Witch Hunt

Witch Hunt

Some Convictions are Criminal

91 minutes 8.6/10 based on 80 votes

DocumentaryStorm is proud to present “Witch Hunt,” a feature length documentary narrated by Sean Penn that tells the story of a small American city and the police’s witch-hunt that terrorized its citizens.

In the 1980s, there were many rumors of child molestation and satanism around the country and the public was was full of fear. In response, voters in the small city of Bakersfield, California elected a tough on crime district attorney by the name of Ed Jagels which they hoped would keep their town’s children safe.

Not long after he was elected, the witch-hunt began. Jagels created a task force dedicated to investigating sex crimes against children and before long the court cases began. Dozens of innocent working class men and women were accused and had their lives destroyed as they were humiliated and put behind bars. Many of these individuals were locked up for decades before being exonerated of these alleged crimes.

This film makes you wonder: with over 2 million Americans in jail right now how many of them are actually innocent?

GD Star Rating
Rating: 8.6/10 based on 80 votes

Discuss This Documentary

  • Harry

    Losing your ENTIRE LIFE just because some assholes judge you to be a sexual criminal. The thick black cloud hanging over your head ever after, because people will always know you’ve been in jail – convicted of being child molester. Fucking hell… I’m just glad they got out and were innocent, what a fucked up way to go through life.

  • Katie

    Forcing the words into the kid’s mouths. Disgusting people, they should be so ashamed of themselves.

    • awful_truth

      Ashamed of themselves? You are far to kind. (a good thing) I guess all we can hope for is Karma. (what goes around, comes around) True justice that none of us ever get to witness!

  • Dan

    i cant seem to get it to run.

  • Mansay Lombardy

    The opening scene is interesting. I don’t care much at all for my photos or need them to reflect on memories. I think I have maybe 3 pics of me from 15 till 24(present).

  • james

    and again they victimize all of them by deny that there was a witch hunt mentality. Wow is that ever disgusting

    • Joe

      In some ways, that’s the worst part. They can rend innocent people’s lives to pieces and then get “seconds” when the truth comes out through denial and more persecution trying to utterly destroy innocent people again. Notice at the end where they said the people are still “running the show down there.” Tragic. Why aren’t the district attorney’s being held legally liable for what they did? That’s the part of the law that needs to change.

      • Justina

        Agree! They say innocent until proven guilty but actually it’s guilty until proven innocent! The judicial system is not based upon your rights it’s based upon how much money you have to buy your way out for freedom..even when your INNOCENT!! Notice how certain celebrities do not do a lot of jail time or get not guilty verdicts because they have enough money to buy their rights!!
        We live in a country where our government runs us… Most countries run their governments not the other way
        around!!! They say children don’t lie… That in itself is one of the biggest lies ever told!! In these cases all a jury has to do is believe the children, no DNA is required no witnesses nothing just the word of the children

  • Joe

    What kind of justice system can you have when the justice system is evil wicked liars engaged in witch hunts of innocent people? The Spanish Inquisition has nothing on some district attorney offices.

  • David Avid

    As a new father, I find this movie to be horrid….using the greatest fear of responsible parents against them and manipulating the children to better the careers of public officials terrifies me. I wish they had gone and prosecuted those that orchestrated this “witch hunt”….alas… justice seems to rarely actually live up to it’s name….

  • whatever

    Sooo why aren’t the people responsible on trial??? The social workers who interrogated the kids should have been arrested and thrown in jail, they literally just picked some names out of a hat and said “ok they’re child molesters, arrest them” I would seek heavy vengeance against the individuals.

  • Douglas Deveau

    prosecute those responsible! I’m so pissed!

  • dagann

    It’s a sad day when cowardly actions by evil men threaten the forbearance of decent Christian folk. Notice the prosecutor ongoing career on the taxpayers dime. He’s allowed to maintain his righteous sanctimonious position in the community after destroying the lives of the thirty-six people and their families. I’d bet he is a deacon of his church and loves to discuss his courtroom prowess with friends at the country club.
    Yet, he’s just another shark who obviously feels the need to withheld evidence from the defense in the discovery aspect of the case. I’ve noticed over the years many prosecutors doing the same nationwide. However rarely are they held in contempt or charged with a crime. It’s a system so corrupt that what happened in Watts given me a bad taste in my mouth and i have no respect with the justice system.

  • Lauren

    All of them should be compensated! Losing 15-20 years of your life, your children and the the stigma of being labeled a child molester? Millions wouldn’t be enough, but would help them begin again. And then 2 died while incarcerated! There’s no excuse for these corrupt evil officials…they should suffer the same fate!

  • awful_truth

    An absolutely moving, riveting documentary. If there is anything, anyone should take from this program, it is as follows:
    The mindset of any individual is created by the environment they are exposed to. The support by the public as a whole is manipulated by the persuasion/perversion of people in power, with an agenda. Propaganda, patriotism, even divorce (parental alienation syndrome) and the impact these actions have on the next generation (intergenerational tyranny) occurs all because someone wants something so badly, they will obtain it, regardless the cost to those around them. It is imperative that every individual question everything they are told, regardless the source. (black is white, white is black, when you experience it, then it is a fact!)
    In my opinion, the best example is 9 11. All the rights, and freedoms that have been taken from the public created by the mass hysteria of loss and fear; used primarily to obtain an objective that destroys millions of people live, people who were not responsible for the crime to begin with.
    Any time you can justify your actions without considering the ‘golden rule’, (how would I feel if I was in their shoes?) you are a hypocrite, devoid of true value.
    P.S: Isn’t it ironic that the people in the justice system who perpetrate crimes, are never held accountable for their actions, (swelled heads, tiny brains) and are still in positions of power.

  • NurseKatie

    Absolutely heart wrenching to see so many happy families torn to pieces. These people have had their lives stolen, and all the officals who fucked up can say is …”There was NO Witch Hunt”. Shame on all of you involved! Be careful all of you who throw judgement upon the innocent, karma is a real bitch~!

  • Plasticover

    The horrors that the county committed against those kids were insane.

  • HillaryC

    I grew up an hour from Bakersfield, and this film makes me sick to my stomach. I was young, so I had no idea this was going on in my neighborhood. I already have “disdain” for authority. It would be impossible not to reignite those emotional flames after watching this film. Those poor children and families.

  • Tyler

    the county saw these trials being overturned, and still re-elected those same officials? sickening.

  • denis preedy

    It is difficult to imagine a story of greater horror than this.Edger Allen Poe could not have concocted something as appalling.These criminals in the Justice system,are driven by money and reputation only.It was nothing short of a stitch-up.The wickedness knows no bounds.These poor people! My heart goes-out to them.Nothing can be returned to them,nothing can be done to rectify their loss.Money is nothing in this situation,It is all total horror.

  • Olegar Birdy

    i dont understand where police etc. got the idea that these people molested anyone at all? if the kids didn’t believe it to start with, then who told the police that these parents where molesters?

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