It's no surprise to many of us who have followed the Jodi Arias murder trial that she has turned on attorney Kirk Nurmi in such a public manner. Nurmi has been unsuccessfully been trying to have himself removed as her attorney of record since the beginning of this trial - moving from the public defender's office to his own law practice, a move that enabled him to nearly double his hourly fee for representing the now convicted murderer. It has been difficult to tell whether these moves to be removed from the case at various stages of the trial, and now in Arias' motion to essentially fire him as her attorney are for the purposes that she has stated, or just another tactic to buy herself more time, or to set up an "ineffective counsel" appellate issue. It's hard to say what's going on in the mind of Jodi Arias.
Not much has been disclosed about the behind closed doors settlement conference that occurred on October 24, 2013. Closed to the public and to the media, no deals were made that would take the death penalty off the table. That would lead us to believe the penalty re-trial will go on, but when? I just checked the Maricopa County website's "minute entries", and there are no such entries that speak to the next scheduled court date or status hearing. To my knowledge, Judge Sherry Stephens has yet to rule on the numerous outstanding motions that have been on the table since the mistrial was declared back in late May of this year. What's the hold up? As I've said many times before, the judge has known about these motions for months - why hasn't she ruled? The main issues are where the trial will be held, if the jury will be sequestered and how and if juror social media accounts will be disclosed to the court. Arias also wants the cameras in the courtroom limited if not banned. There are a few other miscellaneous motions, but those are the biggies.
The sooner these motions are ruled on, the sooner they can get the jury questionnaires prepared and start bringing in potential jurors and get the ball rolling. Personally, I think the trial should be held in the county where the crime occurred, Maricopa County. If they need to bus in jurors from another jurisdiction, so be it. It worked in the Casey Anthony trial, and I don't think even Anthony's attorneys can complain that she didn't receive a fair trial - in spite of the full on 3-ring media circus that rolled into town for that trial. Arias' trial should be no different. I tried to find one of my previous posts, where I predicted "it's only a matter of time before Arias turns on her attorneys", but I didn't have the time to read through 100 postings on this trial. It's been said, and we all knew it would happen. But all of this from the same woman who virtually begged the judge to keep Kirk Nurmi on her case, calling him the person who knows the case best - she wrote to the judge stating that removing Kirk Nurmi would be so detrimental to her right to a fair trial, and so they retained the newly self-employed criminal attorney Kirk Nurmi and paid him an extra $100/per hour or whatever he was charging. Arias was convicted, and now she's blaming Kirk Nurmi and wants him removed as her attorney?
Thankfully all of these statements made by Arias, in writing, are preserved and on the record - it would be hard for her to make a case for ineffective counsel when Nurmi was her first choice, her go-to guy. He lost, plain and simple. Now Jodi Arias is publicly slamming him, saying that he hasn't gone to meet with her since her mistrial was declared and pointing out his character flaws. Arias has yet to turn on her other attorney, Jennifer Willmott - she praised Willmott for taking on the "brunt of the work" in her case. When will the re trial resume? If anybody knows when the next status hearing is, or knows what's coming next, please feel free to post your comment. It appears a new mitigation specialist is listed on this case, and her name is Sue Stodola. Her name has appeared on the court minute entries and other court documents on the Maricopa County Superior Court website for some time, so I decided to look her up to see what her background is. What happened to Maria DeLaRosa? All we know about her is that the court ordered her to be paid for her 100+ hours of work on this case. Doesn't seem to most people who watched the anti-climatic end of the trial that much of a mitigation defense was put on, but that may have been the choice of Nurmi, Willmott, Arias or all three.
Susan Stodola, according to LinkedIn graduated from Northern Arizona University and the University of Wisconsin - Madison. Her brief bio/resume:
August 2013 - Present: Capital Mitigation Specialist - Susan Stodola Mitigation Services - all facets of mitigation work, family histories, life stories, hiring of mitigation experts and preparation of testimony.
January 2011 - April 2013: Mitigation Specialist, Office of State Capital Post Conviction Defender - all facets of mitigation work, family and life histories, interviewing clients and family as well as other mitigation witnesses, hiring of mitigation experts.
August 2008 - January 2011: Capital Mitigation Specialist, Maricopa County Public Defender - trial mitigation for non-capital crimes. Graduated to capital work and worked as a part of a defense team assigned to represent defendants charged with capital murder.
There you have it. Maria DeLaRosa's LinkedIn profile shows her as a "self employed Capital Mitigation Specialist. What happened with or to Maria DeLaRosa in relation to this case remains a mystery to me. What I do know is that Jodi Arias continues to hawk her doodles and sketches on her website. Her latest offering, "Sailing at Sunset" is priced at $1,500.00 for the original, and she advertises 100 Limited Edition prints at a price of $39.00 each. If all were sold at her asking price, this would net Arias $5,400.00. That would buy Arias a whole lot of commissary items. It seems outrageous that she is allowed to continue these activities. The Sheriff's office knows that it's happening, yet nobody has even tried to stop it.
Chris Hegstrom, spokesman for the Maricopa County Sheriff's office has publicly stated "She's not physically running a business from our jail", and "we can't stop her from talking on the phone or releasing property". Seems like a colossal cop-out to me. I know they can't stop people from sending donations to fund her commissary account, but this IS a business she's running from their jail! No doubt about it, and the IRS should be notified and expect to receive a tax return for the monies earned by Arias' art sales, as well as the agency who collects state tax for the state of Arizona. She's making money, and she should at the very least be made to file returns and pay taxes on this money! Seems like nobody at the jail or prosecutor's office is interested in tracking these activities, but I'm hoping the attorney representing the Alexander family is on it. I can't fault Jodi Arias for wanting to help her family with their travel costs during the trial, but this has gone far beyond that now, and IT IS A BUSINESS, regardless of what Chris Hegstrom states publicly.
I've said this before - Charles Manson makes all kinds of arts and crafts items from his jail cell, and guards and prison officials confiscate them so they don't end up on eBay or other online murder memorabilia websites. The prison has an entire collection of Manson's big black widow spiders, which he fashions from strands of hair and other fibers from sheets etc. that have been painted or dyed black. They probably have enough to start a Manson Museum there, all confiscated so Charlie doesn't make a dime off his notoriety. Why should Jodi Arias be any different? Both are convicted murderers. OK I'll stop. It just gets to me, that she continues to do this so publicly and they know it's happening. It's wrong. What can we do? Can we put the IRS on notice, the state tax collector?