A new jury for the penalty phase of the Jodi Arias trial could be chosen in September to decide whether Jodi Arias should get life or death, Judge Sherry Stephens said today in a court hearing in Arizona.  There are no indications of any plea deal from either prosecutors or defense attorneys.  Jodi Arias was convicted of first-degree murder May 8th in the death of Travis Alexander.  That same jury could not unanimously decide on life or death in the penalty phase and a mistrial was declared for sentencing.  The case is currently in limbo.  Arias’ attorneys continue to file motions on her behalf, including a motion to throw out the aggravating factor, “especially cruel” based upon vague definition.  Prosecutors argue that courts have found the process continues to pass constitutional tests.  Judge Sherry Stephens gave attorneys until August 5th to file all their motions supporting their arguments.

“It appears there are a number of issues that are unresolved so I am reluctant to set a firm trial date for the penalty phase retrial at this time,” Stephens said, “Parties should work toward beginning trial in late September. That is my intention.”

Today’s hearing which started at 1:30 p.m. (EST) lasted less than an hour.  Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery has said the state is still preparing to seek the death penalty.  He said the cost of the case would play no role in his office’s decision, but he would consider consultation with the victim’s family and defense lawyers.  The Arias case has cost about average for a capital case.  Seating a new impartial jury could take weeks or longer given widespread media attention and social media gossiping.  Presenting trial testimony, in some predetermined fashion, to the new jurors and evidence in order to bring them up to speed, would then follow this lengthy process.  Before presenting the actual penalty phase arguments again.  The defense has indicated they wish to prepare a mitigation case this time.  Hopefully the penalty phase witness list won’t include people who are intimidated out of testifying by people who lack respect for the process and people involved.

If the second jury also cannot reach a unanimous decision, then Jodi Arias would be sentenced to life in prison.  Jodi Arias admitted to killing Travis Alexander in self-defense, but prosecutors argued, successfully, that she murdered Travis Alexander out of resentful jealousy.  It is the law in Arizona that a jury must reach a life or death decision in a capital case by unanimity and that the state gets two tries in the penalty phase before the death penalty is taken off the table.

Defense attorneys Kirk Nurmi and Jennifer Willmott previously asked for an extension due to scheduling conflicts with other clients (Willmott has 5 trials pending in the latter half of this summer).

A status conference was set for August 26th.

  1. Lon Spector says:

    What a fiasco is the death penalty. When are we going to progress beyond an eye for an eye? Killing Jodi would do nothing to bring Travis back.
    Why are we so concerned with evening scores? It seems our conception of “justice” is when we receive the exact outcome we want. In that case
    there will never be “justice.”


  2. jean harper says:

    its about time ja showed up in court looking like the murderer that she is. Its about time that she learns that she does not control all things.


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