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Jury Questions Alyce LaViolette - They Seem Skeptical

Alyce LaViolette is facing some tough jury questions this afternoon. So far, the tone seems a bit skeptical, yet LaViolette continues to speak poorly about Travis Alexander and glowingly about Arias. The jury tone seems to be similar to what we have discussed in this forum. They want to know if LaViolette reviewed any of Arias's journals from earlier in her life. She disclosed that she only reviewed from 2006-2008 in making her assessment. The jury asked if LaViolette would have been able to get a better overall feel for who Jodi Arias is if she had gone farther back in her life.

The jury asked if she had spoken to any of Travis's family or friends or reviewed any materials to or from them. LaViolette read ONE email either to or from one of his sisters! That's it? The jury asked what she was able to learn about Travis Alexander during her review of the case. LaViolette managed to say some nice things about him at first, saying that he was known to be a very good motivational speaker, he knew his scriptures, he came from an abusive background and childhood. She said she believed women found Travis attractive, but she didn't know much about his friendships other than with Chris and Skye Hughes. 

LaViolette testified that she didn't feel it was unusual that Jodi Arias lied to her parents and about the crime, stating "people lie when they are afraid of the repercussions of things they've done, if anything Jodi downplayed things". The jury asked if it was possible that Jodi's family and friends embellished things they said in order to help her case. LaViolette didn't believe they did. She then continued to trash Travis Alexander, saying he was disrespectful to Jodi Arias and other women.

The jury then asked if Jodi kicking, slapping and treating her mother poorly would make her an abuser, they also asked about Arias calling her sister Angela "stupid". LaViolette discounted both events, because Jodi was a teenager at the time. Couldn't a violent teenager grow up to be a violent adult? Alyce, you are incorrect. She called her sister stupid during her relationship with Travis. Get your facts right if you are going to testify as an expert. The jury wanted to know if a person could be abusive in one relationship but not another? They also asked if she has ever been involved in a case where somebody killed a partner because "there was no way out"? LaViolette said it was "rare" for a person to kill a partner to get away from abuse.

She insists that nothing she saw or read showed Jodi escalating in anger, rather she was trying to calm situations while Travis got very angry and again - she used the word "tirade" to describe Travis's text or e-mail to Jodi.  The jury asked if Jodi could be exaggerating these abusive events in light of the possible consequences of her crime. LaViolette said "anything is possible", but she added that she finds it difficult to believe in light of what she heard from the Hughes description on how he treated women. Boy, LaViolette seems to be giving that e-mail from the Hughes a whole lot of weight. That seems to be the only "friend" communication she considered in making her assessment of Travis.

Very telling that the jury asked "how does not having both sides of the story effect your assessment in this case?" LaViolette said that she would have liked to have been able to talk to Travis, but since she couldn't she said she did her best with the information she had. OK, who did she talk to? Really? The jury said in light of all the lies Jodi Arias has told, how were you able to know everything she is saying is truthful? She said there was no way she could know that everything was truthful, but again - she restated that she believes her.

The jury asked if she saw any PROOF that Arias was physically abused. LaViolette cited Jodi's broken finger as the only thing she saw. Given that most people believe Arias injured that finger during her assault on Travis, that's a non-issue isn't it? She has given too many different stories about what happened to that hand/finger. The jury asked if the reason Jodi never wrote about abuse in the journals could be because the events never happened. They asked if it was possible Jodi abused Travis, LaViolette stated she saw no evidence that she did, and given her information about Arias's other relationships with men as evidence she has no history of abuse.

The jury said that Jodi's response to her perceived danger on 6/4/08 went way beyond "neutralizing" the threat to her. They wanted to know if it was a common reaction. LaViolette said that abused women often times don't know when to stop. The jury asked about the Spiderman underwear and tshirt, there seems to be some doubt that Travis in fact gave those items to her. LaViolette said she read a IM discussion between the two, and the was her corroboration. The jury asked "just because somebody appears to be controlling, does that automatically mean they are abusive"? They asked if any of Travis's ex-girlfriends described him as abusive, she said she wasn't aware of any previous abuse.

The jury asked if Alyce interviewed anybody other than Jodi Arias face to face. Alyce said she did not. They asked again if any of Travis's previous girlfriends found him verbally abusive. LaViolette quoted some things that Lisa Andrews said about Travis. They asked if anybody she talked to suspected abuse for either Jodi or Travis? She said that Matt McCartney suspected abuse and Arias reportedly told him of either emotional or physical abuse. Isn't Matt McCartney the one Arias says "would never betray me"? Isn't McCartney the one Arias attempted to get him to change his testimony to match her own via the secretly coded magazines? How is this not manipulative, how is this honest? How could LaViolette call Arias truthful, given everything we know - forget about what we all suspect, these things are ON THE RECORD. Yet Alyce LaViolette discounts it all?

The jury asked about Jodi not seeking medical treatment for her finger, asking "what would stop her from seeking medical treatment and lying about the cause of the injury"? GREAT QUESTION JURORS! Such a simple question, but it's such a good one. Remember, this wasn't a black eye or a broken nose. It was a finger - I doubt this would raise suspicions of domestic abuse from any ER doctor in this country. The jurors also wanted to know WHY LaViolette concurred many things actually happened, such as with 1/21/08 alleged incident of Travis caught with a photo of a young boy. They wanted to know why she believed that, when it was only Jodi Arias's words.  

They asked why LaViolette didn't look further into Travis Alexander's text message about being fearful of Arias's stalking behavior, since she was hired to look into potential domestic abuse. She didn't have a great answer, she simply does not believe Arias was a stalker or that Travis was in fear. I'm sooo happy the jury is asking some of these questions, they seem to be highly skeptical of the lack of work on Alyce's part to try to get to know who Travis Alexander was before making the assumptions she has made, assuming the worst about him and portraying him in such a negative manner. The overall theme seems to be that the jury doesn't believe she made enough of an effort in getting information from people other than Jodi Arias. They know she has lied, and I suspect that they are skeptical that LaViolette is taking everything Arias has said as the gospel.

They are taking a 10 minute break now. I have to admit to feeling a great deal of relief when I heard some of these jury questions. Is it possible Willmott & Co. have crossed the line with their absolute trashing of a man who was savagely and brutally killed? Was it necessary to drag him through the mud in this manner while trying to make Arias look like a helpless victim? There's a lot the jury doesn't know, but thankfully there is a lot they DO know. They've seen Arias's dirty text messages to Travis, where she compliments his anatomy, and makes highly suggestive and outright nasty comments to him. These messages were not ordered by Travis Alexander. Arias seemed to enjoy it as much as he did, so the defense is not doing Arias any favors by trying to paint this woman as some coy and shy woman who was pressured into deviant sexual acts that she never would have participated in if not for Travis Alexander.

Jodi Arias was the forbidden fruit for Travis Alexander. The defense is making Travis sound like a fraud, just because he didn't tell members of his Mormon community that he was no longer a virgin. I don't believe that is all that uncommon, to lie about one's virginity. That certainly doesn't make him a bad guy, nor does it constitute a pattern of lying. This was something he apparently struggled with and wasn't proud of. It seems to me that after he met Jodi Arias, she may have actually been the one with the power, the forbidden fruit that Travis wanted, but knew he shouldn't have. She had the sexual power, and that can be much more powerful than any other type of power in a highly charged relationship such as theirs. What do you think?

I don't know how many more jury questions there are, or how much longer we will have to listen to LaViolette say the same things over and over. Please, get this woman on the next plane back to Long Beach!






More Of The Same From Defense Expert Alyce LaViolette

The Jodi Arias murder trial is turning into one long "Twilight Zone" episode....After a scouring cross examination yesterday by veteran Arizona prosecutor Juan Martinez, LaViolette welcomed questions from defense attorney Jennifer Willmott and theme was the same. Jodi Arias was a victim of domestic violence and abuse, and Travis Alexander was a controlling and abusive man who dominated Arias and according to LaViolette, was not in fear of Arias despite his telling people so. 

I'm wondering if LaViolette is clairvoyant, in addition being an expert in domestic violence. I don't recall seeing that on her resume. I continue to be stunned, amazed and outraged that LaViolette has taken these leaps, to walk into a court of law and testify how somebody else felt. Nobody is qualified to testify as to the way Travis Alexander may or may not have felt about Jodi Arias, except for Travis himself - if Jodi Arias hadn't killed him, perhaps he could set the record straight for Ms. LaViolette?

The double standards and hypocrisy of the defense team tactics are blatant. According to their expert, it's perfectly understandable, appropriate and almost expected for a battered woman to return to her abuser and not to tell family, friends, an anonymous hot line for battered woman or law enforcement about the abuse. Yet the (male) murder victim could not have been afraid of Arias, despite saying he was because he continued to see her.  Doesn't that sound a bit hypocritical? Isn't LaViolette applying a double standard in this manner? She actually talked about the lack of corroborating evidence as the basis for forming the opinion that Travis didn't fear Jodi. Wow, do they really want to talk about the lack of corroborating evidence in this trial? 95% of what Arias has said hasn't been corroborated and cannot be corroborated since the only person who could tell us the truth is dead.

LaViolette seems to be unwilling to say anything negative about Jodi Arias. I find that strange and suspicious. Maybe Jodi gave her a copy of "The Law of Attraction". An unbiased third party evaluating a case such as this should problems with relying only on the words of a criminal defendant. 

An unbiased third party expert should take issue with inconsistencies in the information as told by a criminal defendant. After all, the defendant has much to lose and therefore a higher standard should be given in seeking out the truth. They would want to get as much independent information from sources close to both parties, people with nothing to gain or lose. Why didn't Alyce seek these type of people out? I think she was afraid of what she would find, and that would mess with her assessment of Jodi Arias.

I know I'm being tough on Alyce LaViolette, but I was open minded going in. I was impressed by her credentials and respected her for taking on the topic of domestic abuse in an era where it was not a popular topic. I believed a woman with her background would do more research outside of the defendant, and it certainly would have been helpful for her to get a sense of who Travis Alexander was before rendering her opinion. A truly unbiased expert would have been more interested in the truth, and look at both sides of the story. An unbiased person doesn't arbitrarily decide which statements to believe. I guess I'm disappointed that LaViolette isn't the "pioneer" I thought she would be. I'm disappointed that testimony can be bought.

No ruling from the Judge yet on the defense's motion for a mistrial from last weekend. They continues to pound the table for a mistrial based on prosecutorial misconduct and excessive media coverage. Have they checked out Arias's jailhouse activity, including a Twitter account and online art auctions? In a recent tweet by Arias, she said HLN is that it's an acronym for "Haters Love Negativity". Must be another "Law of Attraction" thing. Using former jailhouse buddy Donavan Bering, Arias has been tweeting her "followers", as if she's a celebrity. Bering was an early supporter of Jodi Arias, speaking out often on the "Hater's Love Negativity" network Arias is so fond of! Look who's taking advantage of the media coverage now.

It really feels like they have forgotten who's on trial here. I wonder how Ms. LaViolette would feel if Travis Alexander were her son. Would her opinion be different? Does she feel like Jodi Arias was justified in the action she took against Travis Alexander? What about the effect her testimony may have on MEN who may be victims of stalking? LaViolette completely discounted Travis's own words, that he felt like a "dildo with a heartbeat", and that he was fearful of the stalking behavior of his ex-girlfriend. She doesn't believe him. Why would any man watching this trial (or woman for that matter) ever seek out this woman's advice?  

I missed the last hour of trial coverage, but am looking forward to the jury questions. It will be interesting to see if they appear to be buying what LaViolette's selling.  Have a great day!

Jodi Arias "Tweets" About Juan Martinez From Behind Bars

Murder defendant Jodi Arias has reportedly been "tweeting" from behind bars. Fox News.com is reporting that Arias, through former jailhouse buddy Donavan Bering has been sending tweets to her 1600 "followers" on Twitter. Although the Maricopa County Sherriff's Office is aware of this activity, they say there is nothing they can do about it. The Twitter account is not Arias's. Arias speaks to Bering frequently via phone, and Arias gives her updates and messages to send to her supporters. On Wednesday night, Bering reportedly posted a link to what is being described as Arias's "personal website", where she continues to hold auctions for her jailhouse artwork. Why is this being allowed? Why aren't they taking any and all proceeds and putting any gains towards her $1.4 million dollar defense?

Yesterday in court, a reference was made to a "manifesto" written by Arias - apparently she wrote it in the event that she was ever famous. She may be infamous now, but for all the wrong reasons. Some of the tweets from Arias appear to be directed towards prosecutor Juan Martinez. She wrote "Hmm... anger management problems anyone?", and "those afflicted with "Little Man's Syndrome" taint society's perception of genuinely good men who happen to be vertically challenged". Looks like Arias believes she is not only a photographer, an artist but now a poet? She also had a message for HLN's Nancy Grace, who pointed out that Arias appeared to be flipping the bird to Dr. Richard Samuels one day in court - this was her own defense expert. Arias tweeted "Actually Nancy, that finger was for you. Have a nice day".

During the redirect of defense expert Alyce LaViolette yesterday by Jennifer Willmott, in stark contrast to her combative and non-responsive replies to the prosecutor's questions, she suddenly was able to answer yes or no questions when asked, and her tone was notably more cooperative - is the jury noticing these details? It has been reported that jury questions for LaViolette have been piling up, and given that LaViolette seems to give 5 minute answers for every question, she could rack up another $3,000.00 in court appearance testimony fees answering jury questions.  Is it just me, or has LaViolette bordered on contempt of court in her refusal to answer the prosecutor's questions as instructed? She addresses the Judge, which seems highly inappropriate in any court room. 

Also disclosed during yesterday's proceedings:  Alyce LaViolette's revealed that Jodi Arias told her that she shot Travis Alexander IN THE CLOSET, not in the bathroom as she testified under oath. Even when presented with the facts that Jodi Arias lied to her own defense expert Richard Samuels, and she told a different account of where the gunshot occurred to LaViolette - she still believes Jodi Arias has no pattern of lying. This expert has provided little more than a one-sided assessment that assumed that everything Jodi Arias said was the absolute truth. She never sought out the opinions of Travis Alexander's family or friends, the people who knew him the best in an effort to substantiate any of her findings. She blatantly has ignored Travis's own words that he was in fear of Arias near the end of his life, she chose to believe that Jodi's own father lied to Detective Flores, insinuating that he had reason to not tell the truth because he too was abusive to Jodi. If LaViolette wanted to, she could have interviewed "Travis's women", she could have spoken to Travis's friends, his family and Jodi Arias's family. Since she did none of those things, I have to believe that her assessment is invalid because it's one sided and 100% based on Arias's accounts on what happened.

How can an expert do this? LaViolette was hired to find abuse. Let's face facts, she wouldn't be up there testifying if she didn't come to the conclusions that she came to. But how can she honestly testify that Jodi was truthful and Travis wasn't? That's quite a leap, and she's taken many leaps in this case. If only LaViolette could admit that some of the things Arias did were questionable, and if she could admit that her assessment may be flawed if Jodi Arias was not truthful with her. She can't bring herself to even admit that - she is 100% certain of everything she has said. She loses credibility with her inflexible views and her double standards about Jodi's "family of origin" issues, and how can she say that Arias peering through Travis Alexander's window while he was with another woman was not stalking? Was she invited for a peep show? Or does Alyce believe since Arias had the code to Travis's garage and his e-mail password, and in one text message he tells her to "make herself at home", that she is free to spy on him?

Will LaViolette's apparent bias against Travis Alexander backfire on the defense? I suspect it may, based largely on the fact that she failed to seek out any other witnesses, family or friends of either party before reaching her conclusions. I don't believe it was fair of her to assume that Aria's own father had any motive to lie about his daughter being untruthful with her parents. It was not fair for her to discount Travis's fear of Jodi based on the fact that he continued to see her. Jodi Arias claims Travis was abusive and she was afraid of him but she continued to see him. What's the difference? According to Alyce, it's completely normal for a battered woman to continue to return to her abuser. Sure sounds like a double standard to me.

The angry text message from Travis Alexander to Jodi Arias tells the story about how he was feeling towards her in the last days/weeks of his life. "You are absolutely the worst thing that ever happened to me". "I want you to understand how evil I think you are", Travis wrote to Arias. During her redirect, Jennifer Willmott argued that if Travis was fearful of Jodi, would he likely be able to fall asleep next to her in his bed? LaViolette reiterated that she didn't feel he was fearful. If you apply that same standard to Arias, if SHE was so afraid of Travis Alexander, why would she drive through the night from Pasadena to Mesa and fall asleep next to her batterer? They can't have it both ways folks! Yet Arias is using the statistics that many abused women never report the physical abuse as a shield to support her lack of evidence that he ever laid a hand on her. She's using "The Law of Attraction" as an excuse for why she never wrote in her trusty journal about the abuse. It's weak, and it won't work. 

I'm sounding like a broken record on this issue, but EVEN IF you believe Arias was kicked, choked and abused by Travis Alexander - by law, her self defense claim is invalid. If somebody slaps you, by law you cannot shoot and stab them. You can only use enough force necessary to neutralize the immediate danger. You cannot continue to stab somebody who is no longer a threat to you. And she certainly had no justifiable reason to slit his throat. Is this how a "reasonable" person would respond to a linebacker lunge? We now know that Arias had some karate lessons, and Ryan Burns has testified that she's a lot stronger than she appears. For those people who don't believe Arias would have been able to drag a much heavier Travis Alexander back into the shower, there is a story on Fox News 15.com today about a man in Oregon who was pinned under a 3,000 pound tractor - his 14 and 16 year old daughters were able to lift it enough for him to wiggle out! Adrenaline is a powerful thing.

Court is supposed to start at 10:30AM PST today. Given the repeated delays and late starts, I hope Judge Stephens clamps down on both sides and urges them to move forward with this trial. They were already talking about dates in May in relation to this trial! I heard yesterday that there may be one more defense witness following LaViolette - although I haven't been able to verify that.

Great job yesterday by prosecutor Juan Martinez, who was very effective and lost nothing with his toned down style. Have a great day! Updates to follow....

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