It's been a while since we've heard anything about the woman who sat quietly behind the Jodi Arias defense table for more than 5 months, Mitigation Specialist Maria De La Rosa. It is now being reported that De La Rosa was "banned" from visits at the Maricopa County Jail after deputies there confiscated what has been described as a "pencil drawing" from Jodi Arias. Apparently Arias gave De La Rosa a sealed manila envelope addressed to Jennifer Willmott during jailhouse visit on February 26th, which was eventually intercepted by one of the guards who found that it contained a drawing and a note to Willmott that it could be used for mitigation.
The drawing was confiscated, as visitors are prohibited from removing such articles from jail visits - and as a result Maria De La Rosa was banned from visiting the Maricopa County jail facilities for a period of time that just ended a few days ago. This has given the Arias defense team another reason to cry "foul", citing this as another reason why Arias has been denied access to her counsel as she awaits the penalty phase retrial. On March 13, De La Rosa's neighbors reportedly observed detectives "snooping around" her house, peeking through garage windows and the windows of her car as it was parked in her driveway. The following day, the detectives knocked on her door and asked to speak to her about her work as Jodi Arias' mitigation specialist. De La Rosa told them she'd be more comfortable answering their questions with her attorney present, to which they said "this isn't a criminal matter".
Nonetheless, De La Rosa got attorney Dan Raynak on the phone, and he was on the line with her as the detectives read a letter aloud stating that she was no longer allowed to visit the jail, and her phone number was no longer considered a "legal number" - essentially cutting her off not only from Jodi Arias but all of her clients who are being held at the Maricopa County Jail! They told her that any attempts to visit would be considered trespassing. And the reason for the so-called ban? You guessed it, that non-legal document she received from Jodi Arias. This is all very bizarre to me, since Arias has been managing to get drawings out of the jail since she's been incarcerated there - in fact we have all been wondering why the Sheriff has been allowing this to continue for so long since it's no secret that Arias is selling them online! Didn't a Maricopa County Sheriff spokesman say something like "we can't stop her from giving the drawings to people during visits" recently?? I think cracking down on the activity is the right thing to do - Arias should not be selling her artwork from behind bars, but the action they took against Maria De La Rosa seems harsh. They are punishing ALL of her clients, not just Jodi Arias. Chances are that she didn't even know what was in the sealed envelope to begin with.
Maybe Sheriff Joe was feeling a bit humiliated himself by all of the postings from people like us who were wondering why his staff was allowing Arias so much freedom to run these money-making schemes while at "America's Toughest Jail"? The "ban" against Maria De La Rosa was recently lifted, so she's no longer prohibited from jail visits but this has given the Arias defense team a little something to run with. They are alleging that Maria De La Rosa was targeted for harrassment because of her infamous client. They are going to use this lack of access period against the State, citing that Arias was denied effective counsel because she couldn't see or talk to her mitigation specialist. I can see this coming a mile away....from the Maricopa County Superior Court website, under Jodi Arias' case history:
NOTE: MOTION TO DISMISS STATE'S NOTICE OF INTENT TO SEEK THE DEATH PENALTY DUE TO STATE'S PRECLUSION OF MITIGATION SPECIALIST
A few more interesting notations on her case page:
NOTE: MOTION TO CONTINUE DISCLOSURE DEADLINE; DEFENDANTS RESPONSE; OBJECTING TO CONDUCTING TRIAL (PENALTY PHASE) IN SECRET AND ALLOWING WITNESSES TO TESTIFY UNDER A PSEUDONYM; SENTENCING MEMORANDUM
NOTE: MOTION TO SEAL EXPERT WITNESS CHERYL KARPS BRIEF IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANTS MOTION TO PRECLUDE PENALTY PHASE REBUTTAL EVIDENCE; EXPERT WITNESS CHERYL KARPS BRIEF IN SUPPORT OF DEFENDANTS MOTION TO PRECLUDE PENALTY PHASE REBUTTAL EVIDENCE
Hmmm. We are seeing Expert Witness Cheryl Karps' name appear again. Are they trying to sneak in some testimony that wasn't heard during their case in chief?
Kirk Nurmi and Jennifer Willmott reportedly also have taken issue with the latest delay that caused the March retrial date to be pushed back to September. Wait, aren't they the ones who asked for the re trial date to be pushed back last year to this March? Prosecutor Juan Martinez was ready to go in the weeks following the mistrial. The trial delays are mind boggling in this country. I've been silently wondering what would happen if even half of the cold murder cases in this country were solved how many new prisons we would need to build to hold all of these people? That statistic they cite at the beginning of Cold Justice stands out in my mind - over 200,000 unsolved homicides, that's just staggering. I'm not sure what period of time that covers, but you get the jest.
The Jodi Arias penalty phase retrial is now projected to begin with jury selection on September 8, 2014. Wow. Convicted on May 8, 2013 and still hasn't been sentenced. What will Juan Martinez do differently this time? He had to be absolutely crushed by the non-verdict, as many people were. Will he approach the jury differently this time around? This is his last shot at sending Jodi Arias to death row. With more than a year's time having passed and cameras banned from the courtroom, how will things change for this trial? How long will this "mini-trial" take and how what exactly will be presented to the jury? This will be very interesting to watch unfold, unfortunately for all of us who really want to watch it live, we will have to get our news the old fashioned way.
Until then, we watch and wait.