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Prosecution Expert Dr. Janeen DeMarte Holds Up Under Intense Cross Exam

The Jodi Arias murder trial continued yesterday with the State's expert witness Dr. Janeen DeMarte taking the stand for her second day of testimony. DeMarte spent 12 hours interviewing Jodi Arias and in addition to the clinical interview, she gave Arias several psychological tests and ultimately diagnosed her with borderline personality disorder. DeMarte outright disagreed with defense experts diagnosis of PTSD.

Arias attorney Jennifer Willmott gave DeMarte a fierce and fiery cross examination, calling into question DeMarte's years of experience as a licensed psychologist, the rate she charges her patients versus the rate she is being paid for her participation in this case, her level of expertise in the areas of domestic violence/battered women's syndrome and PTSD. Willmott was abrupt and bordered on rude in not allowing DeMarte to elaborate on her answers, at one point saying "no, I'm moving on" when DeMarte asked if she could reference materials she brought before answering a question posed to her. There's aggressive - and then there's rude. Willmott managed to be both.

DeMarte had no interest in portraying Jodi Arias as bad and Travis Alexander as good, rather her concern seemed to honestly be providing accurate test results and what information she used to draw upon the conclusions she ultimately came to in Arias's diagnosis. Her testimony was easy to follow, and it was relatively clear how she came to each "data point" and test conclusion. In contrast, the defense experts disregarded Travis Alexander's own written words, believed every word out of Jodi Arias's mouth and gave her the benefit of doubt at every single turn. They were not concerned by her lies and refused to even entertain it may be a pattern of behavior. Is it any wonder the jury had hundreds of questions for Alyce LaViolette?

Some new information came out about Jodi Arias's odd behavior during Juan Martinez's redirect of Dr. DeMarte. In an example of another "data point" DeMarte used, she testified that Jodi snuck into Travis's house and hid behind his Christmas tree! She also testified about Arias allegedly stealing a ring from Travis. The defense objected and all attorneys went to a sidebar with Judge Stephens. DeMarte was allowed to only testify that a ring of Travis's was believed to be taken by Jodi. The jury will be left to draw their own conclusions about that ring, but that ring is believed to be an engagement ring that Travis had purchased for another woman! No other details were disclosed and the jury was left with the perception that this was Travis's ring, not a woman's ring purchased by Travis. It's too bad the jury is left with this half-truth and not the whole truth. I know, I know, it would be unfairly prejudicial. Whatever!

DeMarte provided testimony that Jodi Arias's breakup with Matt McCartney wasn't as easy as Arias testified it was. DeMarte stated that McCartney had a difficult time getting Arias to come to terms with their breakup, despite the fact that he had already moved on and was seeing another woman. DeMarte also testified about Arias's behavior following Travis Alexander's memorial service. On the plane ride back after his memorial service, DeMarte testified that Arias met another man and exchanged phone numbers with him, and she actually called plane-man at some point after returning to Yreka! I keep hearing that everybody grieves in their own way, but this doesn't make Arias look remorseful or upset about the man she claimed to care so deeply about that she put his feelings and needs before her own.

There were far fewer jury questions for Dr. DeMarte than for Dr. Samuels or Alyce LaViolette. They asked her how many times she had testified in court, how many of those times were related to abuse, what type of people are at risk for borderline personality disorder, is it normal for someone who is incarcerated to feel depressed? An interesting question relating to the camera - they asked "do you believe that deleting pictures and attempting to wash the camera destroying evidence?" During her cross examination, Willmott argued that if Arias was having organized thoughts, she would have taken the camera with her instead of leaving it behind. Many people believe Arias more than likely thought deleting the photos took care of the problem, and running it through the washing machine would more than likely destroy any remaining evidence. The point is she took the time to delete the specific photos, not all of the photos! The jury knows this.

The jury asked DeMarte "would it concern you if a person answering questions on a test used psychological terms instead of laymen terms? and "do you see any issues with Dr. Samuels completing the answer sheet for Arias based on his summary of notes?" They asked "if stabbing, shooting and slicing a person's throat would be a traumatic event" and they asked another question regarding the PTSD issue - something to the effect of "if a person is attacked by a lion, but on a psychological test they say it was a bear would their test be invalid?". But perhaps the most telling of all juror questions was this: would saying "mark my words, no jury will ever convict me be part of your borderline personality disorder diagnosis, especially since she was smiling when she said it?" Wow. What a telling question. Seems the jury has not forgotten Arias's ill-stated quote. Right about now, she's probably wishing she never made such a public prediction of her fate. But she did utter those words and can never take it back. It's out there. She claims she intended to kill herself before her case ever went to trial - but it that believable to you?

Juan Martinez seemed to be satisfied with the jury questions. He had no further redirect of DeMarte, but you know Jennifer Willmott is not through! This is it for the defense. After having twice as many days on the stand as the prosecution, they are still seeming to scramble to convince jurors Jodi had to kill Travis. How effective have they been? Only time will tell, and the clock is ticking.....

Have a fabulous weekend!


  1. Fabulous summary, as usual. This is going to be a long four days. Can't wait to see Juan back in action next week. :D

  2. Special hearing called in the trial for today. I wonder if it;s another move for mistrial....???

    1. Probaly witness misconduct! Dr. M was too good! LOL

  3. I posted this comment on yesterday's thread inadvertently so I'm moving it over here. This is O.T. but this is the stuff that I've been thinking about all week.

    In our United States of America if you are accused of a crime and taken to court, you are told you have the Constitutional right to a trial by a jury of your peers. Yes, you would be tried by a jury of your peers, but what the Constitution actually says is this: “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed. . .” (Amendment 6)

    Note that nothing at all is said or implied about a jury of “peers.” The kind of “impartial” jury the Founding Fathers had in mind was to be judiciously selected from the better-informed, if not educated, and fair-minded members of the community, an English Common Law practice harking back to the 12th century. In modern-day America, that tradition has taken a different twist. Jurors sometimes selected for criminal trials nowadays are not just our peers in the common sense of the word, but also, by design, the most gullible, swayable, undiscerning, unintelligent jurors possible. (think OJ & Casey Anthony)

    Jurors are sought out, by the defense, as those unsure of their own reasoning skills so that they can be easily manipulated, convinced “lurid” demonstration of innocence includes the notion of “reasoned” innocence. In that respect, our justice system fails those on trial and all of us. Defense attorneys want jurors bereft of any skills of cognitive reasoning or logic, and in the above mentioned cases they got them. Never have a lawyer and client been better matched then Baez & CA

  4. Here's the rest of my comment:

    During voir dire defense atty’s seek to exclude people with college degrees, situational awareness, and especially military personnel for a purpose. Maricopa County arguably has one of the largest concentrations of retired professionals (doctors, lawyers, accountants, military officers) in the country and when this trial is over it will be interesting to see how many of them made the jury. Often if you read the voir dire questions that are used and the peremptory dismissals (those kept out) you will see how the jury was stacked. I hope to do that after this trial ends

    Unless we get back in line with the tradition of jury selection as understood by the Founding Fathers, travesties like the Casey Anthony, OJ Simpson, Al Capone and other hyped-up murder trials—the list is long—will continue to make a mockery of American criminal law. All of which confirm my thoughts that we need to begin a national dialogue about potential jury reforms that are reasonable and realistic.

    To my way of thinking, working to improve the jury process is one positive step to reducing the probability that dysfunctional juries will make absurd decisions. The OJ & CA verdicts have acted to undermine our criminal justice system; when a verdict is not consistent with the facts presented during trial our criminal justice system suffers. I personally am offended when a hollow platitude is offered, such as “this is the system we have and we must respect the juror’s decisions.” I do not respect decisions that are arrived at with flawed logic, bias, and ignorance of the legal instructions. To me, that indicates a system problem that can be explored and worked on.

    Maybe a professional jury pool of trained and willing individuals who are paid a respectable daily rate for their work on a trial is the answer. I’ve heard others that believe the remedy is to place legally educated experts in the deliberation room to guide the jurors through any misunderstanding of the law or lack of comprehension of their responsibility. Another idea floated as a remedy involves interaction from the judge—after the jury reaches the verdict, the judge would meet with them to determine if they used proper criteria and objective reasoning to make their decision. If they have, the verdict is then announced in the courtroom. If not, they go back to work or the judge declares a mistrial. Justice must never mirror Evil; Justice must always be a mirror for Evil so that all may see.

    1. Thank you, NancyB. Excellent and interesting comments, IMO.


    2. Perhaps we should get rid of juries entirely and use a panel of 3-5 judges. Juries were necessary to determine community standards when common law was being established. Some countries also use several judges plus several lay people to make a decision but they decide together

  5. What ever happened to
    Alyce LaViolette?

    1. Anonymous (4/19 at 3:24PM),
      Last I heard of ALV, she was ordered to return to court last Tuesday where it must have been a session held in the Judge's chambers. I haven't been able to find anything on this topic. I believe by now she's back home in Long Beach!

  6. Well DeMarte got in some good things for the jury
    like Jodi hiding behind the Christmas tree at
    Travis's house, the ring, and the flight home from Travis's Memorial service in Mesa where Jodi
    was giving out her phone number to a guy on the
    plane, and she called him that night, she sure
    didn't waste any time looking for the next love

  7. hi.. this is chris stark from twitter @stark3923. can anyone contact me n tell me if this site owner is on twitter? thank u

    1. Hi Chris!!! I don't know if My Forte is on Twitter but I'm sure that she will answer you here. I'm responding to your inquiry because I adore you for ALL the wonderful and truthful information that you have continually posted throughout this trial! You are a hero of mine for putting yourself out there, for being a very vocal advocate, for being transparent about the sole goal of justice for Travis and that this psychopath deserves the death penalty! A million thanks for all that you continue to do and do so well! Also, all the pics of your son are *gorgeous*! Lastly, I hope your health improves and that Chemo treatments knock every micrometer of cancer OUT -- and forever.

    2. Chris, I could never put it as eloquently as NancyB. But I wholeheartedly agree. I have loved reading your tweets and your information is excellent.


    3. To Chris Stark,
      I've heard many good things about you from people who leave comments on this forum. I did create a Twitter account associated with the trial and this blog but I use it infrequently. It's Karla@1myforte. For those of you who don't know, Forte is my mother's maiden name and I always liked it!

  8. Does the defense get a rebuttal presentation following the prosecution's rebuttal case or do they go straight to closing arguments?

    1. Hi Shameen -

      No. Surrebuttal is only allowed if the prosecution introduces brand new information in their rebuttal. If they do (they won't) the defense would be allowed a surrebuttal that is limited to responding to the issues that were raised for the first time in the rebuttal case.

      It is not an opportunity for the defense to present their whole case again, or to open up the door to new issues.

      It is reversible error for the trial judge to prevent a defendant from introducing surrebuttal evidence to meet new matters raised by the rebuttal evidence presented by the prosecutor.

    2. NancyB,
      Thanks for another fantastic and informative post in response to surrebuttal limitations. You truly are a pillar of information!

  9. Willmott is just getting started!!!!!!

  10. Here is a FASCINATING link. A licensed psychologist AND handwriting analyst. Note the date - way before Dr. DeMarte testified. This other psychologist calls Jodi a borderline personality disorder and goes through her handwriting - pointing out the various personality aspects that show up in the handwriting. Absolutely amazing.... enjoy!

    1. Anonymous (4/20/13 at 5:05PM),
      Thank you for posting the information and link!

    2. This was very interesting info and she posted this way back in Jan 2013. Thanks so much!

  11. Chris Stark, thank you so much for all your efforts
    and hard work you have done on this trial. Sending you a prayer for your speedy recovery.
    And also a big shout out to @josemcyntire for
    his dedication and countless hours of research.

  12. Dr DeMarte presented NO NEW EVIDENCE. Her dx of BPD was contained in her report, the report the defense was provided with during discovery-AND Dr Samuels himself stated in HIS report that J Arias DID show to have a Personality Disorder but with no specification. This is why Juan asked Demarte about Samuels' Person Disorder dx and she explained that it was the junk drawer specification so as to not have to be specific. To me this says that Samuels is even more unethical than previously thought as he purposely avoided giving his full analysis of Arias when asked by defense about what dx he had given Arias. This was trial strategy of defense to get in the last word. Judge allowed surrebuttal just to give defense no opts for appeal.

    1. Needles and Pins,
      Almost comical that the defense would need THREE expert witnesses versus the prosecutions one. What could this new guy say that the jury hasn't already heard from the other experts? I think you are right about this being another ploy by the defense. They have the Judge on the ropes, so worried about mistrial/appeal that she has granted them nearly everything they have asked for. Will it matter in the end? I sure hope not! Thanks for your comments.


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