Commonwealth v. Jones

In this appeal of a murder conviction, the critical issues were Appellant’s state of mind and whether he acted in self-defense or an unreasonable belief that his life was in danger. But before the Court addressed those issues, it had to determine if surveillance video played at trial constituted evidence that it may consider. The Court noted that exhibits merely marked for identification and submitted by the offering party do not constitute evidence on which a finder of fact can rely. But here, the video was played for the trial court, which was the finder of fact, for the court’s consideration. The Superior Court ruled that when a recording is played to the fact finder, the recording is admitted in evidence and becomes part of the record even if no formal motion is made for its admission. Additionally, the Court noted that the defendant waived any argument that the video should not be considered because he raised the issue for the first time on appeal. Given the contents of the video, the Court ruled that the defendant acted with malice and not in self-defense. As a result, the Court affirmed his convictions.

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