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Jodi Arias Seeking Donations - JAA Appellate Fund

Jodi Arias' website, where she is hawking Limited-Edition copies of her artwork for $39.00 a pop now has a link to a site seeking donations for her appeal.  The "JAA Appellate Fund, An Irrevocable Trust"  is the registration on the account set up to take your money to help offset her legal fees!  Hey, wait just a minute....aren't the Arizona taxpayers still paying for her current legal fees?  She wants more of your money.  I won't reference her website here because it seems that every time we turn around Jodi Arias is trying to pick the public's pocket - whether it be via Survivor t-shirts, original artwork, limited edition artwork, and let's not forget the commissary fund - a must for all wrongfully convicted inmates.

Let's talk about this JAA Appellate Fund.  It says the following about the fund and what it was created for:  This is the official donation website for assisting with the legal fees associated with appealing Jodi Arias's wrongful conviction (yes, it says wrongful conviction) Previous trial and pre trial costs amounted to millions of dollars (not YOUR dollars, Jodi). Therefore, appeals are expected to be costly.  Donations are not tax deductible.

Appeals Process:  Direct (Automatic) Appeal - The Arizona Supreme Court independently reviews the case.  Most convictions are upheld at this stage.

Post Conviction Relief:  If a mandate is issued upholding the conviction, the Arizona Supreme Court automatically initiates post conviction relief (PCR) proceedings. PCR proceedings allow the defendant to raise claims of ineffective assistance of counsel (uuhmm...YOU MUST KEEP KIRK NURMI AS MY LEAD ATTORNEY, IT'S VITAL TO MY CASE.....YOU MUST LET ME FIRE KIRK NURMI, HE HASN'T COME TO SEE ME SINCE I WAS CONVICTED) or other factors the probably would have led to a different outcome at trial. 

Irrevocable Gift Trust:  Donations are non-refundable and are made to the JAA Appellate Fund. This money will not go to or through Jodi Arias or her family, but will be used strictly for the limited purpose of paying for the legal costs associated with Jodi Arias's appeals. If for any reason whatsoever appeals are not pursued or if after appeals are completed there are funds remaining, the entire balance will be equally distributed between two nonprofit organizations. One assists disabled children and the other is a no-kill animal sanctuary. (What happened to the domestic violence/battered women's shelter support? Is Ms. Arias trying to broaden her humanitarian horizons in order to reach a broader audience?)

OK, this is the United States of America and everybody is entitled to a fair trial and competent representation.  Jodi Arias had both.  She was convicted, not because of Kirk Nurmi's "utter poverty of people skills" but because a jury of her peers decided she committed murder in the first degree.  Prior to her conviction and her rapid-fire attempts to fire lead attorney Kirk Nurmi, she was making pleas to the court on the absolute merits of retaining Nurmi as her attorney after he left the office of public defender. Remember this, I believe she wrote to the judge how detrimental it would be if she had to get a new attorney up to speed, citing that nobody knew her case as Nurmi did? The court eventually agreed to pay Kirk Nurmi an additional $100.00 per hour and ordered him to stay on the case?  The taxpayers paid at least an additional $200,000.00 to Kirk Nurmi alone, and much of that was because the defendant wanted to retain him and not have another attorney start from scratch.  So now, when she will undoubtedly argue ineffective counsel I just have laugh at the way this woman wants it all her way.

I realize Jodi Arias has supporters out there in the world. Despite what I think of her monstrous acts of June 4, 2008 - she is a human being, with a family and friends. But aside from the murder and perjury, Jodi Arias is an opportunist. I see her as a self absorbed woman who truly believes she is some kind of celebrity, someone who has an adoring public - ever since the spotlight was shined on her she refuses to step out of it. She got a taste of recognition, and even if it was for a hideous act she seems to relish it. How else can you explain why she feels the need to tweet or have numerous websites with her name all over them?  She's peddled sketches, original artwork and limited edition artwork, "Survivor" t-shirts, given her opinions on books via her online book club and all the while she has been asking for your money.  Money for her family's travel expenses to and from her trial.  Only at her sentencing trial did she state that 100% of the Survivor proceeds were going to a battered woman's shelter.  Before, the website said "a portion". 

Nobody knows for sure how much of the public's money she has collected in the 5 1/2 years she's been behind bars, but I'd venture to say it's a fair amount of money.  Not including the $1,700,000 defense, and the cost to feed and house her at the Estrella jail complex - and yet she is running what could almost be described as an enterprise from behind bars.  The only thing missing are more than likely her tax returns on said businesses. Just where are the proceeds of the artwork and limited edition prints going?  Is Jodi Arias filing tax returns on the money she's made from selling her artwork? She is required to, by law. Yet she doesn't seem to want to use any of THOSE proceeds for her appeals, she wants the public to foot the bill...again! It would just be in another form, via the old "irrevocable trust".  That means you can't take the money back, by the way. 

Irritated enough? I am!  By the way, it appears on Ms. Arias' site that she has 66 Limited-Edition prints of "Sailing at Sunset" left for sale at $39.00 a pop.  And she now has 100 Limited-Edition prints of "Picasso Calla Lilies" available at $39.00 a pop.  I think that means Jodi Arias has already sold 34 of the "Sailing at Sunset" prints, at $39.00 each.  What is that $1,326.00 being used for? Will that be turned over to Kirk Nurmi or Jennifer Willmott or the taxpayers of Arizona?  I seriously doubt it. She wants to pocket this cash, and have the public pay for her appeals.  Any IRS agents out there looking for an audit?  Have I got a lead for you.

"Cold Justice" Renews With TNT For Season 2

Producer Dick Wolf and TNT announced there will be a Season 2 of their new hit reality crime show "Cold Justice".  The show, which features veteran prosecutor Kelly Siegler, former CSI Yolanda McClary, detective Johnnie Bond and other members of local law enforcement communities will air another ten episodes beginning with the Season Two premiere on Friday, January 17 2014. 

The show premiered in the fall of 2013 and nabbed an impressive market share, and the team's very first televised cold case netted a murder confession from 41 year old Ronnie Hendrick.  In 2001, Pamela Shelly was found dead in the bathroom of the home she shared with Hendricks and her children.  She died from a gunshot wound to the head, her death initially ruled a suicide - but law enforcement was skeptical of the suicide angle from the start, especially after learning that Shelly had loaded up all of her belongings onto a trailer and was ready to move out when she reportedly killed herself!

In addition to the timing of the "suicide", Shelly's 10 year old daughter reportedly told the police that she saw Ronnie Hendrick shoot her mother in the head.  How many times have we heard that the most dangerous time for an abused woman's life is when they try to leave?  This proved to be true for Pamela Shelly.  Ronnie Hendrick escaped justice for 12 years until Siegler and McClary took a fresh look at the cold case.  Who knows if he ever would have been held accountable had they not. Things didn't go smoothly when it came time for jury selection in this case. The District Attorney's office ran into a big problem when it polled 60 potential jurors, and more than one third of them admitted they had watched the Cold Justice episode and had already formed an opinion on the case.  A mistrial was declared, but Hendricks eventually plead guilty in exchange for a 22 year prison sentence.

Kelly Siegler added "the shows ability to affect potential jurors is unlikely to happen again.  In every other case, the show will air way before any trial setting comes up, so there's plenty of time and distance to minimize the effect of the show. This one was different, because it was the pilot. In all circumstances except for the pilot, the show will air long before a local district attorney will be ready to go to trial."

I think Cold Justice is a really good show.  I like the shows concept, and in just a single season it netted some real results, those ladies (and gentlemen) made a real difference in those small communities they traveled to.  I get the sense that Siegler and McClary are not in this for the glitz and glamour of the television viewers, it feels like something much bigger for them. They truly seem to care about these forgotten cold cases, and if they have the chance to help bring a murderer to justice they are all in.  I enjoyed all episodes in Season One, but I especially enjoyed the episode that brought Siegler back to her home town - watching her interact with her father who still owns and operates as the town's barber (in a barbershop/liquor store!) and seeing her high school friends, many of which still live in the same small town she grew up in.

Kelly Siegler is definitely a self-made woman, and her impressive record as a prosecutor was the result of sheer tenacity and her no nonsense style.  She wasn't born with a silver spoon in her mouth, and maybe that's why I admire her.  As a Harris County prosecutor, Siegler tried 68 murder cases and won them all. Many of them were high profile, but perhaps the case that she's most well known for is Texas v. Susan Wright. Her dramatic courtroom performance, said to be over-the-top by some and the gruesome nature of the crime spawned a Lifetime movie called "Blue Eyed Butcher". 

Siegler personally pitched the idea for Cold Justice to producer Dick Wolf who immediately liked it.  In each episode, Siegler and McClary travel to a small town and meet with local detectives and learn everything they can about the unsolved murder case they have taken on. They visit the crime scene, spend an average of 10 days reviewing the evidence, in some cases sending evidence to the crime lab for new analysis - since new technology and testing methods have given law enforcement tools they didn't have access to or didn't exist when the crimes were committed, they re-interview family members and witnesses and seek out new witnesses before assembling a list of potential suspects on a big board.  Together, they compile a list of physical and circumstantial evidence pointing to or away from each suspect until they reach a consensus.

If they believe they have enough evidence pointing to a likely suspect, Siegler writes up a report and delivers it to the local district attorneys office.  From there, the DA either agrees to bring the case to a grand jury or in some cases the DA passes if they believe it lacks enough evidence to indict.  It's fascinating to see how our justice system works, and in some cases to see where our process falls short.  Siegler and McClary seem to have good on-air chemistry, and Johnnie Bonds is a great detective and a master interrogator. I love this show, so I was more than pleased to see that TNT has ordered another 10 episodes for Season Two.  I'm waiting to see if they release an episode guide for next season, as they did for Season One.  It's interesting to see which cases they are taking on, and to look back at the old news stories online about these cold cases before watching Cold Justice take on a case.

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