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Jodi Arias Trial Delayed.....Again

It's not surprising, yet the news that's bound to make prosecutor Juan Martinez cringe - Judge Sherry Stephens has granted a motion giving Jodi Arias more time to prepare for her upcoming penalty phase retrial.  The trial was slated to begin with jury selection on September 8th is now set for September 29th.  I know the wheels of justice in this country can be painfully slow, but this is beyond ridiculous given that the Arias defense has had a year and a half to prepare for this day.  We basically have a convicted murderer who doesn't get a long with lead attorney Kirk Nurmi. She wants him off her case and he wants to be off the case.  But given the time and resources the state has put into giving Jodi Arias the defense team she fought to keep prior to going to trial, there is no time or resources to allow her to hire another attorney and get them up to speed.  She has competent representation, she doesn't have to like him and vice versa.

She may blame Kirk Nurmi for losing her trial, but she can't really think it's his fault.  He had a bad case to start with, the police had so much evidence against Arias and she really was her own worst enemy in the way she has handled herself since she smiled for her mug shot. When it became clear Arias couldn't lie her way out of this murder charge, she turned to slander, shock and what many believe to be outright lies to try to garner sympathy and make this slaughter look justified.  None of which worked, thankfully the jury saw through the attempts to paint Travis Alexander as a pedophile and domestic batterer - but Arias' and Nurmi's infighting didn't help them either. The extent or exact reasons for their apparent hatred of each other isn't really known, but it's been chalked up to a difference in opinion on trial strategy.  I think Nurmi was realistic about their chances of anything other than first degree murder, but I think Arias thought she could actually walk away with a lesser charge of second degree murder or manslaughter.  With all the evidence pointing to a calculated and planned murder that was not likely to happen.

There has been so much secrecy around this trial it's hard to know what's really been happening.  All we can do is look to the Court's Minute Entries to try and see what's going on in all of these closed door hearings.  Here's the latest two minute entries, the first of which is from August 20th:

IT IS ORDERED that the For the Record remaining portion of these proceedings shall be sealed and not provided to any person or transcribed absent further Order of the Court.

IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Court Reporter, Mike Babicky shall seal his notes as to this portion of the proceedings; not to be made available for the public or persons other than: counsel associated with this case, or any higher Court that may request it; absent further order of 
the Court. Ms. Arias’ expert appears telephonically and is questioned by Ms. Arias, Mr. Martinez and the Court. This expert does not anticipate authoring a report in this case.

LET THE RECORD REFLECT the State’s experts for the penalty phase are set forth on the record. The State requests the addresses of the civilian witnesses disclosed by the Defendant and that interviews of those witnesses be scheduled September 5, 6 and/or 7, 2014. Defendant advises that the witnesses have asked that their addresses not be given to the State; and that contact between the State and Defendant’s witnesses go through defendant’s 
advisory counsel. 

IT IS SO ORDERED. Defendant is directed that the State must have a mechanism for contacting Defendant’s disclosed witnesses and that those witnesses shall submit to an interview by the prosecutor prior to trial. 
The Court will look into where the interviews will be conducted, either at the Courthouse or at the Estrella Jail.

IT IS ORDERED setting the next Capital Case Management Conference and hearing on pending motions for SEPTEMBER 4, 2014 at 8:30 a.m. in this division. The State has no objection to Defendant’s Motion to Continue, so long as firm dates and times are established for interviewing Defendant’s expert and for her civilian witnesses.

IT IS ORDERED setting a date and time certain for interview by the State of Defendant’s expert – SEPTEMBER 2, 2014 at 9:00 a.m., in Arizona. Specific location to be determined. There being no objection by the State and for the reasons articulated on the record this morning as well as issues discussed in an ex parte proceeding.

THE COURT FINDS extraordinary circumstances exist warranting a delay and that delay is in the interest of justice. Accordingly,
IT IS ORDERED vacating the September 8 re-trial of the Penalty Phase of this Capital Case and resetting same for SEPTEMBER 29, 2014 at 8:30 a.m., 16 days allotted. 

Jury selection will consist of three panels of 100 jurors, appearing at 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on September 29. Those available/not excused will complete the Questionnaire; the Questionnaires 
will be copied and provided to counsel/Defendant. Division staff will re-send the Questionnaire via Email to counsel. Defendant requests that the State set a date and time certain for her Investigator to observe the crime scene. The Prosecutor will contact his case agent immediately following this 
hearing to schedule a date and time certain, on or before August 28, as requested by Defendant. Prior custody orders are affirmed.


9:04 a.m. Matter concludes

So what does it all mean?  Who are "the defendant's expert and civilian" witnesses?  Will her family testify under the circumstances that Arias is acting as her own attorney this time around? How many of you think Arias will really end up acting as her own attorney when it comes down to trial day? She may make it through the jury selection, but I can't believe she expects to go toe to toe with Juan Martinez and come out on top.  I believe Jodi Arias' move to self-represent is largely in part because she believes this action will sway the Judge into letting her fire Kirk Nurmi and the other part being her narcissistic need to be front and center in that courtroom.  This could end up being the SECOND BIGGEST MISTAKE OF HER LIFE!  Let's take a look at the other minute entry from August 19th:

MINUTE ENTRY
Courtroom SCT-5C
Based on request by Defense because their witness is not available,
IT IS ORDERED vacating Evidentiary Hearing on 8/22/14 and resetting same on 8/20/14 

at 8:30 a.m. in this division.

Not much there, the defense's witness was not available - is this going to be the tone of the rest of this trial? Witnesses who are not available, or who say they are afraid to testify because of harassment and threats made against them?  Arias is already complaining that she doesn't have adequate access to interview witnesses because she is in jail. Duh.  Aside from not having a law degree, that's probably one of the top reasons people who are behind bars should not represent themselves.  

Meanwhile, television stations are making requests to the court to air delayed trial coverage - one such proposal has them airing the footage after court has recessed for the day.  The 2012 trial grabbed millions of TV viewers, and naturally the media wants to cover the retrial. However, Arias' defense has complained that the excessive coverage was to blame for witnesses refusing to testify due to threats and general harassment.  This is the crux of the reason they aren't airing the trial live this time around.  I have to believe Jodi Arias wants her face on that TV. She seems to love the attention, and seems oblivious that much of it isn't positive. 

According to a report on Foxtv10.com, since Arias is representing herself she could choose not to oppose the request for live coverage or some variation on when it would be played. She doesn't ultimately have the power to make this decision, though her opinion on the matter would be heard.  If trial footage was played after court recessed, any witnesses who testified would be gone and since the witness list is sealed their testimony would not be anticipated or known until after the fact. This could solve a lot of the problems they encountered during the first trial, and it seems like a fair proposition.  I think the public absolutely has a right to see this trial play out - and since the courtroom doesn't hold millions of viewers, television is the only way most people will ever get to see the justice system at work.  It gives the defendant a fair trial and it gives the people access, just not in real time.  

Will this trial ever begin? Will Travis Alexander's rights ever be taken into consideration while we bend over backwards to ensure the person convicted or murdering him has everything she wants and needs at her penalty phase retrial?  Sorry, but I hate that the murder victim and his loved ones seemingly have so few rights when it comes time for an actual trial to begin.  I understand why, better to use an overabundance of caution and in the interest of justice we never would want to risk sending an innocent person to prison for life - but she was already found guilty!  Isn't a year and a half enough time to prepare for this one part of the trial?

This has to end.


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