It appears there are some new developments in the never-ending Jodi Arias penalty phase retrial. The next status hearing was scheduled for October 4, 2013. However, yesterday a October 24, 2013 "settlement conference" between the two sides was announced. According to Maricopa County Attorney spokesman Jerry Cobb,the court asked both sides if they would be willing to sit down and discuss a potential resolution. "Neither side has presented an outline or agreement or an official position to the court", Cobb said. Retired Superior Court Judge James Keppel will reside over the conference. In settlement conferences, the original trial judge is not involved. Judge Sherry Stephens could come back into the picture to ultimately decide if Jodi Arias receives natural life, or life with the possibility of release after serving 25 years.
Neither side is revealing what prompted the settlement conference and neither side seems to have much leverage to settle - one possible scenario would be if the DA's office and Travis Alexander's family were to agree to take the death penalty off the table in exchange for Jodi Arias dropping any and all appeals. Ironically, Jodi Arias' best chance for an automatic appeal would occur if she received a sentence of death. What prompted this settlement conference? Has the Arias defense strategy of delaying the process for as long as possible finally paid off for her? I'm sure that the defense has sought to delay the retrial all along in the hopes that the public outrage over this brutal murder would fade with time.
I'm surprised at this latest settlement conference news. It doesn't necessarily mean there will not be a retrial. I'd love to know what prosecutor Juan Martinez thinks of the settlement conference. He seemed to be 110% for taking this trial all the way to the end, and pursuing the death penalty - with disregarding the notion of any plea deals. Has something changed? For now, it remains a mystery, but common sense would tell us it's at least a possibility that an agreement could be hatched out to avoid the ordeal of another trial. Just my opinion, but I feel like IF this re trial would have been kept on a tighter schedule it could have been done and over with. Juan Martinez and the court seemed ready to start in July. Arias' defense was not. Not hard to figure out who this will most likely benefit.
The saga continues!