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Jodi Arias Trial - Will New Jury Be Seated For Sentencing?

As the June 20th status conference date nears, speculation has begun on whether convicted murderer Jodi Arias will be offered a plea or whether the state will forge ahead with seating a new jury to repeat the sentencing phase of the murder trial.  Judge Sherry Stephens set a conference hearing date of June 20 immediately following the mistrial late last month.

Arias attorneys Kirk Nurmi and Jennifer Willmott have been using their downtime attempting to have the death penalty taken off the table, all motions have been denied at the highest levels.  Their next ploy has been to use the states expert's diagnosis of Arias having borderline personality disorder to their advantage - now referring to her as having a "mental illness"! OK let's see - first, they claimed she only killed Travis Alexander in self defense, having been a battered woman who was sexually exploited and abused. That didn't work, so they then tried to sell the heat-of-the-moment "she just snapped" defense.  That didn't work either.  When all else fails, play the mental illness card.  How many more cards does this defense team have in their deck?  Clearly Jodi Arias isn't playing with a full one.

I'm no attorney or a psychologist, but I don't know that BPD is considered to be a mental illness as much as a personality disorder. As far as I know, there is no pill one can take to combat BPD nor is there a treatment per se.  Willmott & Nurmi wrote a statement to one of the largest news publications in Arizona recently, the Arizona Republic.  In their statement, they now raise the concern about expending taxpayer resources in a second trial for sentencing.  They wrote "It is solely for them to determine if continuing to pursue a death sentence upon Ms. Arias, who is already facing a mandatory life sentence, is a good and proper use of taxpayer resources".  Hmmm.  So now they are worried about taxpayer resources?  If Jodi Arias is entitled to a $2,000,000 defense, Travis Alexander is entitled to a similar prosecution! Travis Alexander lived and worked in Arizona, he was a resident of the state. He payed state, local and property taxes in the state. Jodi Arias didn't.  Note to Nurmi/Willmott - quit pretending to care about taxpayer resources. You kept your experts on the stand for WEEKS at $200-$350 an hour!  Travis Alexander, an Arizona resident and taxpayer is entitled to a full prosecution regardless of the cost. To act as if he has less rights than Arias simply because he is no longer living (because of Arias) is insulting.

So what's next in this ongoing saga?  I haven't seen Arias' mug in any recent interviews, thankfully.  She's still taking her message to Twitter, although as I've mentioned many times before - she mostly quotes other people and poets.  Doesn't she have any original thoughts? Her most recent quotes:

"When you learn, teach. When you get, give." - Maya Angelou (May 27)

"I will be sorry for the rest of my life - probably longer". - Me, my allocution on May 21, 2013 (May 29)

Let's hope that Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery will not cave to the financial threats a new sentencing trial may pose. That would not be justice in this case, and Travis Alexander who was an Arizona resident and taxpayer deserves to have his murderer prosecuted to the full extent of the law.  Allowing California resident Jodi Arias a multi-million dollar defense and cutting budgetary corners for the victim would be bad for the state and citizens of Arizona. July 18th is the date the judge set to begin jury selection, but a lot can happen between now and then.  Would life without the possibility of parole be enough for Arias?  I don't think that is the issue here. The issue is the decision should be left to a jury. That's the law in the state of Arizona. If the second jury deadlocks, then the judge can decide if Arias serves natural life or life with the possibility of release after serving 25 years. 

In the latter scenario, Arias could potentially be walking among us when she's 52 years old. That is a day I hope the Alexander family never has to face. What do you think? Has anybody heard anything new relating to this case?

22 comments:

  1. Yesterday I was watching an interview Anderson Copper did on CNN to one of the juror. He asked her the reason they couldn’t reach unanimous verdict on the penalty phase. She said “because of the instruction we were given, it ended up the way it ended up…” ok, I am confused for sure and I want to ask: is the jury instruction not clear as day and night but subject for personal interpretations? Where they given two sets of instructions one for death penalty and another for life and they have to pick whichever they feel like? What does the instruction says? Anyone knows? So if the jury instruction leads to deadlock as she claims, it might happen again, right? It seems to me from that interview she is blaming the instruction that was given to them instead of each individual juror personal belief about the evidences that were presented to them.
    However, the Alexander family deserves another penalty phase trial whether the jury going to be deadlock again or not and money should not be an issue.

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    Replies
    1. I've never served on a jury but I believe it's dependent on mitigating factors. And those are personal, it states in the instructions, which the Judge read out loud for them, that if you see something as a mitigating factor then it is one.

      Several of the jurors felt that the mitigating factors the defense brought up, were relevant. Jodi's age, the "abuse", which we know the foreman felt existed and the fact that she had no criminal history prior to this.

      I think much of it is personal opinion. Most of us don't see the text message Travis sent as evidence of abuse but rather Travis reacting to being blackmailed by Jodi. We know, at least one of the jurors, saw this as evidence of verbal abuse. So, that is his opinion...it's how he viewed a fact in the case.

      I am very impressed with ALL the jurors from this case. Yes, I would have loved to see them all vote unanimously but they were very honest and intelligent in their responses as to why they voted the way they did.

      Delete
  2. Some of the sealed Chambers/Bench
    Conferences, have been released/ more to come. JURY: "After long and careful deliberations, we are unable to reach a unanimous decision, "it said. Judge Stephens scribbled a note back to them, Do you think breaking until Wednesday May 29, could benefit your deliberations? JURY: We do not feel further deliberations will change the outcome. Stephens told them to complete a verdict from to that effect. It was over. Other unsealed materials are yet to come out. On Feb.5, Kirk Nurmi said he worried that TV cameras showed Jodi Arais' leg braces. Judge Stephens complained about Arais' long drawn-out answers to questions. The next day it was the Maricopa County Sheriff Office complaining that Arias should not be allowed to go into the Judge's chambers because of escape risk.

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    1. Interesting, thank you.

      It seemed to me like there were times when the defence team and Jodi Arias, and the prosecutor and Travis' family were all in the judges chambers at the same time.

      I always thought this seemed like a security to risk to Travis' family and Martinez, not to mention an emotional hell for Travis' family.

      -Alice

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    2. Alice,
      I agree, it seems like there were several occasions when all parties were in chambers with the Judge. They were televising the info, that the defense team, prosecutor, defendant and members of the Alexander family were in chambers discussing things. That did seem very odd/awkward to me, but apparently they have a right to hear some of these discussions and how decisions are being made. It must have been like a pressure cooker environment with Arias and the Alexanders in the same room. The Sheriff's Dept. had the same concerns about JA being allowed into chambers without restraints.

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  3. Later that same day, as lawyers discussed how to introduce the defense's theory that Alexander was a possibly a pedophile, MARTINEZ went on a discourse about a series of 10 letters on the topic that Arias claimed were written by Alexander and which Martinez avowed were forgeries- ( supposed letters written by victim about pedophile which was proven to be forged.)On Feb. 20, Nurmi raised his concern that members of Alexander's family were rolling their eyes and shaking their heads at testimony. (An e-mail to Stephens a few days later claimed that one of the jurors was trying to coach Arias with head gestures as she was in the witness box. April 2, and 4, at Judge Stephens bench. One argument began as Wilmott was explaining what she expected to elicit from defense witness Alyce LaViollette- Specifically, Wilmott was discussing whether Alexander at one point told Arias that he would kill himself.

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  4. Martinez said, "there a lack of trustworthiness, she's a liar. So I'm just having a difficult time seeing how she can say that Mr. Alexander attempted suicide. "Wilmott And Martinez went back and forth, then Martinez said, "But the thing is that if Ms. Wilmott and I were married, I certainly would say I want I F'g want to kill myself. That doesn't mean I want to kill myself. It means there's a bad relationship and I want you to leave me alone. "Wilmott protested." Judge just for the record, I think that was an insult. Because he's trying to say that if he and I were married..."MARTINEZ cut her off: That was a compliment, bad joke. Wilmott: I don't see it as either. Two days later, the subject came up again at another bench conference, when MARTINEZ said to Wilmott,"Well maybe to ought to go back to law-school. Nurmi asked Stephens to admonish Martinez for both the law-school and the marriage remarks. "Counsel, I understand some of this is tongue and cheek(sic), Stephens finally said, Some of it is just the stress of trial, But let's try to be professional as possible when we have these bench conferences.
    Info:Starnightz

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    Replies
    1. Hilariously awesome. Go Juan! I love him!

      -Alice

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  5. It is ordered that all bench conferences and hearings and hearings conducted in chambers shall be unsealed except(1) all ex-parte hearings shall remain sealed and (2) all hearings conducted in chambers with jurors or witnesses present shall remain sealed and (3) the oral argument conducted on May 21, 2013 shall remain sealed.
    Dated: 5-20-2013

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  6. My understanding is that Jennifer Willmott has indicated she has a conflict for the day of July,18th, and will ask that the trial be delayed until later in the year. I hope Judge Stephens has enough sense to make sure this trial doesn't drag on another 5 years!

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous (6/7 @ 8:57PM),
      Yeah, here we go again with the delay tactics. No good reason to delay for that many months because of what may be a single-day scheduling conflict. I'm not sure the length or nature of Willmott's other commitment, but regardless this trial needs to come to a conclusion - not be drawn out another year!!

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  7. Let us not forget that Jodi Arias HAS been a resident of the state of Arizona for almost 5 years now! She may not have paid income and state taxes, but she certainly worked very hard. She plotted and planned every last detail of her incredulous story! She worked hard at fooling at least 2 psychologists and a domestic violence "expert". Not to mention, recruiting her ex-boyfriend and an ex-con to do her dirty work. Writing secret messages in magazines and thinking up witty blurbs for her twitter account takes a lot of work. She must have toiled over the design of those "Survivor" t-shirts ~ (all proceeds going to domestic violence charities). And last, but not least, JA must have worked very hard on her allocution. Pictures of her family (who supposedly abused her as a child), pictures she traced from magazines (proceeds to go to her family's expenses while in Arizona), and all the plans she has to better the lives of all the unfortunate inmates in Perryville Prison. Poor, delusional Jodi, worked so hard to manipulate everyone around her, but in the end, worked herself straight into a cell, 23 long hours a day, 7 days a week!

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    Replies
    1. Not to forget all the effort that went into growing her hair.

      Delete
    2. Anonymous (6/7 @ 11:48)
      Thanks for the laughs! I guess that's true, she has been a guest of the state of AZ for some time now. You hit some great points in your comments! LOL. I'll bet the gals @ Perryville are just waiting for her to come along and reorganize, teach, recycle and start that book club she talked about.

      Delete

  8. WARNING | GRAPHIC

    Transcript of the Jan 31 in-chambers hearing that put the phone sex recording into evidence.

    http://www.azcentral.com/ic/pdf/0607arias-sex-tape-proceeding.pdf

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  9. Some of the Juror questions that were not answered.
    (1) Consider all the lies you've told and admitted to, would you consider yourself to be a pathological liar?
    (2)What pets did you have as a child. Did you ever intentionally hurt a pet or animal?
    (3) If the defendant feels she has a high IQ- is it possible she would try to out-smart psychological tests?
    (4) Do you feel you should be punished for what transpired on 6/4/08?
    (5) Ms. LaViolette
    You say Travis gives no indication of being stalked-displays no fearful behavior and continues his contact with Jodi of his own accord. How do you reconcile Jodi's claim of D.V. if she continues her contact with Travis of her own accord? Where was her fearful behavior?
    (6) Alyce
    Is there a type of stalking, or what could be considered stalking, that a person is comfortable around someone in person or when they are speaking with them, but are capable of when they are not around? Is this a possibility of this in the relationship between Jodi and Travis?
    (7) A lot of your testimony has been based on what Jodi has told you. It has been proven that Jodi has lied multiple times since killing Travis, How are you able to know everything she is saying is truthful?
    (8) Did you see any proof that Travis physically abused Jodi?
    (9) Isn't possible that Jodi didn't write some of the incidents in her journal because they never happened? You stated that you spoke to Jodi's friends and family early on. Did you ever speak to Travis's friends and family to find out more bout who he was? If no, don't you feel that would have been important?

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  10. #234- If something is premeditated, is amnesia more or less likely to occur?
    #84- How can you be a sister to Matt? someone you had sex in the past? Why didn't you read the Book of Mormon to see what you were and weren't allowed to do? Why did you ask Travis about everything you did? Why did you start a relationship with Ryan Burns when you said earlier "when I'm with one guy I don't see other guys?"
    #66- Would it be possible to see what Jodi's hand looks like when draped over a shoulder now?
    #58- Were you paid for the interviews with 48 Hours and Inside Edition?
    #51- You testified that Travis gave you the Book of Mormon at Starbuck's, did you read it thoroughly? If so when? Does the Book of Mormon go into detail regarding the vow of chastity?
    #2- Where did the information about Travis Alexander "being a flirt come from.
    #3- Where do the date and time stamps on the text messages come from? Are they send dates? why would he say "Goodnight at 8:13 AM?
    #11- Was the gun that was used to kill Mr. Alexander found in Ms. Arais's possession?
    #20- In regards to the knife and gun used... Was Mr. Alexander's old BMW searched?
    #25- Did you feel that Travis's job interfered with your relationship mainly with regards to travel and phone calls?
    #27-If you was shocked Travis was a virgin, why did you break up with him after you found out he was cheating on you?
    #41- Are date and time stamps on photo's taken by digital cameras able to be manually changed and/ or manipulated: 1- before photos are taken? 2- After photos are taken?
    #89- Who was involved in all tire slashings? (Travis, you, Mimi, Lisa) Who's vehicles were damaged?
    #60- You stated you were aware that the police recorded the calls because an a attorney told you. Can you tell us when you were told this and how that subject came up?
    #141- After all the lies you told, why should we believe you now? What happened to the suicide letters you wrote to your Grandmother?
    #73- Were you kneeling when you dropped the camera? when Travis stepped out of the shower to attack you was he wet? If so did he slip at all on the tile in the bathroom or hallway? When entering the closet why didn't you just go in the door closest to you? Do you know how tall the ceiling in Travis's closet was? Was the gun in a case or just laying on the shelf?
    #395- How do you feel events such as incarceration, public accusation and invasion of privacy on a large scale can affect tests such as MMPI or MCMI? Is it possible that an individual could score differently after a traumatic event (such as killing another person) as opposed to prior to the event?

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  11. Juan Martinez, Travis’ family insist on the death penalty for Jodi Arias

    Jodi-Arias-May-8-2013-PhotoAP-The-Arizona-Republic-Rob-Schumacher-Pool2PHOENIX (AP) — Authorities plan to try again to secure the death penalty for convicted murderer Jodi Arias after jurors in her trial deadlocked last month on a sentence, the county’s top prosecutor said Wednesday.

    Arias was convicted of first-degree murder May 8 in the June 2008 death of boyfriend Travis Alexander at his suburban Phoenix home.

    About two weeks later, the same panel failed to reach a unanimous decision on whether to sentence Arias to life in prison or death.

    While her murder conviction will stand, prosecutors now have the option of pursuing a new penalty phase aiming for the ultimate punishment or avoiding it altogether, leading to a life sentence for Arias, but Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery said his office has no plans to do the latter.

    “We’re continuing to prepare for a retrial,” Montgomery said at a news conference Wednesday.

    Given Arias could not afford her own defense, taxpayers footed the bill for court-appointed attorneys at a cost so far of nearly $1.7 million, a price tag that will only balloon if the case moves forward.

    The judge set a July 18 retrial date for a new penalty phase, something that could take several months as attorneys put on a mini-trial of sorts to get a fresh jury up to speed on the case. Jury selection alone could take weeks, given the difficulty of seating an impartial panel in a case that attracted global attention and became daily cable TV and tabloid fodder with tales of sex, lies and violence.

    Montgomery said previously he is confident an impartial jury can be seated but added he is open to input from defense lawyers and the victim’s family about possibly scraping a new trial in favor of a life sentence for the former waitress.

    Montgomery also spoke Wednesday about Arias defense attorney’s assertions recently that the state is trying to impose a death sentence on a mentally ill woman.

    He said she was found competent to stand trial and any statement that she isn’t fit for the proceedings “is simply inaccurate.”

    During her four-month trial, experts testified on Arias’ behalf that she suffers from amnesia and post-traumatic stress disorder and is a battered woman. Prosecutors countered with their own witness who told jurors Arias suffered from borderline personality disorder, a contention vehemently attacked by her defense attorneys throughout the trial.

    Earlier this month, Arias’ attorneys turned to the court of public opinion hoping to influence Montgomery’s decision on whether to seek a retrial of the penalty phase.

    “If the diagnosis made by the state’s psychologist is correct, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office is seeking to impose the death penalty upon a mentally ill woman who has no prior criminal history,” attorneys Kirk Nurmi and Jennifer Willmott wrote in a statement provided only to The Arizona Republic, the state’s largest newspaper.

    The statement went on to address the cost of the trial, noting it is up to Montgomery’s office “to determine if continuing to pursue a death sentence upon Ms. Arias, who is already facing a mandatory life sentence, is a good and proper use of taxpayer resources.”

    A status conference in the case is set for June 20.

    BRIAN SKOLOFF

    Follow Brian Skoloff at

    http://twitter.com/bskoloff

    Source: AP

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  12. Hi Nancy,

    I heard the Jury Forman gave a new interview this week, and tried to, searching the web, find it but couldn't find it. Did you by any chance listened to it? If so what do you think? Can you please post the link where I can listen to if you have it?

    Thanks,

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  13. JA’s defense files motion to continue penalty phase until January 2014.

    Judge S. has also re-sealed all bench and chamber conferences so as not to bias any new jury

    Here is court document ordering re-sealing of current and all future conferences, meetings: http://www.courtminutes.maricopa.gov/docs/Criminal/062013/m5812262.pdf …

    Here is the defense motion:

    Corey Rangel ‏@CoreyABC15 1m
    #JodiArias’ attorneys want to delay her penalty phase until JANUARY 2014. They filed a motion. Read it here: http://media2.abc15.com/html/pdf/ariasmotion.pdf …

    Hi Anon! Here is a link for you. What? He is in l-o-v-e with the spotlight! HE called the interviewer telling him he had an "EXCLUSIVE" for him! Which was just to inform the world that he voted against the death penalty! LOL!! Like none of us knew that.

    http://www.azfamily.com/video/?id=211014911&sec=528732

    ReplyDelete
  14. Thanks, NancyB, for your links and information! As a resident of the state of Arizona, I am insulted that this trial has not come to a conclusion. That being said, I am in favor of impaneling another jury so that a DP sentence can be reached.

    I heard on local radio sometime in the last week that the July 18 date is still a good one, despite J. Wilmott's conflict (which I heard was inconsequential), with no consideration being given to moving the trial back to January 11, 2014, the date that defense attorneys wanted.

    I also listened to one of the juror's being interviewed on an HLN show which featured the host and his "panel" of attorneys and psychologists. When she was asked by one of the psychologists on the panel, "So which way did you vote?," she declined to answer the question. She stated that all of the juror's had agreed NOT to divulge their votes. Subsequent to that I was shocked to hear the jury foreman request an "exclusive" interview with a local tv station and specify his vote. He is playing this "one-upmanship" game with his former fellow jurors that is despicable. He just can't understand that his 15 minutes is up.

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    Replies
    1. AZCathy,
      I too was floored by the jury foreman's point of view about this case. While giving a disclaimer of sorts that Travis didn't deserve to die, he seems to have bought into the abuse allegations hook, line and sinker. He obviously felt some level of sympathy for the sociopath. I don't know if the jurors are being paid for these "exclusive" interviews, but if they are the whole practice should be scrapped! This taints the entire jury pool, who could give false information during voir dire simply to get on a high profile jury and the potential payday at the end. I know in certain cases these fees are disguised as licensing fees for photos etc. and I think it's despicable. Thanks for giving us the local flavor for the trial.

      Delete

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