Monday, August 26, 2013

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 from the issue of cameras in the courtroom, change of venue, witness intimidation and jurors use of social media tools.  They are hoping that with the passage of time, the public outrage over this murder will dissipate and perhaps the state will fall back on some sort of plea deal.  I doubt the Alexander family will sign off on any proposed plea deal that allows Arias to escape a potential death penalty after what she did to their brother.  Let a jury decide.  I have to wonder if Jodi Arias was a man who butchered and shot an ex-girlfriend if we would be still discussing this case.  It is my opinion that if Arias were a male, a death penalty would have been easier to reach by Jury #1.  Gender bias does exist in death penalty cases, and this is a prime example.

How much longer will the family have to endure living in this legal limbo?  The Alexander’s have reportedly hired attorneys to handle a wrongful death civil suit against Arias, however that will not likely move forward until the conclusion of the criminal trial – as is standard operating procedure.  Criminal trials take precedence over civil trials.  This has got to be beyond frustrating.  I’d like to know, don’t victims of violent crime have a right to a speedy trial?  Do murder victims deserve swift justice, or is that a right that is reserved for living victims?  Although I’m not completely surprised that today’s status hearing came and went without any major decisions or dates being set, but at some point this has got to come to an end! 


With so many outstanding issues left to deal with before we even get to choosing Jury #2, will the penalty retrial happen before 2014?  Now we are seeing the witness intimidation's issues coming up again, with domestic violence “expert” Alyce LaViolette and Arias’ childhood friend (her name escapes me now, but she is the one who reportedly had substance abuse issues and had potentially failed to report income received from selling childhood photos of herself and Jodi Arias) talking about the threats they have received from members of the public.  Ad to that, cameras in the courtroom, potential change of venue, sequestering the jury, requests from Jodi Arias’ defense for individual voir dire of potential jurors and all I see in the foreseeable future are delays and more delays.  Aren’t there any guidelines to sentencing following the verdict in a murder trial?  Is it standard operating procedure to let these things linger on without any real end in sight?  There should be.  A person convicted of 1st degree murder should be sentenced in a reasonable amount of time.  I feel Judge Stephens, had she stuck to her firm deadline on when all motions had to be filed (August 5th), she should have already reviewed the motions filed and had some rulings during this mornings status hearing.  Instead, Arias reportedly made a 5 minute appearance before a new status hearing date was set for mid September and she was led out of the courtroom and presumably taken back to her digs at the Estrella jail – where she has 16 hours to meander outside of her cell, use of the telephone and cable TV, a library and has time to create more “artwork” to sell.  I guess I have a different idea of how a defendant who claims to be indigent should behave, especially given the state of Arizona has spent over $1.6 million bucks on her defense.  Judge Stephens, please set some firm deadlines and force each side to stick with them.  We already know the jury selection process is going to be time consuming.  Can we get through the motions filed by Nurmi and Willmott and get the show on the road already?  Enough is enough.

8 comments:

  1. Victims and/or their families have no legal rights with respect to a speedy trial. Only the defendant has that right.

    Patti Womack was on the Dr. Drew show on June 18th. Womack said in her own words that she “never, ever received a death threat”.

    Darryl was ready and willing to testify but sat at his hotel and was never called by the defense. He did give a lengthy interview to Az Republic.

    ALV had lost all credibility and would do more harm than good and they knew that. As well, she had never been listed on the defense's discovery mitigation witness list filed with the court well after she had given her expert testimony in court during the guilt phase.

    Maybe the defense just continues making excuses to delay the trial so they can better establish a mental illness defense. This is all tactical. I recently read an article called “Tactical Ineffective Assistance in Capital Trials”. This defense is using every one of the stall tactics discussed in the article.

    Here is the transcript from Patti's interview on Dr. Drew:

    Dr Drew: We’re going to talk to Patti Womack. She asked us to introduce her as Jodi’s FORMER friend. And Patti, I know you’ve been very emotional when talking about Jodi. Now why has this triggered so much emotion for you?

    PW: Well, there’s a few things that it’s emotional for me. Um, one thing is because Jodi used to be my best friend. And we shared so many great memories together, you know, as children. And uh, memories that I will always love and cherish. And um, so knowing that my former best friend, that I had amazing memories with is in fact a murderer, it’s heartbreaking.

    DD: Patti, what ages were you guys best friends, from when to when?

    PW: Um, 12 to 20 we were best friends. We met each other when we were 12 years old. Um, we continued to be best friends into our 20s. We started to grow apart in our early 20s cause I started a family, I got married and she moved up north.

    DD: Do you think that what you were feeling intimately connected to was just a fantasy, that it’s not the person you thought she was because you didn’t think she was capable of this.

    PW: No, I didn’t think she was capable, in fact everybody that was friends with her, that are still my friends, we were all so shocked and blown away, we were like, how could this sweet, sweet girl ever do this. This has to be a typo, this has to be a mistake you, this has to be a joke. This could not be Jodi.
    DD: Patti, I know you’ve taken a lot of heat for even being willing to say anything positive about her. How has that affected you?

    PW: Well, a couple people um have made fake citations about me and posted them on a few different web sites, saying you know, I had drug problems, up to DUIs, um, aggravated assault, and they’re just all lies. I’ve never been in trouble, for one, and second of all they put my home address out there with a description of my house, where I lived with a map you know, and one of the sites they put this one was “State vs Jodi”, and that site has over 50,000 people on it. And so I’ve never, ever received a death threat, but yeah, I do fear for my safety because if you think 50,000 people, like the whole entire world it seems like knows where I live, who I am and have pictures of me and my daughter on the internet and so it threw me. It’s really emotional and really hard.





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    1. NancyB,
      So good to see your name and hear your insightful thoughts again! I completely agree that it appears the retrial will not go forward in earnest until 2014. There are many frivilous issues carried over from the initial sentencing phase as well as motions that seem to be presented as new issues that have already been addressed. More stalling tactics. I truly believe the defense is stalling in order to allow a cooling off period for the public outrage against the non-verdict in 1st sentencing trial. To think this could have all been behind the family now - had they only dug a little deeper beyond their personal beliefs on the DP and applied the law, I don't see how this was a difficult legal decision, although I know it's very difficult on an emotional and personal level. I feel that 6 years is an excessive amount of time to bring a case to trial, all the way through sentencing. I think the judge should have sought a tighter timeline for the retrial, not allowing the defense to file endless motions - many of which should be filed AFTER the sentencing. Even though Arias was found guilty by a jury of her peers, it seems Nurmi/Willmott/Arias want to file motions challenging the verdict as well as the jurors ability to decide if this murder was heinous and cruel enough to warrant the DP. Is the judge so fearful of appellate issues that she is going to let this drag out endlessly, granting the defense an unlimited amount of time to put together mitigation they've already had more than 5 years to prepare for? Looking back at the court minute entries from the Arias case, the defense has been using these tactics since long before the trial even began. I sincerely feel the amount of time this has taken is so far beyond what it should have taken, death penalty case or not. These attorneys have had ample time to prepare their case, and to prepare for every potential outcome. This is simply outrageous. Thanks for naming the witness I couldn't recall, Patricia Womack! I didn't know that she publicly stated she hadn't received death threats on Dr. Drew's show. We assume the prosecutor's office KNOWS these things, but as you pointed out why didn't he use them to show the judge no real threats were ever made against this witness? And as if right on que, Arias begins to try to make good on her "campaign promises" of starting a book club and other activities designed to make her look like the humanitarian she claims to be. Is this fooling anybody? This all seems completely unfair, delays unfounded. They clearly are hoping to wear the state down and get a plea deal for life with the possibility of release after 25 years. Just my opinion. The attorneys should have been ready to start choosing a new jury within 2 weeks of mistrial. Nothing has changed and I don't understand why this is being allowed to happen. Thanks for letting me ramble! Nice to hear from you NancyB.

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  2. When court ended on 5/16th we were left believing the two witnesses for Jodi’s character would be Darryl and Patti. Patti has a history of drug and alcohol abuse. Nurmi filed a motion very late on Sunday claiming Womack was withdrawing after receiving death threats.

    On Monday 5/20 after a long time in chambers with Brewer and Womack, court was abruptly halted for the day but Nurmi brought up the motion he had filed on Sunday in open court. First Juan asked why Ms. Womack wasn’t in court. (Nurmi had not yet disclosed that they no longer were presenting mitigation witnesses and it was obvious that Juan had not yet seen Nurmi’s latest motion.) Then we came to find out that Womack would NOT be a witness.

    Interesting that in her 3 HLN interviews in June that neither Dr Drew, JVM, NG or Patti ever discussed the REAL reasons that she withdrew as a witness. She had a humiliating experience when Juan deposed her the previous Friday. Juan gave a short synopsis in open court to the Judge. Juan said that he had asked Womack questions about her drug use and she refused to answer. He asked about pictures of her and Arias and she asked to leave the room. Nurmi and Willmott went with her. They were not her attorneys and appeared to have advised Ms. Womack. Juan was informed that the deposition was over and that they would assist Patti in obtaining her own legal counsel.

    Juan indicated that Womack had sold her wedding pics and video to HLN for money! She also sold childhood pictures of Jodi and her. Juan mentioned that Patti had NOT disclosed the income (licensing fees) to the IRS that she received from the NBC & HLN networks for all the photos she supplied to them!!

    The purpose of Nurmi’s new continuance motion that he had filed on Sunday was to allow for ‘search for new mitigation witnesses’ was patently ridiculous. This, from the team that had FIVE YEARS to come up with anything and anyone who might be willing to give positive witness to the character of the evil Jodi. In all that time, with all the money that the ‘Mitigation Specialist’ charged the state for her services to DT (and she’d been there ALL 5 years!), she managed to find 3 people who had something nice to say about Jodi? If so, why would another 6 months delay allow them to find anyone else now?

    Wouldn’t the logical assumption be that they’d need at least another 5 years to make this miracle happen? Also, let’s look at the quality of these witnesses, who care for Jodi SO SO MUCH that the smallest whiff of public unhappiness is enough to make them run for cover.



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  3. When court ended on 5/16th we were left believing the two witnesses for Jodi’s character would be Darryl and Patti. Patti has a history of drug and alcohol abuse. Nurmi filed a motion very late on Sunday claiming Womack was withdrawing after receiving death threats.

    On Monday 5/20 after a long time in chambers with Brewer and Womack, court was abruptly halted for the day but Nurmi brought up the motion he had filed on Sunday in open court. First Juan asked why Ms. Womack wasn’t in court. (Nurmi had not yet disclosed that they no longer were presenting mitigation witnesses and it was obvious that Juan had not yet seen Nurmi’s latest motion.) Then we came to find out that Womack would NOT be a witness.

    Interesting that in her 3 HLN interviews in June that neither Dr Drew, JVM, NG or Patti ever discussed the REAL reasons that she withdrew as a witness. She had a humiliating experience when Juan deposed her the previous Friday. Juan gave a short synopsis in open court to the Judge. Juan said that he had asked Womack questions about her drug use and she refused to answer. He asked about pictures of her and Arias and she asked to leave the room. Nurmi and Willmott went with her. They were not her attorneys and appeared to have advised Ms. Womack. Juan was informed that the deposition was over and that they would assist Patti in obtaining her own legal counsel.

    Juan indicated that Womack had sold her wedding pics and video to HLN for money! She also sold childhood pictures of Jodi and her. Juan mentioned that Patti had NOT disclosed the income (licensing fees) to the IRS that she received from the NBC & HLN networks for all the photos she supplied to them!!

    The purpose of Nurmi’s new continuance motion that he had filed on Sunday was to allow for ‘search for new mitigation witnesses’ was patently ridiculous. This, from the team that had FIVE YEARS to come up with anything and anyone who might be willing to give positive witness to the character of the evil Jodi. In all that time, with all the money that the ‘Mitigation Specialist’ charged the state for her services to DT (and she’d been there ALL 5 years!), she managed to find 3 people who had something nice to say about Jodi? If so, why would another 6 months delay allow them to find anyone else now?

    Wouldn’t the logical assumption be that they’d need at least another 5 years to make this miracle happen? Also, let’s look at the quality of these witnesses, who care for Jodi SO SO MUCH that the smallest whiff of public unhappiness is enough to make them run for cover.

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  4. Sorry about the double posting. I'm not sure why that happened.

    Patty Womack was on HLN on the 2 nights following her Dr Drew appearance. JM should have played the video to the Judge to aid her in rejecting the continuance motion which of course was granted.

    Patty cried about Herself, of course, and how this trial affected Her life. She took great pains to convince the viewers that she ‘wholeheartedly believed Jodi had nothing to do with the murder’. That she only found out about Jodi’s acknowledging that she committed the murder at trial. That broke her heart. And since then she had no further contact with Jodi. She specifically asked HLN to introduce her as ‘A FORMER FRIEND OF JODI ARIAS’, so everybody would know she now distanced herself. Also, she clarified that she only knew Arias from age of 12 to 20. That’s all. That they had no contact beyond this time frame.

    So she was at least 7 years removed from ‘The Jodi who murdered Travis’, and had nothing to offer on that subject.
    The final comment from Patti was this quote ‘I was threatened, and my house was described on the web, and I worry about my child because 50K people are on that site’. Big departure from ‘My LIFE and my daughter’s was threated’, wouldn’t you say? And then she made sure to repeat this last part, very clearly ‘I NEVER RECEIVED ANY DEATH THREATS’!!!. To which I say – WTF, Nurmi and Wilmott???? Lying to the Judge not just in open court but again in filed motions 2 1/2 months later about something so crucial?

    We know that the Judge already had offered to provide additional protection for the mitigation witnesses, by allowing them to testify to the Jury without the cameras and public present. Yet somehow the DT wanted us to think that ALV was so worried for her safety that she chose to ditch the client whose wellbeing she claimed to have so much at heart?

    La Violette - Before the mistrial there had been a lot of media and blog discussions that since ALV was a PAID expert witness, she had no legal right to REFUSE to testify, no matter the cause.

    So, to summarize, after 5 years of searching for mitigation witnesses, the defense came up with) a FORMER friend from childhood, who knew Arias for 8 years, and subsequently did not have ANY contact with her for another 8 years plus another 5 of Jodi’s imprisonment; b) a clearly smitten man-hater who met Arias 2-3 years after the crime, and ‘KNEW HER’ for 44 hours of interviews, never having any contact with her until she testified; c) a former boyfriend who clearly let her manipulate him for all the 4 years she knew him, and whom she dropped like a hot potato when a newer, bigger, better deal presented itself in the person of Travis, and whom he had not heard from until the May 2008 phone call asking for the gas can, and whom he’s seen once only since the breakup, when she came to get the gas cans.

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    1. NancyB,
      I have no idea why the defense was not better prepared for this outcome, or what the mitigation specialist had planned when the time came. They had to know this was a likely outcome, given their case. I'd love to know what she may have suggested to Arias. As we've come to know, JA calls the shots when it comes to her defense. I truly feel she has sabotaged herself and tainted her potential witnesses to the point where none of them can be called. She is trapped in her own web of lies, with no way out. Are they hoping her online book review/book club will show the world her "potential"? The delays in this case are infuriating, inexcusable - the defense should have been ready to go immediately following the mistrial. They've had too much time already and giving them more time will not change the facts of this case. Judge Stephens needs to clamp down on these defense attorneys and start giving hard dates to begin. Enough already!!

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  5. Those were the 3 people that the Mitigation Specialist, the most underemployed and overpaid person on this defense team, was able to come up with in FIVE YEARS!?! And then 2 of them supposedly changed their minds and ran for the hills?

    Let's not forget that Jodi herself announced to the world in her 1st post conviction interview with Troy Hayden that her attorneys had informed her that she had NO mitigation to offer.

    On May 20, 2013, during the argument on Nurmi's motion he said that Ms.Arias was advising the court that Patricia Womack was not willing to return to Arizona to testify on Ms. Arias’ behalf because she had been threatened. He noted that the fact that this had come on the heels of a record being made of the threats made to Ms. LaViolette, who he had described as an expert in the field of domestic violence and another key mitigation witness.

    Nurmi again tried to confuse the previous threats to ALV during the guilt phase, with his claims that the mitigation phase had been affected by threats to mitigation witnesses.

    But notice that while he clearly stated that Patty Womack refused to return to Arizona, NOWHERE did he state that ALV was REFUSING TO COME OR CANNOT BE CALLED because she couldn't refuse to come and he was only throwing her into his argument again to make it sound so dramatic.

    He’s a boldfaced liar trying to make it sound as if threats to ALV had affected the mitigation phase even though there was no allegation that she had refused to come, and in fact, she could not legally refuse to come, as the expert on the case.

    On May 20, 2013, during the argument on that motion, Nurmi stated that Ms. Arias was advising the court that Patricia Womack was not willing to return to Arizona to testify on Ms. Arias’ behalf because she had been threatened.

    “In Ms. Arias’ case, the Defense mitigation investigation was completed and she was ready to present said evidence at trial up until the point in time when mitigation witnesses [PLURAL] felt too intimidated to come forward.”

    Even though it had not been stated that ALV was to testify in the mitigation phase, it was certainly being implied.

    But “to come forward” implies voluntarily testifying. An expert does not have to “come forward,” they HAVE to appear because they are under subpoena.
    This was an extension of his prior argument that lay witnesses would not “come forward” to support Jodi because of the environment of intimidation. I really think he was trying to confuse the two separate issues because he doesn’t have enough with just one lay witness who cannot be forced to appear because she has no factual evidence that could be compelled. And for Patti to testify would have caused serious legal problems for her due to her not reporting income to the IRS and it would have been humiliating to have to answer questions about her serious drug and ETOH prior addictions. So, Nurmi cast the net and stated that no one would come forward (VOLUNTEER) because of the environment of intimidation created in the media and by Juan.

    The expert cannot be released from subpoena until the attorney decides he does not need her. Subpoenaed and paid experts do not “come forward” at their own discretion.

    Just more proof that the defense game plan is to delay, delay and delay and to continue to present lots of motions, most of which are not grounded in truth or fact. And it sure seems to be working well for their client. After today's hearing I am confident that no trial will begin prior to 2014.

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  6. Now as of today there is "yet another delayed" hearing all the way to October 4th!!! This getting to be beyond ridiculous by the defense.

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