Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Arias Judge Needs To Gain Control Of Trial

I went out of town for a few days and had no computer access, but have been watching the news about "Juror #5" and the Arias defense team's motion for a mistrial.  Wisely, Judge Stephens chose only to excuse Juror #5 and deny the defense's motion for a mistrial - but it's becoming clear what can happen when a trial lasts for an extended period of time with an unsequestered jury and a ton of media coverage!

This is one of the reasons they have alternate jurors.  The Jodi Arias murder trial will more than likely exceed the million dollar mark by the time the defense rests its case.  The state's case is strong, but the defense has managed to shift the focus away from the violent overkill that Travis Alexander suffered at the hands of Arias and put Alexander's character on trial. Alyce LaViolette has been a strong witness for the defense. She is knowledgeable, friendly and unlike Dr. Richard Samuels she was prepared.  However, LaViolette's opinions about whether or not Arias was in fact abused by Travis Alexander will ultimately end up being a mitigating factor rather than a get-out-of-jail-free card.  I don't believe anything she says will speak to "self defense" and whether or not this jury believes Arias honestly feared for her life on June 4, 2008.

The jury will have to follow the law, regardless of whether they feel Travis Alexander treated Arias poorly or not. And IF the jury believes Jodi Arias drove to Mesa Arizona with that gun and possibly a knife - they should throw out the entire notion of self defense. Jodi Arias's own father told Detective Flores of his daughter's "rage" issues, even going as far as describing her as "strange" and confirming that Arias treated her own mother very poorly. Unfortunately, there is so much the jury will never hear or find out about Arias before they are finally instructed to deliberate.

 I watched a little of yesterday's trial footage and prosecutor Juan Martinez looks very frustrated, and for good reason. The defense has had witnesses on the stand for more than two months now - and Juan Martinez has got to be eager to get back to the facts of this crime.  Judge Stephens needs to rein in the attorneys on both sides and keep the testimony moving along.  There is a great risk that comes with these heavily covered trials, and the defense is just looking for a reason - ANY reason for a mistrial. It's in everybody's best interest to stop the delays, have full trial days and maybe even think about having 5-day trial weeks! The longer you have a jury that's not sequestered and out there mingling with the public, the greater chance that something may happen to derail the trial.  LaViolette is talking today about journal entries from mid-2007, so she could be on the stand for another few weeks by the time the defense finishes questioning her, the state completes their cross examination and then we have jury questions, followed by another redirect. It's becoming very clear that Alyce LaViolette has completely bought in what Arias has told her. Does she really believe that the alleged abuse Jodi Arias describes justifies a brutal and vicious homicide? Did LaViolette take the time to speak with the Alexander family or any of Travis's friends?  Would she recommend that other potential victims of abuse deal with their problems in this manner? 

Will this ever end?  Should Judge Stephens be limiting these witnesses testimony a little more than she has? She seems to be extending a great deal of latitude towards the defense, a little too much in my opinion. The prosecution has had their hands tied with what they can present, but with the defense it seems to be a free for all. This is literally painful to watch - and I didn't even know Travis Alexander. I can only imagine how painful it is for Travis's family and friends, day after day hearing their brother and friend being put down, portrayed as a womanizing sexual deviant.  He never had his day in court, and we will never hear Travis's side of any of these stories that the public has become so familiar with.  

All of this discussion about emotional and physical abuse is little more than white noise.  If the jury believes Jodi Arias stole her grandfather's gun and brought it to Mesa with her, it's over. The prosecution needs to focus on that, and bring home to this jury just how brutal this murder really was. They need to enlarge those autopsy and crime scene photos and display them on the big screen. Perhaps the jury is curious to know if Jodi Arias's version of events is even possible given the time frame those photos leave us with.  This was a messy relationship, but was it abusive?


9 comments:

  1. There is so much to say about this. First off, Judge Sherry Stephens should reconsider sequestering this Jury. If she is worried about the money, she should consider the money that will be spent if a mistrial occurs. It's a small price to pay, at this point. There is so much media coverage of this trial that is so long, it seems obvious that the Jury is going to see or hear something that may influence them. The current witness is NOT sick. If she was, when, during the 2 hours of non-stop questioning this morning, did she have the opportunity to learn that Alyce was sick? Ms. Willmott looked at the time and said "may we approach". Shortly after the attorneys get to the bench, the Judge looks over at the witness. I think this was planned, so that Martinez will not get to Cross-examine her until Tuesday and will not be FULLY prepared. Well, the joke will be on the Defense as Martinez is ALWAYS prepared. He is going to rip her head off, put it on a plate, serve it up with some of her biased comments, lies she received from the defendant, and a good helping of "I don't get mad, I get even" evidence, that the killing was premeditated because of a jealous rage, and NOT the slanderous abuse she is trying to portray. There is so much that points to premeditation. It's not just a single thing that might be questioned. There are numerous things pointing towards this. To name some - the gas cans, the gun, her phone being off in AZ., the WHITE car rental 100 miles from home, the license plates turned upside down, and the post-killing actions that point towards the defendant trying to create an alibi. Lets fact it, had she not left an inadvertent print at the scene, and the camera she thought she destroyed, there would be ZERO evidence of her being in AZ. on 6/4/2008. This did NOT happen by accident. Jodi Arias planned this out very carefully. I found it interesting that Ms. LaViolette made a comment about a bumper sticker "I don't get mad, I get even" because that is exactly what Jodi Arias wanted to do - get even, for not getting what she wanted from Travis. If the Jury doesn't see this, then I will have lost complete faith in our JUSTICE system.

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    1. Anonymous (4/3/13 at 4:14PM),
      AMEN! I completely agree with your comments and observations. And IF the jury ever sees or hears the interview between Sandy Arias and Det. Flores, it will be the icing on the cake of premeditation. Why else would Arias tell Mom "I have gas receipts to prove I wasn't in AZ". Conciousness of guilt. Those gas cans, the gun, the phone, the rental car, the license plate, the VM's after leaving Travis deceased in the shower stall, selectively deleting the photos while claiming she was in a "fog" - she's done. Anything less than 1st degree murder is not justice for Travis Alexander. Thanks for an energizing post!

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  2. Great post, Anon. You are speaking for a lot of us, I think.

    The judge bending over backwards for the defense is getting more and more ridiculous. I hope Juan blows them out of the water.

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    1. Unknown,
      Yes, Judge Stephens is doing everything imaginable to avoid any appellate issues but it's gotten way out of control. I don't think she anticipated the slow progress of this trial. They need to seriously consider moving to a 5-day trial week, and going for full days to get through this thing. And at least sequester the jury for deliberations! Cheaper than a mistrial for sure. Thanks for writing!

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    2. Thank you all, for the appreciation of my post from April 3, 2013. To "MY FORTE", good point about your "Consciousness of guilt" statement. That is so true. In fact, I think most of the actions taken, post-killing, were over-compensated for that very reason. I would LOVE to see the reaction from the Jury on the Mom and Dad police interview. That was so telling. For lack of a better way to put it, it could be a "nail in the coffin". To "Unknown" (April 3, 2013 @ 7:56 PM), Thank you! I hope most of us share our opinions because the Jury is just a smaller portion of us and our views. I just heard today that the Defense team wanted Jury sequestration but the Prosecution objected. I'm not sure why. One would think it could have been beneficial for both sides. In the event of a conviction, the Defense may argue "Jury misconduct" or look for proof thereof, as grounds for an appeal. I'm sure that the Prosecution would want a guilty verdict to stick. I wish I knew more about the legal system because there must be a good reason why the respected Juan Martinez objected to the sequestration. I just wish we knew that reason and if anyone has any ideas, I would love to hear them. With that said, we will just have to ride this out and hope that our Justice system doesn't let vast majority of America down. There is one other issue I wanted to mention. If the gun, was in fact Travis' gun, wouldn't the Defense team ask the defendant take them to (or the general vicinity of) the gun? Wouldn't the Defendant be screaming "please take me there - I'll show you where I threw or buried the gun". We don't hear her saying that. If we had a true idea or hint as to where the gun really is, our fantastic technology would allow us to pin-point its location. I know there's no point in asking the defendant now, because we all know who’s gun it was. Thanks for listening everyone!

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    3. Anonymous (4/4/13 at 5:13PM),
      Yes, Jodi Arias doesn't want that gun to be found because IT IS her grandfathers gun. I'm sure Arias could and would have had them digging in the desert if the gun was not her grandfathers, because that would've helped her self defense claim. Not sure why Martinez didn't agree with the jury sequestration request, but if I'm not mistaken the Casey Anthony jurors were not sequestered and that trial was a bigger media circus - although those jurors were brought in from another jurisdiction. I think they should sequester during deliberations for sure. The Judge made the decision, so that's on her. But yes, you are absolutely right in thinking that the jury is made up of people like all of us. They can put all of this information into perspective and they will be instructed that they MUST follow the law. Who knows, it's possible that one of those jurors has formed sympathy for Arias, but they have to follow the law and not their feelings. This is why the defense kept Arias up there for so long, thinking it would be more difficult for them to put her to death! Thanks for commenting!

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  3. I bet that Jodi threw the gun (her Grandfather's "stolen gun") as well as possibly the knife into Lake Mead or the Colorado River and yet another of her lies is that she threw it away in the desert somewhere. It could potentially be found if it had just been tossed out of the window from the road and she wouldn't want to risk that. As you said, the comment her Mom made to Det. Flores about Jodi saying there are no gas receipts to "prove" her claim that she never went to Arizona was another clear indication about the nature of this pre-meditated murder. And for me one of the biggest "smoking gun" evidence about Travis not having a gun was the lack of any ammo at his house.

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  4. It’s good to know I can miss some of the trial, then make up for it by reading this blog and the replies. I agree that the judge has let things get out of control, both the lengthy testimony and the over-indulgence of the defense. On another note, she seems equally indulgent of the prosecution at times, but the defense is still center stage. Overall, she seems not to take a stand, rather to sway to whatever wind is blowing. Although I was relieved that no mistrial was called, I feel that the ejection of Juror #5 was a blow—only time will tell how severe—for the prosecution. I agree: just sequester the jury or there will be more dismissals.
    And why didn’t the judge intervene when LaViolette baited Juan Martinez with her pout and her coy look (passive-aggressive to the hilt) and the words, “Are you angry with me, Mr. Martinez?” It reminded me of Jody’s assertion that the prosecutor’s “screaming at her and grilling her scrambled her brain.” Just who is supposed to be asking the questions? And isn’t it the judge’s job to remind witnesses about that? This ploy to paint Martinez as an angry man is so transparent and unprofessional, especially by an “expert” witness. We all know who the really angry person is in the courtroom, however well she hides it with her Oscar-winning act.
    Don’t even get me started on the videos we get to see on television and the jury doesn’t. The headstand and hair-shaking video should win Arias “Narcissist of the Year.”
    I am confident that Juan Martinez will show the “underside” of much of LaViolette’s testimony. I’m sure he picked up on her mention of Jodi’s spending Christmas with her family and not hearing from Travis. LaViolette said something to the effect that “Jodi wrote/said that she would remember that later.” She certainly did. Hell hath no fury. . .

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  5. I agree the this trial is so out of control. Judge seems afraid of discipline. Those crazy defense attorney's are out of their minds. Both of them act like cartoon characters. Jodi Arias is going to turn on them when she's convicted of first degree murder. Arias is going to state she had ineffective counsel.

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