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?