Judge Sherry Stephens handed down a ruling on a motion filed by Jodi Arias attorneys Kirk Nurmi and Jennifer Willmott regarding her eligibility for the death penalty at her sentencing retrial. In a minute entry dated February 5, 2014, Judge Stephens ruling stated:
...the fact that the first jury was unable to unanimously agree on the sentence to be imposed is inapposite to the Eight Amendment's narrowing requirement. The class of first degree murderers eligible for the death penalty is not broadened by a jury's inability to determine the appropriate sentence at the penalty phase. Defendant has not been "acquitted" of the death sentence by the jury's failure to reach a verdict, and thus there is no constitutional bar to retrying the penalty phase. See Medina 232 Ariz at 17-28 (holding ARS 13-752K's) provision for retrial after a hung jury phase does not result in cruel or unusual punishment or violate the Double Jeopardy clause.
IT IS ORDERED denying the defendants Motion to Dismiss Death: Cruel and Unusual Punishment filed January 17, 2014.
In Arias' Motion, she had argued that it was unconstitutional to allow a second jury to sentence her to death - citing it was cruel and unusual punishment and amounted to double jeopardy. Want to know what we think was cruel and unusual punishment? Stabbing your ex boyfriend in excess of 25 times before slitting his throat and shooting him in the face. THAT was cruel and unusual punishment. Judge Stephens also wrote in her ruling "Defendant misconstrues the Eight Amendment's narrowing requirement....the Eight Amendment requires that aggravating factors in capital cases must "genuinely narrow the classes of persons eligible for the death penalty and must reasonable justify the imposition of a more severe sentence on the defendant compared to others found guilty of murder".
There was also another minute entry dated February 4, 2014 that refers to an exhibit. The entry says "Court has been advised by the Exhibits Department that exhibit #243 which is in a sealed plastic bag containing a handbag was not inventoried of the items contained inside". The ruling was to unseal and inventory the contents of exhibit #243 and update the exhibit worksheet. Wonder what's in the handbag? Wouldn't it be something if there was a handgun in there? It appears by the Superior Court minute entries that arguments have been ongoing, motions have been ruled on and this re trial has been chugging along - albeit out of the eye of the media and the public. As for the Estrella Jail's most infamous inmate, has she really gone "radio-silent" as promised in a recent tweet? So far she's kept to her word, we'll see how long she can remain silent!