Thursday, May 2, 2013

Jodi Arias Trial - Judgement Day Looms

Today is expected to be a monumental day in the Jodi Arias murder trial. Nearly five months after the trial began, prosecutor Juan Martinez is expected to deliver his closing arguments to jurors who will ultimately decide the fate of Jodi Ann Arias.  Judge Sherry Stephens is expected to instruct the jury in matters of the law this morning before handing the stage over to the State of Arizona and Juan Martinez.

Yesterday in court the defense called their surrebuttal witness Dr. Robert Geffner to the stand to challenge the diagnosis of state expert witness Dr. Janeen DeMarte. DeMarte spent 12 hours interviewing Jodi Arias, studied the collateral evidence and reports before doing her own psychological tests on the 32 year old murder defendant. Through her battery of tests, she told jurors that she believed Arias had borderline personality disorder - not PTSD as the defense experts believed. Her testimony was clear-cut and easy to understand, and most importantly it was backed up by specific examples of patterns of behavior displayed by Arias. Speaking of Jodi Arias, perhaps her attorneys suggested that she try to feign interest in the proceedings? For the last several days, she has appeared somewhat disconnected to what's happening around her - she appears almost bored. I noticed yesterday she looked up at the screen more and seemed to be paying a little more attention to the testimony. 

Dr. Geffner challenged the tests that DeMarte used to diagnose Arias, telling the jury that they were not appropriate for use in diagnosing borderline personality disorder. Much of the day was spent describing his experience and credentials. OK, he has 35 years in the business. But how well does he know Jodi Arias? Turns out he has never met her, rather - he was called by the defense and asked to review her findings in the days after DeMarte testified. He believes Arias' tests reveal more of an anxiety disorder, and agreed with the diagnosis of PTSD.  I guess KILLING somebody would cause quite a bit of anxiety.

Jennifer Willmott did her best to get this witness to convince the jury that DeMarte's testing was flawed in some way and cannot be trusted. She then made the mistake of delving into the area of the testimony of medical examiner Kevin Horn.  Dr. Geffner may have a PhD, but he is not a medical doctor. Did Willmott make a mistake in trying to have a shrink challenge a medical examiner's opinion on the effects of a gunshot wound to the head? I think she did. I also believe the jurors are getting frustrated with the repetitive nature of the expert witness testimony, all of which hinges on the honesty or dishonesty of Jodi Arias. Willmott elicited some interesting testimony about the potential effects of the gunshot wound to Travis Alexander's face.

Geffner, who has never performed or even attended one single autopsy told the jury that based on his interpretation of Dr. Horn's autopsy report - he believes it's quite possible that Travis Alexander was not incapacitated after being shot in the head. This is crucial for Jodi Arias, because if the jury doesn't believe Travis had the ability to attack Jodi and threaten to kill her AFTER being shot, as Arias has testified - they likely won't believe any of her story about what happened during the killing. As expected, Willmott used as much of the court time as possible during her direct examination of the witness, leaving Martinez with as little time as possible to discredit Dr. Geffner.

When Juan Martinez began his cross examination, he wasted no time in tearing into Geffner's past testimony in other states - bringing to light the fact that a trial judge in Tennessee said he was "nothing more than a hired gun" and "his testimony had no merit" after he testified in a trial there.  Martinez asked him about Hawaii vs. French, another trial Geffner testified in where his testimony was actually excluded. The jury also discovered that Dr. Geffner is the editor of one of Alyce LaViolette's publications, need I say more?  Juan Martinez was aggressive and challenged Geffner at every opportunity. Dr. Geffner appeared nervous as Martinez grilled him, so much that he spilled water twice during questioning, and there were some awkward pauses as he cleaned up the mess.  Martinez asked him how many autopsies he had performed, "none" Geffner said. "How many autopsies have you witnessed"? Martinez asked, "none" Geffner responded. Dr. Geffner may have knowledge of how the brain functions, but clearly he lacked the expertise to be speaking as an expert - I'm not sure why Judge Stephens even allowed them to go into this area.

I only viewed the trial up to the point where Willmott began to redirect Dr. Robert Geffner, so I'm not sure how this all ended or if Juan Martinez ever got to introduce his surrebuttal witness, Dr. Jill Hayes. I do know this much, the testimony has concluded and judgement day is coming for Jodi Ann Arias. Did she manage to sway one or more jurors into believing her stories of emotional and physical abuse?  Do the jurors believe her depiction of the events leading up to the killing of Travis Alexander? Does her story make sense to them?  Has the defense managed to put Arias in front of them for long enough to humanize her and garner some sympathy? We will soon find out, as the jury is expected to get the case for deliberation as early as Friday. Since there is no security at the Superior Court where deliberations will be held, they are not expected to deliberate over the weekend.

This is it folks. The final days, the closing arguments.  I hope Juan Martinez got a good night's sleep and delivers his best closing argument ever.  I'd expect nothing less from him. He is the voice for Travis Alexander, and he wants justice.  Have a great day!

(Some of you have asked about getting notifications when the verdict comes down. I found a source for text alerts for Jodi Arias news, I HAVE NOT TESTED it yet! You may want to test it to see if you get news before the weekend, from cbs5az.com:
Text BREAKING to 23765:



**UPDATE**
Thank you to NancyB for posting a comment from Tanisha Sorenson from the Justice4Travis Facebook page. Her message can be seen on one of NancyB's comments from yesterday's post. 



26 comments:

  1. I am hoping and praying hard for a guilty of murder one conviction, anything less will be disappointing. As for DP or LWOP, I'll take either just as long as she has no chance of freedom.

    I want to bed at 9, which was 6 AZ time, so I missed Dr. Hayes. I'm hoping someone will post it to youtube sometime today.

    I did ponder this question a bit:
    Juror question: "Would you agree that 100% of the people you have seen with frontal lobe trauma are deceased at the time of your examination?"
    Dr. Horn: "I hope so."

    I can't figure out if that is a snarky question, saying Dr. Horn really doesn't know what a frontal lobe injury would do to a living person because all his patients are dead. Or if they were trying to verify how much damage a frontal lobe injury would do. I'm hoping it was a pro-prosecution question but who knows!

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    1. Anonymous (5/2 @ 8:36AM),
      I didn't hear that question to the ME! I hope they were being sarcastic towards the defense's theory. I'm with you on the verdict. Anything less than 1st degree would be an injustice in my eyes. I think this is one of those crimes that the death penalty is made for, but I know that juries can sometimes have a difficult time sentencing a female to death - based on the sheer volume of males vs. females on death row. She definitely should never walk the streets a free woman ever again! Thank you for your comments!

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    2. And thank YOU My Forte, for all of your awesome posts on the trial. Your blog is the first one I check in the morning for updates:)

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    3. Yes! My Forte, just love your commentary and writing!

      Sue

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  2. My Forte - Question.. How we'll we know that the jury has a verdict on Monday? Is there a tweet I should follow? What do you think?

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    1. AaronC,
      I'm going to find myself a reliable source for verdict time. During Casey Anthony's trial, I signed up for a text alert - so while I was at work, I received a text message on my phone that the verdict was in. There's usually plenty of time to get to the computer or TV once they announce a verdict has been reached. I've heard Vinny Politan (on HLN News) is going to be Tweeting when the verdict comes in. I'll try to post a source if I can find one similar to the Casey Anthony notification I told you about!

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    2. AaronC,
      I found a source similar to the one I used for the Anthony trial verdict, you may want to test it out for news first to ensure that you receive alerts! Good luck...

      Stay with cbs5az.com and CBS 5 News as this story develops.

      [Text BREAKING to 23765 to get news alerts on your mobile phone]

      Delete
    3. Thanks Nancy and MyForte! The text alerts are perfect since I'm not much of a tweep.
      I'm curious on if and how Arias & Co. will refute the 3rd gas can. Also, I don't remember hearing about the cd's.. Another saving grace that couldn't be explained.
      Favorite quote of the day, "It must be that Washington Mutual and Priceline believe in the Law of Attraction!" LOL
      Skaters do carry pocket knifes but why in the hell would they mess with a license plate? LOL
      Thanks again!

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    4. AaronC,
      I'd be sure to test this text service first. But this is the same type of thing I had with the Anthony trial, set to alert me for breaking news. It worked fine! Good luck.....

      Delete
  3. The only person that I have heard that will be tweeting once a verdict has been reached is Vinnie Politan. There must be others but Vinnie is the only one that I am aware of.

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    Replies
    1. NancyB,
      Same here - I've heard Vinnie Politan say he will tweet when there is a verdict. As I was telling Aaron, for the Casey Anthony trial I was able to sign up for an automated text message to my phone. When a verdict was reached, I got a text and got to my computer in plenty of time. It was through a news channel. I'm going to try to find something similar and will post it if I find something other than via Twitter.

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  4. For all that need a little levity please check out this brilliant blogger! She makes me lololololol

    http://eggtreenews.wordpress.com/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I LOVE Eggy's blog and read all of her posts Nancy, she's hilarious!

      Delete
  5. On HLN you can be a follower of one of them and he or she will let you know via tweet:)

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  6. JW has her hands full today! She's desperately trying to keep Jodi calm while Juan is doing his closing. They're furiously writing notes back and forth, Jodi looks like she wants to snap.

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    1. Anon (5/2 @ 10:48),
      I know! Arias has her head slightly down and was writing a lot during JM's close. They looked like two teenagers passing notes in class.

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  7. Juan brought up such a great point, if Jodi was "forced" into sex then why did she go along the phone sex? He was miles away, she was in zero danger yet she was submissive while she was in another state out of fear? Jodi was the aggressor!

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  8. JM is making JA's story sound unbelievable .... which it is because it's laced with lies both big and small. There isn't a person on earth that can keep track of that many lies and he's bringing it all together. GREAT JOB MR. MARTINEZ!!!! Love watching him work.

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  9. I hope when the closing argument continues by Martinez he will emphasize how herself defense claim is bogus over and over again. I love martinez, and he is doing fine so far.

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  10. Did you guys see her how she was looking the crime seen pictures? very scary.

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  11. Do you see the face of JW? She looks scared. wow!!!

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    1. Wanted to slap those hateful looks off her face at times. Advocacy for her client is one thing but I think she's been sucked in by JA. She kept giving JM nasty looks ... very hateful. Sitting too close the the murderer all these months has had a bad effect on her it seems.

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  12. Jodi appeared to break down when Juan gave a description of Travis fending off the knife attacks and bleeding at the sink. Wilmott never looked at her, though she had to know Jodi was crying. I think Jenny does not believe this was a self-defense killing and that Juan's version of what happened is closer to the truth.

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    1. Anon (5/2 @ 11:09PM),
      I noticed that too - Willmott looks worried. She wasn't seen comforting Arias during the description of the killing. She probably was thinking how accurate the description was!!

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  13. Why? GUILTY! First.... worthless baby killer casey anthony! Then this poor excuse of a woman. She killed him! What are we waiting for? CONVICT! She is such an actress! DON'T DO THE TIME IF YOU CAN'T DO THE TIME!

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  14. Don't do the crime if you can't do the time! Its disgusting that you would kill him twice...once in life and once in court. She is nuts!

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Thank you for commenting!