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Showing posts from August, 2013

Will Drew Peterson Ever Stand Trial For Stacy Peterson's Murder?

In my last blog post, I wrote about the new TNT show “Cold Justice” that debuts next Tuesday night.  The show features former Texas prosecutor Kelly Siegler and Las Vegas CSI Yolanda McClary who travel across America’s small towns taking a second look at some unsolved cold homicide cases.  I’m excited about the show, mostly because I’m a fan of Siegler’s work as a prosecutor but also the premise of the show seems different than many of the present formatted crime shows.  I believe they will be looking for unsolved murders that happened in rural areas where law enforcement resources were sparse.  But wouldn’t it be cool if they could get to the bottom of some of the more well known unsolved homicide/missing person cases?  At the top of my personal wish list:  the disappearance of Stacy Peterson. 
Most people believe Stacy Peterson is not simply missing, she was killed.  The prime suspect in the case has always been her husband Drew Peterson.  Stacy Peterson met and married the much old…

Ready For Some "Cold Justice"? Former Prosecutor Kelly Siegler Teams With CSI Yolanda McCleary on TNT

Are you ready for some Cold Justice?  TNT Network hopes that you are.  I’m pretty excited about this new real-life crime series that premieres Tuesday, September 3rd on TNT.  The series is produced by Dick Wolf of Law & Order fame, and pairs former Texas prosecutor Kelly Siegler with former Las Vegas crime scene investigator Yolanda McClary.  This could be considered a non-scripted reality show, and for true crime fans this looks like a refreshing change of pace.  Although I haven’t seen the show and only know what’s been previewed in commercials – there are so many things I like about this show and it’s concept.  Let’s start with the cast.  I am a big fan of former Texas prosecutor Kelly Siegler.  She racked up a 68-0 record prosecuting murder cases, pretty impressive!  She may be most famous for her courtroom performance while prosecuting Susan Wright for the murder of her husband, Jeff Wright in 2003.  Jeff Wright was reportedly stabbed 193 times by wife Susan, then buried in t…

Comparing Other High Profile Trials to Jodi Arias Trial

Following the latest status hearing to decide when the retrial of the penalty phase of Jodi Arias’ trial will begin and given the numerous delays in the trial process,  I wanted to compare some of the statistics from this trial to other high profile trials to see if anything stands out as excessive.  There were some interesting data points when I looked at some of the trial data from the Scott Peterson and Wendi Andriano trials – both of which were high profile murder trials that received extensive media coverage.  Scott Peterson’s trial in particular became a national story from the moment his beautiful young and very pregnant wife Laci was reported as missing in Modesto, California.  Peterson’s trial was covered extensively, although it did not have the gavel to gavel media coverage that Jodi Aria’s trial received.
Some interesting points:  The State of CA v Scott Peterson lasted 5 ½ months and had testimony from 184 witnesses.  The defendant never took the stand.  The jury deliberat…

Jodi Arias Status Hearing - Justice Delayed AGAIN! Next Hearing 9/15/13

Another status hearing has come and gone, with no new trial date in sight for convicted murderer Jodi Arias.  Judge Sherry Stephens concluded the brief court hearing by setting the next status hearing for September 16, 2013.  The judge stated she was not ready to set a firm retrial date without first reading through the many motions filed by Arias’ defense team Kirk Numi and Jennifer Willmott.  Will this trial ever happen?  Will a sentence ever be rendered in this case?  Here’s the burning question in my mind.  I understand these things take time, but at the last status hearing Judge Stephens instructed attorneys on both sides that all motions must be filed by August 5th, 2013.  What’s been happening between August 5th and August 26th?  I know the judge likely has a full court schedule, but this is reaching a point where I’m beginning to wonder IF a conclusion will ever be reached.
The defense seems to be using these stall tactics on the penalty phase retrial, arguing over everything f…

Arias Retrial - Status Hearing Monday, Aug. 26th

The next status hearing for Jodi Arias’ sentencing retrial is on the Superior Court of Maricopa County’s court calendar at 8:30AM on Monday, August 26 2013.  It’s been nearly 4 months since the jury found Arias guilty of first degree murder and eligible for the death penalty, but a mistrial was declared after the same jurors were unable to agree on the appropriate sentence for this crime.  We know the wheels of justice move slowly, but in this case the wheel seems to be flat.  Although nobody is quite sure what to expect going in to this new “mini-trial” one thing seems certain – this is going to take a long time.
With so many unresolved issues at hand such as the venue for the retrial, finding potential jurors who can be impartial following the media saturation and how the information from the 5 month long trial will be presented to these jurors are just a few of the questions that we don’t know the answers to.  Jerry Cobb, the public information officer for the Maricopa County Distri…

Arias Attorneys Want Jurors To Disclose Twitter Accounts

Defense attorneys Kirk Nurmi and Jennifer Willmott have asked Judge Sherry Stephens to ask all jurors in the upcoming penalty phase retrial for Jodi Arias to reveal if they have Twitter accounts.  Hmmmm….seems the Arias defense camp is concerned that jurors may send or receive tweets during the upcoming trial.  Isn’t that a little ironic, coming from a defendant who is notorious for sending out tweets out during the guilt phase of her own murder trial? 
In a motion filed by the Arias defense team, they claim one of the alternate jurors, Tara Kelley (Juror #17) used Twitter and had communicated with a member of the media via Twitter. They further claim Kelley made a comment on Facebook about Jodi Arias’ temper.  Apparently Kelley believed she could view social media as long as she didn’t discuss the trial.  I’m not sure what part of Judge Stephens daily admonishment about discussing the case in any manner this alternate juror did not understand, but I’d hate to be the juror who’s actio…

Jodi Arias Trial - August 26 Status Hearing Approaches

As August 26, 2013 approaches, I’m wondering what we will learn about the next steps in the sentencing retrial of Jodi Arias.  Will this be another 5 minute hearing, where the defense team will ask for another delay?  I can think of several potential issues Kirk Nurmi and Jennifer Willmott have previously raised or could potentially raise in their efforts to put off the retrial of the sentencing phase of their client.  When will this end?
They will more than likely ask for a change in venue, arguing the media publicity of the trial unfairly tainted the potential jury pool – naturally, they will fail to mention their client’s part in the media feeding frenzy that surrounded this trial.  Arias famously scheduled numerous interviews after the verdict was handed down during the guilt phase, and has drawn attention to herself virtually from the start – beginning with the 48 Hours, Inside Edition and other jailhouse interviews back before she admitted to killing Travis Alexander.  Throughout…

Did Expert Witness Testimony Effect Sentencing in Jodi Arias Trial?

What effect did the expert witness testimony ultimately have on the outcome of the Jodi Arias murder trial?  Although Arias was found guilty of first degree murder, in the end the jury was split on sentencing 8-4 in favor of the death penalty – in Arizona, even a 11-1 split equals a hung jury.  The jury rejected the self defense claims and agreed an aggravating factor existed making this case eligible for capital punishment.  That much we know.  But how is it that those same jurors could end up so divided on punishing Travis Alexander’s murderer?
Jodi Arias spent an unprecedented 18 days on the witness stand, and post verdict interviews with jurors confirmed the defendant didn’t make a good witness.  She contradicted herself, butted heads with prosecutor Juan Martinez, and tried her best to paint Travis in the worst light possible while claiming to want to preserve his memory and character.  She was caught in numerous lies and inconsistencies by the time Martinez got his shot at her.  …

Arias Defense Motion To Vacate Jury's Finding Of Aggravating Factor Denied

Jodi Arias’ defense attorneys motion to vacate the jury’s finding of an aggravating factor in her murder trial has been denied by Judge Sherry Stephens.  Kirk Nurmi’s motion challenged the landmark 2002 Ring v. Arizona Supreme Court ruling finding that allowing the sentencing judge, without a jury, to find aggravating circumstances necessary for the imposition of the death penalty violated the Federal Constitution’s Sixth Amendment right to trial by jury.
The motion was always a stretch, but the defense’s motion argued that the jury lacked the legal knowledge and expertise to recognize what made a particular murder more cruel and heinous than another.  With the motion denied, the trial jury’s finding of the aggravating factor stands – making Arias eligible for the death penalty when her sentencing retrial begins.  The next status hearing is scheduled for August 26, 2013.
As Arias sits in jail waiting to learn her fate, she continues to promote books and magazines she has received from h…

Convicted Murderer Jodi Arias Has A Online Book Club?

Think you’ve seen or heard it all when it comes to the behind-bars antics of Ms. Jodi Ann Arias?  Think again! The convicted murderer now has her own online book club!  Yes, you heard me correctly – another website somehow controlled by a “close custody” inmate!  When will it stop, and how is it being allowed to happen?  Never in my life have I seen a convicted murderer have so much control of social media from behind bars – while I don’t know if she is breaking any laws by (obviously) having somebody create and maintain these websites displaying and selling her “artwork”, t-shirts and whatever else she’s hawking these days.  What’s next, Tupperware?  Avon?  Amway?
The convicts’ newest online venture is Jodispage.com, and it’s a bright yellow website with a big picture of Arias, in the infamous white hooded parka – holding her beloved camera, atop some snowy mountaintop.  The audacity. The nerve.  The never-ending self promotion.  Please make it stop! The site currently includes 7 books…