Another late start in court today, I believe they will begin at 4:00PM EST. **UPDATE** Court is done for the day. The Judge called it a day after somebody in the gallery vomited in the isle in the courtroom! Really, this actually happened. I'm surprised nobody got sick during Jodi Arias's testimony......
After hearing that expert witness Dr. Richard Samuels may be planning to write a book, I began to think of the people who may try to profit from their involvement in this murder trial. It seems wrong on every level. If Samuels does intend on writing a book on his trial experience in general, that would not seem as unethical as writing about his personal dealings with Arias.
Did you know that Jodi Arias supporters have the ability to accept donations "in support of Jodi"? The website clearly states all such donations will be credited to Arias's commissary account by her family (see below). Casey Anthony is another defendant who received many checks, money orders and donations so she could order food and personal products from the jailhouse commissary! People from all over the country sent in their hard earned money to feed Ms. Anthony while she awaited trial.
*All support donations received will be deposited into Jodi’s commissary account by the Arias family.
(From the jodiariasisinnocent.com website)
In addition to Dr. Samuels, I would say that Gus Searcy was another person who actively sought out involvement in the Jodi Arias trial. He had information that was relevant, Arias reportedly called him in the middle of the night on June 5, 2008 to tell him that Travis was dead. Did Searcy dial 911, or have an officer go by the Alexander home to do a welfare check? No, he did nothing. In fact, he went on the same Cancun trip Travis Alexander was supposed to attend. Still, he said nothing. I don't believe withholding this type of information is technically illegal, but it goes a long way towards showing what type of citizen he is. He kept information closely guarded until it became beneficial to him. Once he testified, he wasted no time in booking himself on any/every media outlet that would have him. If you do a search on this guy, you will see that he's peddling a book he wrote called "The Charm". I'm not going to promote anything this man is selling here, but I will say it appears this book is about the power of positive thinking and of making positive choices. Sound vaguely familiar? Is this just another ripoff of "The Law Of Attraction" and/or "The Secret"?
Then there's the matter of Jodi Arias selling her artwork on Ebay. The proceeds of any sales are reportedly being used to help finance the Arias family's travel costs to and from Phoenix so they can attend the trial. I'm pretty sure this constitutes income, and the proceeds from any sales of her original artwork has to be reported as income on her tax return.
What about the Alexander family? They are also traveling from out of town to attend the trial - is there a site to make donations to help them offset the costs? If there isn't, there should be. If the Arias family is receiving help via donations than the Alexander family should be too.
In one of the early interviews between Arias and Detective Flores, she asked him if/when the check she had written to Travis for car payments would be deposited. I remember that because it was such a tacky and trivial question to be asking after a death notification. If the check(s) were not deposited, I believe that would also be considered taxable income. This is taken from the IRS Publication 334 (2012):
"Generally, if your debt is cancelled or forgiven, other than as a gift or bequest to you, you must include the cancelled amount in your gross income for tax purposes. Report the canceled amount on line 6 of Schedule C if you incurred the debt in your business. If the debt is a non business debt, report the canceled amount on line 21 of Form 1040.
If the check that Jodi sent to Travis for the two months worth of car payments was never cashed, it appears this would be considered a non-business (forgiven) debt and should be taxable income.
On her artwork - the paragraph below was taken from eHow.com, and it clearly states that producing and selling art for money is reportable income In addition, this activity constitutes a business. Does Arias even have a business license?
"If you are engaged in the production of art and you sell that art for money, profiting from that endeavor in the process, then you must usually claim that profit on your income taxes for that year. The process of creating and selling art for money constitutes a business like any other, and is subject to the same tax regulations as any other for-profit business".
Also from eHow.com, a business license is required if you are selling your own artwork. Business licenses are granted in the City and State where you live. Arias would also need a Employer Identification Number ("EIN") to file taxes on said business. So is Jodi Arias breaking the law while already behind bars? Seems to me that she is.
This may sound petty and trivial in the grand scheme of things. But it's quite possible that Arias is receiving substantial donations. Her "original artwork" would have little to no value if she were not on trial for murder. Was Arias paid for her Inside Edition, 48 Hours and Arizona Republic TV interviews? Has she received money for the photos they show on the various news shows reporting on her case? This became a concern in the Casey Anthony trial - when her parents were being paid for interview and the Anthony's received monies for the "licensing rights" to more family photos to show on the air. In fact, things got so heated around payments to Casey and her family that networks decided it wasn't worth the backlash to pursue getting that first post-acquittal interview with her after all. Wise move.
Testimony finally began this afternoon after another late start. Jennifer Willmott picked up where she left off yesterday, trying to rehabilitate their "expert" with the jury. It's going to be difficult to convince them that the blaring errors and omissions on Samuels reports were "irrelevant" to the diagnosis. For $250.00 an hour, I'd expect a little more out an expert witness.
The price tag to the taxpayers for the Jodi Arias trial is estimated to be upwards of $1,000,000.