Sunday, April 21, 2013

12 Jurors Will Randomly Be Selected To Deliberate Arias' Fate

Closing arguments in the Jodi Arias murder trial are finally in sight after a lengthy trial that began on January 2, 2013. A pool of 18 jurors was chosen for this trial - but only 12 will ultimately participate in deliberations and decide the fate of 32 year old Jodi Arias. The trial has lost two of the 18 jurors, one for health reasons and the other for undetermined reasons. 16 jurors remain on the panel as of this post.

As in all high profile criminal trials not much is known about the identity of the jurors. Here is a look at the remaining jurors and observations noted by people seated in the gallery and according to HLN (the corresponding juror numbers may or may not be accurate, HLN's website appears to have incorrectly listed Juror #11 as a married white female in her 30's, but it's been widely reported  that Juror #11 was a young Hispanic male - for that reason, I swapped their descriptions of Juror #11 and Juror #17):

Juror #1:  a white female believed to be in her 60's. She was reportedly observed yawning during an emotional part of Jodi Arias' testimony. It's also been noted that she doesn't look at Arias often.

Juror #2:  a white male believed to be in his 50's, he doesn't take many notes and sits with his head cupped in his hands while listening to the testimony.

Juror #3:  a while female believed to be in her 40's, said to be a big note taker who watches Juan Martinez very closely and has been observed putting questions in the basket.

Juror #4:  a white male believed to be in his 60's who isn't a big note taker.

(Juror #5 - dismissed for unknown reason):  a white female believed to be in her 30's and married, she is known for her unique hairstyle and is said to be observed sitting on the edge of her seat.

Juror #6:  a white female believed to be in her 60's, observed taking notes frequently.

Juror #7:  a white male believed to be in his 30's, he is married and is seen taking notes and has been observed frequently biting his nails!

Juror #8:  a white male believed to be in his 50's, he is married, takes notes and has been observed submitting questions to the jury basket.

Juror #9:  a white male believed to be in his 60's. He is known for wearing denim on most days, and sits near the end of the jury box nearest to the row where the Alexander family sits.

Juror #10:  a white male believed to be in his 60's. He is rarely seen taking notes but it has been observed that he has a tattoo on his right arm. He sits furthest away from the witness box.

(Juror #11 was dismissed for health reasons):  a Hispanic male believed to be in his late 20's or early 30's, he is rarely observed taking notes but has been known to slouch down so far in his chair that he's barely visible to the gallery. He is said to be a casual dresser, and is not seen taking many notes.


Juror #12:  a white female believed to be in her 40's, she is a note taker who has been known to swivel her chair towards Arias during testimony.

Juror #13:  a white male believed to be in his late 60's or early 70's, he is the juror who wears an audio enhancing headset, he is not known to be a note taker.

Juror #14:  a white male believed to be in his 60's, also known to swivel his chair and is not often seen taking notes.

Juror #15:  a white male believed to be in his late 20's or early 30's, he appears to be the youngest juror and was observed smiling when Juan Martinez asked Jodi Arias if she could predict the future. He is not often seen taking notes.

Juror #16:  a white male believed to be in his 40's. Nothing else was said or observed about this juror.

Juror #17:  a white female believed to be in her 30's she is married and is known to take a lot of notes. She reportedly does not look at Arias during testimony, rather she looks straight ahead or down at her notes. 

Juror #18:  a white female believed to be in her 40's. She is known to scan the gallery during sidebars and occasionally is seen taking notes.

The 12 jurors who will ultimately deliberate and (hopefully) reach a verdict to decide the fate of Jodi Arias will be chosen at random. Can you imagine going through this whole process and not be one of the final 12? That would be tough for me. I'd be so invested at that point and to not be part of the decision making process would be disappointing.

With judgement day looming, it has to be gut-wrenching for the Alexander family and Arias family as well. Has the defense offered a believable theory of what happened that tragic evening of June 4, 2008? Have they succeeded in garnering some type of relationship between the defendant and the jurors? Are there pieces of Arias' stories that may have rang true with at least one of the jurors? Those are all questions we cannot possibly answer. The jury questions were telling, but without knowing how many jurors were asking those questions and who will ultimately be seated for deliberations it's anyones guess.

If the jury decides the preponderance of evidence points to premeditation and they find Arias guilty of first degree murder, will they be able to hand down the ultimate punishment of death? Or will they show mercy and let her live, albeit in prison? I don't know what choices the jury will have to consider aside from first degree murder, but I don't believe it's an all-or-nothing verdict consideration. Judge Stephens will instruct the final jurors on what charges they may consider and the applicable laws they must follow in rendering a verdict.  In Arizona, if second degree murder is an option for the Arias jury, I believe the sentencing guidelines call for anywhere from 7 years to a maximum of 22 years.


I don't know if manslaughter is going to be a choice the jury has, but sentencing varies widely on manslaughter. With the sheer number of injuries to Travis Alexander and the lack of injuries to Arias, it seems this would not be a case of voluntary or involuntary manslaughter - seems to me that first or second degree murder are more appropriate for a killing of this magnitude and brutality. The jury instructions will be interesting, but the closing arguments are what I've been anticipating. I believe that opposing attorneys are allowed to object during closing arguments but its not something that is done to the extent that we have seen throughout this trial. I would hope we won't see the frequent sidebars and each side allows the other to deliver their closing arguments without interrupting the flow.

It's been a long and bumpy road in getting to this point of the trial. It's been a fight to the finish, complete with motions by the defense for mistrials, two excused jurors, media commentators called to the witness stand, vomiting inside the public gallery, delay-causing headaches and so much more. We heard a murder defendant testify for 18 days in her own defense, a rare occurance in murder trials. We know family members on both sides by face and name by now, we know "cane-lady" and Arias supporters who are daily props in the court room gallery. We know the story inside and out, and each of us have our own theories and thoughts about what we feel the appropriate verdict and punishment should be for Jodi Arias.

Did the jury believe Travis Alexander physically abused Jodi Arias? And if they did believe part of all of her testimony, will they believe that killing Travis was in any way justified by the alleged abuse? In my opinion only (since some comments have suggested my summaries are biased), the only thing the defense has proven is that Jodi really was Travis' "dirty little secret", and that he seemed to be engaged in a consensual intimate relationship with Jodi long after telling friends things were over between the two. Beyond that, I believe the allegations of physical abuse were simply fictional. I believe Arias' story about the January 21, 2008 incident of catching Travis with the photo was fictional, and if the January 21 incident never occurred, it's likely the January 22 physical confrontation that ended with Jodi breaking her finger never happened either. 

I do believe there are coincidences that occur in our lives. They happen to all of us, however I feel there are too many coincidences in this case relating to key evidence for them to truly be a coincidence. What are the statistical chances of somebody breaking/entering an elderly couple's modest home and stealing a .25 caliber handgun in small-town Yreka ONE WEEK prior to a .25 caliber handgun being used to shoot Travis Alexander in another state? What are the odds that WalMart's records on the returned gas cans was wrong? If the cashier is giving a customer back cash in particular - receipts are essential in balancing their register at the end of their shift. Sure, it's not impossible but is it probable?

I also believe Arias downplayed her reaction to finding out Travis intended to take Mimi Hall to Cancun on June 10, 2008, just 6 days before he's leaving he is killed? Another coincidence? Had Jodi simply been more honest about her feelings about Mimi going on that trip with Travis perhaps she would have came across as a little more sincere? Who among us hasn't been jealous at some point in our lives? Going to such great lengths to deny being at all jealous was another issue I have a hard time getting past. Jodi Arias likely knew a lot of people who were going on that Pre Paid Legal sponsored trip. It was a big deal, and it would be understandable to be disappointed she wasn't going.

There are so many points the jury will have to consider, along with a virtual mountain of evidence. How long will the jury deliberate? It's hard to say, but everything that's been reported about this jury is that they are engaged, paying attention and they haven't seemed to lose interest despite the length of the trial. Most of the time, the jury seems to get it right. Let's hope this is one of those times. I don't dare to predict the outcome of this trial, I'm superstitious in that way. Legal pundits are already predicting their verdicts - that's a dangerous thing to do. Did anybody watching the Casey Anthony trial believe she would actually walk on all of the serious charges against her? I don't think many people predicted that outcome.


As we inch closer to the conclusion of this trial, I wanted to thank everyone who has read and contributed to this blog with insightful and thoughtful comments. I started this blog back in November or December of 2012 prior to jury selection, and I'm consistently surprised that other people have found it and have returned to read it throughout the trial. I just wanted to thank you! 

What will happen next week as the state's rebuttal case continues? Does the state have any surprise rebuttal witnesses, such as Matt McCartney?  Jodi Arias has seemed strangely detached during DeMarte's testimony in particular. Could it be that "the fog" has returned as judgement day looms? If there was ever a time where a migraine would be understandable, it's now. Enjoy your weekend!

9 comments:

  1. The charging conference happens after all evidence has been presented and before the jury is given instructions. The lawyers can argue for or against instructions for lesser included offenses, and the judge will give instructions for any lesser included offenses that could possibly be supported by the evidence.

    If I had to guess, I'd say the jury will get instructions for manslaughter and maybe 2nd degree murder, although I don't really see any evidence for 2nd degree since Jodi can't remember what was happening at the time she killed Travis. I think the judge will give the instruction anyway, if the defense requests it.

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  2. And ALV said that Jodi’s behavior is consistent with that of a victim of DV, and that a reasonable victim of DV would have interpreted Travis’s alleged “body slam” on June 4 as requiring a response with deadly force.

    The reason for trying to prove this is that, Arizona has a special self-defense law for victims of DV. If you are a victim of DV, your response to an attack is judged by how a reasonable victim of DV would react, rather than how a reasonable “person” would react.

    ONE BIG PROBLEM:

    Jodi never SAID that she interpreted Travis’ attack as requiring a response with deadly force. She said she never intended to shoot him at all, and thought the gun was unloaded!

    She believed that his actions justified a “scaring him off with a gun he would have known was unloaded” response, not a “shooting him in the head response.”

    Juan objected to ALV testifying to how a reasonable DV victim would respond since Jodi never claimed to have responded that way. Frankly, I would object to her testimony in its entirety as irrelevant, for the same reason. But the judge allowed some of it, if I’m not mistaken.

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  3. My Forte: Enjoyed your post very much, as usual! Just wanted to point out, though, that the burden of proof for the evidence in this case is the highest one of "beyond a reasonable doubt," rather than "the preponderance of the evidence."

    NancyB: I'm not sure of the point you were making about Jodi never saying that she interpreted Travis's attack as requiring a response with deadly force, since she testified that she was terrified and feared that her life was in danger because she had never seen Travis so angry, and because he had once taken her to the edge of death by choking her and rendering her unconscious. Now, don't get me wrong, I don't for one nanosecond believe ANY OF THAT (lol!), but she did say it, so what do you mean? Do you mean that even if we were to assume, strictly for the sake of argument, that she was telling the truth, she had no reason to believe that she had to kill him, especially after, um, let's see -- she was stabbing him 9 times in the back?! Please explain! Thanks. BTW, Juan successfully objected to ALV's testimony (which was stricken) when she started to say something about a DV victim acting "in self-defense," because whether Jodi acted in self-defense or not is a question for the jury to decide, but he didn't object when she answered a juror question by testifying that a DV victim can sometimes go "too far" when fighting "back," and may not not know when to stop.

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    1. Whether or not lesser-included offense instructions are given depends on the evidence. Many or perhaps even MOST self-defense cases wouldn't justify such instructions. Here, however, the defense has really NOT been "He attacked Jodi and she killed him in self-defense," although that was Jodi's first sentence of testimony. The actual theme of the defense has been "He attacked Jodi and she pointed a gun she thought was unloaded at him in hopes of stopping him but with no intent whatsoever of shooting him, and then she accidentally shot him, and then he attacked her again for shooting him, and then she went into a fog during which she presumably stabbed him quite a lot and slit his throat and who knows what he was doing at that time."

      IMO that set of crazy mixed-up "facts" opens the door to every possible lesser-included offense instruction.

      Opal you are right about Jodi testifying about being terrified. Apparently in AZ, a reckless disregard for life can support a 2nd degree murder charge -- so yes, I think there has been evidence (Jodi's testimony) that would support giving the jury that instruction. Jodi said she pointed a gun at Travis to stop him but didn't mean to pull the trigger -- that could be the kind of reckless disregard of Murder 2. Then she testifies that Travis got so angry AFTER she shot him ....so the whole escalation was never intended, according to Jodi, because she never meant to shoot him in the first place.

      Here and there she throws in that she was afraid for her life because "he had almost killed her before" so there's your self defense claim I guess.


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    2. NancyB,
      You have got this case down...really great points. She seems to be covering herself with a "trifecta" of defenses here. I worry that the murder victims rights have been trampled over in favor of assuring this defendant has a "fair" trial. What about Travis' rights? With absolutely no evidence of domestic abuse, her playbook has been open to say whatever suits her needs. Thankfully Juan Martinez has been the voice that Travis lost - some may not like his aggressive style but if there were ever a case that called for a prosecutor like Martinez, this is that case! Thanks for another insightful post!

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  4. I'm re-commenting this, because I posted under an earlier My Crime Time blog, by mistake. The cross of Dr. DeMarte by Wilmott revealed something very telling. Dr. Samuels listed on one of his reports: PD-NOS, which means Personality Disorder- Not Otherwise Specified. According to DSM-IV & DSM-IV TR, PD-NOS when a person has clinical criteria for MORE THAN ONE personality disorder, but doesn't match exact clinical criteria for just one category (w/in Cluster A, B or C) specifically. The DSM-V is updated & includes PD-NOS as its own Cluster category of Personality Disorders. Like I've commented, long before DeMarte testified, Arias presents full spectrum of Cluster B (emotional/erratic/impulsive) personality disorder & some of those aspects have an increased likelihood or propensity for aggression/hostility. When there's co-morbidity (overlapping of criteria) in an individual, the diagnosis of PD-NOS can be applied. Interestingly, over 90% of those incarcerated for violent crimes have been diagnosed w/ co-morbidity of Cluster B & other PDs (Cluster A, odd/eccentric; Cluster C, anxious/fearful). Cluster B consists of antisocial, borderline, histrionic & narcissistic PDs. While most borderline & histrionic PDs direct emotions/actions inward (suicide/self-mutilation), antisocial & narcissistic PDs lash out. All Cluster B sub-categories share a common pathology of deceitfulness, manipulation, poor impulse control, false empathy & lack of remorse (unless caught, then feel sorry for themselves & blame others). In other words, Cluster Bs are the users, abusers & relationship busters. Dr. Fog (Samuels) may have recognized this in Arias & purposely didn't administer MMPI, skipping straight to MCMI- which is administered AFTER diagnosis from MMPI has been determined- so there'd be no record of Arias' true pathology (supporting Cluster B & capable of violence). Again, MCMI is not given unless patient has already been diagnosed/undergoing treatment, using MMPI first.

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    1. Anonymous (4/22 at 10:34AM),
      Fascinating stuff! You really broke it down well, easy to understand. I didn't hear Dr. DeMarte refer to Samuels report but IF he did recognize some of these behaviors in Arias yet chose to ignore and not administer MMPI you have to wonder what he was afraid he would find, right? Thanks for the great info!

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  5. Thank you so much My Forte for this blog. I will continue to read your information until the verdict is read. I truly believe that JA premeditated this and I believe Juan Martinez is the voice for Travis. If anything ever happened to me or my family, I would want Juan Martinez in my corner. I hope and pray that justice will prevail and the jury will find JA Guilty of 1st Degree Murder and give her the death penalty. I do not believe, for one minute, that anything she said was truthful.

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