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Witch Hunt

Witch Hunt
1:31:00 | 2009

Categories: Documentary, Drama

Life couldn't have been better for John Stoll. His carpentry business was booming.  He'd finally stopped battling with his ex. And on weekends, he got to hang out with his five-year-old son, Jed. Just the guys. Doing whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted. Yes, life was good for John Stoll. Until June 13, 1984. That was the night he was arrested.

On that night, when he was roused from his bed and carted off to jail, John's attitude bordered on the cavalier. "Aren't you worried?" His lawyer wondered. "Hell no, I ain't worried," John answered. "I didn't do this. You can't convict me of something I didn't do." It was more than two decades before John Stoll was free again. The three counts of molestation John faced that first day were only the beginning.  In a matter of weeks, he would be buried under 97 counts of some of the most insidious charges a person could face. All sexual. All crimes against children.

WITCH HUNT is a documentary about punishment without crime. It's John Stoll's story, and the story of hundreds of other men and women who found themselves ensnared in a spiral of fear, ignorance and hysteria - an eerie echo of the tragic events that unfolded in Salem, Massachusetts more than 300 years ago. WITCH HUNT (narrated by Sean Penn) tell John's story, but the focus goes far beyond one man. The film also travels through the lives of other men, women and children whose worlds were suddenly shattered by events that can only be described as surreal. The film examines the unraveling of one town's justice system. In Bakersfield, California in the mid 1980s, it didn't take much to be charged, arrested and convicted for the heinous crime of child molestation.  All of those involved have a tale to tell, but John has a distinction that makes his story particularly compelling. He spent more years behind bars than any of the others- twenty long years.


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Jesse Friedman
April 2, 2015
Everyone should see this film! Painful to learn the truth about how judicial process functions in this country. The first step towards making things better is to learn how bad it is.
Wendy Pippin-Yarberry
January 18, 2015
This happens everyday....not on such a grand scale thank God..but lives, YES case outcomes.. entire FUTURES are decided in lawyers offices with a phone call between themselves. non criminal cases the judge, the attorneys for both sides, and the winning party of the case usually know the outcome before actual "court" ever happens. I was raised in a large northern city,and don't burn I knew that the justice system was not perfect I certainly never thought it was a FRONT
Manzoor Bhutta
July 22, 2014
The movies take lot of time to open.
shan shan
June 7, 2014
William C. Coffee
April 13, 2014
Great film. Disturbing how politics can steamroll the truth.
April 11, 2014
A must see!
Jeanette Kaselak Sangston
March 26, 2014
Hannah P
December 22, 2013
Ted Stevens
October 9, 2013
I never have been a Sean Penn fan but he did an excellent job presenting this subject.
Courtney Porter
September 10, 2013
Al Randall
August 4, 2013
Dewayne Witherspoon
July 14, 2013
July 10, 2013
Well made! So pleased that a voice has been given to all the people involved
Scott Duncan
May 8, 2013
So... round up everyone who swore out warrants/affidavits, and set them on fire in the town square. If you hold the public trust and you harm citizens out of stupidity/ignorance, you deserve to be killed, by the victim. Seriously.
Naomi Ture
March 25, 2013
One of the most incredible, riveting films. A must-see.
Ryan Harper
January 18, 2013
Witch Hunt is now up on Snag Films...for free (you just have to watch a few ads in between.