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LaViolette's "The Continuum Of Aggression & Abuse" Explained

Arias defense attorney Jennifer Willmott spent the morning with expert witness Alyce LaViolette discussing her widely used "The Continuum of Aggression and Abuse". This document was projected in the courtroom and had 5 columns that seemed to represent a sliding scale of abusive situations/relationships - beginning with the least abusive to the worst. These were:  "Common Couple Aggression", "High Conflict", "Abuse", "Battering" and "Terrorism/Stalking". Hey, this would have been a good witness for the State, because I feel I recognized many Jodi Arias traits in each of these columns!

LaViolette has a much better presence on the stand than Dr. Richard Samuels did, she speaks openly and freely and presents the information in a manner that people can relate to and understand. She clearly knows what she is presenting to the jury and more importantly she knows how to convey the data more effectively than the last witness. Willmott walked her through each of these escalating levels of dysfunctional relationships, and LaViolette gave explanations and examples. I can see where Kirk Nurmi may have flavored his questions to Arias around some of the data on this "Continuum" - the language and some of the examples that were given seemed vaguely familiar.

"Common Couple Aggression" is described as a situation where an unusual act in an otherwise healthy relationship. This may be an isolated incident such as throwing something or yelling, but there are normally no injuries inflicted. This type of aggression could happen in any normal family and there is usually a balance of power within the relationship.

The "High Conflict" relationships are described as unhealthy and mutually disrespectful relationships where anger may be an issue, conflicts are not resolved and there may be emotional abuse, name calling or a balance of power. The Arias defense has tried to show that Travis Alexander had the power and was the driver of their dysfunctional relationship.

"Abuse" - characteristics of this type of relationship are sporadic physical aggression, verbal abuse, name calling, threats of abandonment, and the aggression normally takes place without witnesses. 

"Battering" - more frequent physical violence, jealousy, controlling behavior, more public physical aggression, name calling/attacks character, sexual abuse, isolation, change in victim's personality, putting down friends and family, destruction of property, threatens to kill self or others, self-absorbed, generally more violent. 

"Terrorism/Stalking" - insidious psychological abuse, well thought out and specific threats to kill, extreme isolation, torturing pets, sexual humiliation and degradation, generally more regular physical abuse (but may occur without any physical abuse).

Can we see where the defense is driving this bus? The defense allocated a lot of their time to the sexual relationship between Arias and Alexander - it's clear why they did so, but will the jury buy that Jodi Arias wasn't an equally enthusiastic partner? LaViolette finished the discussion by describing some of the other factors that could effect a person's ability to handle things in a healthy way:  Family of origin issues, previously abusive relationships, substance abuse and psychological issues. 

It seems like in addition to blaming Travis Alexander for Jodi Arias's behavior, the defense is going to throw her family under that bus as well. I can see the family of origin issue being used, as Arias has testified to her troubled relationship with her mother (the wooden spoon) and her father who disciplined her by slapping her down.

All in all, there was little interruption during the morning presentation aside from the early objections and three sidebars within the first 15 minutes of court. After that, it was smooth sailing. Martinez is letting LaViolette talk. Earlier this morning, Willmott asked this expert about her previous court experience, how much she is being paid and if she ever turns down cases that are presented to her.

LaViolette disclosed that she is being paid $250.00 an hour for research and $300.00 per hour for court appearances. She has testified in 18 trials. She said that in the cases that she turned down, it was either a case where she didn't feel there was enough evidence to merit her participation, or she simply didn't have enough time in her schedule to commit the amount of time necessary. She was interviewed and retained by the Arias defense team in late September or early October of 2011. She seems genuine, honest and prepared.

It appears that LaViolette provided expert witness testimony for Brenda Clubine, a woman who was convicted of 2nd degree murder for killing her abusive husband, Robert. Clubine served 26 years of a 16 year to life sentence  but in 2008, Clubine was released due to a successful "habeus" petition.  Her conviction was vacated and she instead was allowed to plead guilty to voluntary manslaughter and was sentenced to 7 years - she was released for time served. 

At the time of her trial in 1984, the "battered women's syndrome" wasn't  legally accepted in self defense arguments in the state of California. Clubine suffered a great deal of physical injuries at the hands of her husband, including a fractured skull,shattered jaw, broken collarbone and cracked ribs. Brenda Clubine filed more than 42 police reports against her husband for battery, and was seeking a divorce at the time of the killing. Clubine wasn't able to introduce her medical records of police reports during her trial, because  the abuser wasn't there to defend himself. Any witnesses to the violence were not allowed to testify due to "hearsay" issues.

During her time in prison, Clubine co-founded "Convicted Women Against Abuse", and teamed with Olivia Klaus and filmed a documentary called "Sin by Silence", which tells Clubine's story and the story of countless others who remain behind bars. Clubine continues to be an advocate for abused women.

Clearly that case differs from the Jodi Arias case. I had been searching for information on the other cases where LaViolette contributed and stumbled onto this one, so I hastily put this together while listening to the courtroom testimony. My apologies that the information isn't more detailed - more on this to come!







Comments

  1. Thank-you so much for this! Excellent information on this very appropriate defense in this other case that Alyce testified at trial for. Tons of substantiating and devastating evidence in that case. I remain very disappointed that she agreed to represent Jodi's defense. I think the defense team intends to use Alyce's numerous references to kids that grow up with drug addicted abusive homes to extrapolate to Travis' family of origin set him up to be physically and emotionally abusive. I do not like this at all.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I second the thank you! great information, My Forte. and great ideas.

      NancyB, I am also disappointed LaViolette is testifying for the defense. I don't understand it.

      I have a thought, when there is abuse In the family of origin it can create a person that abuses. But it can also create a person who chooses abusers. This probably happens just as often, thought I don't have statistics. I am hoping that JM will argue that Travis choose the abusive Jodi because he came from an abusive home. Given the facts that is much more believable. I just don't know how many of the facts will be allowed in because of hearsay or speculation ( ex. Jodi slashed the tires or wrote that email to one of his women friends). It seems some of the evidence against her is an absence of evidence. Like she never wrote about the abuse in her journal or their were no witnesses because it was just them.

      That leads me to another thought. If Jodi was so afraid of Travis why did she love their time alone so much? She said a few times how much she liked being with him behind the closed door. "I liked the attention". Grrr. Anyway, I hope I am making my point......I think JM would be a lot more concise. : )

      Sue

      Delete
    2. NancyB,
      Yes, the Clubine case seems to be a legit case of a battered woman fighting back, yet she still served 26 years! It has to anger the Alexander family and battered women everywhere that Arias is using this defense. You know, Alyce could just as well be talking about Jodi Arias and the violent household she claims she grew up in! She could have testified for the prosecution as far as I'm concerned! Thanks for writing!

      Delete
    3. Sue,
      It sounds like we are all sick that Arias was able to pull the wool over this expert's eyes. I do believe her testimony is to be very limited. I'm hoping that the jury can recognize that just because LaViolette is testifying for the defense, they would still have to believe Arias is telling the truth about all of these things happening to her. I think we all just feel sick that Arias is working the system and was able to get a very good expert in the courtroom on the defense side. Dr.Samuels was so sloppy that he wasn't effective - this expert is not. She knows her topic, but even she can't say for sure that Arias was abused. I can see why LaViolette worked on behalf of the Clubine defense. THAT is domestic violence/battered women's syndrome. And yes, she still served 26 years. It's sad, there are probably many more Brenda Clubine's out there serving prison terms. Thanks for writing!

      Delete
    4. Yes, I agree about Clubine. Maybe LaViolette thought this was another case like that one. It is awful for actually abused women. : (

      Sue

      Delete
    5. When the only tool you have is a hammer everything looks like a nail. Alyce LaViolette is a one trick pony the only thing she can see is domestic violence and while this isn't a problem when there is DV, it becomes problematic with a case like this. The bias comes in when you look at facts and ask how does this fit within domestic violence rather than is this domestic violence at all.

      Delete
  2. Richard Samuels charges:
    $200.00 an hour for work.
    $250.00 an hour for court fees.

    Alyce Laviolette charges:
    $250.00 an hour for research.
    $300.00 an hour for court fees.

    How much are these two "Professionals" going to cost the Taxpayers?
    Yikes!

    Both of their testimonies were based on "stories" that Jodi Arias made up after she was arrested.

    We'd like to see the fees for Spence & Laviolette come out the pockets of Defense Attorney Jennifer Willmott and
    Defense Attorney Kirk Nurmi.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous (3/26/13 at 6:15PM),
      I think they have estimated the cost of Arias's defense to be more than $800,000.00 so far! I thought they said that Nurmi and Willmott make somewhere around $80 bucks an hour? I remember it was a lot less than the experts. That's a lot of taxpayers money!

      Delete
    2. You really like to think that an expert witness would not be in it for the money. They need legislation to lower the rates they are paid! Nobody should be able to buy testimony!

      Delete
    3. I so agree. It is just wrong. I really thought LaViolette would be ethical....but now I don't know. It is sad and demoralizing that someone like her wouldn't do the right thing.

      My Forte, I will try to find a better link for that one that didn't work. I found it through Chris Stark's twitter page....@stark3923.

      Sue

      Delete
  3. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dRRW2PuEA6A

    You can clearly see that mitigation specialist is handing a paper to Sandy Arias. What's up with this?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This crap has been going on the entire trial.
      Today the Baliff was talking to the Judge about this.....
      If this is allowed to continue; they should have Arias cuffed up during the Trial.
      Have you seen the Vids of her taking documents, pencils, etc.
      I liked it last week when they had the split screen with a camera on Arias all the time.

      Delete
    2. NancyB & Anonymous (3/26/13 at 7:34PM), Why is Arias being allowed to in essence pass notes to her mother via the mitigation attorney? I can't believe this is something that is allowed. Anonymous, I hope you are right and the Judge has been made aware. I also hope that the proceeds of any sales of Arias' sketches are seized and given to the victim's family. Plus, this is income to Arias and she needs to pay TAXES on it! How can we get the IRS involved? I hope the public does not allow anybody in the Arias family to cash in on this tragic crime. The public did a great job of shutting down Casey Anthony when she walked out of jail - the networks didn't want to pay for interviews because of the public's insistence that they would boycott anything that she profited from!

      Delete
  4. Anon - There is a hearing tomr morning because Beth Karas requested an entire breakdown of all the defense expenses that they have charged the state for so far and they are challenging that and have requested a protective order to keep it out of the public domain which is so wrong.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We heard this on HLN too.
      As I understand the situation......is that the Judge is walking on glass to allow the defense whatever they want to avoid a mistrial.

      Hey, NancyB are you from Arizona?

      Delete
    2. NancyB & Anonymous (3/26/13 at 7:45PM), Wow, they have some nerve right? How are they coming up with the $800,000+ price tag if that is not public info? Somebody posted here a few days ago about the protective order filed by the defense, and that's what they thought it was for as well.

      Delete
  5. Best save picture as of Jodi Arias:
    http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/slideshow/psycho-killer-jodi-arias-kinky-death-penalty-trial-nsfw-39117241/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That drawing of her is great! So far the best art I have seen come out of this trial. ; )

      Sue

      Delete
    2. Anonymous (3/26/13 at 8:12PM),
      What a great link you left - looks like they have some interesting Arias articles in that publication. I saw the pic of psycho killer as well! That's excellent, thanks for the post!

      Delete
  6. A motion for protective order refers to a party's request that the court protect it from potentially abusive action by the other party. Such a request is often made in relation to discovery, as when one party seeks discovery of the other party's trade secrets. In certain instances, the court will craft a protective order for protecting one party's trade secrets by ordering that any secret information exchanged in discovery shall be used for the pending suit only and it shall not in any manner be publicized. I had posted this on Sat.
    thread, There is something the defense doesn't
    want out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Would love to know what the defense is trying to keep out. ... ..

      Sue

      Delete
    2. Anonymous & Sue,
      I'd love to know what they are trying to hide as well. In these tough economic times, people don't like to hear that their hard earned tax dollars are being spent friviously. Even murderers are entitled to a defense, but at what cost??

      Delete
    3. This situation had already been addressed in September of 2012 - and it was denied then. So it was actually a request for reconsideration of the September request. It was denied once again.

      Delete
  7. Spence + Laviolette=
    multiply by Pi=
    Money scam by the Defense?
    The Defense knows the case it the Titanic.
    Are they just looking out for themselves financially?
    books
    movies
    video games (today: possible)
    Money
    Money
    Money
    Hln are selling double rates because if ratings....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anonymous (3/26/13 at 8:42PM),
      You may be on to something...I am grateful that HLN picked up coverage of this trial since In Session dropped off, but the way they are now stretching to out to go through like 6 of their timeslots, it almost seems greedy. It seems we get to hear one question and one answer, followed by 5 commercials and it gets frustrating. They have their "pause" button, but still. It's all about the money! Just hit the play button would you? Thanks for writing!

      Delete
    2. There are great live feeds on the internet of the trial.

      Delete
  8. The defense could be wanting to keep out change
    in names on Cancun ticket, motive for murder.
    Or they don't want people to know how much
    Nurmi & Wilmott is making pr. hr. or the reps.
    from Walmart & SLC Utah gas station. They are
    trying to keep something sealed until the trial
    is over.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Right....Cancun. That would burn me up if that weren't allowed in. The transparency of $ probably wouldn't affect the out come of the trial. Who are these reps? People that will testify Aria is lying? This seems underhanded to me.....whatever it is. Thanks, Anon!

      Delete
    2. Anonymous (3/26/13 at 10:27PM),
      I don't see how they could keep that type of evidence out of a trial - if Travis Alexander was planning to take Jodi Arias to Cancun at one point and then changed his mind, how is that not relevant? At what point does the judge make the call over what is more "prejudiciary" than "probative"? This Judge is bending over backwards for the defense.

      Delete
  9. Separately, accounts say that Juan was furious about LaViolette's testimony and immediately filed a motion to preclude LaViolette from testifying about Travis Alexander in any way. Mainly because her testimony would be based on a lie from Jodi. Prosecutor could prove this was a lie because it directly contradicted Jodi saying she saw Travis masturbating to pictures on his bed NOT images on laptop.

    On August 15, 2011, the judge granted the state's motion to preclude LaViolette from speaking about Travis and limiting her testimony about main issues of abuse.
    Info from chrisstark@stark3923

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow. WOW. Thanks, Anon. Do you know where this whole idea of Travis and the computer came from? Another Jodi inconsistency? How does LaViolette know anything about this? I have heard she never interviewed Jodi.

      So do you think Willmott is snowed by Jodi's story? How can those people live with themselves?

      Sue

      Delete
    2. Anonymous,
      Great info on the State's motion about Laviolette's testimony and what it is limited to. So with that in mind, obviously Nurmi & Willmott have taylored Arias's stories to fit the descriptions they knew Laviolette would be giving for battered women and abusive men. I was wondering why Arias was talking about Travis getting so mad in traffic when they were driving to Disneyland. That was something Laviolette mentioned. But she could just as well be talking about Arias, destruction of property, reading emails, etc...but now we know how she was coached!

      Delete
  10. I just found this:

    http://www.twitlonger.com/show/n_1rjenrn

    Alyce did interview Jodi. Now we have another proven lie/inconsistency. Maybe it should be allowed in....another huge lie. Thanks, Anon, for mentioning Chris Stark.

    So I am really starting to wonder about LaViolette. Either she doesn't know the whole truth or she isn't what she seems. Unfortunately it does seem like she knows the truth. It is disappointing that there are so many unscrupulous people. To say the least.

    Sue

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sue,
      I tried to access that link, and it says "post does not exist. Either you got a bad link or the post has been deleted". What did the post say? I'm very curious!

      Delete
    2. Hey My Forte, I am going to paste the whole thing here. Sorry if it takes up tons of room!It is on a page called @josemcyntire:

      @flame77 <---IS RIGHT @stark3923 @jeffgoldesq @Christi_Paul @DrDrewHLN LaViolette DID interview #jodiarias & she DID lie to Alyce ab't computer pics. Of course later changing story to match computer forensic evidence. Here's more info:

      During Juan's cross of Jodi on Day 21, Juan mentions the hearing on August 8, 2011. This hearing was where Jodi tried to get Matt McCartney to lie for her about pedophilia accusations against Travis & attempted to slip magazines to him. LaViolette was in this same hearing & told Juan Martinez during questioning that Jodi had told her Travis was masturbating to images on a laptop (not pieces of paper on bed).

      Separately, accounts say that Juan was furious about LaViolette's testimony and immediately filed a motion to preclude LaViolette from testifying about Travis Alexander in any way. Mainly because her testimony would be based on a lie from Jodi. Prosecutor could prove this was a lie because it directly contradicted Jodi saying she saw Travis masturbating to pictures on his bed NOT images on laptop.

      On August 15, 2011, the judge granted the state's motion to preclude LaViolette from speaking about Travis and limiting her testimony about main issues of abuse.

      Separately, I seem to recall that Jean Casarez was recently on HLN speaking about this same hearing where LaViolette and Juan got into it pretty heavily and that LaViolette didn't fare well against him. Apparently Jean didn't think LaViolette would hold up against Juan much better than on that day when he gets her on cross. Does anyone have that video?

      Delete
  11. Alyce had to talk to Jodi, because Jodi told her
    about the pics, but what Jodi told her was
    different than what Jodi said on the stand when
    Juan was questioning her.

    ReplyDelete

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