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Jodi Arias Status Hearing Full of Irony, But No Rulings

Jodi Arias and her attorneys returned to the Maricopa County Superior Court yesterday for a status hearing relating to her penalty phase retrial.  The proceedings were not televised. I didn't expect to learn much during this trial, as we have come to expect nothing in the form of decisions or hard dates. Rather, the proceedings seem to move further and further on out into the future. Yesterday's hearing seemed to be more of the same.

I think most of us who have followed this story and the trial found the arguments made by the defense laughable and hypocritical. The defense is asking Judge Stephens to ban live television coverage in the courtroom for the retrial. CNN and other networks are crying foul. In fact, CNN attorney David Bodney addressed the judge, saying "she (Arias) has voluntarily thrust herself into the vortex of this public controversy, it's unfair to deprive the public because someone can't control her own speech".

The defense is still arguing for a sequestered jury, and disclosure of any Twitter accounts so juror accounts can be monitored. Mr. Nurmi, who is monitoring your client's Twitter accounts, and the Twitter activity done through outside proxy for Jodi Arias? The Twitter motion is perhaps the most ironic of all the defense's motions. It seems Jodi Arias can use Twitter to get her message out, but these jurors cannot be trusted to follow the Judge's admonishment? Wouldn't the admonishment have extended to Jodi Arias herself during her trial? Why wasn't her "shout outs" being monitored and addressed during the trial? 

The prosecution fired back at Kirk Nurmi & Co on the Twitter issue, noting that the defense has failed to acknowledge Jodi Arias' role in creating her own publicity about the trial. "She cannot create what she now considers a problem and then expect the court to change it's procedure to solve the problem", the State's motion read.  I don't know why I'm so surprised that Judge Stephens made no rulings on these outstanding motions. These motions have been around since late May, why on earth hasn't she ruled? This makes no sense for me, what is she waiting for? She's heard arguments from both sides on all of these issues. The main issues being sequestering the jury, Twitter account disclosure, media coverage and a change of venue. Am I missing something, or should Judge Stephens have walked into yesterday's status hearing ready to rule on these things?

I don't get it folks. True, there is a settlement conference scheduled for October 24th. That doesn't mean anything will be agreed upon - therefore they need to move forward and get this retrial on the road! I'm a little disgusted at how little progress is being made over a 5 month period. This should be over by now. I'm looking at a July 15, 2013 article from, where it says "Judge Sherry Stephens met with attorneys from both sides in her chambers Monday and emerged saying she was not prepared to rule on motions made by defense attorneys Kirk Nurmi and Jennifer Willmott before setting a new trial date". At that hearing, Judge Stephens set a new status hearing for September 16, 2013. 

The hearing that was supposed to occur on September 16, 2013 was pushed back to October 4, 2013. What happens next? This all seems so shameful, and justice should not move at a snails pace.

The latest court minute entry, filed on October 1st says:  "the parties have agreed the pretrial hearings/oral arguments scheduled for October 4, 2013 and October 18, 2013 should be closed to the public.  The court finds an open proceeding for these pretrial hearings presents a clear and present threat to the due administration of justice, specifically the right of the parties to a fair penalty retrial from an impartial jury. The Court finds there is a compelling interest that overcomes the right of public access, specifically there is a substantial probability that publication of information provided during these court hearings (through arguments or evidence) could taint the jury pool and significantly impact the parties' ability to effectively present matters at trial. The Court also finds that in light of the intense media coverage of this case, there is no less restrictive means to achieve these compelling interests.  Good cause appearing; IT IS ORDERED closing the hearings scheduled for October 4, 2013 and October 18, 2013."

There you have it. It seems Judge Stephens made at least one decision over the last month. If this is all ordered, shouldn't Ms. Arias have to cease speaking to the public via her websites as well? That would only seem fair. She has publicly discussed her case and her cause via the website and Twitter all along and has considered to do so. What gives? Does this seem fair to you? The defendant can get her "goodwill book ambassador" word out for all to see, but the public should only have access to what she says, and not what is said in the courtroom? Shame on the justice system. Shame, shame shame.


  1. Great update article which succinctly mirrors my thoughts and feelings. Interesting post from Arias' aunt, Sue Allen Halterman: posted on Sept 30th on the Jodi Ann Ariasfamily facebook page that states that Jodi will never accept any plea deal that includes her giving up any of her appeals. She claims that "too much information has come to light since the trial to give up that right." She also posted that an account will soon be announced for donations for an appeal attorney.

    On Sept 30th JA posted to the Jodi Airas is innocent blog her most recent diatribe trashing Travis:

    “To My Friends

    (For this to be effective, you really must take a second or two to imagine each of the following.)

    “Imagine this for a moment: Someone publishes a book about you titled, “Exposed: The Secret Life of [Your Name Here].” Go ahead, imagine it. Say the title out loud with your first and last name. Feels gross, doesn’t it? This book is filled with nasty lies about you and half-truths distorted to make you look as inhuman and unsalvageably evil as possible. Imagine that in writing this book, the author (or her ghostwriter) consulted with a woman you once briefly knew years ago, who stopped being your friend for reasons so esoteric she sounds like she was reared in the Dark Ages – oh, but at the time those weren’t the reasons she gave you, so she either was dishonest then with you or is now with everyone else, but either way, her mission is to trash you. Then imagine, if you will, that this book, filled with degrading, embarrassing, spurious details about you, however untrue, is dedicated to someone who used to bully, beat, and abuse you so copiously that your body, mind – especially your mind – and soul still bear the scars of these horrific experiences. Imagine also that a portion of the book’s sales are donated to a so-called “Legacy” fund bearing your abuser’s name and founded by people whose burning, twisted desire is to watch you die.

    Now, there isn’t much you can do about this book except to mourn it as a tragic and unnecessary waste of trees and keep stepping.

    But wait.

    Now imagine this: I am your self-professed friend and supporter. But I buy this very book, “Exposed: The Secret Life of [Your Name Here],” thereby instead supporting all of the above and throwing money into the fund named in honor of your abuser and enriching the very people who want you dead.

    How would my purchase make you feel? Hurt? Betrayed? Disgusted? Would you still consider me a friend? JAA”

  2. My belief is that Stephens won't begin to fast track this case until sometime in the 1st quarter of 2014. Logistically, I don't see how the time table could be any sooner as she did not even make any rulings on the myriad of defense motions during the hearing last Thursday.

    If I was a citizen of Az, I would be voicing my disgust with this judge's continual enabling & stall maneuvers; that favor the convicted murderer and her scheme team. I would send strongly worded letters to Stephens, her judicial supervisor and the op-ed pages of the prominent newspapers locally and state wide.
    If Stephens survives re-election I will have lost any modicum of respect for the citizenry of Az. As it currently stands, I would not be totally shocked if the sentencing phase extends into 2015. Stephens turtle pace of overseeing the strict fidelity and delivery of justice is beyond shameful.

    As far as the DP goes, I can not think of any criminal who is more deserving of such a sentence, which she amply provides proof of in her most recent missive about her victim. Not even a smidgen of evidence of any heartfelt remorse, or accepting full responsibility and accountability.

    I agree with you and also don't care one way or the other about the actual state execution BUT I do strongly believe that her vicious crime demands that she receive all of the limitations on her freedom that such a sentence provides. I do NOT ever want her to be in general population. It is discouraging when you look at the statistics for carrying out DP sentences of women. Since 1976, when the Supreme Court lifted the ban on capital punishment, 13 women have been executed in the United States. Women represent 0.97% of the 1,341 executions performed in the United States during that time period. There's a significant nbr of women who received the death penalty but have either had their sentences stayed and/or reversed but many more whose executions for some reason have been put so far back on the burner, even years after they have lost all appeals, but still no completion to the process. This flagrant abuse of the law and rightful justice is abhorrent to me.

    1. NancyB, once again you are right on target with your synopsis of Judge Stephens and all of the above. In my opinion, there is little justification that Jodi Arias remains unsentenced. They should have had mitigation ready to present immediately following the first mistrial. Judge Stephens seems to be so paralyzed with fear about appelate issues that she has failed to rule on long known motions and has let the defense tap dance all over the judicial system. I am disgusted at the lack of controls that have allowed this to continue and how the victim's rights have apparently went to the grave with him. This is not justice, it's a joke. Thanks for your excellent contributions to this blog!

  3. Lastly, I can not believe how it can be legal for a convicted 1st degree murderer can flaunt her continued bogus $ making enterprise of selling her bogus, copyrighted infringed art. JA's most recent: copied Elizabeth Taylor photo, offers it for sale and fails to credit original source. What else is new?.


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