Monday, May 20, 2013

Justice Delayed - Jodi Arias Penalty Phase

This morning, mitigation witnesses for Jodi Arias were supposed to begin testifying in the penalty phase of the death penalty murder trial - if you recall, childhood friend Patricia Womack was supposed to testify on Thursday but court was abruptly cancelled after the lunch break.  The reasons for the shortened day on Thursday were unknown, but there was speculation that Womack did not want her face to be shown in the televised proceedings.

Court was supposed to begin at 10:00AM PST today, but there were several motions that delayed the proceedings - all I can say is "wow"! We have learned that the defense filed a motion for mistrial, citing three main issues:

1)  Biased media coverage
2)  Witness intimidation (Patricia Womack, Alyce LaViolette)
3)  Failure to sequester the jury

Kirk Nurmi argued that Jodi Arias has not received a fair trial from the start. He alleged that the extensive media coverage has made it impossible for her to have a fair trial. This argument is coming from the attorney of a defendant who has actively sought out the media and the spotlight in general? Has Nurmi not seen all of his client's tweets, interviews and her website? Are you kidding me? 

His second point stemmed from the failure of Patricia Womack to show up to testify in court today. He is alleging that prosecutor Juan Martinez intimidated her to the point where she does not want to appear and testify on behalf of Jodi Arias! Apparently there is some truth to those rumors about Womack's drug use and her general history with law enforcement.  Much of what was argued about Womack's change of  heart was discussed behind closed doors in a sealed proceeding. From what I understood from Juan Martinez's statement to Judge Stephens, he interviewed Patricia Womack on May 15 - and she failed to answer his questions about her previous use of illegal drugs. At that time, Womack left the room briefly with Kirk Nurmi and Jennifer Willmott who are Jodi Arias' attorneys, not hers. Martinez argued it was inappropriate for Nurmi or Willmott to advise Patricia Womack in any manner since they represent Jodi Arias.

When Womack, Willmott & Nurmi returned to the interview with Juan Martinez, Womack asserted her fifth amendment right to remain silent! Apparently Martinez has uncovered some of Womack's dirty laundry, and it sounds as if there may potentially be some things she could be potentially prosecuted for.  There was a reference made to photographs and unreported income, but no specific details were made available. I think this may be related to Womack's media interviews and the "exclusive" photos she shared with Nancy Grace. Could it be that Juan Martinez asked her if she was paid for the photos and/or the video footage of her wedding, where Jodi Arias was a bridesmaid?  Did she fail to report that as income on her taxes?

Martinez argued to the judge that they don't know the reason why Womack failed to show up but he added that an attorney, Kenneth Countryman was made available to her last week and he is the person who should have been advising Patricia Womack on whether or not it would be in her best interest to assert her fifth amendment rights. Juan Martinez submitted a taped copy of his interview with Patricia Womack from May 15, 2013.

Judge Stephens offered a remedy to the issue of any witness who may be apprehensive about testifying in the penalty phase of this trial - she said this witness could be called and testify in a sealed proceeding, which she offered as a remedy to the Patricia Womack issue.

The motion for a mistrial was denied.  Kirk Nurmi promptly stated that he and Jennifer Willmott wanted to withdraw from the case.  Judge Stephens denied his request. Kirk Nurmi then stated that they would not be calling any mitigation witnesses in the defense's case.  Judge Stephens appeared to be getting agitated with the defense's attempts to halt the proceedings. Can you blame her? Nurmi ranted about the court's failure to protect the rights of Jodi Arias by allowing the prosecution to attack their expert witnesses in the presence of the jury (that's called a cross examination, isn't it?!), and now the court has allowed the prosecutor to intimidate a mitigation witness into not testifying by calling into question her prior substance abuse issues.

Nurmi insisted that the jury be read a statement as to why Patricia Womack would not be testifying in the penalty phase. The judge agreed to read a statement, but not the statement Kirk Nurmi wanted. She would only agree to tell the jury that Ms. Womack was unavailable to testify, and they should not speculate as to the reasons etc. The defense still has Darryl Brewer, so why is he not being called? They didn't get their way on the motion for mistrial, so they tried to withdraw from the case, that was also denied - so now they are going to not put on a mitigation case? Is this a ploy so that Jodi Arias has an argument that her defense attorneys were ineffective? It appears to be some type of strategic move on their part.

Kirk Nurmi made a final plea to stay the penalty phase, which was also denied by Judge Stephens.  Jodi Arias is expected to speak on her own behalf tomorrow morning when court begins at 9:30AM PST. What a morning it was. I'll update this when/if more information becomes available. I am constantly surprised at the shenanigans of this entire defense team. I've never seen any thing like this! It was almost like a temper tantrum, listening to Kirk Nurmi this morning in that courtroom. The more denials he heard from the judge, the more visibly upset he became.  It was almost as if he was threatening to derail the entire 5 month long trial, by not putting on any type of mitigation witnesses now because of Judge Stephens decisions!

How is it Judge Stephens or Juan Martinez's fault that Patricia Womack decided it wasn't in her best interest to testify under oath in a court of law? What is she personally hiding that could be that bad to make her back out of this whole thing? Whatever it is, I'm fairly sure it involves her and not Jodi Arias. That is not the court's problem, it's Womack's and it's now Jodi Arias' problem. A mistrial is not a remedy for choosing a poor character witness to speak for your client. Why not call Jodi Arias' family to speak on her behalf? They still have viable options! This whole trial has become a mockery - Arias has received more leniency than most murder defendants do.  Her out of court profiteering hasn't been made known to the jury, she's received every possible consideration.  

So many things happened in that abbreviated court session.  Is the defense just trying to throw a wrench in the trial, fearing that Jodi Arias is likely to be sentenced to death?  Do you think that Nurmi & Willmott should be allowed to withdraw from the case at this late phase of the game?  What could potentially happen if Arias' defense chooses  not to put on a single mitigation witness and they simply choose to rest their case? Will Jodi Arias still testify tomorrow as scheduled, or is she going to try to play the martyr card in addition to the falsely convicted?

Anything is possible in this trial! And I honestly mean that! Have a great day - I'll post updates if more information becomes available. Until tomorrow.....

31 comments:

  1. Fantastic update My Forte! I was sitting here with my jaw open today. I should have known better than to expect this to go as planned though.

    I'm not going to hold out much hope for tomorrow going smoothly either. I agree with you 100% on Nurmi's behavior, he's like a child who didn't get his way. Very unprofessional. I don't see any reason why he feels he should be allowed to back out at this stage of the game.

    Ugh, I'm so ready for this to be over. I cannot even begin to imagine how stressful and exhausting this is for the Alexander family and the jury!

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  2. martinez did womack a favor (and the defense) by reminding her that her shady past could and would be blown wide open should she testify.
    I dont think jodi will testify tomorrow. her only remorse is for the predicament she has placed herself in, jury will see that.

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  3. What respectable lawyer wants off a case at this stage? They should be disbarred. Or they're just trying to make a case for mistrial? I think they should just get on with it and be done. Their client is guilty as charged and it's her own fault if she gets death. Get on with it, move on and try to salvage your career Mr. N and Ms. W.

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    1. I know, what is going on here? Can't Judge Stephens hold the defense attorneys in contempt of court if they don't "just get on with it?" I have a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach for how this is turning out. I do NOT think JA will testify tomorrow. She's probably behind some of these manipulations by her attorneys as well. Maybe there IS too much media coverage available to everyone in this trial, but it's available to BOTH sides, that's for sure. Perhaps this will be precedent setting. I just hope a mistrial does not get declared by a higher court!

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    2. Absolutely AZCathy, and who's been the once to court the media? Jodi has! She's been tweeting and set a post verdict interview up months in advance. She's selling her art on Ebay, has appeared on 48 Hours and Inside Edition...if anyone's guilty of courting the media, it's her!

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    3. AZCathy,
      Media coverage in my opinion is a non-issue. Look at the circus around the Casey Anthony trial! And she was acquitted. Arias has courted the media and attempted to use it to her advantage at every turn before, during and after the verdict. In my opinion, the defense attorneys are doing everything they can to get a new jury! The sense they have lost this case and the only way they may save Arias is with a new jury! This is outright ridiculous!! I can't wait to see if she testifies, and if they pull out her "artwork", will that open up the fact that she has been selling it? And it appears much of her artwork is not even original? There are sooo many legal issues around her shenanigans, I don't even know where to start!

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  4. It has to be said, OMG!

    JSS looked really annoyed and I my heart was pounding at every motion from KN. He is seems so snarky all the time and maybe it's just his way of driving the point home but it's really difficult for me to listen to. No matter how verbose JM is he still seems to object and make motions in a matter of fact manner to the judge. It's one thing to put pressure on a witness (JM does it to ALL witnesses, not just the defense witnesses) but it's another thing to talk to the judge that way. Plus, KN was basically saying JSS was remiss in her rulings! And how do you try to roll previous motions that have already been ruled on into a new motion? If the court ruled the proceedings should be closed to cameras then the public has been denied access. Besides the fact that JA just gave a television interview! How can KN even make that motion with a straight face? If you say the jury has to be sequestered then the court's kind of saying the jurors are untrustworthy, and that's grounds for appeal, right? And the family has to be so stressed out. Maybe the DT is making the motion to withdraw to cover their butts in case there is an ineffective counsel suit or grounds for JA appeal later... Tomorrow will be interesting.

    I did get a good laugh when JSS says "I'm assumming the defendant wants to make an allocution?" LOL

    Sonja

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  5. Great post My Forte! Very insightful. I feel that this is just another ploy to avoid moving forward. Mostly as I stated prior, I believe that it all started with Jodi giving the interview with Troy Hayden that she set up in Jan. 2013 should the outcome be as such that day. All without advising her counsel. So down the road she could attempt to claim ineffective counsel, even though I believe she gets one appeal. It wouldn't surprise me if all the money she has been given for her art work, in addition to funds through her website, are being well hidden from the grasp of the Alexander's family attorney regarding the civil suit announced by said attorney. So she can use those funds in the future to claim ineffective counsel, along with other issues via a new attorney, that someone on her behalf will pay for with mentioned funds. I truly feel for the Alexander family as they have gone through so much. Then when I hear their VIS it exacerbated those feelings, along with thinking about what they continue to go through as this trial drags on. They deserve better from our system. Enough is enough, and maybe Mr. Nurmi needs a "timeout" Elizabethny

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    1. Elizabeth,
      Agreed! It's clear that Jodi Arias has been driving the bus, so to speak - and now that it's crashed, the attorneys hands are tied because their defense character witnesses are problematic! If they call her mom, the fact that she tried to sell the forged letters from Travis Alexander will come out, as well as the truth on whether Jodi was ever beaten with the wooden spoon. If they call the grandparents, the stolen gun issue may come up again. If they call Patty Womack, her drug offenses will be made public, as well as income she may have failed to report for the "licensing fees" she was paid by media for the childhood photos of her and Jodi and her wedding video! They can't call Matt McCartney either, since it appears Arias attempted to get him to change his testimony via the secret-coded magazines she tried to smuggle out of jail through Ann Campbell! What a mess, all created by Jodi Arias.

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  6. Today was insane. Nurmi's slamming JM and court is such a joke! JM is doing his job (fantastically I might add),and the court had bent over backwards not to mention his client is stirring the public interest/media pot. That was laughable. I read an article that deals with appeals based on ineffective counsel, the link is http://www.loc.gov/rr/frd/Military_Law/pdf/06-1986.pdf
    Basically it states that a defendent has to meet 2 specific "prongs" or criteria in order to have anything reversed and it is very difficult to do. It sited cases, some that Nurmi has referenced...so far Jodi doesn't have it at all. As bad as her attorneys are they don't meet the criteria at all. Plus it appears that she is the one who steers this defense. I still think there is more nonsense in store. Jodi wants to drag this out, maybe long enough to get new jurors for this phase and try her act out on them. Who knows, but her defense team looked like Laurel & Hardy today.

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    1. That's interesting about a new jury... I was talking to my mom yesterday, the only one who will listen to me about the trial LOL, and I was saying that JA is doing what sociopaths do. Sociopaths create a persona and morph, lie and manipulate people within a circle of friends or setting until that group "catches on" and then they move on to the next. I was telling my mom that JA must think that because most people are fairly polite, don't call people out and just distance themselves from someone they've determined to be "off", that JA believes she's a great manipulator and could pull it off with the judicial system too. So I wholeheartedly agree that JA wanting a new set of jurors would fit with her psychopathy.

      Sonja

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  7. I believe Arias will show up in court on the 21st of May but that she will not address the court like Travis' sister and brother did.
    I believe that Arias should spend the norm of 12 years on death row with VEY limited human interaction and no computer access. She is evil and poor Travis to ever have met here.
    Arias will not speak tomorrow---watch and see.

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  8. I had heard that JA had done the throat slit gesture after Samantha’s VIS but I had not personally seen it until just NOW! Mickee D caught it and there is absolutely NO doubt how intentional that gesture is. She is true EVIL personified!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wfP7xuPd-L8

    The gesture is at 36:04 but start it a few seconds prior. Unbelievable.

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    1. I believe you are correct. Mikee D caught it and at first I thought JA was wiping a tear that had trickled down, but she had just previously used a Kleenex, so why wouldn't she have the Kleenex in her hand to wipe across her neck? Because it was the throat slit. The devil sits on her shoulder.

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    2. There's a lot of ways to wipe tears and closed back of the hand seems the most awkward and unatural! Try it yourself and see...

      JA's done this at least two times. There is one where people are suggesting it's a threat aimed at our man Juan Martinez but I don't think so. I think she is reliving the act. AND JA's NOT crying here:

      http://www.bing.com/videos/search?q=jodi+arias+throat+slit+motion+youtube&mid=1D2482C4431E2ABCCF7C1D2482C4431E2ABCCF7C&view=detail&FORM=VIRE1

      Sonja

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  9. Very interesting that Juan mentioned that Patti did NOT disclose the income (licensing fees) that she received from networks for all the photos she supplied to them!!!!

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  10. Arias sister wearing Survivor T shirt after court.

    https://sphotos-b.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ash3/431877_478333592242788_1820708831_n.jpg

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    1. Hah, yes, she survived being JA's sister.

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  11. Nurmi's motion that he filed

    http://media2.abc15.com/html/pdf/Ariasmistrialmotion.pdf

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  12. Hodi didn't want trial televised??? hats news to me. Sham JM didnt bring up her courting the media at every turn.

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  13. "Very interesting that Juan mentioned that Patti did NOT disclose the income (licensing fees) that she received from networks for all the photos she supplied to them!!!!"

    Doesnt she have till june or end of year to disclose that?

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    1. NM above comment I forgot she was on welfare and has to report monthly/weekly any income.

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  14. http://www.azcentral.com/12news/articles/20130520jodi-arias-darryl-brewer-interview.html

    He did an interview that's got a few parts.

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  15. Donavon was prosecuted for Domestic Violence in 2007. Ohhh, the irony!

    https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BKt0kS-CAAAViyQ.jpg:large

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  16. Didn't Juan state that he asked PW about her drug use WITH Jodi?

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  17. High profile murderer #JodiArias got busted selling domestic violence t-shirts from prison to support Long Beach, CA women's shelter. LBWS threw JA under bus, basically saying they don't believe she was a DV victim, that they support the findings of the court, and have no arrangement or affiliation with JA at all whatsoever. They said they do appreciate donations and would like them sent to them directly, not through JA. They also asked that the nonsensical JA support site remove all references to the shelter.
    Info from @stark3923
    Pay Pal rules: Services requiring
    pre-approval, collecting donations as a charity or non-organization.

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    1. non-profit organization.

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  18. PATTI does not want to testify because then she would have to disclose her past arrest record as well as child endangerment charges/issues. Patti does not want to testify because then she would have to disclose the money she made off selling Jodi photos to Nancy Grace. Patty received money from NG Production Co. wedding photos of Jodi video/photo Lic. fee. made several NG appearances.

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  19. Info from @stark3923

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  20. Jodi's parents can't testify in the mitigation phase due to the police interviews. Patti can't testify due to her drug use, Nancy Grace money, and the fact that putting her on the stand would actually hurt the case. Jodi has no credible mitigating factors. That's her own fault. So it will be up to Jodi to get up in front of the jury and plead her case ... however, I do think that if and when she speaks to the jury, she will tell them what she said in the interview after the verdict. I think that's why her lawyers want to be removed from the case. I don't know if it's a ploy to get a life sentence using reverse psychology or if she really doesn't want to spend the rest of her life in prison. If the latter is the case (which I believe it is), I don't think she's thinking it through. When the time comes for a death sentence to be carried out, she will have changed her mind and want life. With all that said, it doesn't matter a hill of beans what Jodi wants. She's needs (and I believe 'will') be sentenced according to her crime against Travis Alexander. It's punishment... you don't get to decide your own punishment in our legal system... thank God.

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