Question of the Day: Should the Jury See the MA Machine Gun Death Video?

In 2008, eight-year-old Christopher Bizilj shot himself in the head after he lost control of a small machine gun at the Westfield Gun Show. The State charged Edward Fleury, the former Police Chief who owned the company that organized the event, with involuntary manslaughter. Later today, a judge will rule on whether or not jurors should see the video of the negligent discharge. Christopher’s father taped this highly emotional piece of evidence. It shows the entire incident, including his screams after the bullet strikes his son’s head. Should the jury be allowed to see the shocking, gruesome tape? The media has the full footage (still shown above). Should they release the tape to the general public?

comments

  1. avatar Martin Albright says:

    As to whether the jurors should see it, that depends on how it relates to the charges. Usually in the case of negligent homicide the issue is “reckless disregard.” If the video can demonstrate (or refute) the “Reckless disregard” issue then it is probative and could be relevant to the case. The next issue, though, is whether the probative value is outweighed by the likelihood that it could shock the jury and cause them to respond emotionally and/or prejudicially. Both are legal questions for the judge.

    As to whether it should be released to the public, why shouldn’t it?

  2. avatar Don Curton says:

    If it was a video of my son dying, I would NOT want is sprawled all over the internet. There’s enough death porn out there. The relevance in court will be decided by a judge, but common decency among normal people should determine the relevance in the public domain.

    As an additional note, I can’t watch the many videos where parents put guns that are too big or too powerful in the hands of kids. That’s stupid in the extreme.

  3. avatar Rabbi says:

    I get pissed with the attorneys who through everyone they can think of into the suit as defendants. This has nothing to the with manufacture of the weapon nor the ammunition. I don’t think even the club should be involved. To me the people responsible are the organizers of the event and the so-called safety officers. Let’s not forget the father’s culpability either.

    As to the video, there is no need to shock the jury. The facts are not in dispute. It does not matter what the safety officers did or did not do physically, it matters that a 9 year old should not be shooting a full auto mini uzi.

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