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Details Around Arias Re-Trial Closely Guarded

For those of us who followed the sensational murder trial against Jodi Arias and were stunned with the non-decision the jury rendered at sentencing, the wait for the penalty phase retrial seems endless.  When Judge Sherry Stephens declared a mistrial back in late May, she initially set a tentative retrial date for late July of 2013.  What the hell happened?  Endless defense motions, delays and detours and 6 months later here we are where we started in late May. Watching and waiting.  How excruciating must this be for Travis Alexander's family? Seeing the torture on their faces during the trial as their deceased brother was portrayed as a villain, it seemed their nightmare was finally coming to an end with one word: Guilty. Will they ever get to put this ordeal behind them and begin the healing process?  Is healing even possible knowing how Jodi Arias cornered and attacked their brother like an animal? I pray they find the strength to.

Since the mistrial, one of the biggest concerns the defense has raised about the retrial is the media. Citing the media circus that hung on every word, reported on every minute of her 5 1/2 month trial, Arias' defense team has sought to have cameras in the courtroom banned. After months of silence about a number of defense motions Judge Sherry Stephens has largely shut the media out of the courtroom proceedings and status hearings.  She also has ruled there will be no electronics allowed in the courtroom during the retrial; meaning no real time information will be coming out of that courtroom period.  Members of the media believe that Judge Stephens may have over reacted or even over reached in shutting the public out of recent hearings.  Judge Stephens has said the hearing closures are intended to protect Arias' right to an impartial jury.

David Bodney, an attorney who represents several media outlets including the Arizona Republic has fought back, saying "there have been repeated flagrant violations of the public's constitutional right to attend criminal proceedings". Bodney told that "locking the courtroom doors without issuing an order as to why, is in violation of the Constitution."  Regardless of which side you agree with, it does seem ironic that Arias' attorneys are fighting so hard to keep the cameras and media out of the courtroom while their client openly communicates with the very same jury pool from her jail cell via Twitter and the several websites she operates through other people.  It seems Jodi wants to be heard, but she wants to control what is being said. Another thing that seems abundantly clear - she wants more of the public's money. I've ranted ad-nauseum about her websites and the items she is selling, and I've wondered where this money is going.  The official launch of the "JAA Appellate Trust" is just her latest attempt to have more of her legal fees paid for by the people - this time, not just in Arizona but nationally. I have a real issue with the terminology used to describe the aforementioned fund - wrongful conviction.  How can she continue to refer to herself as wrongfully convicted?

In yesterday's post, I wrote about the newly offered limited edition prints of her "Sailing at Sunset" and "Picasso Calla Lilies Bouquet" - apparently she has 100 of each, for sale at $39.00 each. Can anyone say price cut? Her site says there were 66 of one of the limited edition prints left, meaning that she has sold 34 of the 100. Today, she tweeted more information on the Picasso Calla Lilies offering, she says:

"Prints are 10 x 13 inches"

"Picasso is the name of that type of calla lily. The piece doesn't have anything to do with Pablo himself".

"100 Limited-Edition prints of Picasso Calla Lillie's Bouquet are now available at......"

Seems to me she should be worrying more about the potential death penalty she is facing than selling limited edition prints of her crayola-like drawings. Really, does she grasp the concept of what she is facing? What does Jodi Arias' reality look like? Why doesn't Juan love me?  I don't know if she really said that, but if she then she truly is a narcissist. Back to wrongfully convicted. The Wikipedia definition of wrongful conviction:

  • A miscarriage of justice primarily is the conviction and punishment of a person for a crime that he or she did not commit.  The term can also apply to errors in the other direction "errors of impunity" and to civil cases....
Does Jodi Arias believe she did not commit the act of murder?  She seems to be clinging to the self-defense theory - but the evidence says it was not self-defense.  Evidence points to Arias as the aggressor and Travis Alexander trying to defend himself against the attack. How else can she explain her walking away from that scene of horror with only superficial cuts to her hands? This was not hand to hand combat, it was an ambush - had it been anything other than that, she surely would have had more serious injuries.

Another piece of evidence that just isn't going to go away. The gun. The stolen gun. The staged robbery. That's pre meditation. A jury agreed. What about the conviction was wrongful Jodi? Tell us, please!

I thought I'd take a look at a nationally known organization that helps right the wrongs of the justice system, The Innocence Project. The site gives statistics of people who were wrongfully convicted and problems with the evidence that helped to convict them. As we all know, advances in DNA technology has helped to free many wrongfully convicted people in recent years and they post the following stats on their site:

  • There have been 311 post conviction exoneration in the United States.
  • 18 of the 311 people exonerated through DNA served time on death row. Another 16 were charged with capital crimes but not sentenced to death.
  • The true suspects and/or perpetrators were identified in 152 of the DNA exoneration cases.
  • Since 1989, there have been tens of thousands of cases where the prime suspects and pursued - until DNA testing (prior to conviction) proved that they were wrongly accused.
  • 29 of the DNA exonerees plead guilty to crimes they did not commit.
Leading Cause of Wrongful Convictions:
These DNA exoneration cases have provided irrefutable proof that wrongful convictions are not isolated or rare events, but arise from systemic defects that can be precisely identified and addressed. Many wrongful convictions overturned with DNA testing involve multiple causes.

Eyewitness Misidentification Testimony was a factor in 72 percent of post conviction DNA exoneration cases, making it the leading cause of these wrongful convictions.

Unvalidated or Improper Forensic Science played a role in approximately 50 percent of wrongful convictions overturned by DNA testing.

False confessions and incriminating statements lead to wrongful convictions in approximately 25 percent 

Informants contributed to wrongful convictions in 18 percent of cases.

The site says for every case where DNA evidence has been used to exonerate, there are hundreds that do not involve DNA." Only a fraction of cases involve biological evidence that can be subjected to testing." The site also discusses misconduct by law enforcement officials - since the DNA evidence in Arias' case points squarely at her, I wonder if this is the route she will try to take. 
There is also a section on "bad lawyering", her recent rants about Kirk Nurmi point to the old ineffective counsel or maybe even bad lawyering.  From the Innocence Project website:

  • The resources of the justice system are often stacked against poor defendants. Matters only become worse when a person is represented by an ineffective, incompetent or overburdened defense attorney. The failure of overworked lawyers to investigate, call witnesses or prepare for trial has led to the conviction of innocent people. When a defense lawyer doesn't do his/her job, the defendant suffers. Shrinking funding and court-appointed attorneys is only making the matter worse. It seems to me that the State pulled out all the stops for Jodi Arias and her attorney. They agreed to pay him an extra $100 per hour to represent her. That's $225.00 and hour. I'd hardly call that shrinking funding.

 Even the best attorney cannot change the evidence! It is what it is. Arias was caught up in her own web of lies, and this was ultimately a factor that ate away at any sympathy she may have garnered from Jury #1. Further eroding the sympathy factor was the absolute trashing of Travis Alexander as an abusive, aggressive and sexually deviant and controlling man.  The defense couldn't find one other woman or human being who knew Travis that described him the way she did.  It's unlikely an abuser chooses only one victim exclusively, and treats the other women in his life differently. Abusers have patterns of behavior, and Arias' defense was unable to substantiate her many claims of physical abuse. The only thing that seemed to resonate with at least the jury foreman is the thought that Travis may have subjected Jodi to emotional abuse.

How far off is the penalty phase retrial? Will we learn anything about the date and jury selection before the trial starts? A look at a November 26, 2013 court minute entry seems to point to some very repetitive status hearings coming up.  On December 3 at 8:30am the court is to hear oral arguments on juror Twitter accounts. Jeez, are we still deciding these motions that were filed months ago? 

A more cryptic minute entry on November 19 says:

This is the time set for Status Conference

The Court will hold in abeyance the Defendant's sealed Motion until the hearing currently set for 11/26/13

Discussion is held between the Court and counsel regarding trial exhibits as stated on the record.

As to exhibit 271, a photograph, the State will provide a copy of this exhibit and if it cannot be determined which photo it was, the State will check FTR on the date the photograph was received in evidence.

As to exhibits 527, 528, 531 and 647 by stipulation of the parties the record will reflect that these exhibits were permanently released to defense.
As to exhibits 662 and 663, there being no indication of what happened to these exhibits, defense is not prepared to stipulate that they were released to them.  (what's this??)

Defense is checking their records and these will be addressed again at the next hearing on 11/26/2013.

Counsel for the State files State’s Proposed Juror Questionnaire.
IT IS ORDERED sealing State’s Proposed Juror Questionnaire not to be opened without further order of the Court.

SEALED: State’s Proposed Juror Questionnaire.
8:45 a.m. Matter concludes.

LATER: The Court finds Exhibits 662 and 663 are secure with the Clerk of Court and further inquiry into these exhibits is not necessary.

And in a November 11, 2013 court minute entry:

The Court finds the Maricopa County jury pool is sufficiently large to assure impartial jurors can be found. A change of venue would create logistical issues for the parties, witnesses, court and involve substantial expense to the taxpayers of Maricopa County. No good cause appearing,

IT IS ORDERED denying the defendant’s Motion for Change of Venue

November 14, 2013 court minute entry on sequestering the jury:

In this case, the Court has granted the defense motion to preclude live camera coverage of 
the trial. The Court expects there will be significantly less media coverage of the case during the 
retrial of the penalty phase. As noted by the State in its response, much of the media interest in 
the case was generated by the defendant contacting media outlets. Defendant now complains she 
cannot receive a fair sentencing phase retrial because of the media interest in her case and wants 
the jury sequestered for the duration of the sentencing phase retrial. The parties estimate the 
retrial will last at least two months.

IT IS ORDERED denying Defendant’s Renewed Request to Sequester Her Jury.

I looked back at the old minute entries from the time the mistrial was declared.  The original date the retrial was supposed to begin:

IT IS ORDERED setting retrial on 07/18/2013 10:00 a.m. 

And here we are, more than 4 months later and still pondering juror Twitter accounts? Really, this is beyond ridiculous. And to see that the Court is anticipating the penalty retrial will last at least 2 months is astounding. Whatever the time it takes, it will eventually happen. Jodi Arias will either spend at least 25 years or natural life in prison, or she will be living out her days on Death Row.  Those are the possibilities.  If Ms. Arias truly believes she was wrongfully convicted, I'd love to hear what she believes the punishment for what she did to Travis Alexander should be. Remember her own words, "IF I did this to Travis, I'd BEG for the death penalty". In her own words. 


  1. Replies
    1. Dex Banner,
      Thank you for your post. It is highly disappointing that the Judge has made this ruling. For everybody who has followed this tragic story from the start and who were highly disappointed with the non-sentence, not being able to view the re trial in it's entirety in real time is bad news. I'm surprised that Arias didn't insist on television coverage, as she seems to be basking in her infamy - even if for all the wrong reasons.


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