Trial by Media is a 2020 Netflix documentary series on criminal cases that were completely obscured by the media coverage that derailed those trials.
8 out of 10 stars. It’s shocking to see so much injustice and stupidity. I took off two stars because on several occasions the documentary messed up the dates. That’s a stupid thing not to catch.
My overwhelming insight after watching this series was just how corrupt every single attorney involved in these cases were. Then there’s Reverend Al Sharpton who cries racism at every opportunity, so much so that when real racism exists, no one will listen to him or anyone standing alongside of him.
Episode 1: Talk Show Murder
This episode is about the Jenny Jones talk show case involving the murder of Scott Amedure by Jonathan Schmitz after Schmitz was ambushed on television with Amedure’s homosexual affections toward him. After the show, Amedure stalked Schmitz until Schmitz snapped and shot Amedure, killing him.
On March 6, 1995, 24 year old Jonathan Schmitz was brought onto the Jenny Jones TV show under the guise that someone had a secret crush on him. He was led to believe by the producers that it was a woman who had a crush on him, his neighbor Donna Riley. When he walked onto the stage and sat, he was ambushed with a sex fantasy described by Donna’s friend Scott Amedure featuring Jon. Scott is homosexual. Jon is not. So Jon is understandably uncomfortable and embarrassed.
Three days later, Scott leaves a sexually explicit note on Jon’s doorstep. Jon goes to a store, buys a gun, and goes to ask Scott to leave him alone. Scott tells him he can do whatever he wants, so Jon goes to his car, gets his gun, and comes back to try to scare Scott into leaving him alone. Scott throws a wicker chair at him and Jon fires, wounding Scott. Jon then drives to the nearest gas station, calls the cops, and confesses. Because of his immediate call to the police an ambulance was timely dispatched and reached Scott while he was still alive. Jon never told anything but the truth.
Jon was convicted of second degree murder and sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Following that trial, the Amedure family hired Jeffrey Feiger to sue the Jenny Jones show and Warner Brothers Studios who owns the Jenny Jones show. During this civil suit Jenny Jones was completely unrepentant about destroying two young lives. Her producers were equally repugnant, and made up stories about phone calls after the show from Jon claiming he had a relationship with Scott, which never happened. They did this to dirty Jon’s character and try to alleviate their guilt at causing Scott’s death. That these statements were even allowed was surprising as this is hearsay and hearsay is inadmissible. Frank Amedure compounded that lie against Jon in the hopes it would increase his family’s chances of winning against the Jenny Jones show and take the spotlight off of his brother Scott’s inappropriate stalking of Jon.
The jury awarded the Amedure family $25 million. The Court TV that covered the trial was ironically enough owned by Warner Brothers, the same owner of the Jenny Jones show and the defendant. They made a fortune off televising the trial. Three years later, the Michigan appeals court overturned the case in favor of Warner Brothers and the Amedure family received nothing.
After 22 years in prison, Jon Schmitz was released. Throughout the case he always told the truth and the whole truth, unlike the Amedure family who tried hiding Scott’s seedy personal life in a trailer park. That the Amedure family spent so much effort trying to dirty Jon’s name is rather sickening. Shame on you, Frank Amedure.
Episode 2: Subway Vigilante
On December 22, 1984, in a New York City subway (line 2) four young black men are shot by a white man after they try robbing him. The man is described as white, blond, in his thirties, and with glasses. The police never would’ve caught the man as they had no leads. But on December 31, 1984, 37 year old Bernhard Goetz, a nuclear engineer, turned himself in as the subway vigilante. Four years previously, Goetz had been robbed and badly beaten on the subway. He still suffered PTSD from that attack and carried a gun. This time when he was attacked, he shot his assailants.
Immediately, the people of New York City were behind Goetz. Most New Yorkers at one time or another had been beaten and robbed on the subway. They knew about these young black males who roamed the subways in gangs of threes and fours robbing and beating subway passengers.
The four assailants are Troy Canty, Barry Allen, James Ramseur, and Darrell Cabey, all 18 and 19 year old black males with criminal records and carrying sharpened screwdrivers they used to attack people on the subway with. They were recognized by Guardian Angels who knew them as thugs who beat and robbed people on line 2.
Reverend Al Sharpton immediately claims Goetz is racist and the four boys were shot because they were black. Cabey’s mother claims he was just sitting minding his own business, easily proven false by eyewitness testimony. These two idiots tried to rile up media for no other reason but to get money. 🙁
Ramseur was convicted in 1986 of the 1985 rape, sodomizing and robbery of a young pregnant woman.This is just one of these four mens’ crimes.
In addition to the truth being completely derailed by Reverend Al Sharpton, it’s also derailed by attorney Ron Kuby who took the case of Darrell Cabey’s mother and filed a civil suit against Bernhard Goetz. Kuby leaked Goetz’s police confession to the press and tried convincing the people that Goetz was a racist, using statements he made after he was mugged and beaten four years ago. Well, he was angry.
In the criminal suit, Goetz is found innocent of murder, but guilty of the illegal possession of a firearm and sentenced to the mandatory one year in prison. He serves it and goes home.
In the civil suit, the jury finds in favor of Cabey because Ron Kuby suppresses Darrell Cabey’s long criminal record and the fact that he was carrying a sharpened screwdriver. He was not unarmed. Goetz is forced to file bankruptcy and Cabey’s family gets nothing, but Ron Kuby gets famous. Shame on you, Ron Kuby.
Episode 3: 41 Shots
This was the most deeply disturbing case presented in this series.
Early in the morning of February 4, 1999 in the Bronx, 22 year old Amadou Diallo was in the vestibule of his apartment fishing in his pocket for the key to the front door. Four plainclothes cops approach in an unmarked vehicle. They don’t announce themselves as the police and one of them, Sean Carroll, shouts, “He has a gun!” Those four undercover cops shoot 41 bullets at young Diallo who has nowhere to go. The door behind him is locked and the tiny vestibule is surrounded in glass. Nineteen bullets end Diallo’s life. Diallo was not a criminal and he was unarmed. He was simply going home and standing in front of his apartment getting his key out. He was gunned down with 41 bullets that were heard blocks away by dozens of witnesses.
The four white cops were Sean Carroll, Richard Murphy, Kenneth Boss, and Edward McMillon.
Bennett Epstein is the bad guy here. He becomes Sean Carroll’s attorney and immediately has the venue moved to Albany, New York which is 89% white. Because it’s clear that these four white cops were afraid of anyone black. The jury selected is 6 white men, 2 white women, and 4 black women. They find all four cops not guilty.
When the jurors are asked after the trail why they voted not guilty, they all said they knew nothing about Amadou Diallo because the prosecution never mentioned him as a person, just a statistic. How do you vote not guilty for four undercover cops shooting an unarmed man in front of his home 41 times??? That’s a no brainer. Facts don’t lie. Racism is about irrational fear. What these cops had was an irrational fear of Diallo simply because he was black.
Reverend Al Sharpton helps Diallo’s mom sue the City of New York. They win $3 million in a civil lawsuit. But most of what Al Sharpton says is ignored because he is constantly crying racism when there isn’t any. He’s the boy who cried wolf.
Shame on you, Bennett Epstein for derailing justice.
Episode 5: Big Dan’s
On March 6, 1983 21 year old Cheryl Araujo went into Big Dan’s bar in the small Portuguese town of New Bedford, Massachusetts and bought a pack of cigarettes. She bought herself one drink and proceeded to leave. As she was exiting, Daniel Silva and Joseph Vieira each grabbed one of her arms, knocked her off her feet, and dragged her to the back room of the bar where they threw her onto a pool table, ripped off her clothes, restrained her, and gang raped her for two hours along with Victor Raposo and John Cordeiro. Virgilio and Jose Medeiros cheered the four rapists on and watched, never offering to help the victim escape. Through her screams, Portuguese men and women at the bar laughed and watched.
Yes, men and women of the Portuguese community in this vile little town watched and laughed. And afterward they went on public television saying she deserved being gang raped because she walked into a bar without a man. :0
Two brothers, Michael and Dan O’Neill are driving down Bellevue Avenue when a naked young woman stumbles into the road wearing a single sock. She’s beaten and dazed. The brothers immediately cover her with their jackets and take her to the police, staying with her and giving their statements to the police. Michael and Dan O’Neill are our heroes. Men like them are rare.
When this case reaches trial, Judge William Young has the victim’s name recorded, opening her up to constant harassment and death threats from the Portuguese community of New Bedford where she grew up. That is the most vile thing about this case. The Portuguese women in this town perpetuating the myth that the victim somehow “asked for it” because she walked into the bar alone. :0
The Medeiros brothers are found not guilty, but Daniel Silva, Joseph Vieira, Victor Raposo, and John Cordeiro are all found guilty of aggravated rape. None of them serve more than six years in prison. Throughout the trial six different attorneys attack Cheryl, her family, and her two young daughters. Judge William Young allows it. The villains here are the rapists, the attorneys, and Judge William Young as well as the vile Portuguese people of New Bedford, Massachusetts who should have rallied for the victim not for the rapists.
Shame on the Portuguese people of New Bedford, Massachusetts and Judge William Young.
8 out of 10 stars. These are just four of the episodes. They are compelling and cases where the media derailed the truth with the help of unscrupulous attorneys and a reverend who craves fame instead of justice.