Trial 4 episode 3 recap – “Three Trials”

November 11, 2020
Daniel Hart 0
Netflix, TV Recaps
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Netflix limited series Trial 4 episode 3 - Three Trials


“Three Trials” shows serious concerns amongst the cops in Sean’s case, and it demonstrates how significant trials can be undone by a lack of clarification over terminology.

This recap of Netflix limited series Trial 4 episode 3, “Three Trials” contains information on the chapter.

We recapped every episode — check out the archive.

The opening

“Three Trials” opens up about “cop royalty”. Cops will have each other’s back even if it’s the death of a bad cop. It’s interesting to see the cops who usually deal with narcotics, repeatedly show up for the homicide case. It just goes to show “blue is blue”.

The family relationship

“Three Trials” shows how the defence team looked into the primary witness, Rosa Sanchez, who apparently saw Sean Ellis that fateful night. Detective Acerra, who brought Rosa Sanchez in to look at photographs, had a family relationship with her. The police representative in the documentary series argues this is not a red flag — it’s definitely a red flag; it’s a conflict of interest. The interview sounds coerced based on the archived audio.

A serious concern

The prosecutor was concerned about the identification process and Acerra’s involvement; she asked the detectives to swear under oath and make a statement about the identification process — it was heavily suspected they told Rosa who to pick. The detectives were annoyed but still went ahead with their statement — they went to the police union to complain. “Three Trials” discusses how the unions were just as powerful as the department.

No fingerprints

“Three Trials” delves into the first trial — there were plenty of cops in the audience in a challenging case, which shows another, drastic oversight. Sean tells the audience that it was more about the cop than him. The defense made Terry Patterson the subject matter as they believed he did it, based on no fingerprints of Sean Ellis on the car — Terry’s prints are on the driver side window. Like many stories before it, this case smells very dodgy.

The testimonies

Episode 3 shows Phyllis Broker, the assistant DA, calling Rosa Sanchez to the stand. The defense cross-examined her and asked her questions about her family relationship with Acerra. David Murray is also called to the stand — he tells the court his account of what Sean told him, that Terry Patterson did it.

The guns and the girlfriend

Letia Walker, Sean Ellis’s girlfriend, testified. She tells the audience how the courtroom had a weird feeling. She was asked about the guns — Letia had touched the guns because Sean brought them into the house. Only Letia’s prints were apparently on the gun — the prosecutor refused to comment for the documentary.

A deadlocked jury

“Three Trials” shows the difficulty for the jury to understand Sean’s mind — was he an accomplice or not? It was hard to fathom and prove. The judge kept asking the jury to deliberate. Sean felt like the judge was forcing them to make him guilty. The jury deliberated for eight days — a juror tells the audience how it was nine-to-three to not guilty at one point. Some wouldn’t change their mind, so it was a “hung decision”. The judge declares the case as a mistrial. It was seen as a victory for the defense.

Terry’s trial

Episode 3 then moves to Terry Patterson’s trial; the evidence was different in this trial as there were fingerprints that belonged to Terry on the car — he was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole.

The “joint venture” confusion

Trial 2 for Sean was the same issue; the jury wanted to know if “joint venture” meant Sean knew Terry had the gun; if Terry didn’t know Terry had the gun, was that joint venture? “Three Trials” sounds out this legal clarification that the jury struggled with. The judge would not clarify. One of the jurors stated that they weren’t given enough history to make a decision. The second trial was judged to be a mistrial due to the “joint venture” confusion.

Trial 4 Episode 3 shows an absolute shambles in the judicial system.

The ending

The DA started a third trial on Sean Ellis; Sean talks to the audience about how emotionally painful it was for him to go through the same trial three times. In the third trial, the jurors only deliberated for three hours.

The jury found Sean guilty in the third trial — the emotions in the room were raw. Sean was sentenced to life without parole. The damning effect can be felt with the archive footage.

The juror from the first trial learned that Sean’s Uncle Dave was not present in the third trial — the prosecution had made some adjustments. This was a conviction at all costs.

Four months after the conviction, corruption from the Boston department is unearthed.

Trial 4 Episode 3 shows serious concerns amongst the cops in Sean’s case, and it demonstrates how significant trials can be undone by a lack of clarification over terminology. Like many documentaries surrounding justice systems, this one shows a cold sense of injustice and trauma that cannot ever be rectified.

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