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‘Here’s Johnny!’ – New Jersey Lawyer Uses Film Reference to Win Case

Apparently, even fan-favorite movie references can make or break you in court!


In Trenton, New Jersey, Damon Williams found himself convicted of a robbery in the Supreme Court. However, during the closing arguments, his case flipped as the prosecutor slipped a picture of Jack Nicholson’s face maniacally peering through the axed down door…

Damon Williams was facing trial for a third-degree robbery, which was sans use of violence or terror. However, the prosecutor managed to convince the charges convinced that Williams should be assessed with more grave charges for his actions in Camden County in 2014. 

Although, assessing the severity of increased charges was difficult. The prosecutor then took to intelligently draw comparisons, using exactly Jack Nicholson’s manic face in ‘The Shining’ to prove his point. 

Upon receiving the image of that iconic scene, the prosecutor was able to insist that Williams had caused terror and thus should be convicted of a more serious offence, even though he did not use threatening words against the bank teller he was robbing. The court was moved by the prosecutor’s choice of image, typically associated with terror and terrifying innocent people, and increased the offence to a second-degree robbery, which includes theft by uses of violence and threat of force. 

Williams is now serving a 14-year jail sentence. 

However, upon hearing about how this court was swayed by the use of a popular culture image from a Kubrick film, the reactions were very split amongst the Supreme Court. Many considered it unprofessional and sensationalist to compare a defendant with a fictional character typically considered dangerous, violent, guilty. 

Also, Justice Lee Solomon commented on taking such a risk: “The use of a sensational and provocative image in service of such a comparison, even when purportedly metaphorical, heightens the risk of an improper prejudicial effect on the jury.”  

The Camden court where it took place has not commented on such reviews on their conduct. 

Although it should be considered a safe place of order and regulations, many curious things can happen in a court room. There seems to be a chance that whatever goes, goes – just like how this trialed suspect tries to make a run for it!

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