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 'American Sniper' juror watched movie

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epiod
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PostSubject: 'American Sniper' juror watched movie    Thu Feb 26, 2015 7:47 am

Quote :
Potential jurors in the murder trial of U.S. Navy SEAL Chris Kyle's accused killer, Eddie Ray Routh, were not disqualified for seeing "American Sniper," the Oscar-nominated movie based on Kyle’s book of the same name. And at least one of the 12 jurors who found Routh guilty in the murder of Kyle and his friend, Chad Littlefield, admitted he saw it.

"It gave me a better outlook on Chris' role as a Marine," Barrett Hutchinson told ABC's "Good Morning America" Wednesday. "What the job entitled, a greater respect for it."

But Hutchinson, who did not specify when he saw the film, said it did not affect his judgment.

“You just put that to the side, and take in the facts and make your own judgment," Hutchinson continued. "I put the fact that Chris was a Marine out of my mind, and looked at Chris as a person, looked at Chad as a person, looked at Eddie as a person."

Christina Yeager, another juror, admitted "some of us may have watched it."

Kyle, 37, who was considered the deadliest sniper in U.S. military history, and Littlefield, 35, were fatally shot by Routh, a former Marine, at a Fort Worth-area shooting range on Feb. 2, 2013.

The Stephenville, Texas, jury deliberated for more than two hours Tuesday before reaching a verdict in the nine-day trial. State prosecutors did not seek the death penalty in the case, and Erath County District Court Judge Jason Cashon sentenced Routh to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

"American Sniper," which opened Dec. 25, has grossed more than $320 million in the United States and $430 million worldwide. The Clint Eastwood-directed film was nominated for six Academy Awards, including best picture. Bradley Cooper, who portrayed Kyle, was nominated for best actor.

It appears to be the first time ever that a major motion picture about the victim of a crime was in theaters competing for an Oscar during the trial of the accused killer. But legal experts say the judge's decision to not bar jurors who admitted seeing the film was an easy one.

"The murders weren't a part of the storyline," Kimberly C. Priest Johnson, a Dallas-based lawyer, told Yahoo News. "They were not portrayed at all in the movie, so it had no prejudicial effect. It think if [the film] kept going, the judge's decision would've been different."

Johnson, a former federal prosecutor, says it also would've been different if the case hinged on the killings themselves — and not Routh's insanity defense. During closing arguments, defense attorneys admitted that there’s no doubt that their client did the crime, but asked the jury to focus on evidence that Routh, now 27, was having a psychotic episode when he pulled the trigger.

"The actual murders were not really at issue," Johnson said. "It was a narrow issue: Was Eddie Ray Routh mentally or legally insane? It would have been different is there was a question whether he was the shooter or had a justified reason such as self-defense."

During jury selection, Cashon told potential jurors they would not be dismissed for having seen "American Sniper."

“It’s OK if you’ve seen the movie,” he said. “We’re aware that there’s a movie out there called 'American Sniper.'”

Valerie Hans, a professor at Cornell Law School, said simply seeing a film would not be cause for removing a juror, unless it "would substantially impair a juror’s ability to be fair and impartial — that’s the legal test."

Kyle's best-selling memoir that inspired "American Sniper" was published in January 2012. Defense attorneys tried to get the trial moved elsewhere, but their were motions denied.

During the trial, Cashon reminded jurors to avoid any media coverage about the case, but did not bar them from watching the Oscars, where Kyle's widow, Taya Kyle, walked the red carpet and Cooper spoke eloquently about her late husband's heroism.

But Kyle's status as an American war hero had already been cemented in Stephenville long before his murder.

"If you live in Texas, you were probably aware of that," Johnson said.

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Thoughts?
Should they have chosen people to be on the jury who watched the movie?
Do you think that seeing the movie might have hindered their judgement?
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prdlatinamami
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PostSubject: Re: 'American Sniper' juror watched movie    Thu Feb 26, 2015 8:24 am

I don't think watching the movie hindered their judgement because the movie is about his life in the Marines and the struggles he goes through and his family goes through. It shows how he helped at the VA after he got out of the Marines but it does not go into anything about the death of him or Eddie. It does close saying that he was killed by him and showing the funeral clips but you don't have to see the movie to have seen that or know about it. So I don't think seeing the movie would have persuaded any of the outcome.
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