put its head into the hallway, and was shot the final time in the head before falling to the floor. The presumed tracks of the bullets were shown as red laser beams against a blue background. Defense Attorney Kennedy strongly objected to the film, as it purported to show the order in which the shots were fired, building on opinions of forensic experts. He denounced the video as a fabricated computerized eyewitness to events for which there were no human eyewitnesses. Posey defended the video as simply an animated diagram.

The judge ruled that the high-tech nature of the presentation was legitimate. His only objection was that it showed Artie Mitchell with his hands at his side, not carrying anything. That presentation would leave the jury with the impression that Artie was completely defenseless during the shooting, which was an assumption that could not be confirmed or disputed on the basis of other evidence. He therefore ruled that the figure in the animation had to be presented without showing the positions of the arms. Nevertheless, the fact that the animation would be accepted in modified form impressed journalists and other observers. The animation was the first such video introduced in a murder trial, although similar simulations had already been used in several other trials. When shown at the trial, the video was slightly modified, with an armless figure walking down a hall as the bullet tracks slashed at it.

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Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1989 to 1994Jim Mitchell Trial: 1992 - The Falling Out And The Killing, The Trial, Video At The Trial, Admission And Verdict