Copyright 1995 ABC-CLIO. This review was taken from the ABC-CLIO Video Rating Guide for Libraries on CD-ROM, a 5-year compilation of over 8900 video titles and reviews, 1990-1994. For information regarding order VRGL CD-ROM, contact: ABC-CLIO, P.O. Box 1911, Santa Barbara, CA 93116-1911; 805-968-1911

This following text has been included in the UCB Media Resources Center Web site with the kind permission of the publishers.

The Rodney King Case: What the Jury Saw in California v. Powell

  • Rating: ****
  • Audience: High School to Adult
  • Price: Public performance: $24.98
  • Date: Copyright 1992. Released 1992.
  • Descriptors: Trials. King, Rodney. California v. Powell (Calif., 1992). Race relations.
  • Production Information: Live action. Produced by Jamie Alter, Stephen Cohen. Directed by Dominic Palumbo. Narrated by Host: Fred Graham. Color, b&w. Hi-fi. 116 min.
  • Production Company: Courtroom Television Network
  • Available from: MPI Home Video 15825 Rob Roy Dr. Oak Forest, IL 60452 (800) 323-0442, (708)687-7881
  • ISBN: ISBN 1-56278-518-4.
  • Cataloging: 345.07 California v. Powell||Trials - California||Trials (Assault and battery) - California||Police - Malpractice||King, Rodney
  • Print Entry #: 3:1291
  • Reviewer: Chas Hansen

    A better subtitle for The Rodney King Case could be A Glimpse of What the Jury Saw. The viewer is asked to judge this case as if he had the same facts and the same courtroom experiences as the actual jury. Common sense dictates that the reality of an eight-week trial cannot be fully re-created in a two-hour video. Still, this program does a fine job of explaining the jury trial system while preserving the emotional power this controversial case generated.

    Host Fred Graham provides expert commentary, highlighting legal points of particular importance or interest. The famous King video is the centerpiece to both the prosecution's case and that of the defense. It is shown here in its entirety. The brutality recorded in the video colors every aspect of California v. Powell. Almost as unsettling is how the defense was able to use evidence that seemed so clearly detrimental to its case to prove itself innocent of the charges. This is a lesson in the tenuousness of human perceptions of reality.

    The technical aspects of this production are of the highest order, although the fine visual details of the King beating video are barely discernible. This program has much to recommend with its fine organization, emotional power, and technical quality. However, to ask the viewer to take the place of a juror on the basis of such scant coverage is to ask too much.

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