It's been a while since my last posting - I was out of town for a week, and hadn't seen much in the way of new information. As the June 20th status hearing nears, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery stated during a recent news conference they are still preparing to move forward to retry the penalty phase in the Jodi Arias murder trial. Jury selection is slated to begin on July 18, 2013, however, Jennifer Willmott and Kirk Nurmi are asking the judge to delay the retrial until next year!
They apparently have some scheduling conflicts with the July 18th date, but also claim to need additional time to gather witnesses to testify on Arias' behalf - so they are asking for a delay until next January in order to "find an alternate means of painting the picture of Arias' life to jurors", according to cbsnews.com. Umm, didn't they HAVE witnesses lined up and scheduled to testify during the penalty phase? It's unfortunate that their client muddied the waters so much that many of those potential character witnesses could not testify without exposing something Arias lied about or something they did that could potentially embarrass them or weaken their own credibility, but how is that the court's problem?
I would also argue that after 5 years, these attorneys and Jodi Arias have had plenty of time to prepare for the trial and have been granted numerous delays already. It's time to see this through and put an end to the horrible legal limbo the Alexander family has been living in! It seems so unfair that the victim seemingly has no right to a speedy resolution to their murder. Outrageous. Radaronline.com recently reported that Ms. Arias has not been the model prisoner her attorneys would have us all believe. She may not have had an actual criminal record prior to committing one of the most vicious murders in recent history, but her behind-bars behavior includes at least 14 infractions including attacking another inmate. Apparently the Sheriff's office was very concerned with Arias being able to move freely around the courtroom and into the judges chambers without handcuffs during trial. He was worried enough to voice their concerns to the court about potential escape attempts by Arias.
Tanisha Sorenson's husband Harold recently posted a message to supporters on the Justice4Travis Facebook page. He wrote that while the family is emotionally drained, they are overwhelmingly grateful to the court, Judge Stephens, the jurors and especially Prosecutor Juan Martinez. The family will be meeting with Attorney General Bill Montgomery soon and hopefully they will cement their plans to seat a second jury.
Finally, we are hearing from a juror who voted for life during the penalty phase, and I'm talking about jury foreman Bill Zervokos - otherwise known as Juror #18. Several of the jurors who voted for death have spoken out, but those who voted for life have been relatively silent - possibly fearing their vote was not a popular one. Mr. Zervokos seems to have fallen for Arias' abuse tales. He voted for a life sentence citing multiple mitigating factors including Arias' age, lack of criminal history, her dysfunctional family and most notably "abuse"! He said, and I quote "you don't put people to death for being stupid, you don't put people to death for lying". I'm sorry Juror #18, but if that's all you took away from the five month trial, I question whether or not you were paying close enough attention.
What about Travis Alexander, shouldn't his age, lack of criminal history and dysfunctional family be just as much of a factor? He went through considerably more than Arias did as a child and didn't grow up and butcher another human being. I don't understand our criminal justice system, sometimes it just seems to fail and those committing these heinous acts have more rights and considerations than the person they murdered. The criminal's rights are protected at all costs, there is a blank check given to defend them and yet they can sit in their jail cell and sell artwork and collect donations from the public. What's wrong with this system? What value/worth is being put on Travis Alexander's life? He was a very young man. He had potential, he had people who loved him - sure, he wasn't perfect but who is? Why is Jodi Arias' life given so much more value than his was? I know that nothing can bring back the murder victim, but it seems more and more that their rights get buried with them.
What will happen during the June 20 status hearing? Will Arias be granted her delay? Will Willmott and Nurmi remain on as her council? I hope the judge forges forward and holds them to these dates. Enough with the delays, 5 years is long enough and they should have had their witnesses and strategy in place for the penalty phase a long time ago! Their mitigation specialist billed the state for 100 hours that we are aware of. Isn't that her job specifically, to figure out how to handle that phase of the trial?
That's all for now. The George Zimmerman trial starts this month - does anybody know if that trial is going to be televised? Have a great weekend!