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What's Next For Jodi Arias - Aggravation & Sentencing Phases

Convicted murderer Jodi Arias has been returned to the Estrella jail and taken off suicide watch yesterday after doctors deemed she was no longer a threat to herself or others.  She is reportedly being housed in a cell alone; I'm not sure if she has been in a single-cell situation prior to her stint in the jail's Buckeye psych ward. Out of an abundance of caution following her post-conviction interview with Fox reporter Troy Hayden in which Arias claimed that "death is the ultimate freedom", jail officials placed Arias under suicide protocols.

More of Arias' 45 minute interview with Troy Hayden has been released. She told Hayden there was evidence crucial to her defense that was not admitted. She described a photo she had of murder victim Travis Alexander "chasing a naked 4 year old boy" around the room - while holding a Bible. Arias explained that her attorneys felt the photo was irrelevant and therefore it was not submitted into evidence. In addition to the photo, she claimed several family members were never called to testify about visible bruises Arias had at various times during her relationship with Travis Alexander.  I find it highly unusual that no family members were called during the guilt phase of this trial!  Could it be that the defense did not want to risk more of Arias' lies, exaggerations or untruths be uncovered?  Had Sandy Arias been called to the stand, she would have been subject to a fierce cross examination from prosecutor Juan Martinez. Would Sandy Arias substantiate her daughter's claims that she was beaten with a wooden spoon? What about Jodi's father? Would his testimony have done more harm than good for his daughter's defense?

Despite what Arias claims, there has to be a very good reason or reasons that none of her immediate family members took the stand on her behalf. Maybe some members of the Arias family takes perjury more seriously than others? After a 5-day delay, the aggravation and sentencing phases are set to move forward tomorrow at 10:00AM PST. I found a good source on the aggravation factors in Arizona death penalty cases and am posting the link in case you have any interest in seeing the list in it's entirety:
http://deathpenalty.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=1363

As you are aware, the state is seeking the Death Penalty under the following aggravator:  "the defendant committed the offense in an especially heinous, cruel or depraved manner"

The state will present evidence and as in the guilt phase, the burden of proof is on the prosecution. Per the resource listed above:

"At the aggravating phase of the sentencing proceeding that is held pursuant to section 13-703.01, the admissibility of information relevant to any of the aggravating circumstances set forth in subsection of this section shall be governed by the rules of evidence applicable to criminal trials.  The burden of establishing the existence of any of the aggravating circumstances set forth in subsection F of this section is on the prosecution.  The prosecution must prove the existence of the aggravating circumstances beyond a reasonable doubt."

"At the penalty phase of the sentencing proceeding that is held pursuant to section 13-701.01, the prosecution or defendant may present any information that is relevant to any of the mitigating circumstances included in subsection G of this section, regardless of its admissibility under the rules governing admission of evidence at criminal trials.  The burden of establishing mitigating circumstances included in subsection G of this section is on the defendant.  The defendant must prove the existence of mitigating circumstances by a preponderance of the evidence.  If the trier of the fact is a jury, the jurors do not have to agree unanimously that a mitigating circumstance has been proven to exist.  Each juror may consider any mitigating circumstance found by that juror in determining the appropriate penalty."

"Evidence that is admitted at the trial and that relates to any aggravating or mitigating circumstances shall be deemed admitted as evidence at a sentencing proceeding if the trier of fact considering that evidence is the same trier of fact that determined the defendant's guilt.  The prosecution and defendant shall be permitted to rebut any information received at the aggravation or penalty phase of the sentencing proceeding and shall be given fair opportunity to present argument as to whether the information is sufficient to establish the existence of any of the circumstances included in subsections F or G of this section".

"In determining whether to impose a sentence of death or life imprisonment, the trier of fact shall take into account the aggravating or mitigating circumstances that have been proven.  The trier of fact shall impose a sentence of death if the trier of fact finds one or more of the aggravating circumstances enumerated in subsection F of this section and then determines there are no mitigating circumstances sufficiently substantial to call for leniency."

I find the Arizona judicial system to be very effective and efficient in that not only are jurors able to ask questions of witnesses, but they have such a key role in deciding sentencing in death penalty cases. Only if the jury does not agree that an aggravating circumstance was proven by the state and the death penalty is rejected as a potential sentence would Judge Stephens decide on Arias' fate or either natural life or life with the possibility of parole after 25 years is served.

Naturally there are numerous appeals that will follow any death sentence imposed on Jodi Arias. Kirk Nurmi and Jennifer Willmott have been creating their own paper trail in the form of mistrial motions in anticipation of future appeals. The appeal process could stretch out for years.  What can we expect to hear during the next phase of this trial? Will Jodi Arias' family break their silence and beg for their daughter's life? Will Arias take the stand and accept any responsibility for her crime and finally show a little humility and respect for the many people she has harmed over the last 5 years? Or will she continue the mud-slinging we have seen throughout the trial?

The Alexander siblings have hired attorneys to bring forth a wrongful death suit against Jodi Arias - having secured a guilty verdict against Arias will be greatly helpful in their quest to put an end to Arias' shameless profiteering at the expense of their brother Travis.  I was happy to hear they were moving forward with the legal action. They have shown great restraint, faith and they have patiently and silently sat in the courtroom while the rights of Jodi Arias have been closely guarded and their brother's rights seemingly disappeared in the fog of Arias' field of lies. How will Arias play the cards she has been dealt now are anybody's guess. Will she double down, and play the role of the wrongly convicted and misunderstood martyr or will she try to muster up some genuine regret, remorse and sorrow for the life she ended?

What are your thoughts? Will Arias remain defiant - and will her attorneys continue down the path of painting Travis Alexander as the monster? Will they ignore the jury's obvious disbelief in Arias' stories of being abused, battered and treated like a prostitute?  Self-defense has always been a poor choice for Arias' defense in this case.  One look at the injuries Travis Alexander sustained tells you that he was likely ambushed and this killing was pure-rage. Classic overkill and not self defense.  Again, Arias seemingly went for all-or-nothing and pinned her hopes on being able to con the jury with nothing but her words to corroborate her allegations against the man she murdered. She greatly overestimated her acting abilities, her charm and her intelligence. More importantly, she greatly underestimated the common sense of these 12 reasonable citizens who spent more than 4 months of their life hearing the evidence and rendering a verdict.

While our system of justice isn't perfect, I am thankful that in this case it worked.  Far too often, criminals are able to wiggle out of horrific crimes through trial errors, errors made in the collection of evidence, questionable lab procedures etc. etc. etc.  I still cringe when I think of OJ Simpson walking out of that California courtroom a free man.  While he may never be held accountable for his crimes in this lifetime, I truly believe Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman will receive justice when Simpson meets his maker. Until then, we'll have to settle on a little Vegas-style karma!  Simpson made headlines again this week when he appeared in court to appeal his 2008 conviction.


17 comments:

  1. My Forte - great article as usual. I had to share a direct quote with you from JA's after verdict interview:

    "Juan Martinez's accusation that I was seeking fame is absurd."

    Um, Jodi look into the camera when you say that! I thought this was hilarious! Have a good day.

    Sonja

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  2. Yes. Fine update and thanks! I wrote much earlier that I had attended the Watergate trial in Washington, I also spent a day at the OJ trial almost 20 years later.As torturous as this trial was to watch, it was quite packed with drama and it introduced (to me anyway) a whole concept I'd hadn't thought about - jury questions. I think the present system of polling and aiming for the gullible in juries should be changed. In Germany now, they have professional jurors, with a couple of citiznes in the mix. The waste of money and tim is astounding,

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  3. The reason that "evidence" that Jodi was talking about didn't make it into the trial was because it didn't exist. Another of Jodi's fantasy world lies. There is no way that Nurmi wouldn't have put a picture like that in the trial if it existed. Maybe Jodi had done some photoshopping.

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    Replies
    1. My thoughts exactly. She's a photographer and could do that but it would also be detectible by experts... there goes her credibility again. The woman is a liar and will continue to lie every time she opens her mouth. There will be no humility or humanity from her, ever. It's not who she is and totally foreign to her. It's like pigs flying .... not going to happen.

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    2. Ditto that to both above Anon's!!! ALL of what she had to say was pure Baloney & more LIES. How true about Nurmi! I still will NEVER believe that the erect PENIS that he showed on all the giant screens in the courtroom belonged to Travis. The fingers and hand of the penis person look NOTHING like Travis'. To me they looked very familiar to a certain male defense witness that *refused* to be photographed so that all we saw of him WAS his fingers and hands. Those fingers and hands looked just like Darryl's, in my opinion.

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  4. A photo of Travis chasing a naked child would hardly prove he was a child abuser or change the verdict. Anyone with kids know how normal such a thing can be.

    The Poster raises the question of how Arias will argue for leniency. Make no mistake, she will seek the lightest sentence available. Everything about her conduct thus far screams self-preservation as current priority.

    Don't expect her to change her tiger stripes and confess all, pleading for leniency on the basis of some heartfelt guilt and compassion. She will continue to steer and manipulate as best she can, avoiding any challenge to the Jury's belief that this was pre-meditated, while playing up any cause for sympathy. Frankly, she has really played herself into a corner and has very little wiggle room now. She has to find it in herself to accept some blame so she can draw on her historic faults and plead for forgiveness.

    As word about her suicidality. No question her post conviction interview was a lying attempt to influence the Jury. She is not suicidal. Borderline PD, if she has that condition, fein suicide often. But they also often complete it, and given her decades long history of journal entries threatening suicide, I would not be surprised if she took her own life at some point. No matter how canned her threats may now appear.

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  5. My Forte - If you can provide me with a link to report to the IRS I will also provide them with a detailed account of all of her sale's since Jan that I'm aware of and can provide proof of and also all of what she herself claims to have sold. On her stupid website it had said prior to the verdict that she was all sold out - the day after the verdict NEW pieces of her art appeared on her site.

    Now on her "new" twitter page she is directing ALL donations and art sales to that crazy website that adores her. Specifically requesting that no more donations or sales be sent to her commissary fund. Pitiful excuse for a human being.

    Whoever it was that posted the link yesterday for the Camille Kimball blog - a million thanks! What an insightful article chocked full of very interesting information.


    http://blog.eyesforlies.com/
    good article

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    Replies
    1. NancyB: I responded on May 13 @ 2:21am to your May 12 @11:22 am comments re: Travis' injuries & SCIs. It may clarify some things the ME might have found. Also, after reviewing again the autopsy sketch, I noticed a wound to the anterior left abdominal cavity. This may further explain why Travis' legs were rendered immobile. If she transected either his lumbar plexus or sacral plexus (group of nerves comprising lumbosacral plexus) w/ a deep knife thrust, it would've collapsed him immediately. These motor nerves control part of the pelvis, the posterior thigh, most of the lower leg & entire foot. This may explain his crawling, which adds to the level of cruelty inflicted upon Travis. I'm eager to hear if Juan Martinez will have Dr. Horn explain these findings in greater detail. Again, refer back to my earlier comment describing SCIs & corresponding vertebrae as pertains to the 9 stab wounds. Thanks for your info links, as they're very informative & thanks My Forte, for your attention to detail & terrific commentary.

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    2. Hi anon,
      Thanks for letting me know about your comment! Very interesting and you are certainly correct that the abdominal stab wound could have resulted in any of the plexus injuries that you posed.

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    3. NancyB,
      I scoured the IRS site yesterday looking for what would be the most appropriate channel. I could not find Arias SSN in any court docs. It appears to me that the most appropriate form is the Form 3949A, "Information Referral" which is a fraud-type form if you believe a person has failed to report income or is taking false exemptions etc. There may be something other than this form, but I wasn't able to find anything further. At least reporting her via this form would help ensure any income is reported and taxed! Not sure the Alexander family will be able to collect on any pre-conviction sales but Arias' little prison-biz should be reported nonetheless. I think any contributions made to her pre-conviction are hers to keep as long as they didn't exceed a certain dollar amount. Trial is starting! Talk again later, thanks!

      Delete
  6. My Forte, I think you're right about the reasoning for Jodi's family, who supposedly witnessed her bruises, not being called to the stand. JM would've made mince meat out of them and their lies. How could a family member be aware of something like that and not contact someone? I think something like that may have happened with Matt McCartney also. Jodi wanted him to lie for her but I think her defense team knew it was BS. The defense filed some sort of a document, I came across it earlier today and will have to re-look for the link later, but it was asking that evidence pertaining to Matt McCartney not be allowed, or something along those lines. I think they were basically trying to keep JM's hands off him because more lies would be exposed.

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  7. Here is the entire Interview

    http://www.cayleedaily.com/2013/05/watch-jodi-arias-full-interview-complete-post-verdict/comment-page-5/

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  8. NancyB, I thought the same thing,
    about that pic, of penis, the shape of the nail bed, wasn't the same, also if she had more evidence you know Nurmi would have been all over it. That's funny about a pic that doesn't exist. She also destroyed her hard drive in her PC, prior to being arrested, why would she do that if she had all this so-called evidence. I heard their was a secret hearing with the judge, Arias can't give anymore interviews, until further notice.

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    Replies
    1. Exactly! The detectives found that corrupted hard drive in her storage locker in Yreka and were unable to retrieve anything on it. Hmmm.

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  9. "...... Or will she continue the mud-slinging we have seen throughout the trial?"

    ding....my choice right there!

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  10. This was released yesterday:

    Moments ago, the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office received an order from the Superior Court of Arizona and Honorable Judge Sherry Stephens that from today, prohibits Sheriff’s Office officials from approaching defendant Jodi Arias for the purposes of media interview requests.

    We will not attempt to contact Arias for purposes of media interviews until that order is lifted by the court.

    Once the court lifts the order, and if inmate Arias agrees to do interviews, all interested media parties will be notified immediately by Sheriff’s PIO via email. Interviews will be conducted thereafter in the order already received.

    Lisa Allen
    Director
    MCSO Media Relations Unit

    It's about time Judge Stephens did this.

    ReplyDelete

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