The Instagram Shower Evidence

The Instagram Shower Evidence

Fact Based Reporting by

Amanda Chen and Rob Roman

The Jodi Arias Murder Trial: The Other side of the story

Travis Klein 2

plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose

(The more it changes, the more it’s the same thing)

What happened in that bathroom?

Just wandering around on my favorite Twitter channel, #JodiArias, I came across this very interesting tweet with an attached picture.

The picture was actually an array of the shower photos of Travis along with some commentary. I call it the Shower Instagram. It has comments and explains why the shower photos show that Jodi attacked Travis in the shower. The Instagram is given as further proof that Jodi Arias is guilty of 1st degree premeditated murder.

I downloaded the “Shower Instagram” and later I looked for the original Tweet. It was either deleted or I could not locate it. The original Tweet said something I’ve seen a few times before.

I have no ideas who made this. It said something to the effect that Jodi Supporters avoid the shower photo evidence at all cost because it proves it’s a 1st degree murder. So I wanted to show that we can look at the shower photo evidence and see where it leads us.

This is the text of the Shower Instagram:

“Jodi Arias LIED AGAIN she said she was kneeling kneeling when she dropped his camera. Travis got mad. He told her she holds the camera like a 5 year old & told her I’ll f****** kill you bitch. He lunged at her and body slammed her… knocking the wind out of her.

HE WAS INJURED INSIDE THE SHOWER – IT’S ALL PREMEDITATED PERJURY

The shower Door was closed for every pic & and he was standing inside the shower until photo 5:29:20.

Photo 5:30:30 Travis is down / injured-inside the shower.

In 50 seconds after the door was open he was shot or stabbed. He never had time to get out of the shower or body slam her. The gun jammed, she ran downstairs got the knive (sic) while he staggered to the sink/mirror. She came back upstairs & started stabbing him in the back.

He turned around trying to defend himself & she kept stabbing him like a wild savage. He was trying to get away & she kept stabbing him until he got to the hall where she ended his life by slashing his throat.

HER WELL THOUGHT OUT PLAN WAS TO UNLOAD THE GUN IN HIM INSIDE THE SHOWER AND LEAVE WITHOUT A TRACE OF EVIDENCE…

NOT ONLY DID SHE PREMEDITATE THE MURDER, SHE PREMEDITATED ALL THE LIES AND PERJURY

WE’RE READY FOR ROUND TWO – THE SENTENCING TRIAL”

This is very interesting and thought provoking, but at the end of the day it’s more of the same.

It’s an El Speculation Supremo. Let us show you how we got there.

You can click on many photos to enlarge, so you can see them better and read them.

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Gun in her left hand? Left handed gun owners would not agree. Black gloves on? What evidence is there of that?

Jodi lied? She said she was kneeling kneeling in front of Travis? What purpose would that serve? Why is standing or crouching so much more sinister than kneeling? I don’t get that point. Oh, BTW, Jodi testified that she was crouching.

Defense Attorney Nurmi correctly stated that Travis’ seated position would be awkward for a knife strike from a left-handed person. Lefties usually fire a weapon and use a camera with their right hand. Prosecutor Juan Martinez responded that Arias stated she was ambidextrous (can use both hands well). This is an idiotic response, because it implies that Arias switched the camera to the left hand, struck with the knife right handed, then switched back in the middle of a knife fight to get the ceiling shot!

Looking at the Instagram photo and reading what it says, I want to share the ways we think about evidence. These are the kinds of mental steps we go through:

1)      Surface Errors

The first thing is we look for factual errors and things that are incorrect on the surface of the Instagram.

2)      Facts given

What facts is the argument presenting?

3)      Scenario Identification

How do these facts fit into both a scenario based on guilt and a scenario based on innocence? We look at the situation in good faith from both sides.

4)      Implications of the argument

What is implied by the argument? Do the implications of the scenario hold up under a lens of guilt? Do the implications contradict or dispute the scenario under a lens of innocence?

5)      Summary

What have we determined by objectively looking at the evidence?

Now, we can introduce the Shower Instagram:

(You can click on the photo to enlarge it)

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1)      Surface Errors

“Travis got mad. He told her she holds the camera like a 5 year old… He lunged at her and body slammed her… knocking the wind out of her.”

What Travis said, according to Jodi was that a 5 year-old could do a better job taking pictures (paraphrase). This according to defense domestic violence expert Alyce LaViolette, was character assassination, as Jodi prided herself on being a talented photographer and hoped to do it professionally.

“Body Slammed her” and “Knocking the wind out of her” are expressions that can have different meaning to different people. A body slam can be a particular wrestling move where a person is lifted up and thrown or slammed down to the floor. Another person can say that a body slam simply means forcibly pushing a person or throwing them to the floor. Knocking the wind out of a person in sports is a term meaning the person is hit so hard that the air is expelled out of their lungs and they are briefly knocked unconscious. Another person can mean that they hit the ground with enough force to push air out of their lungs.

“*(Travis) told her I’ll f****** kill you bitch.”

This is incorrect. According to Jodi, Travis did not threaten to kill Jodi until after the gun went off and they were both on the floor

“HE WAS INJURED INSIDE THE SHOWER”

“Photo 5:30:30 “Travis is down / injured-inside the shower.”

Let’s remember to look for any evidence of that based on the shower photos.

“In 50 seconds after the door was open he was shot or stabbed.”

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Let’s look for evidence of this in the photos. “Shot or stabbed”: Here, again, is the contention offered by prosecution supporters that it doesn’t matter whether Travis Alexander was shot or stabbed first. But, it does matter. It matters a lot. The prosecution went to extreme lengths to demonstrate that it was impossible that Jodi shot Travis first. The ME said he would have been “immediately incapacitated”, so the defense wounds and knife wounds had to be first. The ME also said that the gunshot wound above Travis’ right eyebrow was post mortem, in his opinion.

If you take the ME’s statements and opinion as fact, this is all you need, along with the crime scene evidence, to conclude that Jodi Arias premeditated the murder of Travis Alexander. If you choose not to believe the ME, it could be a 1st degree premeditated murder or it could be something other than 1st degree premeditated murder. If the gun was first, we may need to re-evaluate both Jodi’s veracity on the stand and the idea that her story actually is possible. The order of injuries matters. If Travis was shot first, then the ME was either severely mistaken or he lied on the stand.

shower reach lt

“The shower Door was closed for every pic.”

This is an interesting observation. Let’s look into this claim and see if it’s true.

“He never had time to get out of the shower or body slam her.”

We can investigate this claim, too. Martinez said that according to Jodi’s story it’s impossible for everything she said happened to have happened in 1 minute and 2 seconds. (The amount of time between the ceiling photo and the foot photo.)

At the same time, Martinez also demonstrated to the jury how incredibly long 2 minutes is with his all too predictable  2 minutes of silence when the jury was considering the cruelty aggravator.

Jodi pointed out on the stand that the “foot photo”, taken 1 minute and 2 seconds after the “ceiling light photo”, could show Travis partially injured, specifically by the gunshot, and that this photo is not necessarily the end of the deadly skirmish. There is plenty of time for Jodi’s story to be true, but that’s something for another article.

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“The gun jammed, she ran downstairs got the knive (sic) while he staggered to the sink/mirror.”

This statement directly contradicts the arguments of the prosecutor as well as the testimony and evidence from Dr. Horn. Adding this to the idea that it doesn’t matter whether the gun injury was last or first, is troubling. This is a capitol murder trial. The life of the defendant/convict hangs in the balance. We cannot be ambivalent about these facts. Was Travis Alexander shot or stabbed first? Was he shot or stabbed when he went to the sink? Before a possible execution or life imprisonment for Arias, we had better know for sure.

“She came back upstairs & started stabbing him in the back.”

vinny lt lgThis goes back to the question of the back stabs. Where, when and why did Arias stab Alexander in the back? Amazingly, only that genius detective, Vinnie Politan, was able to give a decent answer to that question for the prosecution. Vinnie Politan once theorized on HLN that all or most of the stabbings, including the back stabs, could have been done when Travis was in the shower. Travis, unable to escape the shower, may have turned his back or doubled over while Arias kept stabbing.

Since the prosecution must prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt, isn’t it unsettling that two avid prosecution supporters, one a former criminal attorney and the other a Twitter tweeter, give such different accounts of what happened? Alternate scenarios should be the province of the defense, not the prosecution.

 

“He turned around trying to defend himself & she kept stabbing him like a wild savage.”

Now this is a new variation. This is the first time I heard someone from the prosecution theorizing that the back wounds were the first knife wounds.

Many people from the defense also believe the back wounds stabs were the first knife wounds. The wild savage part, I can also agree with. Having the mind of a wild savage works equally well coming from a lens of innocence or a lens of guilt.

Now we can move to step two:

2)      Facts Presented

A)    Jodi Arias lied about kneeling on the floor.

B)    She was standing when, according to her, she fumbled and dropped the camera.

C)    Arias lied about Travis’ “5 year-old” statement. He did not yell at her, he did not come out of the shower and throw her down, She did not shoot him by accident and he didn’t say “F****** kill you b*tch!”.

D)     Travis was injured inside the shower and the shower photos demonstrate this

E)     By photo 5:30:30, Travis is seated in the shower and injured.

F)    50 seconds after the shower door is opened (5:29:20 to 5:30:30), Travis is injured. Where is the Instagram person getting the 50 seconds? This is 70 seconds. There are 44 seconds between the seated photo and the ceiling light photo. Is that what the Instagram maker means?

G)    Shot first or stabbed first, it doesn’t really matter.

H)    The Instagram theorist is going with the gunshot first murder theory.

I)     There was no time for Jodi’s scenario to happen.

J)      Jodi leaves the bathroom to get a knife and returns while Travis is standing at the mirror.

K)    She jabs him in the back multiple times (WHY?).

L)    She continues stabbing him until he’s down on the bedroom carpet at the end of the bathroom hallway

M)   Since Travis doesn’t know Jodi is there taking pictures, he is not cooperating with poses and he’s just showering.

We have assembled all the facts alleged in the argument, let’s look into Scenario identification from both sides and put them all together.

3)      Scenario Identification

Guilt perspective knife first:

Within 50 seconds of the shower door being opened, Jodi attacks Travis with a knife. Jodi was standing the whole time and just bent her knees or crouched to attack Travis.  Let’s call the Instagram theory the Hidden Dragon, Crouching Tiger theory. At some point Travis makes his way to the sink. Travis gets to the end of the hallway, and collapses shortly before or after his throat is cut. She drags him back by the sink, stops, and shoots him in the face before putting him back in the shower.

Guilt perspective gunshot first:

Jodi is standing with the gun. She shoots him while he sits in the shower. This fits the trajectory of the gunshot well. The gun must have jammed or it only had one bullet, because otherwise Jodi would have continued firing. Travis is injured but still alive and he’s presumably crawling around before making it to the sink. This fits the blood evidence. Jodi leaves the bathroom to get a knife. She returns and Travis is now at the bathroom sink. She jabs him in the back and then continues stabbing him, he gets the defensive wounds to his hands. Travis gets to the end of the bathroom hallway and his throat is cut. Jodi drags Travis back to the shower.

Innocence perspective

(justifiable homicide / self-defense) (2nd degree murder, sudden heat of passion, manslaughter):

Jodi is kneeling on the mat while taking photos of Travis in the shower. Travis sits down in the shower and the shower door is opened. According to Jodi, there is a simmering argument going on, but she did not elaborate. Jodi fumbles and drops the camera. At this point, Travis becomes enraged. He calls her a stupid idiot and yells that a five year-old could do a better job. He knocks her to the floor, her breath rushes out of her lungs on impact. She rolls away, gets up and books down the hallway.

Afraid that Travis will catch her before she gets to the bedroom doors, she cuts right and into the closet and slams the door shut. He catches up and opens the door. Jodi puts her foot on a shelf and reaches for an old gun that Travis keeps near the picture of his dad. Jodi enters the bathroom and turns around. Travis comes into the bathroom and Jodi points the gun at him with two hands. Travis, perhaps knowing the gun is unloaded comes at her like a linebacker and tries to tackle her. The gun goes off and Travis is shot. There must have been a round in the chamber. They both fall to the floor and continue to struggle. Travis threatens Jodi’s life (F***ing kill you, b*tch!).  Jodi’s memory is overwhelmed at this point and she goes on auto-pilot..

Now, we can look at the implications of these 3 scenarios.

4)      Implications of the argument

Jodi’s presence in the bathroom:

Under the innocence scenario, Jodi uses the excuse of taking muscle or body photos of Travis that he can keep. She wants one more intimate experience with Travis before they part company and move on to their new lovers. She convinces Travis to do the photo shoot. He’s aware he’s being photographed. She directs him in a number of poses.  The shower door is always closed. At the time of the 5:29:20 photo, Jodi is going for the “Calvin Klein” photo.

not calvinModeling shots of men in the shower are a very common thing. Travis had recently been working out heavily and bulking up. At some point Travis sits down in the shower. This could  be because Travis becomes agitated by the photos and asks Jodi to stop. Maybe Travis was going to do some seated poses, or he wanted to see the photos. At the point of the 5:30:30 photo, an argument that has been smoldering all afternoon is heating up again. At the time of the 5:31:14 photo, Jodi fumbles and drops the camera and Travis lunges out of the shower, attacking Jodi.

Under both guilt scenarios, the Shower Instagram implies that Travis had no idea Jodi was in the bathroom with him taking the photos. He may have thought she was downstairs or had already left. Jodi may have been angry at Travis and wanted to get his attention somehow or wanted to invade his privacy out of spite. The photos then would be less trying to capture poses and more just attempting to control and annoy. The idea of the Instagrammer is that the shower door was closed until she’s ready to strike because he doesn’t know she’s there. The shower Instagram idea is reinforced by two shower photos that appear to show Travis reaching for the shampoo and washing his hair.

At the time of the 5:27:18 photo, Travis looks out the clear shower door and sees Jodi with his camera. He’s startled and becomes angry. He turns around and turns the water off, according to the Instagram. He faces Jodi. He’s very upset and aggravated. Travis appears to be close-mouthed and not talking. Maybe he is giving her a cold, angry staredown. Perhaps Jodi is already flashing a weapon. If so, we can imagine that Travis may be trying to give her a warm, pleading stare. This is the look he describes giving the man with the gun in the story he tells at the hotel, when Jodi has her head in his lap.

collage_zpsba572278 BrtWe can imagine that Jodi is smiling and perhaps laughing as she shows Travis a knife or a gun. Maybe she shows anger. Jodi threatens Travis with a weapon and forces him into a seated position. Then the attack begins.

Here, Gray Hughes, a prosecution supporter, attempts to prove that Travis was an active participant in the shower photos and that the door was open throughout. Gray even thinks the camera was inside the shower for some shots.

The Gray Hughes shower pics video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DHt4kziV_jw

Is it true that Travis is unaware that Jodi is right in front of  him for over 5 minutes (5:22:16 – 5:27:18) snapping photos? Then this must be a regular shower when Travis is soaping and shampooing.

Jodi is avoiding taking any photos where he is soaping up. Maybe he had already done that. At 5:24:30, you see Travis appears to be wetting down his hair in preparation for a shampoo. At 5:24:49, he appears to grab a handful of shampoo. At 5:24:56, according to the Gray Hughes video, Travis appears to be washing the shampoo off. That’s 26 seconds to wash his hair. Is that too fast for a guy to shampoo his hair? It’s seems about right.

The Shower Instagram states that the shower door is closed in all the photos until the seated photo. Gray Hughes, a prosecution supporter, believes the shower door was always open. Gray Hughes also believes the water in the Calvin Klein photo is water on the camera lens, and the door is open. From Travis’ blogs, we know that Travis’ mother couldn’t stand bath water on the floor, and she punished Travis for this. We can theorize that the shower door would be closed unless he agreed to take the shower photos.

Then again, for this same reason, we can also believe that Travis agreed to the photos but he wanted the door to stay closed. So the closed shower door may not be as evil as it seems.

The Instagram and Martinez both claim Travis was jabbed in the back by surprise at the sink. Martinez claims Travis was already stabbed in the chest and abdomen by the time he got to the sink, while the Instagram claims that Travis had only a gunshot wound when he was jabbed in the back a the sink. Jodi supporters and some prosecution supporters also believe that Travis only had the gun wound when he was at the sink.

For the Shower Instagram ideas to be correct, Jodi would need to have avoided any photos of Travis soaping and shampooing, while managing to take all the seemingly posed photos. Another Tweeter claims these poses match the poses from the shower scene in the classic movie Psycho. Could this be done accidentally? Could Jodi be that quick to know these poses by heart and capture them all accidentally? Isn’t that highly unlikely? Perhaps Travis had finished soaping and shampooing and he was just rinsing off when Jodi suddenly appeared in font of the shower and started snapping the photos.

psycho 1 lg Calvin Klein Jeans by Weber, Bruce (photog.);

It’s also possible that Jodi convinced Travis to let her take the shower photos as a way to get him into a vulnerable position for attack. In this case, he would be aware of the photos and posing for them. Wouldn’t the quality of the photos be better then? The photos were deleted and needed to be recovered, so it’s difficult to know.

For this same reason, it’s difficult to know if the door was open or closed. The Shower Instagram claims that the shower door was closed at all times because Travis was not aware Jodi was there. Looking at the back photo, it is difficult to tell. Is the shower door so clean, clear and water drop free that it appears to be open?

Travis Alexander shower photo. Can you tell if the door is open or not?
Travis Alexander shower photo. Can you tell if the door is open or not?

Here is a professional model photo:

A Calvin Klein type model in the same pose
A Calvin Klein type model in the same pose

Is it a stretch to believe the photos were posed?  They certainly could be posed. Until the Shower Instagram came along, I thought most people agreed that the photos were posed.

shower light ltWhat about the ceiling light photo? If Travis was injured in the shower by gun or by knife, what happened to cause the ceiling photo at 5:31:14? Prosecution supporters need to explain how that photo happened. One could theorize that an injured Travis came out of the shower suddenly, causing Jodi to move her arm and snap the photo.

How about the back wounds? Jodi supporters believe it’s possible Jodi stabbed Travis from under him or from in front of him with shallow, defensive jabs. What is the reason for these stabs under a theory of guilt? No one has provided a reasonable answer except, incredibly, Vinnie Politan, the vacuous, and shameless hot-headed entertainer from CNN’s Head Line News.

Martinez’ idea about the back stabs makes little sense and neither does the Instagram’s. What would be the purpose of the back jabs?

Now we can make our summary.

4)      Summary

What have we determined by objectively looking at the evidence?

We have honestly looked at the Shower Instagram evidence and opinion. We have looked at it from theories of guilt as well as innocence.

Did Jodi lie when she said she was kneeling on the mat when she took the final 3 shower photos?

shower iris lg ltHere we can look to the evidence of the iris photo scientist. Although Martinez and most prosecution supporters believe this is junk science, the scientist works with law enforcement and his iris enhancements have been used as evidence for the prosecution to determine such things as license plate numbers, proof of location and time of day. He also testified that his enhancements are 10 times more visible in the perfect darkness of his lab and when shown on his expensive lab equipment.

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It’s inconclusive whether Jodi is standing or kneeling for the Calvin Klein photo. It seems that Travis is seated in the photo, and therefore, Jodi would have to be kneeling or crouched down at the time of the 5:30:30 seated photo. It appears that the camera is pointed straight at the subject.

Seated in the shower seems like a vulnerable position that Jodi wanted to coax Travis into. It’s also possible that Jodi forced Travis to sit down or that he sat down out of embarrassment or frustration, or to look at the photos. It seems to be an open question.

A male model posing while sitting in a shower
A male model posing while sitting in a shower

The idea that Jodi planned to shoot Travis in the shower and leave no trace is possible, but it goes against the ME and the prosecutor. The idea that the shower door was closed at all times until the seated photo is inconclusive. The surprised look of Travis could have an innocent explanation. The idea that Travis had no idea Jodi was there until the surprised look photo is contradicted by Travis not soaping and shampooing and all the poses Travis seemed to do, whether Jodi wanted the Calvin Klein look or she was going for the Psycho look.

-It’s likely that both the “Calvin Klein” photo and the seated photo are shot not while Arias is standing, but while she is kneeling or crouched on the bath mat. They both appear to be straight on shots. The Iris photo is inconclusive.

-It’s inconclusive as to whether the shower door was always closed until Alexander is seated in the shower. Even if it was, there could be an innocent reason for this (Travis was beaten for getting water on the bathroom floor).

-The theory of the Instagram contradicts the testimony and evidence of the M.E. and the arguments of the prosecutor.

-One can theorize that Travis Alexander did not know that Jodi Arias was snapping photos of him. But one cannot be sure the shower door was closed for all the shots. Alexander is not seen washing his body or hair and he he may be posing like a model or doing poses from the Psycho shower scene. There is too much reasonable doubt.

-The look of surprise on Alexander’s face in one photo is strong evidence, but it’s inconclusive.  Arias would have to be snapping photos for over 5 minutes through a plexiglass door before being noticed.

-Alexander’s face in the “Calvin Klein” photo could be registering fear, anger, pleading, or frustration. His face could also be a posed in a stern look typical of male models.

-Contrary to popular belief, there’s plenty of time for Arias’story to fit the timeline of the photos. All of the knife wounds could have happened in 10 seconds. That’s a whole other article, though.

-There’s no real evidence that Travis was attacked in the shower. You can surmise that it happened that way, but you can’t really be sure. The seated photo provides no evidence either way.

The Shower Instagram theory of Hidden Dragon, Crouching Tiger is interesting, but it’s a theory with major problems.

In a strange inversion of tradition, the prosecution and prosecution supporters seem to have numerous speculations, explanations and theories regarding the Jodi Arias case, even though it should be one proven theory beyond reasonable doubt. At the same time, the defense and Jodi supporters are not allowed to speculate or raise any possibilities or alternate scenarios, like the system intends, because they are just dreaming or being spoil-sports.

Prosecution supporters need to take a nice cold shower, but they should watch out for stealthy, ninja paparazzi in revenge mode!

What’s YOUR opinion? Leave a comment, we want to know!

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Spotlight on Dr. Kevin Horn

jatrial

The Jodi Arias Trial    On The Horn of a Dilemma

 

Fact based reporting

By Amanda Chen with Rob Roman

horn 3 images (9) 

 attack new

At the trial, Jodi Arias said something very true about Dr. Horn and the prosecution. She said “I disagree with the order of injuries”.

 The diagram above is how Jodi explained the gunshot. A not incapacitating shot stunned Travis, and he fell to the bathroom floor, before going to the sink. This diagram is not scientific. The shot (red line) would have to come from above Travis’ head and to his right on a roughly 45 degree downward angle.

This theory fits the forensic evidence. Jodi Arias may have gone to his aid, when the deadly struggle resumed. Dr. Horn made the jury and all of us certain that this could not be so. So we should take a look at the very important testimony of Dr. Kevin Horn.

There are many ways a prosecutor can win a case. There is hard work, attention to detail, experience, excellent direct and cross-examination of witnesses, and preparation. There is also a fierce devotion to the job of bringing a dangerous criminal to justice. Finally you will need a good grasp of the evidence, and know how to explain and persuade a jury that your evidence is sound.  

Detective Flores was very convinced before the trial that the gunshot was first. He told the 48 hours interviewer three times that this was so. Was this because he trusted what Jodi Arias told him? I don’t think so. Detective Flores said that he is not a medical doctor and he cannot determine the order of injuries. He must rely on the medical examiner to be so confident that the gunshot was first or last.

Why does it matter? If the gunshot was last, this means many things that Jodi Arias said on the stand about June 4th, 2008 must be lies. It means that the attack on Travis Alexander began with a knife. After so many knife wounds and slitting the throat of her victim, Jodi then shot Travis in the head in cold blood, just to be sure he was dead or maybe to create the illusion of two attackers. Here, there is no possibility of self-defense. 

 Pretend that it was proven that the gunshot was first. What does this mean? Here, there are two possibilities. Jodi shot Travis while he was sitting in the shower. The shot did not incapacitate or kill him and he was still moving about in pain. Jodi could not call the police or get help, because it looks very bad for her. So she gets a knife and “finishes him off”.

The other possibility is that Jodi was telling the truth. She shot him in self-defense and he continued to come at her, so she got hold of a knife and fought back. Then in a highly charged state fueled by adrenaline, she went too far. Her memory was impaired in some way.

If even one juror could believe this possibility, this jury could “hang”. If more jurors see the possibility, Jodi might not be found guilty of 1st degree murder. This is not a good position for the prosecution. Jodi Arias already tried to plead guilty to 2nd degree murder. Every member of the jury must be convinced that the gunshot was last for the prosecution to be certain of winning this case. 

horn 7Then we are introduced to Doctor Kevin Horn. Dr. Horn proved convincingly that the gunshot was last. During his testimony, the prosecutor asked over and over about this point. Dr. Horn testified three times during the trial, and each time he gave more testimony about the gunshot and the order of injuries.

A medical examiner is a trusted public servant, a scientist, and something of a detective. They are experts in their field and we can be sure what they say is true, right?

 If you saw the trial of George Zimmerman, you will remember Dr. Shipping Bao testifying for the prosecution. First he said Trayvon Martin could only live 3 minutes after being shot. Then he said Martin could live 10 minutes. He thought Martin could have been shot from .4 inches away or maybe from 4 feet away.Bao said Trayvon would be immediately incapacitated. Later, he said Martin could have walked 20 feet. He said that many things were “not my job”.  He read from notes that no one ever saw before. He admitted to improper procedures before, during and after the autopsy.

http://www.talkleft.com/story/2013/7/5/145044/7130/crimenews/Zimmerman-Medical-Examiner- Changes-Opinions

http://www.heavy.com/news/2013/07/medical-examiner-testifies-in-zimmerman-murder-trial/

 Why do I bring up Dr. Bao? It took Dr. Vincent DiMaio, a renowned medical examiner and gunshot expert, to discredit Bao’s testimony. It seems that many times, lower level workers and assistants do a lot of the work, and a supervisor signs off.

 Dr. Bao said something very interesting. ‘My opinion is mine, it belongs to me. I can change any time, my right to change.’ But a change in opinion in a capitol murder case can mean the difference between life and death.

There’s always plenty of other evidence and witnesses in a case. Can the testimony of a medical examiner be so critical to a case? Can a small change in the medical examiner’s report or opinion change the outcome of a trial? Let’s look at some recent cases:

 “Dallas, Texas — A jury found appellant, Victor Hugo Quinonez-Saa, guilty of murder and assessed punishment at 75-years confinement and a fine of $10,000.

In his first point of error, appellant asserts that the admission into evidence of autopsy photographs was reversible error because the medical examiner who testified had not performed the autopsy or viewed the body of the deceased. The autopsy had been conducted on the deceased by Dr. Auerlio Espinola, an assistant medical examiner.”

http://www.leagle.com/decision/19931564860SW2d704_11465

 “BROCKTON, Mass. — Massachusetts prosecutors have taken the highly unusual step of charging one of their own expert witnesses — Connecticut state medical examiner Dr. Frank Evangelista — with perjury for what they allege are inconsistencies in his testimony in a murder case.”

http://www.middletownpress.com/general-news/20120120/connecticut-assistant-medical-examiner-charged-with-perjury-in-massachusetts-3

images (7) “ST. PAUL, Minn. — After spending six years in prison, a Minnesota man has been exonerated in his daughter’s death. Avry was just four months old when she died. Mike lost his daughter and then six years of his life, after being convicted of killing her. A judge found the Ramsey County medical examiner gave false or incorrect testimony.”

http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2011/10/03/county-to-further-review-case-involving-medical-examiners-false-testimony

 “Highlands, Texas  — On May 5, 1999, Brandy Briggs found her 2-month-old baby Daniel Lemons limp, barely breathing and unconscious at her home. She called 911 and the baby was rushed to the hospital. On May 9, the baby died. Ms. Briggs was prosected for 1st degree murder. The evidence was based on the opinion of Dr. Moore, a medical examiner.

The trial court found that “Dr. Moore’s trial opinions were based on false pretenses of competence, objectivity, and underlying pathological reasoning, and were not given in good faith.” The trial court characterized her testimony as “expert fiction calculated to attain a criminal conviction.””

 Here is a passage from the court report on this case:

“The Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment is violated when the State knowingly or unknowingly uses perjured testimony to obtain a conviction. We held on direct appeal that false testimony resulted in a due process violation when there was a fair probability that the death sentence was based upon incorrect testimony.””

http://www.cca.courts.state.tx.us

 Medical examiners make honest mistakes like everyone else. Medical examiners are overworked and they are under pressure to help the prosecution team get a conviction. So, what do a few cases gone wrong really show?

 Doctor Horn appeared confident, thorough, and trustworthy. We should not try to implicate Dr. Horn because of mistakes in other states and under different conditions. He is very careful with his reports and testimony, isn’t he? Let’s take a look at two of Dr. Horn’s past legal cases:

images (8) “Ms. Randall operated a home day care business. She discovered a four-month-old child unconscious on her floor on April 18, 2007. She called 911. Paramedics transported the child to Phoenix Children’s Hospital. The youngster was taken off of life support the following day, and passed away.”

 “Kevin Horn, M.D. (“Horn”) performed an autopsy. A CT scan revealed a “possible skull fracture, secondary to brain swelling.” The Peoria police were notified and Detective Kevin Moran was assigned as the lead investigator. Subsequently, Dr. Horn concluded that the youngster died from “blunt force trauma of the head and neck.”

 A grand jury indicted Randall for the child’s death in November 2007.The Prosecutor’s Office announced they would seek the death penalty.”

 “Nearly two years later, the State finally withdrew its notice seeking the death penalty. After argument, the charges were dismissed with prejudice on August 4, 2010.

 Ms. Randall then filed a complaint. The amended complaint alleged eleven causes of action and the named defendants included Maricopa County, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, Thomas, Whitney, Horn, Moran, and the City of Peoria.”

http://statecasefiles.justia.com/documents/arizona

 Here, Dr. Horn seems to make a neutral diagnosis of injuries, which then changes to intentional infliction of injuries shortly after meeting with Detective Moran and the D.A.’s office. This death penalty case never made it to trial. In the next case, the self-defense case of Harold Fish, Dr. Horn seems to pass off mere speculation for scientific certainty.

 “ISSUE PRESENTED FOR REVIEW:

The speculative testimony of the Medical Examiner, Dr. Horn (in State v. Fish), was relied upon by the State as “forensic science” in arguing their case to the jury. Yet, the testimony of Dr. Horn failed to meet minimum evidentiary standards.” 

 “Although the Court of Appeals found that Dr. Horn ultimately focused upon “offensive” and “defensive” wounds as equally likely ….. we submit that expert testimony speculating about gunshot wounds as “defensive wounds” when they are no more likely than “offensive wounds” not only falls short of evidentiary standards, but is more prejudicial than probative.”

 “The State relied upon the testimony of Dr. Horn as essential evidence to support its conviction. It is obvious that the State would not have prevailed (in State v. Fish) without the testimony of Dr. Horn.”

“An expert opinion must be within a reasonable degree of medical probability which is an important evidentiary standard throughout the United States that must be enforced in order to prevent unreliable medical testimony from swaying juries, which is exactly what happened in Fish’s case.”

 “Dr. Horn’s interpretation of the wounds as “consistent with defensive wounds” was nothing more than a speculative judgment about one possibility within an array of many possible inferences.” 

 “The testimony of Dr. Horn not only swayed the jury, it was used as the decisive “evidence” against Fish. Dr. Horn’s testimony fell below evidentiary standards and was misleading. It violated due process of law.” 

http://www.haroldfishdefense.org

horn 2 ta 115

In the Arias case, Dr. Horn said that the gunshot pierced the skull and therefore must have impacted the brain. Dr. Horn said the victim was shot in the frontal lobe and therefore would be “immediately incapacitated”. Dr, Horn’s report indicated that the brain was not impacted by the bullet, but he claimed it was a typographical error. All of this is highly questionable.

 Dr. Horn stated that he found no blood in the wound tract. Crime scene photos show blood pouring out of Mr. Alexander’s nostrils. Dr. Horn stated that the gases from the gunshot would cause a massive shockwave through the brain. If the brain was impacted, the wound tract through the brain could only be mere fractions of an inch.

http://www.youtube.com/user/croakerqueen123

 Shortly before the trial, Juan Martinez aksed Detective Flores to meet with Dr. Horn. They met to discuss possible death penalty aggravators. Detective Flores changed his opinion and his sworn testimony. Dr. Horn’s opinion and report also changed. Detective Flores stated all this at trial. Dr. Horn was insistent and adamant about his new opinion after holding the opposite opinion for years. Imagine that!

http://www.youtube.com/user/croakerqueen123

 Imagine this: Lisa Randall was a grandmother and Day care operator who faced the death penalty and three years of prosecution based on no evidence other than the faulty medical opinion of Dr. Horn.

 Harold Fish was a retired teacher and a Mormon father of 7. Fish was an avid hiker and hunter forced to kill a man who attacked him on a trail. His conviction was reversed and he was released from prison to enjoy three years of freedom before he passed away.

horn fish randall

 In both cases, there was no evidence at all to support a conviction. There is nothing anywhere in the past of either to suggest they would harm or kill another person. There are only the tragic events of one day and the testimony and opinion of Dr. Kevin Horn.

lisa randall 

  Lisa Randall:  Death Penalty and First Degree Murder Charges Dropped

fish freed 125

Harold Fish: Conviction Reversed 

The Prosecution was certain that the gunshot was last. It was a post-mortem gunshot and Travis Alexander was already dead. If so, then there is no question that this is “gratuitous violence”, needlessly inflicting a gunshot after the victim had died. If so, this easily proves the heinous and depraved prongs of the cruelty aggravator. Interestingly, heinous and depraved were not charged in this case.

 The prosecution took the gunshot last theory, persuaded the jury and most trial watchers, and got the conviction. Yet, the way the case was presented shows that the prosecutor does not even believe his own theory.

 Here is something else to imagine: the theory, using a presumption of guilt, that the gunshot was first and that Travis Alexander was shot above the right eyebrow while sitting down in the shower.

 This theory fits the forensic evidence. It has a much more profound “cruelty aggravator”, and it is a much more reasonable theory to seek a 1st degree murder conviction. Further, this is the only scenario under which the charges of both 1st degree premeditated AND felony murder make any sense at all.

 So you really need to ask yourself: Why, then, did the prosecution try so hard to disprove it?

 Death From Above

shower shot ta

I call this the “death from above” theory.

It’s not so scientific. Like Jodi, I’m an artist, so maybe I can see images in my mind and understand the dimensions easier than others. Maybe we need to use a dummy to truly see it.

If Travis was sitting in the shower, then taking a presumption of guilt, this is how he was shot. It’s a slightly angled downward shot from in front and above Travis. The prosecution didn’t want the jury to consider this theory because then the jury would also have to consider the defense theory, and the defense theory is the most reasonable of the three, according to the facts.

travis floor

 Post Traumatic Death on the Floor

This is the prosecution’s theory. After Travis Alexander is stabbed and his throat is cut, Jodi drags him still “bleeding out” near the bathroom sink where, for some reason, she shoots him at a slight angle. She doesn’t shoot him last in the shower, because he was found in the shower with his left side facing out.

 The average width of a human head is 18cm (7.1 inches). Let’s imagine Travis’ head diameter is 8.0 inches. The gun barrel would have to be somewhere near 8 to 12 inches above the floor.

 That makes good logical sense, doesn’t it, Dr. Horn?

?
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These are actual X-Ray and CT scans of the brain. Look at all that room right where Travis was shot. There is easily plenty of room for that gunshot to completely miss the brain. Travis was shot in the face through the skull and the nasal cavity. Travis was not shot through the frontal lobe. It was not “rapidly incapacitating”. Dr. Horn is wrong again. 

2837904-human-x-ray-head-with-brain images (9)

The “Linebacker”  position

attack new

Defense Theory

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Unlike most blogs, ALL comments are accepted and will be posted.

Why Jodi Arias Will Get a Whole New Trial

Why Jodi Arias must have, and will get, a New Trial

Factual Reporting by

Amanda Chen and Rob Roman

WARNING: Graphic Crime Scene and Autopsy Photos!

may be disturbing to some people!

sherry stephens 1
joe and jan
juan and horshack
arias jurors
Jodi Arias must and will get a new trial. No matter if you think she is guilty or innocent or anywhere between the two. Jodi Arias, no different than you or I, has a constitutional right to a fair trial. This should not stand and the higher courts or the U.S. Supreme Court should reverse the conviction and remand the case back to court for a new trial. Her are the reasons why this was not a fair trial.
  1. Doctor Horn was called to the stand 3 different times and on all 3 occasions he answered the persistent questioning of prosecutor Juan Martinez about the order of injuries. It is very unusual and curious to be called to the stand at different times to testify about the same thing.
  1. Doctor Horn stated over and over again that the gunshot was last and probably post mortem.
  1. The reasons he gave were
               a)      No blood was found at the wound entrance (the blood had been washed off of the victim).
               b)      There was no blood found in the wound tract in the brain. Horn also testified that no wound tract was found in the brain. (How can you testify to what is or is not in a wound tract that you did not find?)
               c)      The bullet entered the skull and must have gone through the brain because the brain butts up against the skull. (This is not true. Travis Alexander was shot right above the orbital cavity and through the nasal cavity, it is very possible for a .25 bullet to not enter the brain at all.)
               d)     The shock wave caused by the hot gasses from the gunshot would cause immediate incapacitation. (Not if the wound tract doesn’t enter the brain. Even if the wound tract did enter the brain, the tract would be mere fractions of an inch.)
               e)      According to Dr. Horn, the medical report meant to say that the outer membrane of the brain was penetrated. But, he said there was a typographical error and the report said it was not penetrated. (There just happens to be a “typo” right at the point where the report is discussing whether or not the brain was penetrated.  What a coincidence!) Also when any M.E. reports penetration of the outer membrane of the brain, the report then goes on to describe this penetration, the size the direction, etc. This lends credence to the accusation that the “typo” is no typo at all.
               f)       There was no blood found in the wound tract (The wound tract goes straight through the nasal cavity. In the shower crime scene photo, there is clearly a large accumulation of blood below the victim’s nostrils.
ta nose light

A large amount of blood under the nose

not much blood coming out the mouth.

4. Dr. Horn tried to remain truthful while giving deceptive testimony, but he has clearly lied. It’s evident that by asking about the order of injuries so many times, that Juan Martinez clearly coordinated this effort with Dr. Horn to sway the jury with false testimony. (For more information, please see Spolight on Dr. Kevin Horn, Spotlight on Juan Martinez, Spotlight on the Jodi Arias Trial)
5. Detective Flores testified that the order of injuries changed from gun first to gun last when prosecutor Juan Martinez asked Detective Flores to meet with Dr. Horn to discuss possible aggravating circumstances for the death penalty.
6. Travis Alexander was left in the shower with his left side facing out. If the victim was shot last, it must have been as he was lying motionless on the bathroom floor. So why is the shot such a badly placed shot? Also in order for a shot to be made at this angle, the barrel of the gun needs to be around 8 to 12 inches off the floor. This is not a reasonable or natural position.
7. If Alexander went to the sink after suffering the deep incised wounds to his left hand, blood would be pouring out from his left hand and the sink would be covered with blood on the left side. There is none of this on the left side of the sink. This contradicts the prosecution theory that Travis Alexander was stabbed in the shower. This reinforces the defense theory and casts doubt on premeditation.
ta left hand 3 lightFrom the official autopsy report:
“A deep 1 ½ inch incised wound across the left thenar eminence (palmar with extension onto the dorsal left hand) with deep penetration and partial severing of the musculature and tendons of the thumb base.”
 “A 1 ¾ inch incised wound of the palmar webbing between the left thumb and index finger, with an adjacent separate ¾ inch linear incised wound.”
 “A 1 inch incised wound across the dorsal surface of the distal inter-philangeal joint of the left thumb.”

ta left hand 1 light

Deep incised wounds on Alexander’s left hand

jurors pus

Little blood on left side of the sink

8. Shooting someone post mortem is the infliction of “gratuitous violence”. This perfectly fits the requirements for the Heinousness and the Depravity prongs of the “especially heinous, cruel and depraved” aggravator. Incredibly, Arias was only charged with the cruelty prong of the aggravator.
9. Felony murder does not in any way apply to this case if the gun was last. If the gun was first, and Travis was wounded, prompting Arias to switch to a knife to kill Alexander to cover up her presence in the home, then this is the only way that Felony murder could possibly, technically fit this case.
10. Dr. Horn was involved in two other cases. One was a wrongful prosecution seeking the death penalty. This was a grandmother who owned a day care center where a baby died. The other was a wrongful conviction. This was a self-defense case against a Mormon retired school teacher with 7 children who was attacked on a hiking trail by a man and his two dogs. In both cases the indispensible part of the case was the testimony and the opinion of Dr. Horn. In both cases he was completely wrong.
11. Arias wasn’t charged with the heinous and depraved prongs of the aggravator and the Felony murder charge was not dropped, proving that the prosecution does not actually believe that the gun was last. It also suggests that the prosecution believes that Arias may not have been the only person involved. Yet, the prosecution argued vehemently against both of these possibilities
12. If Alexander was stabbed first in the shower, there is already water in the shower. The wounds can be seen easily. There is no need to go the bathroom sink and look in the mirror. Alexander must not have known what happened to him, and he must have wanted to find out. How could Alexander turn his back on his attacker and go to the sink in the middle of a knife attack? Even the prosecutor, Juan Martinez, proved at trial that he doesn’t believe this. Yet he persuaded the jury to believe yet another idea that he himself does not believe.
13. If you are a juror and you believe Dr. Horn, then Jodi Arias is guilty of 1st degree premeditated murder. There is no need to even present a defense or any further testimony or evidence. Therefore the testimony of Dr. Horn constitutes reversible error in the case of ArizonaState v. Jodi Ann Arias. Jodi Arias’ constitutional right to a fair trial has been violated. On top of this there are numerous other valid and cogent appealable issues.
Other appealable issues include:
  1. The State of Arizona’s cruelty prong of the “especially heinous cruel and depraved” aggravator is in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution because the statute along with the jury instructions are too vague and can be applied to almost any murder and used to target a particular defendant with the Death Penalty.
  1. The possibility that the jury was tainted by the omnipresent media coverage which was almost impossible to avoid. The jury should have been sequestered. Evidence exists that jurors discussed the case outside court and perhaps on social media. A juror stated that the jury was 12 – 0 for the guilty verdict at the very beginning of deliberations.
  1. The possibility that the jury did not understand jury instructions, for which direct evidence appears on video.
  1. Prosecutorial misconduct throughout the case and the trial. There is direct video evidence that Juan Martinez lied more than once during the commutation hearing of Robert Towery, in order to secure his execution. The prosecutor purposely tampered with evidence during the trial (dropped the camera). The prosecutor deliberately withheld evidence until just before the scheduled start of the trial. The prosecutor suborned perjury in the testimony of Dr. Kevin Horn.
  1. Possible evidence favorable to the defense which was not provided to the defense or allowed into trial (exculpatory)
  1. Possible evidence favorable to the prosecution which should not have been allowed into trial (more prejudicial than probative)
  1. The judge failed to control the courtroom, allowing such things as the victim’s family’s purposeful, non-verbal communication with the jury throughout the trial. This can be seen in process on many trial videos.
  1. Witness intimidation perpetrated by the family and friends of the victim. One witness was called before the trial began and threatened if he testified for the defense. The witness was called shortly after the prosecutor released a list of potential defense witnesses to the victim’s family.
There is anecdotal evidence that other witness on the list were successfully intimidated into refusing to testify. An Alexander family member was involved in threats and intimidation of Alyce LaViolette during and after her testimony. Dave Hall slandered defense mitigation witness Patty Womack on National television after she and her family were threatened and intimidated in the social media.
If the higher courts find even a single one of these factors to be true, Jodi Arias may get a new trial. We contend that all these factors are true. Even Hannibal Lecter or Charles Manson has the right to a fair trial. Whether or not she got the result you desire or whether she deserves the verdicts makes no difference.
If these verdicts are allowed to stand, we are all at risk of having our constitutional rights violated in the future. No one who watched this trial should be able to say it was a fair trial. Did you see the emotion shown by Judge Sherry Stephens at the end of the first penalty phase? This is reason for a new trial right there. The judge is clearly prejudiced towards the prosecution and a death sentence. The jury did not reach a unanimous decision, so what? What was that display of emotion for? Maybe it should be mandatory in a capital case that the defense must provide an independent autopsy and Medical Examination.

All rights eserved

Unlike many blogs, all comments are accepted and will be posted

Spotlight on Juan Martinez

The Jodi Arias Trial

Shining a spotlight on the Prosecutor Juan Martinezjuan in 2002

Fact based reporting

By Rob Roman

“Mr. Martinez, you keep trying to make this a rational scenario, and it isn’t rational.” – Expert defense witness

For Juan Martinez, there are no “irrational” scenarios about a murder. Murder is against the laws of God and man. There is a victim here. A human being is dead in an unnatural way. The defendant is the accused. Many hours of police work and investigation have been rendered. The defendant has been brought to trial. Juan Martinez is going to trial to put them in a cage. A conviction will slam the door shut. When the conviction survives appeals, the door will be locked. That is the only rational response to murder.

Juan Martinez doesn’t want to hear about any exceptions to the rule. He doesn’t want to hear “this is not what it seems”. The defense always seems to have an excuse, a rationalization, explanations, and alternate scenarios. The prosecution must prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. All the defense must show is any doubt, any doubt at all. The prosecution needs a unanimous jury to convict. The defense only needs one juror on their side to jam the wheels of justice. If you get a conviction, an appeal can change a sentence, send the case back to trial, or even free the defendant.

jm youngSeeing this from Juan’s perspective, one can see why he may feel like the system is against the victims of crime.  To Juan it’s truly an “adversarial system” and he will fight to win. When the death penalty is involved, the two sides tend to go too far and we might be losing a search for the truth. Winning the conviction becomes more important than the truth. Juan’s black and white way of viewing crime works well most of the time. But sometimes there will be someone in the defendant’s chair who is innocent of the crime charged. Sometimes this person gets stuck in the wheels of justice. Many innocent defendants have been convicted and jailed and some have been executed. So we must always be sure a trial is a search for the truth, even if sometimes the guilty person is set free. The prosecution and the defense both play vital roles in this process. The rights of victims must be carefully balanced with the rights of the accused.juan early yrs

During the final arguments in the guilt phase of the Jodi Arias murder trial, lead Defense attorney Lawrence Kirk Nurmi talked about shining a spotlight on the actions of the prosecution, specifically detective and co-counsel Esteban “Steve” Flores and the sole prosecuting attorney, Juan Martinez. The implication was that Mr. Martinez had acted improperly during the trial. I believe Detective Flores to be an honest man who only followed Dr. Horne’s opinion and he tried to help Jodi at the interrogation.

Of the enthusiastic trial watchers in the Jodi Arias case, there is also a spotlight on Juan Martinez. Prosecution supporters (Justice4Travis), see him as a “bulldog” a hero who tenaciously pursues the defendant until he can wrest a guilty verdict. Defendant supporters (Team Jodi) see him as over the top, going too far, and using a combination of emotionally charged persuasion, some direct evidence and some speculation to sway juries to render a guilty verdict.

There are many ways a prosecutor can win a case. There is hard work, attention to detail, experience, excellent direct and cross-examination of witnesses, and preparation. There is also a fierce devotion to the job of bringing a dangerous criminal to justice. Finally you will need a good grasp of the evidence, and know how to explain and persuade a jury that your evidence is sound. Juan Martinez is all of this and more.

juan 1He is passionate, dedicated, and I believe he sees the defense as having too many advantages in the system. I believe he employs methods normally used by defense attorneys to persuade the jurors to see things his way. Juan Martinez is known for using wild speculation and “facts” not supported by the evidence in his closing arguments.

Maybe the truth is not in the extremes but somewhere in the middle. We can shine the spotlight on past and present cases to try to determine what is motivating the prosecutor with the impressive 19-1 record, Juan Martinez.

Here is what his admirers in cyber space say about Juan:

-Respectfully I’d like to thank Mr. Martinez for giving me the realization there’s someone fighting for victims. My father was brutally murdered in 1990, very similar to what happened to Travis Alexander.

It was very brutal I lost my faith in the judicial system after what my family went thru and watching the way these murderers have all the rights yet the victims do not. Mr. Martinez, as I see it, represents a man who I wish there were more of. He is God’s light and I wish him all the best in this world where sometimes I think our society’s become blind to so many things…

And if anything at all, perhaps some could look at this man and appreciate what he does for so many. He is truly an asset to the state. As for Ms. Arias, I hope for the victims’ family…Justice.

-Juan Martinez is the best. So sick of the trash that is going around surrounding this case. Who is on trial here?

-I think he is the best. If I ever need a lawyer he’s it. No BS with him. Why waste time with guilty killers?

Juan is the second youngest of a family of nine. He came to America at age 6 when his family immigrated and settled in California. He vowed to learn English well and be a success. He participated in many activities, such as running long distance track in high school. He finished college and attended ArizonaStateUniversity where he earned his law degree. Juan did some volunteer legal work and some work defending clients. Then, in 1988, he joined the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.

What is in Juan Martinez’ heart and mind? We can try to have a better understanding of him by knowing his feeling. In this world and surely in Arizona, there is crime and there are criminals. There are vicious and violent senseless crimes and uncaring evil and cruel criminals. Juan is very aware of this. Let’s take a look at the A B C’s of the convicts now on Arizona’s Death Row.

Atwood, Frank.

\Kidnapped and raped an 8 year-old boy. Kidnapped, raped and Killed an 8 year-old girl and left her in the desert.

Bearup, Patrick.

With three accomplices, beat a man half to death with a baseball bat, threw him in the trunk of his car, cut off his finger, shot him with a shotgun and threw him off a cliff.

Burns, Jonathan.

Kidnapped and raped a woman and shot her twice in the head.

Chappell, Derek.

Choked his girlfriend’s 2 1/2 year-old son nearly to death then later drowned him in a swimming pool.

Cota, Benjamin.

Beat an older man to death with a hammer, then bound his wife and struck her in the head repeatedly with a hatchet. He wrapped them up in plastic, hid in their home, then stole everything they had of value including their car.

Djerf, Richard.

Raped a 17 year-old girl, then shot, stabbed and beat to death the girl, her father and mother and her 5 year-old brother.

Ellison, Charles.

With an accomplice, broke into a couple’s home, bound them with telephone cord and masking tape, then suffocated the husband with a pillow and choked the wife to death.

So, it’s easy to see why Juan grew up believing in law and order, right and wrong, good and bad. He believes that if you intentionally caused a person’s death, you should pay by being removed from society and in many cases, sentenced to death. It’s just so simple. It’s not difficult to see where his sentiments come from.

doug fayleneIt was 1997, ten years after Juan Martinez joined the Maricopa County Attorney’s office. Late at night in an upscale neighborhood in MaricopaCounty, Greg Koons heard screams coming from his neighbor’s back yard. He went outside and peered over the fence. He saw his neighbor, casually pushing his wife into his in-ground swimming pool and holding her head under the water. He sprinted inside and called the police.

Soon after, the neighbor, Scott Falater, opened his door to the police. Confused and not understanding what the fuss was all about, the police went into his backyard and found his wife Yarmilla floating dead in the pool. She had been stabbed 44 times. Scott Falater was a High Councilor in the Mormon Church, and a husband and father of two. He was a successful design engineer and very active in the church. He was a mild-mannered man, had seldom become angry, and had no motive to kill his wife whom he loved dearly.

Juan Martinez went to court to exact justice. It seemed like an open and shut case. There was an eye witness, a direct identification of the perpetrator, and a viciously stabbed and drowned wife. The man was arrested within minutes of the crime. The courtroom was nearly empty. Next door in a crowded courtroom was a high profile case. Teen members of a Crips gang were on trial for a brutal, three hour sexual assault of a fifteen year-old mentally handicapped girl.

Juan Martinez was shocked to find out that the man’s high paid attorneys were claiming their client, Scott Falater, was innocent by reason of sleepwalking! Like the Jodi Arias case, the focus was not on who did the killing, but why. The defense claimed that Scott Falater had no incentive, motive or reason to kill his wife of 20 years. There had to be another explanation for why this would occur. For Juan, there is no why. She’s dead and he killed her and justice will be done. For Juan, you are either a good or bad person. If you do something like this, you are a bad person and the “why” shouldn’t matter at all. Still he needed to give the jury a viable motive.

This is the template case for the Jodi Arias case. Both involved horrific killings where the defendants admitted to horrific acts but claimed no knowledge of the killings or any intent of murder. Both defenses relied on crucial expert testimony. Juan struggled to find a motive for this senseless killing during the trial. He offered many scenarios to the jury. His wife refused to have more children. His wife was moving his family away from the Mormon Church.

scott falaterSure, he was mild mannered, but he took his anger from work home to his wife. Juan argued with the defendant and declared that Falater didn’t even know his wife’s birthday. He told a shocked Falater he had the year wrong. Juan was mistaken due to an incorrect report. He even argued that Falater killed his wife because he thought she was fat and dumpy. Falater made the statement to police that “a terrible sin has been committed”. Falater was referring to the killing. Juan suggested to the jury that Scott Falater killed his wife because SHE committed a terrible sin.

By the end of the trial, State v. Falater starring Juan Martinez had become the new high profile trial in Arizona. The sleepwalking defense became famous around the country. Juan attacked the defense experts. He claimed that the expert’s conclusions were invalid because the expert was not provided with all the details. The defendant recognized his dog but not his wife, and he cleaned up the scene and the evidence.

In closing the defense attorney reminded the jury that Juan Martinez mischaracterized the evidence and made comments not supported by the evidence. The defense attorney implied that the prosecuter violated his duty to see that truth and justice is done. The defense reminded the jury that Scott Falater was a passive and non-violent man, and that the prosecution could not come up with a valid reason or motive for the killing.

The defense attorney tried to explain to the jury that sometimes there are cases were things are not as they seem. There are exceptions when things happen which are difficult to explain. At one point the defense expert witness addressed the prosecutor:

“Mr. Martinez, you keep trying to make this a rational scenario, and it isn’t rational.” At some point in the closing, Martinez slammed the door on all this talk about sleepwalking.

“Do you think that she deserved to die?” he asked. “Look at her. We’ve placed so much attention on him, everything’s about him. Look at her!”

abc_sleep_story1_100421_wmainJuan Martinez then threw a photo up of the victim on the autopsy table. He loudly implored the jury to look at her, to look at the indignity of the victim.  The defense attorney talks about reasons, REASONS? Scott Falater “had 44 reasons to KILL his wife”, Martinez screamed. He was referring to the 44 knife wounds. Only one member of this Arizona jury had a college degree.

He appealed to the nuts and bolts sense of the jury. He had a sound argument for the jury:

“This guy here killed his wife ….. and he’s guilty of first-degree murder.”

Scott Falater was found guilty and sentenced by the judge to life without parole.

Even 15 years before the Jodi Arias case, Juan Martinez was already honing his craft. He was becoming an expert at arguing the details with expert witnesses, discrediting witnesses, questioning the memory of the defendant and defense witnesses, and calling them out as liars. He was becoming better than defense attorneys at weaving speculation into the facts of the case while at the same time, calling defense evidence fictions and  “fantasy”.

He ridiculed defense theories, calling them such things as “The man of La Mancha defense”. Fifteen years before the Arias trial, Juan was already in the habit of yelling at witnesses, including a priest, and ridiculing witnesses. Even in the Falater trial, he questioned the children of the victim and the defendant in a voice laced with irony and sarcasm. Yarmilla Falater In Juan’s view, he had delivered justice for Yarmilla

doug and fayLater, Juan had another case of obvious 1st degree murder. Two divorced Mormons had married. Doug Grant was a very successful in the health products business. He owned a multi-million dollar company. His clients included famous professional athletes and NBA teams. Doug cheated on his wife with his receptionishilary falatert. His wife, Faylene, found out and complained to the church. Here we see the dangerous nexus between the LDSChurch, social life and business. It seems that if Doug Grant did not return to his wife, the church would get involved and this would impact his business. It’s important to understand this dynamic of the Mormon Church in the Jodi Arias trial.

Doug told Faylene he ended it with his girlfriend Hilary, and he wanted to remarry Faylene in Las Vegas. They went for an impromptu  2nd Honeymoon at TimpanogosCaveNational Monument where his wife suddenly and mysteriously fell into trees down a sixty foot cliff.

ht_doug_faylene_090331_msShe survived and they returned home. Faylene took some pain killers and a bath heal from her injuries. She was found dead in the bathtub by Doug Grant in September, 2001. Three weeks after Faylene’s death, Doug Grant married his receptionist, Hilary Dewitt, and they soon became a family aftter Hilary adopted Faylene’s two sons.doug and hil

Another high priced attorney and in Juan’s mind, more excuses, fancy explanations, technicalities, more sure signs of guilt that the court would not admit into evidence.

Imagine Juan’s shock and disbelief when he could not convince the jury of the 1st degree murder he believed was so obvious. The jury was clearly divided and Juan was forced to give instructions for lesser included offenses. Murder one and the death penalty was off the table for Doug Grant. He got away with a 5 year sentence for manslaughter. I can imagine that Juan was devastated, and thought justice had not been done. He had failed to get justice for Faylene. He contemplated his lessons and moved on.

The Grant family still believes Doug is innocent. They list a number of accusations of prosecutorial misconduct in State v. Grant. This includes

-“Losing” key evidence, “throwing away reports”, and failure to turn over key evidence to the defense in a timely manner.

-Convincing the judge to not allow into evidence testimony that the medical examiner was pressured to change his opinion about the cause of death on the victim’s autopsy report from “accident” to “undetermined”.

-Convincing the judge to rule possible exculpatory evidence as inadmissible

-Convincing the judge not to allow into evidence testimony and records showing that investigators were removed from the case when they told their superiors they could not find evidence of foul play.

-Objecting over fifty times during the defense opening statements.

-Preventing defense witness from trying to explain their answers by cutting off their answers and forcing them to answer either yes, or no.

-When these same witnesses were being questioned by the defense, Juan Martinez objected “over 200 times per day”.

-The prosecution case took three and one half months, but the judge ordered the defense to complete their case in two weeks in order to “stay on schedule”.

-Intimidating defense witnesses by accusing them of violating the law without evidence or any record of a law having been broken. The accusation that they broke the law is used to discredit their testimony and truthfulness.

-Accusing defense witnesses of lying but using arguing tactics and word tricks rather than evidence to support it.

-Using the normal and common variations in a witness’ statements and memory to attack their memory of an event, and then to suggest that the memory varies because the witness is lying.

-Also in this trial, jury members who were not a part of the final jury admitted that they had been influenced by the media and they had made up their minds the defendant was guilty before the trial began.

The jury did not believe the prosecution’s theory and did not like the tactics. Do any of these tactics foster a “search for the truth”? Do you recognize any of these tactics from the Jodi Arias trial? Doug’s family feels that truth and justice were not found in State v. Grant. These two quotes appear on their website:

 

“Anybody who understands the justice system knows innocent people are convicted every day.” –Florida Supreme Court Justice, Gerald Kogun (Ret.)

 

“In this country the presumption of innocence is dead, dead, dead.” –John Grisham

Not long after, Juan found himself on the losing side of a case. A man had been found shot dead in the forest. The defendant was David Wayne Carr. The evidence was thin. Juan started fighting back in his own way. With less than two weeks before the trial, Martinez did not give the defense a list of his witnesses and other materials. The defense was angry. They could not properly prepare their defense. They filed a complaint to the judge. This offense was punishable by up to six months in jail. The judge was very upset that his court was delayed.

The County attorney hired a high powered attorney to defend Juan. He fought back against the charge. Juan accused the defense of not giving a list of possible defenses to him until 2 weeks before the trial. He ended up forced to write a letter of apology to the court. The case was delayed and later, the jury found David Carr not guilty.

This is the only case Martinez lost. Strangely, a mysterious friend of Jodi Arias appeared in the courtroom during her trial. He called himself “Bryan Carr”. He claimed to talk to Jodi daily and he had confidential information. He claimed Jodi was telling the truth about the two masked people that were responsible for the murder. The claim was that Travis Alexander’s murder was actually an old Mormon atonement ritual called “blood atonement”. A Mormon who had committed grave sins could still go to heaven if he paid for his sins through this death ritual. Arias claimed she did not know Carr and she did not listen to him. Then, “Bryan Carr” disappeared from the courtroom and the media as quickly as he had appeared.

wendi andrMartinez recovered with the murder trial of Wendi Andriano. Wendi’s Husband was terminally ill. There were changes in his life insurance policy. He was going to win a large lawsuit. The bleach blonde Wendi was neglecting and cheating on her husband and always out drinking. She was never home. There was a question about whether her husband would leave her. Maybe he would cut her out of his will.

az_andriano_wOn October 8, 2000, Wendi tried to poison her husband. She called an ambulance, then she sent the ambulance away. Later she hit him 23 times in the head with a barstool. She stabbed him multiple times leaving the knife in his throat.

Juan cross examined Wendi Andriano ferociously. Wendi claimed that the poisoning was a planned assisted suicide, that her husband accepted her cheating, and that he attacked her and she defended herself.wendi On the stand she said “If I am convicted, it is because of my own bad choices”. Interestingly, Jodi Arias actually mimicked some of the mannerisms of Wendi Andriano and quoted her while on the stand. Wendi’s hair also returned to its natural brown color and she dressed down and wore glasses at her death penalty trial.  But the victim,  xxxx Andriano would win the day. The jury didn’t believe her story and they sentenced her to death only a few days before Christmas, 2004.

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Empowered from his victory, Juan must have felt invincible. Things were going well for Juan, and his record was impressive. Then he ran into a legal buzz saw named Shawn P. Lynch. 206125This may have really hardened him about the justice system.  Lynch and a friend had killed a man and then went on a spending spree with his credit card. There was plenty of evidence and little doubt about who committed the crime. The confusion came from who did what. The jury convicted Lynch of murder but they could not agree on premeditation.

Next Juan would learn about the aggravation of the aggravators. The jury agreed on murder for a money motive, but they disagreed on heinous cruel or depraved. A second mitigation and penalty phase was ordered. During the second phases, Juan instructed the jury that there were four aggravating circumstances: Pecuniary gain (money), heinous, cruel, and depraved. In 2006, the jury found all four aggravators and sentenced Lynch to death. Juan thought he had justice for xxxxx, but the case was far from over.

Shawn Lynch appealed with a barrage of issues, including prosecutorial misconduct on the part of Juan Martinez. The higher court rejected most of the claims. Technically, heinous, cruel and depraved are not three aggravators. They are three “prongs” of a single aggravator. The court stated that since the jury was instructed there were four aggravators instead of two, this was prejudicial to the client. So this crime from 2001 and death penalty sentence from 2006, has yet go back to trial a third time for another sentencing phase. More than 12 years later, there is not a final sentence. There has been no closure for xxxx. I think this experience aggravated Juan and made him feel that the justice needs a little push since the system and appeals process are all on the defendant’s side.

dean glickJuan had better success with State v. Glick. Dean Glick, 41, was a vile and degenerate person by any standards. He lived with his 82 year old mother. He abused her and stole her money. He hired a prostitute and promised her a huge bonus. His mother protested when he tried to use her credit card to pay. The prostitute left with her driver when the argument became heated. They quickly called the police. Dean Glick then beat his 82 year-old mother to death with a plastic flashlight. When the police arrived, Glick had barricaded the front door. There was plenty of evidence and two eye witnesses who saw the beginning of the fight just minutes before the murder.

Imagine Juan’s attitude towards defense attorneys when Glick’s attorneys told the jury that Dean was caring and responsible. He loved his mom way too much to kill her. They simply had an argument. The argument got out of control and the beating was not so bad. Glick broke his mom’s ribs and sternum not while beating her but while trying to perform CPR on her fragile body! It is not difficult to understand Juan’s disdain for the defense. Dean Glick was convicted of 1st degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.

Martinez had further success with a high profile serial killer case. Cory Morris was accused of killing his girlfriend and four other women and burying them next to his trailer. From 2002 to 2003 he had lured the women into his home with promises of money. Then the victims were subjected to beatings, rape, murder and then necrophilia.cory and victims Imagine the disdain on his face when the defense counsel addressed the jury. The defense said that although his client committed 5 murders, he had not premeditated any of them.corry morris Therefore, Corey Morris should get five counts of 2nd degree murder and not the death penalty. The jury did not accept the argument. Morris was sentenced to death in July, 2005.

In 2005, Juan Martinez was the prosecutor in the case of an ArizonaStateUniversity athlete who shot a teammate to death in a parking lot. Juan was not moved by the idea of the popular Arizona Sun Devils running back making some bad decisions and a terrible mistake. In 2007, Loren Wade was found guilty of second degree murder and sentenced to 20 years in prison. Juan had another win under his belt. Most likely Juan doesn’t remember Loren Wade’s name, but he certainly remembers xxxx, the less well known football player who’s life was cut so short.

Then there was State v. Miller. William Craig Miller, 34, was a business owner who committed arson, burning down his own home for insurance moneyarticle-2031633-0DA0CDD700000578-398_233x368. He talked his employee Steven Duffy into helping him. When Duffy and his girlfriend, Tammy Lovell, offered to help the police prosecute him, Miller retaliated. He killed Duffy, his eighteen year old brother, Lovell, and her two children ages 15 and 10. Imagine the ire in the conscience of Juan Martinez when the defense attorney implored the jury to “keep an open mind” and to remember that “things are not always as they seem”.

1234216_GThe defense attorney told the jury that life in prison is punishment enough and showed smiling baby photos of Miller. They said to remember that there was a human being inside the monster and that Miller suffered from bipolar disorder. Juan pounced on this sickening plea. What about xxxxx? Where is their mercy? The jury convicted him of five counts of 1st degree murder and sentenced him to death in 2011.

For Juan Martinez, he will grudgingly provide a “why”. If the jury needs a “why”, he will find one to give them. But for Juan, there is no why. You took a life. We know you did it, and now it is time to pay for your sin. Many murders are straightforward. Juan Martinez doesn’t see that there are rare exceptions and sometimes there are possible explanations for something that seems like a horrible and vicious murder.

jodi juanIn 2013, in the Arias trial, Juan finds himself once again accused of prosecutorial misconduct.  Withholding from the defense text messages, Instant messages, and e-mails recovered from the cell phone of Travis Alexander in time for trial.  Thousands and thousands of messages were recovered and turned over in 2011 shortly before the anticipated beginning of the trial. The trial was delayed many times. Other incidents of misconduct throughout the trial have been alleged by the defense, including suborning perjury in the testimony of the Medical Examiner, Dr. Kevin Horn.

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Juan Martinez was in his usual element,juan 1 berating defense witnesses, attempting to insult and humiliate the defendant and expert defense witnesses. Appealing to the emotions rather than the reason and logic of the jury, trying to shape the testimony of defense witnesses, cutting them off  before they can explain their answers, and questioning witnesses with cynical and aggressive questioning, even screaming, barking and snapping at witnesses in bulldog fashion.juan 3

Nurmi attempted to shine a “spotlight” on the actions of the prosecutor by making accusations of misconduct throughout the trial, an attempt to deceive the jury by making their unlikely order of injuries a scientific certainty which would highly benefit the prosecution’s case. Finally, adding the nonsensical charge of 1st degree felony murder for fear that the jury would not believe the thin and mostly speculative evidence of premeditation. Whatever it took, Juan vowed to deliver justice for Travis Alexander and his shattered family.

Many trial watchers praised Juan Martinez as a hero. In the media and also in social media, victim’s rights were enshrined and Juan’s devices were duplicated. Witnesses were threatened and intimidated by mostly anonymous Facebook and Twitter avengers. Only one side of the story was presented. Anyone who said anything in support of the defendant, her attorneys and witnesses was castigated. Speculations were presented in the media and social media as fact. Exculpatory evidence was not allowed into the public domain. Any opinion in any way favorable to the defendant or the defense was ridiculed, blocked, and deleted. Posters were driven away by swarms of avengers and Facebook pages supporting Jodi Arias were deleted due to false complaints of “pornography”.

Currently, Juan has completed the Chrisman trial where a former Phoenix police officer is charged with 2nd degree murder, assault, and cruelty to animals after shooting a man and his dog in his home during a complaint of violence. Juan had an eye witness and some evidence, but there was a problem with missing evidence from outside the home favoring Chrisman.

chrismanJuan responded in a clever fashion. He suggested to the jury during closing arguments that Chrisman’s fellow officers may have hidden and destroyed evidence as well as altering the crime scene. No evidence was introduced in support of the accusation. The judge gave the jury instructions that what is said in closing arguments is not evidence and that lack of evidence should be seen as favorable to Chrisman. Even so, jury members were influenced by the contention that his fellow officers helped Chrisman by removing and destroying evidence.

Chrisman claimed that he shot the victim because he picked up a bicycle and threatened to assault the officer. Juan told the jury that “no gun residue was found on the bicycle”, proving that Chrisman was lying. In fact, no tests were conducted on the bicycle for gun residue. Juan Martinez had used a defense-style tactic to influence the jury.

chrisman trial 2Chrisman’s defense attorneys have complained that the Grand Jury was not given the evidence it needed to make a sound decision about whether the case should be brought to trial or what proper charges were to be brought.

“Chrisman’s lawyers filed a motion claiming the prosecutors in the case, Juan Martinez and Ted Duffy, omitted certain facts and ignored questions from the grand jury that indicted him”.

“Chrisman’s lawyers say prosecutors never told the grand jury about the victim’s alleged drug use or comments made by Chrisman to the first officer on the scene.”

In the past, these actions were deemed as misconduct by Arizona judges. Now the exact same behaviors are not viewed as misconduct. Here is the response to such behavior in Arizona in a 2006 murder case:

“Mr. Duffy  (the prosecutor) did a lot of things during the trial that in my opinion were just outrageous,” said Raynak (the defense attorney).”

“Raynak says Duffy’s misconduct included introducing evidence after he was told not to, and making statements about evidence that simply weren’t true. Judge Arthur Anderson agreed, and after notifying the bar, Duffy was suspended for 30 days and given probation for a year”. In the Chrisman case, Martinez and Duffy had teamed up to deliver Justice for xxxx Rodriguez and his mother who had called the police to begin with.

Although it seems that ex-officer Chrisman was very wrong in his actions, the jury should be given the sound evidence and be able to make a fair decision based on the evidence and testimony presented. The jury should not be unduly influenced by tricks and tactics designed to influence the jury outside of the facts of the case.

The prosecutors should not mislead the Grand Jury, try to keep out exculpatory evidence, and make arguments to the jury which mischaracterizes evidence. Expert witnesses can be discredited or have their opinions questioned, but character assassination, taunting and ridicule of qualified experts should not be allowed. The prosecution should turn over witness lists and evidence to the defense on time.

http://blogs.phoenixnewtimes.com/valleyfever/2010/11/richard_chrisman_phoenix_pds_k.php

redondoIn his upcoming case, State v. Christopher Redondo, Juan has been sparring with the judge. Redondo has already been convicted for the unrelated murder of Ernie Singh on June 24, 2009.  For this, Redondo was sentenced to life in prison. Now, Redondo is accused of shooting to death Gilbert Police Lt. Eric Shuhandler in January 2010.eric shuhandler

Redondo was reportedly despondent in his cell and refusing to talk to defense counsel. Judge Barton requested that Juan Martinez attempt a plea bargain to life in prison and has ordered a competency hearing. Juan Martinez became incensed and convinced that the judge is trying to stop him from getting Redondo the death penalty.  Juan also feels Judge Barton is “sympathetic” to the defendant and should not be allowed to preside in the competency hearing. I would say she believes the Death penaty should be used judiciously.

He wants a stricter judge to find him competent to stand trial and to be eligible for execution. Juan knows Redondo is already serving life in prison for the killing of Singh. If he is found guilty, this means he will get no extra punishment for the killing of Officer Shuhandler in 2010. So, Juan feels that Redondo should stop playing mentally sick and should just face execution. In his motion, “Martinez accused Barton of being hostile toward the death penalty in three other cases”.

This can be directly traced back to State v. Millermiller victims. The judge in that case was Judge Barton. Miller was the man who killed 5 people as retaliation for testifying against him in an arson case. Even though there were multiple aggravators such as multiple murders, prior felonies, witness elimination, and the murder of two children. Juan still insisted in motions with the judge that the especially cruel, heinous or depraved aggravator be allowed to be used. The judge replied that there were plenty of other aggravators, and that the five were shot in rapid succession, making it difficult to prove significant mental suffering took place.

“Based upon the evidence presented, the state has not shown that any significant period of time elapsed between the killings and that any victim did not die instantly from the gunshot wounds,” Barton responded. “Rather, it appears that the victims were killed in rapid succession and none of them had significant time to contemplate their fate,” the judge said.

Why does Juan Martinez fight so hard to get an aggravator he doesn’t need to get the death penalty? The answer is precedent. If this particular crime is seen as supporting the heinous, cruel, or depraved aggravator, then many more cases can claim this aggravator due to the precedent that can be created in State v. Miller. This allows the prosecutors in Arizona to use the threat of the death penalty more often to force a plea in selected cases. This also widens rather than narrows the number of homicides that can be found eligible for the death penalty. Judge Barton has presided over other death penalty cases where the sentence was death. Judge Barton has also refused to block death sentences from being carried out. So maybe Juan Martinez is being too tenacious in attacking Judge Barton for being reasonable and judicious in the application of the death penalty.

alyce juanIt’s wonderful when you have a tough prosecutor who will fight hard for the rights of victims and victim’s families. It’s a blessing to have a tenacious prosecutor to protect society from serial killers, cop killers, rogue cops, mass murderers, and outlaw murderers with drug habits. The problem comes when you have people such as Scott Falater and Jodi Arias.

These are passive people with no criminal history or history of violence who are claiming that something irrational or not easily explainable happened resulting in a murder. These are cases where the jury really needs to decide on the facts and the evidence without the undue influence from emotional arguments, speculation, and deceptive tactics.

The code of ethics for prosecutors states:

(a) The office of prosecutor is charged with responsibility for prosecutions in its jurisdiction.

(b) The prosecutor is an administrator of justice, an advocate, and an officer of the court; the prosecutor must exercise sound discretion in the performance of his or her functions.

(c) The duty of the prosecutor is to seek justice, not merely to convict.

So to try to discredit an expert Psychological witness with 30 years experience because he made a math mistake, or to try to discredit a domestic violence expert with 30 years experience because of the title she chose for a speaking engagement, seems a little over the top. To withhold evidence and witness lists from the defense in order to put them at a disadvantage in a case where their client faces possible execution also seems over the top.

To try to convince the jury with argument based on speculation and emotion also seems to fall outside the bounds of the ethics of a prosecutor who is supposed to seek justice. To express the sentiment that the defendant is a liar and by extension, all defense witnesses are liars also, falls outside these bounds. To accuse defense witnesses of crimes without evidence and to use these accusations to try and prevent a witness from testifying is a violation of law. For Judges to tolerate these tactics is wrong on its face. Excessive screaming, sarcasm, taunting, and contempt violate the decorum of a capital case.

nurmi juanDo you want to defend a mass murderer? Neither do I. Do you want to defend a child rapist and killer or an outlaw drug induced spree killer? Neither do I. How far over the line would you go to prosecute the bad guy? If you go too far, the scales are tipped, and you st become part of the problem. But if you are falsely accused of such a thing, you would want a prosecutor with ethics. You would not want a Grand Jury to indict you on false, misleading, or missing information. You would not want charges to be brought against you without probable cause. You would not want to be overcharged in the crime.

You would not want a prosecutor withholding evidence that could set you free, manufacturing, destroying or mischaracterizing evidence, influencing the jury with speculation, or shopping for a hanging judge. Deciding whether a person lives or dies should be based on their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. People who think Juan Martinez is a hero like to ask “What if Travis Alexander was your son, your brother, or your friend? But you also need to ask “What if Jodi Arias was your daughter, your friend, or your sister?”

juan katie wickThere is no “Justice for Yarmilla”, “Justice for Faylene” or “Justice for Travis”. There is only Justice for all. The balance between victim’s rights and the rights of the accused must be carefully maintained. Otherwise, we are only seeking a conviction. We have left Justice far behind.juan cross