Skip to main content

Arias' Online Ventures - What's Wrong With Our System?

I can sense that some people aren't going to agree with what I'm about to say, but what the heck - that's never stopped me from speaking my mind before.  As we watch and wait for Jodi Arias' punishment to be determined for the murder of Travis Alexander, her attorneys continue to battle the State of Arizona over trial coverage, juror social media accounts, which venue the re-trial will be held in and a few other pending motions, it appears the convicted murderer has been busy updating her "Jodi's Book Club" website and putting up new "artwork" for sale.  Her most current piece is "Sailing at Sunset" and is listed for a whopping $1,500.00 (last time I looked) and depicts a sailboat done in watercolors.  According to a recent tweet, Arias announced "100 limited edition prints of "Sailing at Sunset" are now available at jodiarias.com/#!currentlyoffered". The limited editions are priced at $39.00 each, so if she sold all of them, that's $3,900 in her pocket - add in $1,500.00 for the original print and she's looking at making $5,400.00!  All of this is being done out in the open, why don't the authorities seem to care?

(abcnews.com)


Out of sheer curiosity and a lack of other related news, I looked at this website recently and noticed that she has added a number of pages such as:


  • Send Books to Inmates
  • Report on Correctional Education
  • Inmate Mags
  • The Arizona Department of Corrections Educational Program
  • Read Between The Bars
  • Prison Book Program
  • PEN American Center
  • Inside Books Project
  • Books to Prisoners
  • Prisoners Literature Project
Is this Jodi's attempt at showing what an asset she can be to other prisoners, if her life is spared? Maybe.  I continue to be amazed at the communication she has with the world despite her circumstances. Her latest tweet says that when/if she can ever afford it, she is planning on filing for bankruptcy. Apparently she is offended that the public believes she or her family is cashing in on her crime, thus the tweet. IF Arias' artwork is selling, where is the money going?  Can she really order and consume $5,400.00 worth of commissary items or is this money, along with donations her various websites are accepting going to her family? I have nothing against free enterprise, but when a convicted murderer has cost the taxpayers of Arizona over a million bucks in defending her, and that price tag will almost certainly continue to swell as the penalty/sentencing phase drags ever so slowly forward - how is this being allowed to happen? Arias, now as a convicted felon should not be able to profit in any way from her notoriety. And to be clear, none of us would know Jodi Arias existed if she hadn't slaughtered Travis Alexander.  

I've read various articles and quotes from Arizona officials who seem to be wringing their hands about her very public online ventures.  In the October 17, 2013 article from abcnews.com, Maricopa County Sheriff official Chris Hegstrom says "she's able to have access to paper and purchase colored pencils, and if she wants to release her property to someone outside she can". He further stated "she's not physically running a business from our jail....I can't stop her from talking on the phone or releasing property."  This seems like an end run around the Son of Sam laws that are designed to prevent things like this from happening. I've been saying this all along and I'd really love to know who is tracking the funds that Arias has received via donations and from selling artwork while she has been incarcerated. While I can understand jail officials being unable to enforce the Son of Sam laws before Arias was found guilty, there is no excuse for allowing this to happen now.

After all, Arias doesn't seem to be making any attempt to hide the fact that she's creating and selling her doodles on the taxpayer's dime, all the while claiming to be unable to financially afford to even file for bankruptcy.  Come on Sheriff Joe, she's making a mockery of your jail and she's claiming to be indigent while pocketing money from sales of her "Survivor" t-shirts and her artwork - and those are the things she is doing out in the open. Who knows what else she has going on to bring in money. During her mitigation speech to the jury, she told the jurors that 100% of the proceeds from the "Survivor" t-shirts would go to domestic violence causes, however -  before that day, the website clearly read "a portion" of the proceeds would be donated to domestic violence causes. A PORTION.  Only when she stood before the jury to ask them to spare her life did it change to 100%. While it's unclear exactly how much money these Jodi Arias related websites have taken in via donations to her, her family, her artwork sales and the Survivor t-shirt sales, I firmly believe all of it should have been seized the moment she was convicted of murder. Who's tracking this money? Do the good folks at the Internal Revenue Service and the Arizona State tax regulators know Arias has been earning money since 2008 from her jail cell?  Has she even filed tax returns for those years?  Selling any arts/crafts for money constitutes income and she should be paying taxes on the funds she has received.  Has she filed returns since she's been behind bars?  Why are Maricopa County officials continuing to allow her to "release property" to people who are in turn selling it on websites that are run FOR HER by others?

It's a well known fact that Charles Manson has created dozens of pieces of "artwork" while he's been incarcerated in California.  Jail officials seize those items. They have a virtual collection of Manson spiders, fashioned from strands of hair and string from sheets that have been dyed black - I've seen these items on MSNBC's "Lockup".  The guards who regularly search Charles Manson's cell confiscate these items as soon as they find them so he won't be able to sell them to people who collect articles from these high profile murderers.  In contrast, you have Jodi Arias selling artwork out in the open on the internet and jail officials do nothing?  All I have to say about this is WTF??

To jail officials in Arizona who say there is nothing they can do about Arias releasing personal property to visitors, I say that is just not true. They may not be able to stop her from drawing, but they CAN prevent her from selling this stuff by confiscating it, or at the very least they should not allow her to release it to visitors when they KNOW it's being sold online. Any and all money Arias has made should be paid to her victim's family, but I fear by the time the State or jail officials do something about this, the money will be long gone. Do we need to alert the IRS ourselves, as concerned citizens? I don't live in the state of Arizona, but their local tax entity should also be alerted to the fact that an inmate is earning income from the Estrella jail and require her to file tax returns for the last 5 years.

This was bad enough when Arias was running these websites before and during her trial, but the fact that it continues after she was convicted is just not acceptable.  Why don't Arizona jail officials and the State Attorney General's office seem to care?  Hey, she shouldn't be able to make any profits after May 8, 2013.  That's the date she became a convicted murderer.  From 2008 through May 8, 2013, she had earned income and should be required to pay taxes like the rest of us.  I've heard the Alexander family is going to be filing a wrongful death claim against Arias when her criminal trial wraps up.  By that time, I'm afraid every dime she has raked in will be long gone - and it could have been easily avoided. The Estrella jail should simply NOT be allowing her to give anything to a visitor that could wind up being sold on her websites.  People, she's not even making an attempt to hide her activities, she's doing it out in the open!  There is simply no excuse for allowing this to continue.....I don't know exactly why I find this so extremely distasteful and disgraceful, but I do.  Is the Estrella jail staff simply understaffed?  Do they really not realize the pieces going up for sale on her website were created from their facility, and released during jail visitations where guards were present? Where's the accountability here?

This is just hard to stomach, because Arias continues to refer to herself as the victim and she continues to deny having any assets and says she can't afford to file for bankruptcy.  Come on.  Really? How stupid does she think we are? The State of Arizona should be seizing her assets, to help offset the cost of her costly defense.  It's not as if she's using the money she's earning to help pay Kirk Nurmi or Jennifer Willmott - and I highly doubt she would turn over the money to the Alexander family short of a court order seizing the funds. I'm simply outraged.  This is shameful and it should not be happening. As we inch closer to the October 24 settlement conference, I'm now hopeful that the State will not make any deals with Jodi Arias.  Let the citizens of Arizona decide her fate. I only wish they were privy to everything we know. There may be those out there who think Jodi Arias is articulate and a talented artist. But let's be real.  Nobody would be buying "Sailing at Sunset" if she hadn't killed Travis Alexander. And that is profiting from the notoriety of your crime.  Plain and simple.

I'll close this post with three recent tweets posted on behalf of Arias:

Oct 10 - "That rumor that somehow my family profited from my trial? Absurd"

Oct 10 - "I'm filing for bankruptcy (if I can ever afford to do so)"

Oct 16 - "100 Limited-Edition prints of "Sailing at Sunset" now available

Need I say any more?


Comments

  1. You covered every single aspect of this outrageous fraud that she openly continues to flaunt on all of us. I agree with every word of this article. I too am outraged and shocked that the jail continues to spout 1st amendment rights which is nothing but a worthless platitude, at this point. This convicted 1st degree murderer IS running a money making enterprise from her cell in Estrella jail and it is beyond disgraceful. Thanks so much for this article. Your words are my words.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah it's so frustrating to see this continue to happen. Why don't jail officials seem to care? There ARE ways to stop it.....thanks for your comments NancyB! Very disappointed that they ruled against live coverage of retrial. MyForte

      Delete
  2. As stated by NancyB, an excellent write up on this never ending saga. If sent in it's entirety to MCSO and addressed to Sheriff Arpaio might there by real notice taken and perhaps something actually done to stop this? Is it that not enough voices are heard on the subject? I think that so many are just weary of this criminal and anything related to her.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Thank you for commenting!

Most popular posts

Dr. Janeen DeMarte - A Look At The Prosecution's Expert Witness

Dr. Janeen DeMarte is expected to take the stand in the Jodi Arias murder trial as a key witness for the prosecution. Think of DeMarte as the State's response to Dr. Richard Samuels and potentially Alyce LaViolette. It's unclear when DeMarte will testify, but with Alyce LaViolette's testimony wrapping up, I thought it would be helpful to take a look at who the State's expert witness is.




Dr. Janeen DeMarte is a licensed clinical psychologist who has a private practice in the Phoenix area. She holds a master's degree and PhD in clinical psychology. with a concentration on forensics - and graduated from Michigan State University and fulfilled her doctoral residency at Arizona State Hospital.  Her clinical training was done at outpatient clinics, correctional facilities and inpatient unit settings. She has served as the Clinical Director of a large outpatient behavior health clinic in Phoenix and "oversaw the practice of numerous multidisciplinary treatment provide…

Is Alyce LaViolette Cashing In On Murder Trial?

As the defense finishes questioning their star witness, domestic abuse expert Alyce LaViolette, many are disillusioned by her choice to take the stand to portray murder defendant Jodi Arias as a battered and abused woman.  Maybe I'm the one who's crazy, but wasn't Travis Alexander the one who had the life stabbed, slashed and shot out of him at the hands of Jodi Arias? Who battered whom here?  Are Travis Alexander's not-so-kind text messages to Jodi Arias PROOF that he was a womanizing batterer and bully who held all the power in the relationship between Arias and Alexander?

Alyce LaViolette seems to think so. Does she have any idea the feelings of outrage she is bringing out in the hearts and minds of the real victims of domestic abuse all over the country? Before LaViolette began testifying, I kept asking myself "why would a woman who is so well respected in her field choose THIS case, defend THIS woman?"  Could it be the money? I suppose $250-$300 an hour c…

Was Trip to Cancun Catalyst to Murder? Jodi Arias Murder Trial

Marie "Mimi" Hall was the first prosecution witness to take the stand in the Jodi Arias Murder trial. She took the stand on January 3, 2013. Hall told jurors that she met Travis Alexander through the Mormon Church. Although they initially went on a date, it was quickly recognized that they were a great match as friends, and they remained such good friends that Alexander invited Hall to accompany him on a work retreat to Cancun, Mexico. The trip was to begin on June 10, 2008. Travis wouldn't live to see that day. Friends found him murdered in his home in Mesa, AZ on June 9, 2008. Coincidence, or catalyst? Travis's close friends have told investigators that Arias had been engaging in stalker-like behavior in the months preceding the murder. Twice, Alexander had his tires slashed after going out with other women. He told close friends his Facebook account had been hacked into. Arias even reportedly would use the doggie door to gain entry to Alexander's home. …

A Look At Alyce LaViolette And More Strange Video Footage of Arias Arrest

Yesterday, as Dr. Richard Samuels finished up his testimony the Jodi Arias defense team called their next expert witness to the stand, Alyce LaViolette. LaViolette is a very legitimate expert on the subject of domestic violence, having been one of the early leaders back in the 1970's when this was not a topic that was spoke of often. Jennifer Willmott had LaViolette introduce herself and her educational background, and list her many accomplishments helping battered women and even helping the men who battered them, hoping to return these women to a safer environment. She is likable, and she is a legitimate voice on this topic. The prosecution should not expect this witness to be as sloppy in the trial casework and reporting as Dr. Samuels was. 

While it's unknown exactly how far out on a limb LaViolette will go for Jodi Arias, she is expected to testify about some of the characteristics of battered women, why they return to their abusers - and what some of characteristics are of…

"Cold Justice" Heats Up Unsolved Murder Cases

This is my third blog post on TNT's new reality show, "Cold Justice".  Cold Justice pairs former Texas prosecutor Kelly Siegler with former Las Vegas CSI Yolanda McClary, who travel to small rural towns across America to look at unsolved murder cases.  Their first episode which aired Tuesday has already delivered results - the arrest of Ronnie Hendricks (see yesterdays post for details) for the murder of Pam Shelley. TNT lists an episode guide online, and 
I couldn't resist taking a peek and looking for details on those cases.  I was astonished at what they have accomplished in their first season.  This is more than just another crime drama, these ladies are committed and determined to bringing justice to those who may have escaped it previously in small towns that may lack the resources to bring a suspect to trial.

You can see the episode guide on their website. They give a brief description of the victims and circumstances of their deaths. Here is a list of this seas…