Jodi Arias and her defense attorneys will be back in court in Maricopa County, Arizona today to begin the sentencing phase of the trial.  Yesterday, the jury deliberated for less than 2 hours and found that the State of Arizona had proven the aggravating factor of cruelty and the judge barred Jodi Arias (for her own good) from having interviews until after sentencing.  I was not surprised in the least, in fact I expected it to happen.  Her defense team is trying their best to help her.  First off, she seems to be a difficult client to work with.  Secondly, unlike what people like, Vinnie Politan, want you to believe, defense attorneys cannot just create something fantastic that makes their client look innocent out of thin air.  They have to have something to work with, perhaps an actually innocent client would be helpful.

The media always talks about the lack of women on death row, as if we should just add some to even it out because it’s unfair.  Well, death penalty convictions should be based on a case by case basis.  I personally don’t believe that we as a society are responsible enough to be doling out death sentences (we can’t take them back after all).  Jodi Arias’ sentencing has an interesting backdrop.  Florida, with the highest number of death row DNA exonerations, is attempting to execute people faster to make sure that we don’t know who is innocent and guilty (not to mention what is happening with Clemente Javier Aguirre-Jarquin’s case and the fact that it takes 13 years on average to exonerate an innocent person from death row) and Texas, which used to be the death capital of the U.S., is jumping on the chance to restore integrity to its death row after its continuing exonerations.  

The latest DNA exoneration in Arizona was in 2010 and was not a murder case, but did involve a false-confession and a leading police lineup.  Not to mention what’s going on with Debra Milke’s case.  Debra Milke was convicted of the murder of her son more than 20 years ago and sentenced to death.  The only evidence against her was a police officer who said she confessed.  She recently was able to get her conviction overturned because prosecutors withheld exculpatory evidence.  They failed to disclose to the defense that the officer who claimed to have obtained a confession (which was not taped nor heard by anyone else) had previously lied multiple times about obtaining confessions.  The prosecutors appealed and have lost their first appeal.  The prosecutors have vowed to appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.  Hopefully, they will tell them to get outta here!  Debra Milke deserves a fair, new trial, at the very least.  In fact, she should have had a fair trial 20 years ago!  While the media concentrates on Jodi Arias, we may be looking at an innocent person, Debra Milke, who has suffered for years in prison over the murder of her son and she hardly gets any coverage.  This afternoon Politan on HLN was talking about women on death row, including the three in Arizona. Of course, he didn’t tell his viewers that her conviction was overturned. Instead he stated that she killed her own four-year-old son, even though she hasn’t had a fair trial yet.

Jodi Arias has basically no chance of a DNA exoneration, mostly due to the fact that her DNA is there.  I am not an appellate attorney, but she does have some grounds for appeals that I can see.  Some are better than others.

Her first and, in my opinion, best chance for appeal is what happened at the aggravation hearing compared to the trial.  Its quite a crazy story.  Detective Flores claimed at the aggravation hearing that the M.E. Dr. Kevin Horn told him, in a meeting, that the gunshot wound happened first.  Fast forward to trial, Detective Flores said that he was wrong.  He apparently imagined that whole entire meeting.  Dr. Horn also said that the meeting never happened, he never said that and never would because the gunshot happened last.  Now, Dr. Horn also had apparent, “typos” in his autopsy, which is concerning as well.  But, because both Detective Flores and Dr. Horn agree that the detective made up what the judge in the aggravation hearing based the aggravating factor of cruelty on, puts that procedure in question.  Someone is lying, either the gunshot wound was first or last, you can’t have it both ways.  Is it fair to have the detective claim something at a hearing and then claim the opposite later?  I don’t believe that this would result in a new trial, but it should result in a new sentencing (assuming that Jodi Arias is given the death penalty, which is likely).

Her smaller chances, barring any other legal things I can’t think of, plus anything that happened at hearings and in chamber meetings that are private, would have to do with the jury, the prosecutor, or the media.  She had three jurors booted off the jury for a variety of infractions, which is terrible and disrespectful to everyone, including the family of Travis Alexander.  If there is any more juror misconduct we don’t know about, that would be appealable.  The intense media coverage and no sequestration could be appealable (every high-profile case should be sequestered, so that jurors won’t be influenced by media and public outcries). I personally believe it is impossible for jury members to avoid all outside sway.  The judge running that last day of trial well past closing time, could have worn the jury out.  Tired jurors don’t pay attention.  I would say that she could have a good chance with any sleeping jurors (if applicable), but I’ve heard appeals courts say people have competent attorneys who are sleeping, wow!

Like with Nancy Grace years ago, if Juan Martinez said anything irrelevant and prejudicial (or untrue) in his closing, that could overturn a conviction.  I don’t believe, from what I could see, that she could argue incompetent counsel successfully.  There is one exception to that, her attorneys did file a motion that stated that they could not defend her fully because of Juan Martinez’s prosecutorial misconduct.  Juan Martinez throwing that picture of Travis Alexander, insensitively and unnecessarily, up on the projector, shocking the courtroom is something that could be considered prejudicial.  Juan Martinez is his own worst enemy, as well as the taxpayers’.  He could have had this case wrapped up a month ago, with a pretty bow, foolproof, end of discussion, but he isn’t that good at his job.

If Jodi Arias is sentenced to death and that is upheld in courts, then she will spend about 12 years on death row before she is given a death date.  This allows for us to, hopefully, discover any mistakes.  Meanwhile, her family will not be allowed to have contact visits with her.  She will only be able to read 2 books every 2 weeks.  She will be allowed to exercise in a secured area for 2 hours a day, 3 times a week or 6 hours a week.  She will be allowed to talk on the phone in 2 ten minute calls per week.  She will be allowed to have clergy visits at her cell.  Her personal property will be limited to hygiene items, two appliances, two books (as mentioned before), and writing materials.  Female inmates on Death Row are housed at the Lumley Unit at the Arizona State Prison Complex-Perryville.

If the jury followed the responsibilities of their unbiased job and the lawyers and the judge did what they were supposed to do, then I fully respect the verdict of the jury.  They were tasked with making this huge and extremely serious decision and that is what they saw as the facts.  I do disagree with the degree of murder, but I can see how someone can find 1st degree.  I certainly disagree with some of the jurors believing felony murder and premeditated murder.  Prosecutors aren’t supposed to legislate for us, they are not elected at all let alone to make laws.  Burglary?  Really?

This case was tragic all the way around.  First off, it was completely insensitive for Nancy Grace and others to mock Jodi Arias’ suicide attempts.  Threats of suicide are ALWAYS to be taken seriously and never to be joked about or made light of.  Especially, since she began threatening at the age of 14.  I don’t care that her name is Jodi Arias, she was a 14 year old kid and that is and continues to be sad and horrible.  The relationship was obviously toxic.  I do believe that Jodi Arias does have some kind of mental defect, both the defense experts and state experts believe so (even though they differ on the diagnosis).  In fact, the symptoms of Borderline do fit her.  Job changes, interrupted education, suicide threats and attempts, comorbidity PTSD, risky behavior, inappropriate anger issues, difficulty controlling emotion, feeling alone or empty, fear, and self-loathing.  Personally, that sounds like mental hell.

Everyone around Travis Alexander claims that they could see something wasn’t right, but they did nothing.  Travis Alexander either didn’t see her problems or didn’t want to see them either way he saw something different in their relationship then she did.  This “miscommunication” ended very terribly for both of them.  Travis Alexander lost his life, but so did Jodi Arias, regardless of whether she gets a death sentence or life.  Both families have suffered a lot.  I don’t agree with causing more suffering by giving Jodi Arias the death penalty, but the way the jurors answered so loud and clear to the aggravating factor, I feel that it is coming. I would be happy to be wrong.  I also don’t agree with hating anyone, Jodi Arias, Travis Alexander, either family, the supporters of either, hate is hate and it is never right.  It does nothing for us, but kill ourselves and others.  Travis Alexander said disturbing things and it is never right or healthy, despite shockingly what people apparently believe both “journalists” and people, to talk about children sexually.  He said bullyish things and very deep and hurtful words to Jodi Arias.  Jodi Arias killed him and he did suffer, how much we cannot know without speculating (people tend to speculate the worst anyway).

I think one of the most important lessons in this case is that if you know someone that could be suffering from a mental issue, reach out and care.  Healthy minds give everyone the happy life they deserve.

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Comments
  1. Jeannie Harper says:

    I am also extremely bothered about this trial. What JA did to TA was horribly. viciously, morally wrong. Her statement today, sadly, has fallen short of raising the bar of getting life in prison as opposed to receiving a death sentence. Responsible adults accept responsibility for their actions and decisions good or bad. Today, I have been sadly disillusioned as I did not see the level of remorse from JA for such a heinous crime, for which she has been convicted of. She presently speaks of wanting to help other inmates in prison, I find this very inadequate as she should seek help for herself first. I believe firmly in the ten commandments “thou shall not kill” . The lord alone has the power to avenge this cruel deed. It is very sad that having a mental disability that was never recognized could end this way. Therefore, I am in favor life in prison without chance of parole would be more fitting, and she would have plenty of time to reflect on her behavior.

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  2. yw says:

    I totally agree with you about the electronic devices, when you pull up any news site jodi arias name pops up. I believe that the jury should have been sequestered because it was such a high profile case like Casey Anthony’s case. We are so quick to judge in this day and age and we say anything behind a screen on a computer. I believe that the facts did not support the verdict and the jurors are not being honest about hearing or seeing anything about this case. Our justice system is so important that some people who “hate” don’t realize that it could be you instead of Jodi or any one of your family members. I wish the world would stop hating on each other and try to figure out ways to help those who have mental issues. We will never know what happened that day, but we know that two people lives have been changed forever, in the very worst way.

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    • JanCorey says:

      I suspect that someday soon, all jurors will be sequestered, as the current system with all the media involvement is not working out now-a-days.

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  3. I saw Vinnie Politan go over the current women on AZ death row a couple of
    weeks ago with a huge wall freeze behind him, and was also
    struck that Debra Milke’s name was still up there and that he “forgot” to
    mention recent events. Heaven forbid that Vinnie should cast any doubt in
    his faithful’s minds that convictions are sometimes just plain WRONG. No
    doubt she is a nothing-to-write-home-about looking middle-aged woman by
    now so HLN would not want to waste too much valuable ratings time on her
    anyway, even if what she had done were well-evidenced.

    I have repeatedly stated my belief that not only do jurors look at the
    media in some form of other, for which there have been various anecdotal
    hearsay through-the-grapevine reports, but that the media, HLN
    specifically, go all out during the trial precisely because they know
    that, so with non-stop coverage they are hoping to “catch” al the jurors
    with their bias at one time or another. Vinnie Politan is perhaps the most
    ubiquitously and vehemently vocal with his multiple spots on various shows
    and his juvenile bitchy and snide remarks. Last night on After Dark he
    sneered that Jodi was “too cheap to get her friend a proper wedding
    present” when they were discussing the forthcoming mitigation appearance
    of Arias’ girlhood friend Patty, to whom Arias gifted a professional-level
    wedding photo-shoot. This kind of below-the-belt adolescent-girl style
    commentary trips out of Politan’s mouth every other sentence, and judging
    by the Twitter and Facebook commentaries of many in the public his
    emotional and intellectual developmental stage is in line with that of
    HLN’s devotees. The frightening thing is that so many women profess to
    finding this over-grown schoolboy attractive and insightful (!) and these
    same women are part of potential jury pools.

    I am horrified at what I have just read that Arias will not be allowed any
    family contact visits. I had no idea till now that that would be the case.
    I don’t understand the inhumanity of this. I was not raised in US culture
    and what many Americans take for granted, the death penalty and all its
    accompanying rules I find retrograde, barbaric and hypocritical. That
    added to this there should be no family time is unspeakable. The death
    penalty appears to punish family members even more than the defendant,
    both before and after the sentence is carried out.

    The mocking of mental health issues is Nancy Grace’s specialty, with her
    Facebook parade of mug shots of the day. A cursory glance at these
    unfortunates and the event that got them there often hints at someone not
    quite working with a full deck who got into trouble because their issues
    are not being managed properly, if they are even recognized. My sense from
    hearing about Jodi, including from Gus Searcy, with whom I have talked
    personally, is that she was a well-mannered and well-meaning person who
    nevertheless lacked social skills and confidence when in any situation
    other than on a one-to-one. She was probably extremely awkward and gauche
    and no doubt made some inept approaches to people. She walked right into
    the wrong community of highly judgmental and cliquey people who instead of
    recognizing her insecure eccentricity for what it was and making an effort
    to nurture her into feeling more at ease, reacted with hostility and
    insensitivity, labeling her oddness as having some “evil” or
    “manipulative” intent. Now we have a nightly parade on shows like “Dr”
    Drew with his “Behavior Bureau” where “close friends of Travis” relate
    what in and of themselves are insignificant or quite reasonable behaviours
    on her part given the circumstances and attribute all kinds of imaginary
    and completely unsubstantiated motivations and agendas behind them in a
    simplistic Monday morning quarterback attempt to connect everything she
    did in the past “significantly” with what she ended up doing. I also
    suspect that after 2 years of being cold-shouldered and maligned by
    Alexander and his circle some of that built up shame and humiliation
    offloaded itself that final afternoon.
    Please read my article:
    Plea to the Insanity of Tomato Tossers
    http://babelbooth.com/2013/03/26/plea-to-the-insanity-of-tomato-tossers/

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    • JanCorey says:

      I read somewhere that Vinnie Neopolitan is contractually barred from ever presenting a “favorable” light on any defendant of any case they are attempting to cover on HLN; all of the hosts are barred that way and all of them have been “sanctioned” in the past by HLN by suspending them from their own shows from time to time. Facts are never considered, only speculation to get re-turn viewers who attempt to follow-up on crucial parts they deliberately leave out in order to justify their own angles on stories. Ratings triumphs over facts at HLN.

      Like

  4. PK says:

    Thank you for your thoughtful post and could not agree more.
    As juror #8 has stated, they spend their time in the jury room with their electronic devices, Smartphones, I pads, IPhones, etc.! You are right, they were not in a cave even in the jury room while deliberating.
    Regarding Jodi’s mental illness. She was evaluated and tested by professional with many years experience and found no mental illness. Or that’s right, Dr. Demarti, with her very limited experience and who did not understand the test she was administering found borderline personally disorder but failed to acknowledge that this diagnosis has been mistakenly used in ptsd/dv cases. I would love to see Jodi get help with the issues that this trauma and her incarceration have caused.

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  5. Rose Chimera says:

    I have been extremely bothered at the public’s reaction to this entire trial. From the defense attorney bashing to calling Jodi Arias all sorts of derogatory names. Her family has been attacked and put down without mercy. I keep hearing that recording of Travis talking about a 12 year old girl having her first orgasm…he was not an innocent person deserving of sainthood as the public would want us to believe. Alas, as you said, its just a horrible situation all around, for everyone. Indeed, Jodi showed signs of mental illness all her life. If her parents are responsible for anything it is taking those signs and wrongly interpreting them as typical teenage angst. To put Jodi to death and not even factor in her mental illness would be a crime in itself. It certainly won’t bring Travis back and listening to his family during the penalty phase..though its been 5 years give or take for them I am a little taken aback that it is still so raw for them. Death penalty for Jodi won’t give them closure, in my opinion, as they’ve let this whole circus atmosphere affect them in ways that they don’t even understand. There should have been no cameras allowed in this case, the jury sequestered, for all the reasons you stated above. Indeed if it was a quieter more control atmosphere perhaps the verdict would have been a little different. Also as you stated above. I find it utterly impossible for every juror to have avoided any and all media coverage, party conversation or anything else related to this case..for over 4 months. Really? Did they go into a darkened cave with no TV, radio, internet or newspaper or humans for that matter? Highly improbable and unlikely.

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