Monday, April 15, 2013

Defense Pressing For Mistrial...Again

This morning the Jodi Arias murder trial took another turn towards a full blown circus. When I tuned in this morning, the jury was not present and instead of a defense witness on the stand a senior producer for HLN was on the stand! Yes, that's right - the defense is continuing to waste valuable time and resources bringing in members of the media to try to support their motion for a mistrial based on prosecutorial misconduct. HLN senior producer Grace Wong took the stand while Kirk Nurmi asked her questions relating to her participation in following this murder trial. The issue at hand is whether or not any jurors witnessed prosecutor Juan Martinez signing a few autographs on the court house steps. Martinez took a few photos with members of the public, and the Arias defense team has been pressing for a mistrial based on his conduct.

Nurmi asked Grace Wong if she was familiar with the jurors and could identify them by face and number. Ms. Wong testified that she did know many of them by face but there were a few she wasn't able to see from where she sits in the courtroom. So to summarize, as with In Session's Jean Casarez - both have testified they saw no jurors outside the court house while prosecutor Juan Martinez was signing autographs and taking photos with the public.  Next, the defense recalled a previous witness named Brian Neumeister. Neumeister is the defense expert who worked to extract the phone sex audio recording from Arias's phone. He apparently did some work to enlarge and enhance a photo Arias took of Travis Alexander in the shower. The particular photo was that close-up of Travis's face.

Before Neumeister took the stand, Kirk Nurmi asked if Jodi Arias could sit in the jury box so she could better view the screen where the enlargement was being shown. Jodi Arias and Jennifer Willmott then moved to seats in the jury box. Travis Alexander's two sisters and brother were also seated in the jury box, and they were seated directly behind Arias and Willmott. It was a strange thing to see, the Alexander siblings sitting mere feet away from the woman who murdered their brother. It was quite a sight. Neumeister explained how he enlarged the photo and why he enlarged it. Could it be that the defense team IS in fact reading the many theories being posed on social media that Arias may have taken those shower photos at gun or knife point?

Neumeister showed another blown up version of Travis's left eye, and focused on the pupil. The way the photo was taken created somewhat of a mirror, the defense believes. Neumeister explained about further enhancement capabilities available in the lab he uses in which he made an outline of what appears to be a standing figure holding something up with raised arms. The defense wants to use the photo to "prove Arias was indeed taking a photo of Travis as she testified, not holding a gun or a knife". Has anybody testified in court that she wasn't taking photos? What is Nurmi talking about? I don't think anybody is challenging that Arias was taking photos. The problem with today's witness is that Nurmi is stretching this into "Jodi Arias was telling the truth about taking the photos and therefore she is telling the truth about what happened". That's just not the case.

It seems the defense team is willing to do just about anything to get a mistrial. Kirk Nurmi went on the offensive today when Juan Martinez cross examined Neumeister about the outline he drew on the pupil of Travis Alexander's enlarged eye. "Isn't it true that people may see other things than what you outlined? In fact, to me it looks like a dog, maybe a German Shepard". Good one Juan! Martinez then questioned Neumeister's status as an "expert" in photo enhancements/enlargements asking "why did you testify the first time in this trial? Isn't it true that one of the reasons you wanted to testify is to become qualified as an expert in the area of audio enhancements"? No, I've testified in many other cases, Neumeister said. What are the other cases you testified in? The witness could not recall the specific case names. Martinez asked "what is the name of the judge in the case you testified in"? "I don't recall, I'd have to look at my notes" Neumeister answered. You can see how this exchange went.

Kirk Nurmi pressed the Judge to admit the four enlarged photos into evidence to present to the jury. Martinez objected to the last photo with the outline drawn by Neumeister, because he believes it shouldn't be interpreted by the witness but rather let the jury decide what they see on the photo. Nurmi nearly exploded that Juan Martinez saw a German Shepard in the enhancement, he accused the prosecutor of "character assasignation" of the witness. Nurmi said, and I quote "the State is afraid of the bite of this dog", referring to the photo reference. The Judge didn't rule on this matter yet.

Kirk Nurmi then pressed on again for a mistrial, calling it a "cumulative" request. In addition to the "celebrity or rock star status" of Juan Martinez with the public, Kirk Nurmi is accusing Juan Martinez of attacking, bullying and "witness tampering" defense witnesses Dr. Richard Samuels and Alyce LaViolette. Juan Martinez told Judge Stephens that the State has no control over social media or is discussed by the public. He also talked about defendant Jodi Arias "fanning the flames" of the media through the use of a Twitter account managed by a female friend. He then asked Judge Stephens to issue a court order to preclude her from tweeting. She is a witness in this case and should not be discussing testimony in this trial. It seems to me that Arias is making more money from behind bars than she made on the outside. What does that say about her, effectively cashing in on her crime? Isn't the jury entitled to know this?

Juan Martinez argued that on the eve of Dr. Samuels testimony, he happened to walk by and see a Power Point presentation the defense planned to use that had not been disclosed to the State! I've been talking about the double standards by the defense team throughout this trial and this is another such example. Jodi Arias has blatantly been using Donavan Bering to tweet quotes to her followers, taking shots at the prosecutor via her small man syndrome and anger management references. I can't believe the Judge is not aware of this Twitter activity, is the court aware of the online art auctions? Somebody needs to contact the IRS at the very least. If she's going to accept a free defense from the taxpayers, why shouldn't she contribute?

The defense didn't outright deny Arias has been tweeting, but asked the Judge to request that motions be properly filed if the State has an objection of that sort. Juan Martinez said that he doesn't have a Twitter account but his office has received information of the activity but he didn't want to "investigate" the activity and be accused of prosecutorial misconduct for doing so. This has turned into a huge tit-for-tat session today. With Kirk Nurmi complaining about how his client is being portrayed in the media, "she's being tried in the media instead of the court room", isn't she contributing to that herself through the use of these third party supporters? She can't have it both ways! Urrgh, frustrating.

I see the popularity of social media as the single most significant change in the way these trials are discussed by the public. I think of the online backlash towards Alyce LaViolette as little more than well organized boycotts, not a "lynch mob" as the defense would have you think. Although I don't condone making threats towards any witness regardless. Are Kirk Nurmi and Jennifer Willmott sensing they are losing this trial, that their experts were not as effective as they hoped they would be? They now seem to be flailing their arms for a mistrial at every opportunity. Juan Martinez has been aggressive when questioning the witnesses, even his own witnesses. But nothing he has done would be construed as misconduct. He has a job to do, and that's exactly what he's doing. Just as Arias is entitled to a "vigorous" defense, the State is entitled to a "vigorous" prosecution! Judge Sherry Stephens agrees, and once again denied their motion for mistrial.

The defense then played some audio from an interview between Juan Martinez and Dr. Richard Samuels and claimed Martinez bullied and was disrespectful to him by calling him "Mr. instead of "Dr" Samuels. This seems ridiculous to be wasting all of this time going over the same issues. The Judge has already ruled that the prosecutor's autograph & photo session was not seen by members of the jury, yet Nurmi keeps bringing in members of the media to prove otherwise. I think they are really reaching for any reason for a mistrial because they sense the jury isn't buying what Arias & Co. are trying to sell them. Court is in recess now.

What will happen next? Will Nancy Grace be called to the stand and sued for slandering Jodi Arias by calling her a "she-devil"? Will "cane lady" be called to the stand to talk about her autographed cane? Will Jodi Arias trim her hair to match Jennifer Willmott's and auction it on her website? Will Judge Stephens order a time out and a diaper change for Kirk Nurmi? Will the jury see Elvis in the enlarged photo of Travis's left pupil? Anything is possible in this trial. Stay tuned.....

19 comments:

  1. I kind of hope the judge allows the four pics in - the jury is going to be pissed that the Defense thinks they are dumb enough to believe this. It really shows desperation. Love Juan Martinez' comment about the dog. :)

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    1. Anonymous (4/15/13 at12:57PM),
      I agree, let the jury have the photos and let them decide what they see. It seems they realize by the jury questions that they really doubt Arias story and the expert assessments. They are hoping for a Hail Mary mistrial, in my opinion! Nurmi's tone & accusations today were so far out of line. They know the rebuttal is coming and I think they are scared.

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  2. I love JM too. I would almost scream at some of those witnesses! The Dr. And LaViolette , especially. Arias is acting like a child "see my picture?". "notice me. I'm cute. I could never hurt a fly..."

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    1. Anonymous (4/15/13 at 3:05PM),
      So true! I think the jury is entitled to know how this murder defendant is behaving behind bars, creating and selling artwork, effectively maintaining a website and twitter account and probably making more money behind bars than she ever made on the outside. Not prejudicial, it's the truth!

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  3. Also, it was very thoughtless by the Defense to put Arias near Travis's siblings. Shame on them!

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  4. I felt so horrible for Travis' family having to sit behind Jodi. You could see how awful it was for them on their faces...just heartbreaking. If someone can correct me on this, I feel like I've seen Jodi write with both her right and her left hand...it could be that the camera flips things? I don't know.

    The defense is wasting time on all this online stuff. ALV is being attacked online but there are many JM haters out there so what's the difference? Just because the majority are against the defense is neither here nor there. There's a Jodi is Innocent page who think the defense is wonderful.

    It proves that Nurmi has no faith in the jury and doesn't believe they're people of their word. I have many friends who have no idea who Jodi Arias is, they're not trial watchers. For those of us who are it feels like the whole world is watching but honestly, they're not. And what does our opinion matter anyway? The defense is just angry they didn't run into another clueless Casey Anthony jury.

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    1. Jodi claims to be ambidextrous, so I don't think they are flipping the camera angle...although HLN does do strange things with their footage, so I guess that can't be discounted either!

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  5. Jodi is not holding a gun or knife in the shower pic of Travis, says the Judge to the jury. This idea I'm sure the defense got from watching HLN and Nancy Grace. That's the negative in having the case n the media...defense teams gets all their ideas from the public, TV Laywers, and even Judges that appear on HLN. And Juan M just said he does not watch anything on TV.

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  6. I think this just proves she went into that bathroom armed w/ the knife & stolen gun, as there'd be no time to grab them from wherever in the alleged struggle. Fully clothed as she was, it would've been easy to conceal them from Travis. Think again, of TAXI DRIVER: DeNiro's character, Travis Bickle went to that hotel to save Jody Foster's character Iris, w/ a knife duck taped to his boot (around the ankle) & a gun up his sleeve.

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    1. "Duct" tape... my spell checker strikes again.

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    2. Anon @ 3:56 - Exactly!
      Empty victory for the defense. I think she used the flash to blind him and started stabbing...She was wearing dark track pants and a sweatshirt hoodie - in Arizona - in June!That never made much sense to me. She was wearing baggy clothes and easily could hide the weapons on her.

      I doubt the judge would have ruled in the defense’s favor. To make such a ruling would set a precedent which could be used in other cases. There was no scientific back-up for this information, no peer review, etc. And, it was like looking at clouds.

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    3. NancyB: Right you are. What a let down. That photo specialist's testimony was like watching Herbie Stemple (John Turturro) in QUIZ SHOW- "That [t.v.] box is the biggest thing since Gutenberg invented the printing press... & I'm the biggest thing on it!" So much for his 15 minutes. Back to obscurity; one tiny pixel in a sea of tiny pixels. Maybe he's just "pixelated, " as the Brewster sisters dubbed it in ARSENIC & OLD LACE. I think the way the photo guy traced the phantom photo image made Jodi look like she was reaching behind her back for weapons, while auto shutter clicked away (from camera hanging on neck strap) to "memorialize" it, a la Jen Wilmott. Or maybe it was just a Wavy Gravy psychedelic flashback, brought on by a bad trip.

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  7. Of course she's holding the camera, she took the picture! Next!

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  8. Or maybe it in that holster.

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  9. Another day wasted by the defense. How long can this go on? I bet Alyce will have some doctor friend of hers notify the court that she is too sick to show up.

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  10. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4T-mV_9uDRU&feature=player_detailpage

    Reviewing this from last Friday was helpful to me. From today’s testimony, whatever happened last week in all the in chambers meetings with ALV was obviously VERY damning and upsetting, as Juan and the Judge eluded to today. I look forward to learning what it was that Juan and his team turned up that obviously went against ALV somehow. It had to be something serious for the court to spend so much time on it in the middle of the trial.

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  11. Someone who responded to Nancy Grace's twitter question: "what do you see in the enhanced photo of Travis Alexander's eye?" replied "A murderer!". Best answer of the day!

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  12. My understanding Alyce said something to one of
    Travis sisters as she was leaving for a break or lunch. Witnesses can't say anything to the victims family, that off limits.

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  13. I agree with April 15, 10:53

    The image in the pupil looks like someone holding the camera in the right hand and left arm raised and bent at elbow above the shoulder in a striking pose, such as lunging with a knife. I would love the jury to submit on paper their conclusions.

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