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Showing posts from March 8, 2013

Women Who Murder In "Self Defense"

As the Jodi Arias murder trial continues to captivate the public, I decided to take a look at other cases in which a woman charged with first degree murder claimed self-defense. I chose a few that I was familiar enough with to write about. In the state of Arizona, if the jury finds a defendant guilty of first degree murder with at least one of the aggravating factors - they go on to decide if a defendant receives life in prison or a death sentence.

Prior to August 2002, sentencing was handled entirely by the trial judge, with no jury involvement. Arizona’s new death penalty statute calls for a 2 part sentencing process. In the first phase, the prosecutor presents evidence relating to aggravating circumstances. If the jury determines that the State has not established at least one statutory aggravating circumstance, the defendant is no longer subject to the death penalty. The jury is dismissed and the trial judge decides the appropriate sentence.

If the jury finds that there is at least …