The Jodi Arias Penalty re-trial – The Nightmare that never was.
Fact based reporting
by Rob Roman
Research by Amanda Chen
This article is in response to an October 31st article called “Nightmare in Arizona” by Linda Paris on her http://lindapariscrimeblog.com/.
Linda gives no sources or resources for her information and appears to just be winging it (ie: making it up). We just had to respond. Articles like this really illustrate why you are getting highly biased and slanted information as opposed to the objective facts. We have to say that some Arias supporters are doing just as bad a job by also just making things up and just telling you the facts they like. In red are direct quotes from the article and in blue are our responses:
1) “Judge Sherry Stephens cost the tax payers over 2 million dollars in the Jodi Arias Trial”
Well, no, the over 2 million dollar price tag was caused by the insistence of the prosecution and the victim’s family to force this to be a Death Penalty case. There is nothing the judge or the defense is doing to make this trial more expensive than it otherwise would be. Half the stuff that has happened in this trial would not be allowed were this not a Death Penalty case.
2) “Jodi Arias is “having a good ole time” at her 1st degree murder, death penalty trial.”
Does it look to you like Jodi Arias is having a “good ole time”?
3) “Is Judge Sherry Stephens in love with Jodi Arias?”
Actually SpotLightOnLaw was the first to say that Judge Sherry may be smitten with Jodi Arias, but we were only joking.
From our Oct 31, 2013 article:
Juror question #NA
“Jodi, what are you doing in 25 years minus 5 years served plus good behavior?
Wasn’t I patient at the bench? I can wait…..
Yoo-Hoo! I have a discount on Pop Rocks and Tootsie Pops, Woot Woot! Call me!” – Sherri
I don’t see any point in the trial or the penalty re-trial where Judge Sherry Stephens has shown any love for Jodi Arias. In fact, she was visibly and audibly emotional when the jury was not unanimous in voting for the Death Penalty the first time.
4) “Judge Sherry Stephens, the judge who has hosted the second biggest judicial joke of the 21st century, is treading on everyone’s rights in order to keep the citizens of Arizona out of her already, out-of-control courtroom”.
Both sides of this debate have pilloried Judge Sherry Stephens in this Capital case. The Jodites have criticized her for over-ruling some of the defenses’ objections, even ones which some legal minds thought should have been sustained. They criticized her for allowing Martinez to go on and on about Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, a vast and prolonged fishing expedition that yielded nary a minnow
They also generally feel that Sherry let prosecutor Juan Martinez take control of the courtroom frequently, deferring to his over 25 years of experience in Capital Murder court rooms. They believe he engaged in various abuses and misconduct which persists to this day. Then there was Judge Stephen’s emotional response on the bench when a very normal and frequently delivered verdict of “no unanimous decision” was rendered.
Travesites blame Sherry Stephens for allowing what they refer to as trashing the victim via Jodi Arias’ accusations of pedophilia and physical abuse by the victim, Travis Alexander. Their cries against the Judge were faint in the guilt phase, but in the penalty phase re-trial, they are going after her with a vengeance, even going back to the original trial and blaming her even more for allowing the defense to get away with what they presented.
Let’s all remember the reason why Judge Stephens is inexperienced in Capital murder trials. In fact, this is her first Capital murder trial. Why is that? This is because Arizona has a tremendous backlog of 1st degree murder Death Penalty cases. And why is this? Because Arizona has the Death penalty but they use it much more often than most states. They use it to intimidate defendants into confessing or pleading to a life sentence, and to try to force a settlement without going to trial. They use it as a political tool, each consecutive candidate vowing to be tougher on crime than the last.
Arizona recently had more pending Death penalty cases than there are prisoners on death row, well over 120 cases pending. There are currently 121 inmates on death row. There were not enough judges to oversee all these cases, so judges were reeled in from family court and the lower criminal courts, given a crash course in death penalty qualification, and thrust onto the bench. And Arizona vs. Jodi Ann Arias is a very complicated, multi-faceted case. On top of this, you have two (not one) very experienced attorneys who both know just how much they can get away with under a particular judge. Judge Stephens is very mindful of not looking foolish in front of the highly experienced Juan Martinez, so she defers to him often, in our opinion.
Kirk Nurmi has been sure to bring up every motion and objection allowable, and this has given Judge Stephens pause in making sure she does not commit a reversible error. In fact, Travisites applauded Judge Sherry Stephens in the original trial for bending over backwards to make sure that there would be no appealable issues.
But now, after seeing how quick and smoothly the Arizona Death penalty trials of Marissa DeVault and Brian Hulsey went, and after seeing that Judge Stephens emptied the court room for the testim0ny of, out of all possible witnesses, Jodi Arias herself, many now believe that Judge Sherry Stephens is aiding and abetting Arias and the defense, and helping the trial to last forever.
“In 2011, the pending capital cases were down to 66. The highest number of pending cases was 149 death penalty cases.” This is in Maricopa County alone.
5) “Not surprising news since she has assisted Jodi Arias throughout this trial in tormenting, torturing and re-victimizing each member of the Alexander family at every opportunity”.
What? Exactly how did Jodi Arias torment, torture, and re-victimize each member of the Alexander family? Can the author mention even one instance? The Alexander family was not tormented any more than they would have been under any other judge. They must re-visit the pain and agony of their brother’s death each and every time a new legal procedure happens, and there will be much more of them and for a much longer time, with a sentence of death. The author forgets that this was a defense of self-defense, and so there was no avoiding putting the victim on trial. To have prevented the defense from bringing in testimony and evidence that puts Travis Alexander in a bad light would mean a reversal for sure.
6) “As a result of their lack of experience, Kirk Nurmi and Jennifer Willmott have made hay with Judge Sherry’s willingness to allow virtually everything their sadistic client desires, no matter how demented”.
This was also Jennifer Willmott’s first Death Penalty case since she became death qualified, but she’s an experienced criminal defense attorney. Any person who wants to say that Kirk Nurmi is inexperienced would be very wrong. Although he has a ways to go as a trial attorney, he made all the right motions and objections and preserved as many issues for appeal as possible. He worked hard on this case, and fought very hard, even with a client who had been very difficult and uncooperative at times.
Only attorneys who are very experienced with a variety of judges could manipulate a judge to do their bidding and “make hay with Judge Sherry’s willingness to allow” the defense to do what they wanted to do. But even that statement is not true, there is no evidence that Judge Stephens assisted the defense, many defense motions were denied.
7) “Helping Jodi Arias fulfill her sick need to torture the remaining victims, Travis Alexander’s family any way she can, Judge Sherry Stephens has provided Arias with endless opportunities to do just that. The defense, having no legal skills or prowess, have used everything from sex tapes to close ups of Jodi Arias’s considerable well-worn vagina and anus, all in order to distract from the horrific, premeditated crime that this sociopath has committed and further victimize the real victim Travis Alexander. “
“Judge Sherry Stevens has allowed Arias and her family to giggle in open court as the real victims in this case, the Alexander family, are forced to endure graphic autopsy photos and heartbreaking testimony.”
Oh really, you really think that Jodi Arias or the defense wanted a close up of her genitals to be displayed on huge screens and to be stored forever on the internet? Doesn’t everyone? But that photo is probative because it shows the crude kind of photo that Travis was interested in taking, verses the more sophisticated photos that Jodi took. Kind of sums up the relationship right there:
Remember: These are the photos that Travis Alexander wanted to take
Actually, in real life, the nude photos of Travis Alexander and Jodi Arias were entered into evidence by the prosecution, as the time and date established Arias’ presence and activities in the house on June 4th, 2008. The defense wanted to present edited highlights from the sex tape, but it was the prosecution, who demanded that the full unedited version of the sex tape be played. Let’s get our facts straight.
The idea that in a months long trial, that during a break, the Arias family laughed about something means nothing, it’s human beings being human beings. That’s just another gratuitous media attack on the Arias family, who are as innocent in this case as the Alexander family. This is simply the author showing a double-standard. Enduring graphic autopsy photos and heartbreaking testimony goes with the territory of being the victim’s family, it’s unavoidable in any murder case.
8) “Although Nurmi and Willmott have offered comic relief throughout the trial with their constant objections and requests for mistrials, their shameless mimicking of Juan Martinez is flat out embarrassing and emphasizes the already obvious fact, that they are both inexperienced and their “strategy” all along has been to upset the system and the proceedings as much as possible.”
Let’s just forget about the fact that motions, objections, and requests for mistrials and removing the death penalty are some of the defenses’ primary obligations to their client. This is referring to the idea that Kirk Nurmi is somehow mirroring the antics of Juan Martinez in the penalty phase re-trial when in fact it would seem that he is merely trying to come out more aggressively in this stage of the trial. Different situations and goals call for different tactics.
9) Their repeated use of effective phrases, phrases used effectively by Juan Martinez throughout the trial, are transparent and childish. There is nothing funny any longer however, about their lack of skill and willingness to upset the system.
The author is referring to the new, slimmed down Kirk Nurmi with a full head of hair in the penalty re-trial as he is much more animated and aggressive, slamming down a binder of records while questioning the Walmart employee and asking Detective Flores if he has memory problems.
Here’s some food for thought: If the defense and especially Kirk Nurmi have alleged misconduct for Juan Martinez’s behaviors and antics throughout these proceedings, why on earth would Kirk Nurmi then try to copy or mimic Juan Martinez, thus obliterating these appeal issues? If he’s copying Juan, he can’t then complain to the higher courts about Juan, can he?
10) “It is clear now that we have a judge who has given them the key to her courtroom and will continue to do so.”
Really, exactly how has Judge Stephens “given them (the defense) the key to her court room”? Do you have any specifics, any examples?
11) “NOVICES, NURMI AND WILLMOTT, MIMIC MARTINEZ BECAUSE THEIR ONLY OTHER OPTION IS TO WRECK (sic) HAVOC ON THE SYSTEM”
I think it’s clear that Nurmi and Willmott are working within the system, which is purposed to be an adversarial system, in case the author never noticed this. How can the defense “wreak havoc on the system”? Their examinations can be objected to and over-ruled, their motions can be denied, and their appeal attempts can fall flat. That’s the name of the game, the zealous defense of your client within the confines of the law. What laws does the author feel were broken by the defense or by the Judge? Even the Judges’ ruling on clearing the court room was submitted to a higher court for review by attorneys representing the members of the media. So this case has proceeded all along according to the law (except for some things which the defense will be sure to appeal).
UPDATE: The higher court has stayed the decision by Judge Stephens to clear the courtroom for defense witnesses who were afraid to testify in open court due to past attacks on defense witnesses in this case. This means that the judge cannot clear the court room during testimony, and the defense is appealing the stay.
12) “Milking the system, with their limited supply of legal knowledge, experience and resources, for as long as they can, for as much of that tax payer money they can squeeze out of this fiasco?”
Milking the system? Kirk Nurmi has made multiple motions to be removed from the case. Again, the cost and length of this trial is all on the prosecution, as they have insisted on making this a Death Penalty case, as opposed to many similar domestic cases which are either pleaded out as 2nd degree murder cases or end in court with a life sentence or less.
13) “WHY NOT GIVE HER SOME KNIVES TO PLAY WITH, WHILE SHE SITS IN COURT AND LAUGHS AT THE VICTIMS?”
Now, when has Jodi Arias ever laughed “at the victims”? How does NEVER sound? That’s the reality of the situation. This is about dealing with this tragedy without any further killing.
14) “Isn’t it the judge’s responsibility to let the jury know that the guilt phase has already been decided, and now their job is only to decide, by law, what the proper penalty is?”
The jury is well aware that the guilt phase has already been decided. What information does the author have that this is not true? The jury is well aware of what they are to decide and what their job is in the penalty phase re-trial.
15) “Hasn’t it been the judge’s responsibility this entire time to maintain control over her courtroom?”
Here’s one thing we can agree on. It is “the Judge’s responsibility … to maintain control over her courtroom”. Judge Stephens has fallen short, but mostly by allowing the prosecutor to get away with his outrageous conduct, which should not be allowed in a court of law, and especially not in a Capital murder case – Death Penalty trial.
16) “Well since it’s only the taxpayers who are paying, cha ching, cha ching, let that tax payer cash register ring.”
Trying to arouse the public, especially the citizens of Arizona by emphasizing the tax money spent on this trial, and implicating the defense and the Judge is completely misguided. This is the action and the responsibility of the State and the prosecution.
Lately, some Travesites took the opportunity of Veteran’s Day to again make the bogus claim that the veterans are the ones who have real PTSD, while Jodi Arias only pretends to have PTSD, and therefore Arias somehow is un-American and an insult to our military. It’s just plain propaganda to draw a line and put mother, God and country on one side, and Jodi Arias on the other. Each case of PTSD is an individual case, some are actual and some are not.
The Jodi Arias case has nothing to do with military veterans.
17) “It doesn’t take “Einstein” to know that if Jodi Arias was a man, this trial would have been over with in a matter of weeks.”
Here is the oft repeated mantra that if it were a man killing a woman in this fashion, the defendant would have been convicted and sitting on death row years ago. The truth is that 48 months is the average time before a Death penalty case goes to trial in Arizona. It was also 4 years until the last woman in Arizona, Wendi Andriano, was tried and sentenced to death by Juan Martinez in 2008. It took five years before Marissa Devault was tried in a Death Penalty case and sentenced to LWOP. Not much has changed, although the average time to trial for capital murder cases is diminishing slightly in Maricopa County.
18) “There is not one doubt who committed this terrible crime. There is not one doubt that she planned it, scheming for weeks maybe longer, collecting everything she would need, not only to murder Travis Alexander, but to cover her tracks completely and document the event in photos for future enjoyment.
All because he no longer wanted to date her, and who could blame him?”
I will not argue with this opinion of the author at this time. I will say that Jodi Arias never planned to “document the event in photos for future enjoyment”. If she had, she would have taken the camera or transferred the files. Remember that the final three photos were taken by accident and the final two photos were completely black until the forensic expert enhanced them.
19) This is why the death penalty most certainly is a deterrent and it is a powerful one.”
The greatly enhanced usage of the Death Penalty by Arizona starting in the 90’s has had very little effect on reducing murders, particularly in reducing domestic killings which stay at a steadfast rate in Arizona hovering at about 100 domestic homicides each year, or about 2 per week. That’s around 200 other families (of both the victims and the perpetrators) each and every year, just in the state of Arizona, affected by unnecessary domestic murders. Travis Alexander was a special person, but he is far from the only victim in America. There are more than 1,100 domestic murders in the USA every year. The greater majority of the victims are women.
20) “Do you think that she would have gone forward so happily with her savage plan had she thought for one second that there was a chance she would be sitting on death row for it? Absolutely not.”
Jodi Arias knew full well that Arizona, as California, is a Death Penalty state. She was very concerned about being suspected and being caught, as her frequent calls to Detective Flores indicate.
21) “Much more important, it’s the only way anyone will ever be able to keep this raging sadistic narcissist from killing again.”
This is an often used justification for the Death Penalty, the idea that the killer will kill again. This is statistically rare among domestic killers and rarer still among domestic killers with no prior offenses. The person who is likely to kill again is the hardened criminal. The idea that the killer will kill again had a lot of credence in the old days (1980’s and before) when first time murderers were usually given light sentences. Now, sentence usually range from 25 years to life, where the killer is well past the age when most murderers kill. LWOP is a suitable punishment for almost any killing. The rare and gross exceptions should be the only ones qualifying for a death penalty, as long as it still exists in the U.S.
22) “She will kill again. She will either kill one of the inmates in the prison or reach out to someone on the outside.”
I had to laugh out loud at this statement, it’s very funny, though inaccurate.
In over six years in custody, Jodi Arias has had no incidents of violence, violent outbursts, or any major problem. She is actually quite passive and compliant. She was attacked once in her cell by another prisoner and she had a few minor write-ups for such offenses as not shutting up, and hiding pens and skin lotion.
Actually, it is statistically more probable that, were Jodi Arias to be sentenced to LWOP, that she will be killed rather than she would kill anyone. Even more statistically likely, prisoners in Perryville prison have a rate of suicide much higher than the national average and many prisoners have died due to the prison staff ignoring the basic medical needs of Arizona prisoners.
23) “She will also plot and scheme to escape prison for the rest of her life.”
How many successful escape attempts have there been from Perryville Prison? There was one in 2011. There are one or two attempts each year, most unsuccessful. The successful escapes are usually from a much lower security level of custody than those who are sentenced to LWOP or death.
24) “The Jodi Arias Death Stare…”
Here is the photo of Jodi Arias that the author claims is a “death stare”
The “Jodi Arias Death Stare”? You must be kidding! What a ridiculous claim with absolutely no evidence. Of course, the author also repeats the claim about Arias’ “dead snake eyes” or “dead shark eyes”, another device to de-humanize a person to make it easier to kill them. There is nothing to substantiate this claim.
25) “There is a penalty in Arizona for what she did. It’s the death penalty. Any man who did this would already be on death row.”
We have already explained why this statement is statistically patently false. In addition, there is only one person on death row in Arizona for a crime anywhere near the facts in the Jodi Arias case.
That person is Isiah Patterson who stabbed his girlfriend to death in front of witnesses with their 3 year-old in the home. Here is a summary of the case:
“That’s what happens when you try to turn a whore into a housewife.”
- “FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
¶ 2 At approximately 1:30 a.m. on March 17, 2006, Patterson and Consquelo, his girlfriend, were in his Mesa apartment with their three-year-old son when they began fighting.2 A downstairs neighbor heard loud crashes and things rolling on the floor. After about ten minutes, the noises stopped. After another ten minutes or so had passed, Consquelo Barker ran from the apartment, naked and screaming for help.
¶ 3 Patterson chased Consquelo through the outdoor common areas of the apartment complex. He caught her at a sand volleyball pit, sat over her, and stabbed her thirteen times in the face, torso, and arm. The wounds perforated her lungs, diaphragm and spleen, and fractured her arm.
Patterson continued stabbing Consquelo until a neighbor, awakened by her screams, yelled for him to stop. Consquelo then stumbled from the volleyball pit, asking for help before collapsing beneath a bush, where she died. Patterson walked back toward his apartment, telling neighbors, “That’s what happens when you try to turn a whore into a housewife.”
¶ 4 Patterson was arrested and indicted for Consquelo’s murder. The State sought the death penalty. Finding Patterson guilty and that the crime was especially cruel, see A.R.S. § 13–751(F)(6), the jury determined he should be sentenced to death.”
SpotlightOnLaw challenges anyone to find another domestic homicide where a man in Arizona sits on death row, without additional aggravating factors (pecuniary gain, multiple murders, conspiracy, murder of a child, torture) although there are over one hundred such killings in Arizona each year.
We also challenged our readers to find a similar case in any state. So far we received responses stating that Wendi Andriano in Arizona and Scott Peterson in California are similar cases to the Jodi Arias case. Not so, because Andriano killed her disabled and helpless husband for money and Scott Peterson killed his wife who was especially vulnerable because she was 8 months pregnant, and he killed his unborn child. If anyone finds a death row case similar to the facts in the Arias case, please let us know.
26) “She knew full well that what she was doing was wrong, but she enjoyed doing it and had no fear of getting caught or convicted.”
Going back five years before the killing, Jodi Arias has had no incidents of violence or any major problem. We cannot over-emphasize how unusual this is for a defendant in such a violent killing.
Jodi Arias had a genuine fear of getting both caught AND convicted. She was in the process of running away when she was arrested.
27) “Jodi Arias quipped and smirked her way through the first full day of cross challenging the Prosecutor Martinez to “Bring it!”
Wrong. Actually, Jodi Arias did what most people do the first time they are cross-examined. People get defensive and feel like they are being attacked, so they try to fight back and they try to defend themselves. Defense witnesses tend to get snarky with the prosecutor. Ater a while, they realize that this strategy only serves to make them look bad, and they learn to relax a little more and just calmly attempt to answer the questions as best they can without taking things so personally.
28) “Let’s get it right. Travis was butchered. He was almost decapitated. He was shot in the face, had defensive wounds and deep cuts all over his body. His neck was slashed down to the vertebrae. “
What the author is saying above is half-accurate. But time and again we have pointed out that Travis Alexander’s throat was slit. As bad as this wound was, he was not “nearly decapitated” (for actual near decapitation, research the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson). Travis Alexander had 29 knife wounds, many of these ranged from superficial to shallow. There were 16 wounds which qualify as “stab wounds” and only 7 “stab wounds” if you view the pattern of 9 back wounds as “chopping wounds” rather than stab wounds. His neck was not slashed down to the vertebrae (for neck slashed down to the vertebrae, please research the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson)
He had serious defensive wounds, and serious stab wounds. He was shot in the face. He did not have “deep cuts all over his body”. Of course, that does not make him any less dead, or lessen the severity of his wounds, but let’s be accurate.
Description of Travis Alexander throat wound from Dr. Horn’s autopsy:
“A gaping oblique deep incised wound across the anterior upper neck 6 x 1 ½ inches with a lower right side (within 2 ½ inches inferior to the right external auditory meatus and 2 inches inferior to the left external auditory meatus), and transaction/perforation of the entire upper airway, strap muscles of neck, right jugular vein, and right carotid artery”.
Here, Doctor Horn is saying that the throat wound is 4 inches short of being “ear to ear”.
Description of Nicole Brown Simpson throat wound from Dr. Golden’s (far more detailed) autopsy:
“The incised wound of the neck is gaping and exposes the larynx and cervical vertebral column. It measures 5 1/2 x 2 1/2 inches in length and is found at the level of the superior border of the larynx.
On the right side the upwardly angulated wound passes through the skin, the subcutaneous tissue, the platysma, passing under the ramus of the right mandible and upward as it passes through the strap muscles on the right, towards the digastric muscle on the right, and through the thyrohyoid membrane and ligament. Further dissection discloses that it passes posteriorly and transects the distal one-third of the epiglottis, the hypo-pharynx, and passes into the body of the 3rd cervical vertebra where it transversely oriented 3/4 inch incised wound is seen in the bone, extending it for a depth of 1/4 inch into the bone. The spinal canal and cord are not entered.
On the right side superiorly the wound passes towards the insertion of the sternocleidomastoid muscle, and then becomes more superficial and tapers as it terminates in the skin below the right earlobe.
On the left side the left common carotid artery is transected with hemorrhage in the surrounding carotid sheath and the left internal jugular vein is subtotally transected with only a thin strand of tissue remaining posteriorly with surrounding soft tissue hemorrhage. The injuries on the left side of the neck intersect and the pathways of the stab wounds on the left side to be described below.
Opinion: This is a fatal incised wound or sharp force injury, associated with transection of the left and right carotid arteries and incisions of the left and right internal jugular veins with exsanguinating hemorrhage.”
29) “There was no “fight” and this is not the result of a “mental illness.” This is the result of a sadistic narcissistic sociopath, who has no respect for human life and no remorse at all. This is someone who has demonstrated to the court time and again that she is, in fact, quite proud of what she has done, and if she doesn’t get her way, it will happen again.”
Both narcissism (narcissistic personality disorder) and sociopathy (anti-social personality disorder) are mental illnesses to begin with, and Jodi Arias was diagnosed with neither of these, nor was she found to be a psychopath, as Marissa DeVault was found to be. The idea that Jodi Arias “has no respect for human life” and has “no remorse” is just false. She had demonstrated remorse throughout the trial and continues to do so. Her supporters can testify to her many kind acts since they have come to know her through phone calls and correspondence.
30) “Judge Stephens helps Arias to torment the Alexander family as much as she can.”
“This trial should have been over with a year ago and Jodi Arias should already be on death row.”
Really? The trial should have been over with a year ago? Why does the author say this? The jury reached a sentencing verdict of “no unanimous decision” in the penalty phase of the original trial. The penalty re-trial was delayed by requests and scheduling conflicts from both the prosecutor and the defense (they are all very busy people). Is the author saying that Arias should have gotten the Death Penalty the first time? Actually, the five jurors who voted against the charge of 1st degree felony murder and the four jurors who voted for life were the only ones who got it right. This is because felony murder makes no legal sense under the prosecution’s theory and life in prison is a completely appropriate punishment under the facts of this case.
Juan Martinez needs twelve out of twelve to get a death sentence. He may get it, but he probably will not, which is another reason why the state should have taken death off the table after the original penalty mistrial and this should not have been a death penalty case in the first place.
31) “Arizona is a death penalty state.”
Really? Who knew?
32) “For Judge Stephens to usurp the process and try to aid the defendant in avoiding what is clearly the punishment a male would have received for such a brutal and horrendous crime like this, is unacceptable.”
Both major ideas in the above sentence are completely wrong. Most likely a male would not get the death penalty for a similar crime and the Judge is not aiding the defense in trying to help Jodi Arias and the defense secure a life sentence for Jodi Arias. Aren’t all murders brutal and horrendous?
33) “And now we have a secret court, for a convicted killer?
It just goes on and on and gets worse and worse.”
The author is correct that Judge Stephens has cleared the court for none other than the testimony of Jodi Arias! But has the author ever considered there might be a very sound and important legal reason for doing so? I considered it, and I came to the conclusion that Arias must have changed her story. Then a Facebook poster named “Justus Forusall”, who actually was in the courtroom in Phoenix and witnessed the allocutions of the Alexander siblings, had the best theory I’ve heard yet.
Justus thought that Jodi Arias must be testifying about a witness who, out of fear of what has happened to other defense witnesses or potential witnesses (Gus Searcy, Alyce LaViolette, Patricia Womack), wanted to remain anonymous during the trial. Therefore the Judge is almost obligated to protect Jodi Arias’ testimony in order to protect the witness who will not testify without these protections. Once again, sound legal principles over-rule the irrational fears and ignorant assumptions of the general public.
34) “So now, in a grand act of defiance against the very constitution of the United States, Judge Sherry Stephens has decided that Jodi Arias, convicted killer, can have “secret trials” and “secret witnesses.” In addition, these “secret witnesses” will also be allowed to dictate what goes on in her courtroom. All of this, in spite of the constitution.”
First, there are no secret witnesses in a criminal court. The audio and/or video and transcripts of the closed part of the trial will be available after the verdict/sentencing. This is to protect the very Constitution of the United States, as the defendant has the Constitutional right to present any and all mitigation witnesses and evidence in defense of her life.
Travis Alexander is dead, and no sentence will bring him back to his family or quell their pain. The Travisites are right that Travis and his family are not on trial, Jodi Arias is. Travis’ family has some rights, but they are not facing a penalty of death, only Arias is. It is she that has the primary Constitutional rights in this action. This is because according to our Constitution, life, liberty, and property cannot be taken away without due process of law.
35) “I have never seen a judge so inept or biased, take your pick.”
Judge Stephens is neither inept nor is she biased. She is new at capital cases, and one would hope that she has learned a lot in her maiden trial. I will criticize her a little in that she cannot seem to rule on an objection (any objection) without calling a sidebar. For example, prosecutor Juan Martinez wanted to play a video from the guilt phase of the trial. The defense objected, and Judge Stephens called the attorneys up for a sidebar. Of course, readings from the transcripts are allowed, but Judge Stephens should be able to rule on that objection without a sidebar. Video from the guilt phase of the trial is either allowed in or it isn’t. Let’s get it together.
36) “Death penalty defendants are tried and convicted every day in trials that are overseen by seasoned and unbiased judges.”
Judges only get seasoned through experience, like everyone else. The controlling idea among Travisites used to be that Judge Stephens had heroically acted by giving the defense great latitude in exchange for a trial that would be virtually appeal-proof. Now they are dog piling on the Judge, because she made a ruling that they don’t really understand and that we don’t have an explanation for yet. Sound familiar? Sounds like the theme of this entire case.
Now, we know that the court of appeals stayed the ruling of Judge Stephens to clear the court room. This means that the court room cannot be cleared pending an appeal of this issue by the defense.
37) (“Death penalty defendants are tried and convicted every day in trials that are overseen by seasoned and unbiased judges.”)
“This is not one of them. This is a joke.”
I have seen some really good comments and articles on the Jodi Arias case by people on both sides and from many different perspectives on each side. I have read many good articles, but this is not one of them. This is a joke.
38) “Justice for Travis.”
No, court is not about justice for one particular party. The idea that a death sentence is the only sentence that would bring justice to this case is false.
Justice for All.
We at SpotlightOnLaw challenge anyone to prove to us why anything we said is not true or why anything we pointed out in the article is not false.
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