Arizona prosecutor Juan Martinez continues to chip away at domestic abuse expert witness Alyce LaViolette during what has been described a slug fest. During her cross examination, LaViolette has been evasive with her answers, often times refusing to answer "yes" or "no" - even after being admonished by the Judge. LaViolette continues to speak to the Judge, telling her that it "doesn't feel like I'm giving a complete answer with yes or no". Who's running this trial anyway? LaViolette often is seen looking towards the defense table and Jennifer Willmott and she's been having a hard time keeping her answers to a simple yes or no. It seems to me she doesn't want to be tied down to some of her answers, rather she adds qualifiers to cover herself.
This morning, Juan Martinez continued his discussion about the content of the "Was Snow White A Battered Woman?" presentation LaViolette has given, yet LaViolette often backed away from the substance of that discussion as well! What is she so afraid of? Martinez made some points with this line of questioning, but I was glad when he moved forward to some more relevant issues and he is on fire now that he's gotten to the honesty and credibility of Jodi Arias and LaViolette's assumption that Arias didn't have a pattern of lying prior to the June 4, 2008 murder of Travis Alexander.
Martinez asked LaViolette if she talked to anybody other than the defendant about the relationship between Jodi and Travis - did she seek out input from other witnesses, such as Jodi Arias's parents? Specifically, she was asked about some of her own notes taken during the time she was interviewing Arias in the Estrella jail. LaViolette noted that Arias told her she sustained cuts to her hand while cutting a green apple. Mr. Martinez asked her if she believed Arias, LaViolette said she did. She claims she read the police report, but claims she doesn't recall what the police report said about the cuts. Martinez asked her if knowing Arias told four different stories about the cuts would have raised doubts about her honesty. LaViolette fell back on her standard answer "I did what was asked of me, looked at the domestic violence issues".
Martinez pressed on about Arias's honesty. LaViolette swung the door wide open yesterday when she testified in open court that she found Jodi Arias's statements consistent and credible - she basically said she believed her. So she should not be so combative when the prosecutor calls her on Arias's honesty issues. Juan Martinez then asked her if she spoke to Mr. or Mrs. Arias, Jodi's parents to see what background information they could provide about the honesty or dishonesty of their daughter. Would it have been useful? Obviously it would have. Over the objections of Jennifer Willmott, Juan Martinez played a clip of the interview between Detective Esteban Flores and Jodi's father, in which Jodi's father tells him that "Jodi has never been honest with us since the age of 14".
Even when faced with that information, LaViolette never relented, instead she stated that she would have to see the entire interview with Arias's father and take other factors into consideration before fully believing what Mr. Arias said was in fact true! "Wouldn't her parents have better knowledge about the honesty of their daughter than you do, Martinez asked? Martinez pointed out that there was nothing prohibiting her from talking to Arias's parents, but she chose not to. "There are two sides to every story, aren't there?", Martinez asked. Yet LaViolette spoke to only one person, Jodi Arias. He's making some fantastic points today.
Juan Martinez then brought up the subject of something LaViolette wrote in her notes about the gas cans Arias borrowed from Darryl Brewer for the fatal road trip. He asked her about being "concerned" that in late May of 2008, Arias asked Brewer to borrow the two gas cans for a trip she was planning to MESA (not Utah) - LaViolette noted that she thought going to Mesa was a last minute decision, but when this was brought up today in court, LaViolette downplayed her notes or what impact they had on Arias's honesty in this case. Regardless of how many inconsistencies Juan Martinez brings up, LaViolette defends her opinions and how she arrived at those opinions - even in the face of specific examples of her dishonesty. LaViolette seems defensive and insulted that Martinez is questioning her methods and judgements made in her assessment of Jodi Arias, despite the fact that Arias has lied to nearly everyone before, during and after the murder of Travis Alexander.
She seems to have tunnel vision as far as Arias is concerned - she sees domestic abuse, she sees Arias as THE VICTIM and she hasn't backed down one bit. Martinez is simply pointing out that LaViolette provided a very one-sided assessment based primarily on Arias's statements and written materials and without seeking out the input of those who were much closer to Arias and knew her as a child, teenager and as an adult! LaViolette's notes contained information that a friend of Jodi's from Jr. High School described her as manipulative and somebody who liked to play the victim. Did she bother to seek out and interview that source? LaViolette didn't seem to feel it was relevant, as Arias was "young"? What difference does her age make? Doesn't this go to the patterns she refers to so frequently when speaking about Travis Alexander?
If anything has been achieved today, Juan Martinez has pointed out several issues and points in which it appears that Alyce LaViolette seems to have cherry picked what information she chose to deem as credible, while discounting statements she felt were not relevant or credible. She disregarded and discounted information pointing to Jodi Arias manipulating men. When Alyce LaViolette is presented with "two competing views" of whether Arias was manipulative or not - she chose to disregard the view that she was manipulative. Why is LaViolette discounting what should be valuable input from people who actually knew Arias, spent time with her and actually observed her behavior over the years? Instead, she has chosen to believe Arias over every other source, and whether you like the way Juan Martinez has conducted his cross examination or his aggressive style - he made some outstanding points today. He is making her appear to be completely biased, referring to her as "a human lie detector".
To summarize, Jodi Arias's father's observations about his daughter lying to both parents starting as early as age 14, friends observations that Arias was manipulative early on - LaViolette chose to toss those observations out in favor of her own opinion of Arias as an abused woman with low self esteem who held no power in the relationship she had Travis Alexander. LaViolette also chose not to believe Travis Alexander was extremely afraid of Arias towards the end of his life, despite the fact that Alexander said he was in a text message or IM with another woman. Wouldn't it have been helpful for LaViolette to seek out the opinions of Alexander's closest friends, who could either validate or invalidate those fears? What would the harm have been in talking to these other individuals?? Her assessment is 100% one-sided.
How LaViolette can get on the witness stand and testify that Jodi Arias was not manipulative, was not jealous, did not lie prior to the murder of Travis Alexander when she failed to seek out input from those closest to Travis Alexander? How is this a fair and well balanced assessment when you pick and choose which information you are going to believe? Kudos to Juan Martinez on getting to the point today. When asked about Arias's behavior with Ryan Burns immediately after butchering Travis Alexander, LaViolette said "I think she just wanted to feel normal". What the hell? She thinks this is normal behavior, after killing somebody a person who was supposedly so important to her, how could she straddle Ryan Burns less than a day after such a brutal killing? How could she discount these actions in her assessment? Juan Martinez also pointed out that LaViolette told him that she didn't ask Arias certain questions because she was "old fashioned", and she found the sexual discussion uncomfortable and embarrassing.
Court is in recess, taking their lunch break - updates to follow!
PM Session is about to start. Before the jury was brought in, Jennifer Willmott asked Judge Stephens to prohibit the State from inquiring further about the clip and statement made by Mr. Arias that Jodi Arias was not honest with her parents starting at age 14 and up. Willmott's argument was that this was an isolated statement, there is nothing further to substantiate his claim and she insinuated that Mr. Arias may have said that because of his role in the abuse of young Jodi. Are you kidding me? That 5 second clip is 5 seconds more of substantiation than many of Arias's claims versus Travis Alexander! It's not an isolated statement, Mrs. Arias also told Detective Flores that Jodi Arias was making statements to her friends about her childhood and about things that never occurred. Why is it that the defense and their experts choose to trust and believe the statements of Jodi Arias and nobody else? Does this seem fair? They can't have it both ways. Much of the defense's testimony has been based on unsubstantiated and self-serving statements made by Jodi Arias. There hasn't been one other person who has come forward to say Travis Alexander was a sexual deviant who liked young boys, he was a bully, he was violent - he may have had a temper and he may have dated more than one woman at a time, but those are not crimes. Shooting somebody in the face, stabbing them 29 times and slicing their throat - THOSE ARE CRIMES.
It's one of those frustrating days, where I can hardly believe some of the objectives that Willmott & Co. are making. Talk about hypocritical. Despite Alyce LaViolette being shown evidence that she hadn't seen prior to drawing her conclusions about whether or not Arias was credible and truthful, she still refuses to alter her ultimate opinion on this case. In her mind, Travis Alexander abused Jodi Arias, and she seems unwilling to admit that her assessment may be inaccurate regardless of what she sees or hears in the courtroom. She chose not to believe Travis Alexander's words or Mr. Arias's words - why is that? I feel that as an expert, she should be open minded enough to admit that her analysis may not be accurate given she didn't have all of the information nor did she interview people who know/knew the parties involved. She seems biased to me, what do you all think? Her unwillingness to bend, to state that her opinion is just that - an OPINION. And her opinion is only as good as the information she is basing it on. You know the old saying, "garbage in, garbage out". She won't concede, and that speaks volumes to me. It seems very important to her that she is right, and Juan Martinez is wrong. Very unprofessional, to pick and choose who she believes, to NOT seek out people who could have helped her get a better feel for who Travis Alexander was and IF he feared Jodi Arias. How can she simply disregard this?
Outrageous......the battle continues.