The Felony Murder charge is the Holy Grail in the Jodi Arias case

Why the Felony Murder charge is the Holy Grail

of the Jodi Arias case

Fact based reporting

by Rob Roman & Amanda Chen

 

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Much has been made of the 1st degree Felony murder charge in the Jodi Arias case. The popular consensus is:

 

1) This is a totally legitimate charge under Arizona law.

2) The prosecution can charge whatever they want. It’s still up to the jury whether or not to convict on each charge.

3) Arias’ defense attorneys are a “joke” and “do not know what the hell they’re talking about”.

4) “F*ck Off, f*cktard!!”

5) Nobody cares / It doesn’t matter, because the jury did not find Jodi Arias guilty of 1st degree Felony Murder.

6) The jury instructions said that jurors can make a finding of both 1st degree AND felony murder, and that’s what some of them did. So what?

7) Jodi Arias butchered Travis Alexander. She was unanimously found guilty of first degree Premeditated Murder by a jury of her peers, so f*ck off!

8) It was Felony Murder, because it was a felony AND it was a murder. – It’s not rocket science – Duh!

“Ladies and Gentlemen: There’s nothing.

It’s silly. It’s fearful. That charge is there out of fear.

It makes no sense …. not under any scenario does that make any sense.

Either she was there to kill him … or she wasn’t.”

– Defense Attorney Kirk Nurmi

 

What does he mean by “Either she was there to kill him … or she wasn’t”?

What does he mean by “That charge is there out of fear”?

 

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Now is a good time to review the different charges for a murder:

 

1st degree Premeditated Murder: A deliberate plan to kill or a “period of cool deliberation”.

It’s deliberate and there is an intent to kill in the person’s mind. It’s also called a “cold-blooded murder”. It’s considered worse than 2nd degree Murder because a person calmly made a decision to murder, reflected on it, and then carried it out.

1st degree Felony Murder: A deliberate plan to carry out a dangerous felony (other than 1st degree murder) and in the course of that felony, a death occurs.

The primary or “predicate felony” is the main intent of the person. The person usually has no premeditation to commit murder. As a result of and in the course of carrying out that dangerous felony, somebody dies.

2nd degree Murder: There is no deliberate plan to kill nor a “period of cool deliberation” or it cannot be proven in court, but the person intentionally caused the death of another person.

There is no provable deliberation, but an intent to kill is formed in the person’s mind. It is a murder born of unplanned circumstances. Often, this would be called a “hot-blooded murder”.

If a jury finds that this 2nd degree murder was committed in the intense emotional turmoil called a “heat of passion”, Arizona law requires that the charge be reduced to Manslaughter.

Manslaughter: There is no deliberate plan and no intent to kill, but the person negligently or recklessly caused the death of another person.

Justifiable Homicide: A murder is justified because a person was defending their life or the life of another person.

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We have a situation in a Capital murder case, where the prosecution is pushing hard for a 1st degree murder conviction, this will mean lifetime imprisonment or the Death Penalty.

The defense is pushing just as hard to get, at the least, a 2nd degree murder conviction, where the Death penalty cannot be applied and the defendant has some chance of parole and one day getting out of prison. Of course, a heat of passion manslaughter verdict or an acquittal would be even better for the defense and Arias.

The Defense in the Jodi Arias case had a primary goal or mission to get anything BUT a 1st degree murder conviction for the same reasons.

Can the additional but bogus charge of 1st degree felony murder assist the prosecution to achieve their goal of a 1st degree murder conviction?

 

Now, let’s review the actual instructions that the jury was given and that Judge Stephens read word for word to the jury.

 

“THE CHARGED OFFENSE – PREMEDITATED MURDER

Count 1 charges the defendant with First Degree Murder. Arizona law

recognizes two types of First Degree Murder – Premeditated Murder and

Felony Murder. The state has charged the defendant with both types.

The crime of First Degree Premeditated Murder requires the state to prove the following:

  1. The defendant caused the death of another person; and
  2. The defendant intended or knew that she would cause the death of another person; and
  3. The defendant acted with premeditation.

“Premeditation” means that the defendant intended to kill another human being or knew she would kill another human being; and that after forming that intent or knowledge, reflected on the decision before killing. It is this reflection, regardless of the length of time in which it occurs, that distinguishes First Degree Murder from Second Degree Murder.

While reflection is required for First Degree Murder, the time needed for reflection is not necessarily prolonged, and the space of time between the intent or knowledge to kill and the act of killing may be very short. An act is not done with premeditation if it is the instant effect of a sudden quarrel or heat of passion.

The crime of First Degree Premeditated Murder includes the lesseroffense of Second Degree Murder. You may consider a lesser offense if either:

  1. You find the defendant not guilty of First Degree Premeditated Murder; or
  2. After full and careful consideration of the facts, you cannot agree on whether to find the defendant guilty or not guilty of First Degree Premeditated Murder.

You cannot find the defendant guilty of any offense unless you find that the State has proved each element of that offense beyond a reasonable doubt.

 

SECOND DEGREE MURDER

The crime of Second Degree Murder requires proof of one of the

following:

  1. The defendant intentionally caused the death of another person; or
  2. The defendant caused the death of another person by conduct which the defendant knew would cause death or serious physical injury; or

Under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to human life, the defendant recklessly engaged in conduct that created a grave risk of death and thereby caused the death of another person. The risk must be such that disregarding it was a gross deviation from what a reasonable person in the defendant’s situation would have done.

The difference between first degree murder and second degree murder is that second degree murder does not require premeditation by thedefendant.

 

CHARGED OFFENSE – FELONY MURDER

As stated earlier, Count 1 also charges defendant with First Degree Felony Murder. The crime of First Degree Felony Murder requires the state to prove the following two things:

  1. The defendant committed or attempted to commit Burglary in the

Second Degree; and

  1. In the course of and in furtherance of committing Burglary in the Second Degree, or immediate flight from it, the defendant caused the death of any person.

An “attempt” requires the state to prove that the defendant intentionally did something which, under the circumstances she believed them to be, was a step in a course of conduct planned to culminate in the commission of the offense. The crime of Burglary in the Second Degree requires proof that the defendant:

  1. Entered or remained unlawfully in or on a residential structure; and
  2. Did so with the intent to commit any theft or felony therein.

Residential structure means any structure, movable or immovable, permanent or temporary, that is adapted for both human residence and lodging whether occupied or not.

“Intentionally” or “with the intent to” means, with respect to a result or to conduct described by a statute defining an offense, that a person’s objective is to cause that result or to engage in that conduct.

There are no lesser included offenses for First Degree Felony Murder.

http://archive.azcentral.com/ic/pdf/arias-jury-instructions.pdf

 

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Okay, I hope you lived through that. If so, you may have noticed a few things. First, it seems as if juries were very confused about how if they decide it’s a second degree murder, then they must decide if it was a “sudden heat of passion” killing. If the jury decides it is, then the 2nd degree murder is reduced to manslaughter. The instructions repeat so many times on this that it seems that there was trouble with the comprehension of this instructions.

The 1st degree pre-meditated murder charge includes the lesser offenses of 2nd degree murder, sudden heat of passion murder, and manslaughter. The Felony murder charge has no lesser included offenses.

The jury is informed that all can vote for premeditated M1, or all can vote for felony M1, or all can vote for both, or there can be any kind of mixture, as long as they are all unanimous that it’s a first degree murder.

In order to make a finding of Felony murder in this case, the jurors need to find that the defendant committed or intended to commit 2nd degree burglary. In Arizona, this only means that a defendant entered or remained unlawfully in a residence with the intent to commit any other theft or felony.

 

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Can two people both be guilty of felony murder with one victim? Yes they can.

Example: Joe Blow and Lou Blew go to rob a horse track. Lou Blew blows away a cashier. Both Joe Blow and Lou Blew are guilty of felony murder.

Can one person be guilty of felony murder with two victims? Yes they can.

Example: Snidely Whiplash is in his Humvee being chased by the police. The police car smashes into a motorcycle, killing Hairy Ryder. Snidely runs over Midge, a little old lady with a walker who was trying to cross the street. Snidely Whiplash is guilty of two counts of felony murder.

Can one person be guilty of both felony murder and premeditated murder with two victims? Yes they can.

Example: Robin Redrum plans on killing Bumptious Q. Bangwhistle in his home a month in advance. She goes to his home and shoots him dead. Bumptious’ brother, Sumptious Z. Bangwhistle, is visiting that day. He hears the gunfire and comes out of the bathroom and Robin shoots him dead. Robin Redrum is guilty of one count of 1st degree Premeditated Murder and one count of 1st degree Felony Murder.

Now, can one person be guilty of BOTH felony murder and premeditated murder with a single victim? Only rarely, and it would take some doing and some verbal gymnastics to explain how this could be so without a separate felony.

 

Premeditated murder is a planned murder, or at the very least, the person had a moment of cool reflection.

 

Felony murder is an unplanned murder. The person plans another felony, and in the course of and in furtherance of this felony, a death occurs. (The victim could have a heart attack, your accomplice could murder the victim, the police could shoot the victim by mistake when trying to shoot you, or you could be surprised by an unexpected victim and kill them, or you could just suddenly decide to kill somebody. All these are examples of felony murder).

 

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How does one person commit BOTH a planned and an unplanned killing with a single victim? Not very easily, BUT Arizona law does allow jurors to find both pre-meditated murder 1 and felony murder 1 concurrently under certain circumstances.

Doesn’t that seem like a blessing for prosecutors?

 

A) Let’s say Horatio Hornblower plans to tie up and rob little Billy Pilgrim. He ties him up and steals his computer and big screen TV. He drives away, then he thinks again and drives back to Billy Pilgrim’s house and kills him with a George Foreman 3 minute hamburger grill. Now, is this felony murder or premeditated murder or both?

B) Let’s say Horatio Hornblower again plans to tie up and rob little Billy Pilgrim. He ties him up and steals his computer and big screen TV. Billy tells Horatio that he’s a useless cowardly thieving dirt bag. Horatio Hornblower then brains Billy with a George Foreman 3 minute hamburger grill. Is this example felony murder, pre-meditated murder, or both?

C) Let’s say Robin Redrum has NO intention to kill Sweet Polly Purebred in her home by suffocating her with a plastic bag. Robin is a welcome guest. A fight breaks out. She puts a plastic bag over Polly’s head, but she’s not dying. She’s injured, but not dead. So Robin stabs her with Polly’s knitting needle 99 times until she dies. She takes the bag and the knitting needle with her. Is this premeditated murder or felony murder or both?

D) Now, let’s reverse that and say that Robin Redrum plans for months to stab Sweet Polly Purebred to death in her own home with Robin’s knitting needle. She stabs her 99 times, but she doesn’t know if she’s dead or not. She puts a plastic bag over her head just to be sure and takes her own knitting needle. Is this felony murder or premeditated murder or both?

 

The last example is the equivalent of the prosecution’s theory in the Jodi Arias case (gunshot last, pre-meditation, Jodi brought the gun). The one before that is the alternate theory of murder in the Jodi Arias case (gunshot first, no pre-meditation, Jodi used and stole Travis’gun).

 

Now, can you apply the jury instructions to these 4 cases? What do you come up with?

 

A) Under the laws of California and many other states, this would be premeditated murder. It starts out as a felony, but Horatio leaves, then deliberates and after cool reflection, decides to go back and kill Billy Pilgrim. For me, this would be 1stdegree premeditated murder plus separate kidnapping and burglary charges.

In Arizona, however, this fulfills all the requirements for a finding of BOTH Pre-meditated M1 AND Felony M1.

B) I would call this felony murder. Horatio intended to commit a felony. While engaged in the felony, he becomes enraged at Billy Pilgrim and, without a plan or cool reflection, murders him. I would charge felony murder and add on the kidnapping and burglary charges.

C) This would seem to me to be premeditated murder or it could be 2nd degree murder, depending on the details. Robin Redrum didn’t plan the murder. There was no intended felony. A fight broke out and Robn went wild. If there was a cooling off period proven, then it’s 1st degree premeditated murder. If there was no time for reflection, then it’s 2nd degree murder. If the jury finds it’s a sudden heat of passion killing. (Robin and Polly had an intimate relationship of some kind), then the charge could be reduced to manslaughter.

D) This would also seem to me to be premeditated murder. Robin Redrum planned the murder and carried it out. There doesn’t seem to be any intended felony or further felony other than the murder itself.

 

Did you come to the same conclusions as I did?

In the Jodi Arias case, there were 7 out of 12 jurors who found that it was BOTH a felony murder and a premeditated murder. How did that happen? There were also 8 jurors out of 12 jurors who voted for death. Since I do not know, I think it’s a very good educated guess that the 7 who voted for both felony and premeditated murder AND 7 of the 8 jurors who voted for death are the same people.

I would love to hear their explanation as to how this is BOTH. I would love to hear anyone’s explanation as to how this can be both a planned AND an unplanned murder.

UPDATE:

In Arizona, there IS an explanation:

If the prosecution proves that a death occurred “In the course of, and in furtherance of, another intended felony”,  a juror can make a finding of Felony Murder 1, even if that same juror also made a finding of Pre-meditated M1.

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monty_python__the_holy_grail_by_eleth89Kirk Nurmi argued that since there is no predicate felony, there is no Felony Murder. So, it is either 1st degree premeditated murder, which the prosecution argued almost exclusively, or it is a LESSER CHARGE, such as 2nd degree murder or heat of passion manslaughter. Here’s what he said about this in the guilt phase part of the trial in 2013:

 

“Remember when we heard the charge of Felony Murder yesterday and the state making an argument that was….incomprehensible? This idea that well…if you believe Jodi’s version of events she’s guilty of felony murder because she went to Travis’ home, and she decided to steal his gun, and in the course of trying to steal his gun, she shot him. She went there, they had sex, they did all these things, then she decided she wanted his gun, and decided to take it, and wanted it so bad that she was willing to kill him.

That’s the theory of felony murder they have put forward. That shows a little fear, and we’ll talk about some of the fear that the state has demonstrated throughout this case, but that’s just some of it – alright? We also heard this idea that….well, she was unwelcome once she put the weapon upon him and she was there to commit a burglary or another felony ….. there’s no other felony.

Ladies and Gentlemen: There’s nothing. It’s silly. It’s fearful. That charge is there out of fear. It makes no sense …. not under any scenario does that make any sense. Either she was there to kill him, because the state said “Hey this is a plot that began in May”. Either she was there to kill him … or she wasn’t, and that’s ultimately what we’re here to determine.”

– Defense lead attorney Lawrence “Kirk” Nurmi in the guilt phase closing argument.

Start at 9:15

 

So, in his closing statements, what does Kirk Nurmi mean by “Either she was there to kill him … or she wasn’t”?

What he means is that this is either a deliberate pre-planned, cooly reflected upon murder, or it should be a lesser charge.

The reason why he’s saying this is because he doesn’t see an underlying felony in the felony murder charge. Martinez’ answer during Nurmi’s motion to dismiss the felony murder charge is that the underlying felony can be any lesser offense of Premeditated Murder. This is after he states once again the reasons why this is clearly a premeditated murder. Then Martinez offers up “assault” as the underlying felony in the felony murder charge.

We are well on our way up the hill to the Holy Grail, I promise. But first, let’s take a small detour and look at the genesis of the felony murder charge. It never changed from the time of the indictment, although premeditated and felony murder are clearly stated as ALTERNATIVES.

Here’s the relevant wording from the original indictment on July 9th 2008 (Jodi Arias’ birthday):

 

“The Grand Jurors of Maricopa County, Arizona, accuse Jodi Ann Arias on this 9th day of July, 2008, charging that in Maricopa County, Arizona:

Count 1:

JODI ANN ARIAS, on the 4th day of June, 2008, intending or knowing that her conduct would cause death, with premeditation caused the death of TRAVIS V. ALEXANDER, in violation of A.R.S. $$ 13-1101, 13-1105, 13-702, 13-703, 13-703.01 and 13-801.

The State of Arizona further alleges that the offense charged in this count is a dangerous felony because the offense involved the discharge, use, or threatening exhibition of a .25 caliber handgun and/or knife, a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument and/or the intentional or knowing infliction of serious injury upon TRAVIS V. ALEXANDER, in violation of A.R.S. $$ 13-604 (P).

OR IN THE ALTERNATIVE

JODI ANN ARIAS, on or about the 4th day of June, 2008, acting either alone or with one or more other persons, committed or attempted to commit Burglary, Second Degree, and in the course of and in furtherance of such offense, or immediate flight from such offense, JODI ANN ARIAS or another person caused the death of TRAVIS V. ALEXANDER, in violation of $$ 13-1105, 13-1101, 13-702, 13-703, 13-703.01 and 13-801.

The State of Arizona further alleges that the offense charged in this count is a dangerous

felony because it involved the discharge, use, or threatening exhibition of a .25 caliber handgun and/or knife, a deadly weapon or dangerous instrument and/or the intentional or knowing infliction of serious physical injury upon TRAVIS VICTOR ALEXANDER in violation of A.R.S. $ 13-604(P).

http://jodiariasisinnocent.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Jodi-Arias-Court-Docs-1.pdf

 

Did you see that? Premeditated Murder OR, IN THE ALTERNATIVE, felony murder. Not both, how could it be both? You either planned a murder or you didn’t, right? In Arizona, for whatever reasoning, a juror can find both if the pre-meditated murder happened “In the course of, and in furtherance of, another intended felony”.

In Arizona, you get to

have your cake and eat it too

I’m going to throw out a word to you now – Boilerplate. It’s a legal term meaning a standard way of wording things such that there are few problems understanding it. The exact same, time-tested phrasing is used every time. July 9th was just a month after the body was found.

JODI ANN ARIAS, on or about the 4th day of June, 2008, acting either alone or with one or more other persons, committed or attempted to commit Burglary, Second Degree”. This standard boiler plate language should be narrowed down to exactly what the evidence shows by the time of the trial.

 

ravenAt that point, Jodi could have been hiding and protecting an accomplice who actually did the killing while she just watched. She would still be guilty of 1st degree felony murder, because she was a willing accomplice. Someone could have assisted her, even if Jodi did the killing. Maybe it would turn out that either Jodi didn’t premeditate the murder OR there was not enough evidence of premeditation.

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So that boilerplate wording on the indictment including the felony murder charge are there as a catch-all or a just in case. They’re basically a one size fits all. Three or Four years later, you would think the prosecution would know if it was felony murder or a premeditated murder. Everyone knows what they are going to try to prove and what their theory of the case will be.

 

– But they left the defense guessing.

Kirk Nurmi made two major points in his closing about the Felony Murder Charge. It makes no sense, and it’s only there because of “fear”.

“Either she was there to kill him, or she wasn’t”.

 

In Arizona, there are 16 statutory (witten in the law) predicate felonies for felony murder. These are:

1) Sexual Conduct with a minor

2) Sexual Assault

3) Molestation of a child

4) Terrorism

5) Marijuana offenses

6) Dangerous drug offenses

7) Narcotics offenses

8) The use of minors in drug offenses

9) Drive by shooting

10) Kidnapping

11) Burglary

12) Arson

13) Robbery

14) Escape

15) Child abuse

16) Unlawful flight from a pursuing law enforcement vehicle”

 

Jodi’s predicate felony is burglary? You’ve got to be kidding me. Incredibly, Juan Martinez sold that B.S. To the jury, or to many of them, anyways. I don’t think you can stretch, mutilate, and warp a law any more than Martinez did here. Then he sold it to them, because he is the fireside story teller. There were five astute jurors, though, who weren’t buying it at all.

The State has put forth that the felony predicate is burglary. In Arizona statutes, burglary is akin to trespassing with the intent to commit any felony. Jodi Arias at some point became an uninvited guest in Travis Alexander’s home. When, exactly did Jodi Arias become an unwelcome guest in Travis’ home? According to the twisted logic of the State, Jodi Arias became an unwelcome guest as soon as she began her premeditated murder of Travis Alexander.

According to the state, when Jodi Arias began killing Travis Alexander, at that point in time, she is no longer welcome in Travis’ home and is now guilty of 2nd degree burglary.

 

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“The crime of Burglary in the Second Degree requires proof that

the defendant:

  1. Entered or remained unlawfully in or on a residential

structure; and

  1. Did so with the intent to commit any theft or felony therein.”

– Arizona 2nd degree burglary statute.

Here there is a situation where, as soon as Jodi Arias starts killing Travis Alexander, she is now guilty of second degree burglary, because Travis obviously would not want her in his home at that time = remaining unlawfully in a residential structure. That same act of starting to kill Alexander also serves as the further felony Arias intended to commit. So the killing of Alexander serves as the reason why she is guilty of 2nd degree burglary, plus it is the further felony Arias intended to commit, plus it is the killing that was committed in the course of the burglary.

 

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Do you see why this is insane circular logic? As a matter of fact, that’s what Kirk Nurmi argued when he asked the court to drop the Felony Murder charge after it became clear that the State was arguing just about exclusively for 1st degree premeditated murder. He said this is circular logic. The murder and the predicate felony and the further intended felony cannot be all the same thing.

Not only is it circular logic, but also, there’s a law against it:

 

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Felony-murder cannot be charged if all the elements of the felony are included in the elements of murder. This is known as the merger doctrine, which holds that if the underlying felony merges with the killing, the felony cannot constitute felony-murder. For example, all of the elements of the crime of Assault and Battery with a deadly weapon are included in murder. If a killing, therefore, occurred during the course of this crime, the accused would be charged with murder.”

Yet this is exactly what Martinez is putting forth. He wrongly divides a stabbing murder into a series of assaults with a knife, and calls the intended further felony “assault”.

 

Update: It has come to my attention that, In Arizona, Martinez and Judge Stephens correctly cited the law when stating that the intended felony defining the burglary can be assault even if the victim was murdered.

http://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Felony-Murder+Rule

Again, the predicate felony = remaining unlawfully in the home (via killing Alexander) with the intent of committing any further felony (killing Alexander) and the murder part of the felony murder is (killing Alexander).

For this charge of Felony Murder, aren’t all of the elements of the felony predicate “merging” with the murder?

 

You cannot do that. Yet, Martinez and the state of Arizona did do it. Sound familiar?

It seems that in the Bizarro world of Arizona, a murder can be divided up into a series of assaults.

 

Raven1

Now, let’s entertain the theory that it was Travis’ gun that was used in the killing. Besides the fact that this significantly weakens the State’s case for pre-meditation, this scenario doesn’t work so hot either. That’s because the State would have to prove that Arias’ stated intention was to remain in Alexander’s residence with the intent to steal that gun, and in the course of committing this felony, she was willing to kill Alexander.

He would have to prove that Arias intended to steal the gun prior to, rather than after, the murder.

Following this theory, the death occurred while she was in the process of stealing Travis’ gun, which was her primary intention. This is absurd. Since she got rid of the gun, one can then be confident that her main purpose was not to be in the home unlawfully in order to steal his gun.

 

 

Travis Alexander as Eddie Snell from Alabama
Travis Alexander as Eddie Snell from Alabama

There’s a much better argument for that:

What if, she broke into the home, was in there without Alexander’s consent or knowledge, and then he caught her with the gun in her hand? She shoots him and kills him because he identified her in his home when she was supposed to be 1,000 miles away in Yreka. This is a much clearer case of felony murder. But, as we know, Travis let her in the home, Jodi knew what he was watching on his computer (You tube: “Harder Better Faster Stronger”).

We know they took pictures of each other, and we know they had sex a number of times. One could have confidence that she was welcome in the home (at least, at first).

Neither theft of the gun, nor “assault”, nor the killing of Alexander can fulfill the “intent to commit any felony” part of the Felony Murder Statute, according to Nurmi. The intended felony must be separate from the killing.

scoob1Update: It has been brought to my attention that Arizona does not recognize the merger rule in all instances, meaning if a person is murdered, you can break down that murder into a series of assaults and you can use assault as the felony defining the felony predicate of burglary.

 

 

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The prosecution, after being asked over and over again by the defense about their intentions with the felony murder charge, in 2010, finally stated what they would be using “any of the lesser included offenses” (murder 2, manslaughter). Later, they added “aggravated assault” and “theft” as the intended offense beyond 2nd degree burglary (remaining in the home unlawfully). Doesn’t this show that they have no clear theory?

Nurmi brought up a motion to dismiss the felony murder charge on the ninth day of trial, in open court minus the jury, on video. There he states that there is no underlying felony for the felony murder charge (video below). Nurmi said “The essence of the argument, your honor, is that there was nothing facilitated, at all. There was no distinct offense for this burglary….and the assertions of felony murder based on that should not stand.” Here he is saying that there was no intent to commit a theft or any felony other than the killing itself.

HolyGrail051

Juan Martinez states that the further felony is assault, now her status has changed to an unwelcome guest, the assault, and the stabbings that happened after that become the felony. Nurmi responded that it is either a premeditated murder or it’s not, and the felony murder burglary charge is just an “empty vessel” in order to seek a first degree murder conviction. (The motion was denied by Judge Sherry Stephens).

 

 

The defense motion to dismiss the felony murder charge.

Start at 47:15

 

Do you remember this? Jodi must have forgotten her glasses or something and is wearing a different pair. Nurmi and Martinez fight it out over the felony murder charge

 

At SpotLightOnLaw, we have talked about the felony murder charge a lot. Now, we hope you will soon understand why. Who gives a hoot about the felony murder charge when it’s old news? It’s over and done with, the jury was unanimous for pre-meditated murder anyways, and Nurmi is a blooming idiot!

 

Tim-monty-python-and-the-holy-grail-591629_800_441

 

No, there’s something to this. Either this is Martinez’ trick, or it’s just bad common law. Not the first time we’ve seen a poorly worded statute interpretated poorly in Arizona.

Nurmi seems to feel internally that this is incorrect. He’s not wrong, but his argument is not persuasive enough. He didn’t invoke the merger rule and he couldn’t find any case law specific enough to this issue. He’s a really good attorney, but he’s lacking as a trial lawyer.

 

images

 

I will reiterate this now in a visual format, so I hope you can see that this felony murder charge is ridiculous. It’s ludicrous. It makes no logical, practical or legal sense, does it?

Juan's interpretation of the law is on the left and Kirk's interpretation is on the right. Who is correct?i                                                                Click to Enlarge
Juan’s interpretation of the law is on the left and Kirk’s interpretation is on the right. Which is correct?
Click to Enlarge

 

Stay with me, now. I hope you will see that this is at the root of what’s wrong with the Jodi Arias case. The Holy Grail is in sight!

What do you believe is the theft or felony that Jodi intended to commit or committed? No, Juan Martinez and Judge Stephens, it cannot be the murder itself.

But, wait. According to Arizona law, and only Arizona law, Juan Martinez and Judge Stephens are correct in saying that assault CAN be used as the the felony defining the burglary. 

 

Martinez in closing arguments of the guilt phase discussing the felony murder charge

Starts at 23:30 then he picks it up again at 37:30

Now, if you don’t believe me, look at what a very good attorney in Arizona has to say:

 

Vladimir Gagic, Criminal Law Attorney

Phoenix Arizona

“That, for the moment, leaves the felony murder charge, which is count two in the indictment. At common law, felony murder meant that someone could be charged for murder even if they never intended to kill a person, so long as the a death was the foreseeable result while the defendant was committing a dangerous felony.

The classic example of a felony murder is when a kidnap victim dies from a heart attack while stuffed in the trunk of a kidnapper’s car. Thus, even though the kidnapper never intended to kill his victim, he is still guilty of felony murder because the death of his victim was a foreseeable consequence of the underlying predicate felony, kidnapping.”

“Another example is when during a bank robbery the police shoot and kill a bank robber’s accomplice. Even though the bank robbers certainly never intended the police to kill one of them, that result was foreseeable, and thus felony murder. Other common law predicate felonies included rape and burglary. Assault is not a predicate felony in Arizona for the felony murder rule.”

The important point with the felony murder rule is that the predicate felony is different from intent to murder, depraved indifference murder, manslaughter, or any other homicide charge because the goal of the felony murder rule is to deter the predicate felony itself, while non-felony murder homicide and murder laws deal with homicide charges directly.”

 

Monty-Python-and-The-Holy-Grail-monty-python-16580771-845-468

 

As most of you are aware, the government has charged Ms. Arias with felony murder, with the predicate felony being burglary. The important point here is that while even though common law burglary required breaking and entering with the intent to commit a theft therein, in Arizona, which follows the model penal code, defines burglary more broadly as (see “Arizona Revised Statute ARS 13-1506 and 13-1507):

Entering or remaining unlawfully in or on a nonresidential structure or in a fenced commercial or residential yard with the intent to commit any theft or any felony therein; and A person commits burglary in the second degree by entering or remaining unlawfully in or on a residential structure with the intent to commit any theft or any felony therein.”

“The prosecutor does not allege Ms. Arias entered into Travis Alexander’s home with the intent to kill him or commit any felony, for that matter, at the moment of entry. How could he when all the evidence shows Mr. Alexander invited Ms. Arias into his house? The evidence is clear she spent at least 8 hours in his house, and during that time together they had sex multiple times.”

 

mqdefault

 

“Instead, the prosecutor’s argument is that felony murder applies because at some point Mr. Alexander revoked permission from Ms. Arias to be in his house, and at that point, she was “remaining unlawfully in… a residential structure”. This is where things get quite silly for the government’s felony murder allegation:

if in fact at some point Jodi Arias was still in Mr. Alexander’s house without his permission (we can call that point T1), what felony was Ms. Arias’ intending to commit at T1? If she was intending to kill him at T1, then that would be the exact same thing as count one, murder in the first degree intent to kill, premeditated murder.”

“The defense filed a motion to dismiss the felony murder charge, stating quite correctly the allegation makes no sense. In response, Judge Stephens ruled Ms. Arias’ intent at T1 could have been assault, not intent to kill Mr. Alexander. I believe that ruling is in error because of something called the merger rule.

 

arias22n-1a-web

 

To count any death that occurred during the course of an assault as felony murder would obliterate the distinction between assault and murder. And even more importantly, there would be no distinction between second degree depraved indifference murder and first degree intent to kill murder.”

“P.S. What I mean by merger rule is that the predicate underlying dangerous felony, the dangerous felony of felony murder, must be different from the actual murder charge itself; that is why assault is not a predicate in felony murder. If it was a predicate, then every murder would automatically be felony murder because every murder involves an assault. In other words, proving the murder would automatically prove the assault as the evidence is circular. And thus, there would be no degrees of murder charges (first degree, second degree) as there are now.”

http://www.azcriminallawsexcrimes.com/violent-crimes/why-the-felony-murder-allegation-against-jodi-arias-is-nonsense/

 

There’s more to it. Let’s move on to the other pieces of the puzzle.

This explanation makes good sense and it’s the law in most states. Here is another instance, like the F(6) cruelty aggravator, where the statute is poorly written, coupled with illogical jury instructions or case law, that leaves Nurmi and Gagic and I, feeling like something is not quite right. That’s my overall feeling about the Jodi Arias case, too.

 

BxsIIEpCcAAKfba

 

What did Kirk Nurmi mean by “That charge is there out of fear”?

Now, we are getting to what Kirk Nurmi said about the prosecution’s ”fear”. What’s the distinction between 1st degree Felony Murder and 2nd degree Murder? Both involve no pre-planning, and in both, the person must have an intent.

The difference is that in Felony Murder, as normally observed, there must be an intent to commit another dangerous felony (where a death is foreseeable). There must be a primary or “predicate felony” OTHER THAN THE KILLING, with no pre-planned intention to kill. In the course of committing this dangerous felony, a death occurs.

Martinez argued premeditation throughout this case. He even argues a short moment of cool reflection in the bathroom was also possible, in case the jurors don’t accept the long premeditation theory. The – Travis was “killed three ways” argument is also meant to show deliberation and premeditation. He argued throughout the case that Travis didn’t own a gun, and that Jodi brought the gun with her from Yreka.

Now, Martinez is telling the jury that according to Arias’ version of events, Travis did own a gun and he’s arguing that she did steal it and that makes theft the felony defining the burglary. He’s arguing that Travis Alexander was murdered, and in the process of the murder he was assaulted, making assault the felony defining the burglary.

Martinez is telling the jury that yes, you can find that this was both a felony murder and a pre-meditated murder if the premeditated murder happened in furtherance of the burglary. He’s telling them that as soon as Arias first assaulted Alexander, that at that point, she was now unwelcome and unlawfully in the home. He’s telling them that this fits the Arizona burglary statute.   

Who’s right and who’s wrong?

 

Holy_Grail_tapestry_The_Failure_of_Sir_Launcelot

Why is he doing this? What is going on here?

Imagine there are 4 rooms, like motel rooms. Imagine there is a door to each of these rooms. The first room is 1st degree pre-meditated murder, the second room is 2nd degree murder, the 3rd is manslaughter and the 4th is justifiable homicide. Which door will the jury walk through?

 

holy_grail_png_by_erdmute-d1nodd1

If some jurors are unsure about premeditation or if some feel it’s a heat of passion homicide, they could have a compromise verdict and choose to walk through the door of 2nd degree murder. But what if the state is allowed to add the door of 1st degree felony murder? In this motel scenario, that extra door would lead into the same room as the 1st degree pre-meditated door, (or they could be connected rooms). In any case, it’s another choice for the jury.

It’s another choice which gives the prosecution another opportunity for the jurors to go into the room they want. That’s only fair, Martinez would say, because the defense has 3 doors and 3 rooms and we only have one. Now, it’s more fair because they have 3 doors and we now have 2 doors.

That’s what’s really going on here. He wants it to be as ambiguous as possible.

 

images (1)

 

Whether Jodi Arias is  completely innocent or whether she is a cruel and evil, cold-blooded murderer shouldn’t even matter. Does what Jodi did give officials the right to do what they’re doing here, or what they have done and continue to do in the State of Arizona?

Maybe the statute and/or the interpretations of the statute is just plain wrong.

In the beginning of this case, Juan Martinez had much less information about the gas cans than he did by the end of the trial. The major evidences of pre-meditation at the beginning of the trial were the license plates being tampered with, the car being rented 90 miles from Yreka, the borrowed gas cans, the hair coloring, the phone being off, and the recovered bullet being the same caliber as the gun stolen in Yreka.

All these occurrences could have nefarious explanations, but all these could have innocent explanations. If I were the prosecutor on this case, I would have been a little worried. Maybe that explains, both the change by the prosecution in the order of injuries from gun first to gun last (with the help of Dr. Horn), AND the retention of the felony murder charge. Is it just a coincidence that both of these absurd assertions help to dramatically increase the odds for the prosecution?

The biggest untold embarrassment of this trial is that there was division in this jury. They could not agree on the essentials of this case, and they disagreed 8 to 4 over the death penalty. Seven jurors voted for BOTH felony murder and premeditated murder.

Just because the boiler plate jury instructions state that you can vote for both felony murder AND premeditated murder doesn’t mean that voting for both in any way applies to this particular case.

 

monty_python_and_the_holy_grail_blu_ray_disc_5

 

These 7 people were following Juan Martinez’ interpretations while the remaining 5 were at least considering some of the defenses’ arguments.

 

All this is the Holy Grail of the Jodi Arias case.

 

Remember the list of 16 predicate felonies?

If you or someone with you causes the death of a person in the course of one of these dangerous felonies, the killing is elevated to 1st degree murder. You could say that 1st degree Felony Murder is when a person commits a 2nd degree murder in the course of one of these dangerous felonies.

 

Law-School-Dojo-1-2-3-Play-Smart-Build-Muscles-Win-Big

 

Notice that 1st degree premeditated murder is not on that list. Premeditated murder cannot be the predicate felony for felony murder. Assault with a deadly weapon also is not on this list. Assault can be the further intended felony that’s required in 2nd degree burglary, but it cannot be the predicate felony for felony murder.

So, 2nd degree murder and 1st degree felony murder have A LOT in common. Also, 2nd degree murder and 1st degree premeditated murder have A LOT in common, particularly when the period of cool deliberation or reflection is very short.

 

This caused a legal expert to say:

expert_in_60_days_big

“The point is that in jurisdictions where no time is too short to support a finding of actual thought and reflection, sufficient to establish premeditation, the dividing line between first and second degree murder is extremely murky, to put it mildly”.

http://books.google.com/books?id=f9vrpYcRBAAC&pg=PA137&lpg=PA137&dq=example+of+premeditated+murder+brief+period+of+reflection#v=onepage&q=example%20of%20premeditated%20murder%20brief%20period%20of%20reflection&f=false

 

brrLHMC

 

They could fear that they would lose the case. Remember, Juan Martinez, as shown in his prior and current cases, will cheat even when he has a slam dunk case. (State vs. Morris, State vs. Dixon, State vs. Gallardo, State vs. Lynch). But we know that Juan will cheat even more when he fears he may lose the case (State vs. Falater, State vs. Grant, State vs. Carr, Robert Towery commutation hearing, State vs. Chrisman).

 

dt_monty_python_1026

 

For Juan Martinez, not getting a 1st degree murder conviction would be a LOSS in the Jodi Arias case. The Death Penalty would be off the table and Jodi Arias would get out of prison one day. That’s unacceptable to the prosecution. This case has been widely viewed throughout the United States and the world. People are getting a good look at Arizona Justice, and this trial was on live TV. Also, the 2nd penalty phase will be available on video and transcripts after the sentencing.

 

460x

 

This case is a very big deal in Arizona. There are plenty of biblical law types, who demand the most severe punishment possible when a woman kills a man. The Mormons are a very powerful political base of themselves, and they support the ultra conservative right which reigns supreme in Arizona. Woman’s Death Row just lost one woman (due to a wrongful conviction), so there are now only two women on Death row in Arizona. Isn’t it awful expensive to run a maximum security Death Row for only two women?

 

Monty Python

Remember that Juan does not like to lose a case, and anything less than 1st degree murder would be a loss. Remember also that Juan did not really have a handle on the gas can situation until late in the trial. As things stood in 2011, this is too risky for a guy like Juan. He wants every advantage possible. He got that advantage by changing the order of injuries and not dropping the felony murder charge, for starters.

Now, I hope you can understand this just a little better and we hope you will start to see why we consider the retention of the felony murder charge, along with the one-two switcheroo of the order of injuries to be the Holy Grail of wrongdoing by the prosecution.

What is YOUR opinion?

Comments from all perspectives are welcome.

You can also comment on our FB page

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Spotlight-On-Law/189870931203328

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Arizona Justice: The very strange case of Patrick Bearup

Arizona Justice: The very strange case of Patrick  Bearup

Fact-based reporting

by Rob Roman

research by Amanda Chen

dancing bears 2

 

In the midst of the Jodi Arias trial, people tend to forget that this case is happening in the state of Arizona. There are 18 states without the Death Penalty and there are 32 states plus the Federal Government that have the Death Penalty. The Federal Government, mostly due to acts of international and domestic terrorism, has dramatically increased the qualifications for and the use of the Death Penalty.

 

Among the states with the Death Penalty, there are states that rarely use it, there are states that use it, but are reluctant to carry out executions, and there are states that actively use and carry out the death penalty. Texas is a very prominent user and enforcer of the D.P., so is Ohio, Florida, Oklahoma, and, of course, Arizona.

 

STATES WITH THE DEATH PENALTY (32) ·
Alabama
Arizona
Arkansas
California
Colorado
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Idaho
Indiana
Kansas
Kentucky
Louisiana
Mississippi
Missouri
Montana
Nebraska
Nevada
New Hampshire
North Carolina
Ohio
Oklahoma
Oregon
Pennsylvania
South Carolina
South Dakota
Tennessee
Texas
Utah
Virginia
Washington
WyomingALSO
– U.S. Gov’t
– U.S. Military
STATES WITHOUT THE DEATH PENALTY (18) (YEAR ABOLISHED IN PARENTHESES)
Alaska (1957)
Connecticut** (2012)
Hawaii (1957)
Illinois (2011)
Iowa (1965)
Maine (1887)
Maryland*** (2013)
Massachusetts (1984)
Michigan (1846)
Minnesota (1911)
New Jersey (2007)
New Mexico* (2009)
New York (2007)#
North Dakota (1973)
Rhode Island (1984)^
Vermont (1964)
West Virginia (1965)
Wisconsin (1853)ALSO
Dist. of Columbia (1981)

http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/states-and-without-death-penalty

 

constitution

Furman vs. Georgia was the landmark 1972 U.S. Supreme Court decision making the Death Penalty as practiced unconstitutional and saved the lives of the Manson family, for one. The decision paved the way for Capital punishment, formerly used for crimes like rape, to be used only for 1st degree murder. The decision caused all states using the Death Penalty to employ some sort of guidelines to narrow the types of cases which could qualify for the Death Penalty and make these qualifications uniform and fair.

The idea was to prevent prosecutors from using too much discretion to be able to unfairly target any particular individual with the Death Penalty. Many states used statutory guidelines called “aggravating circumstances” or “special circumstances”. For example, O.J. Simpson was charged with murder with the special circumstances of “lying in wait” and “multiple murders” (Ron Goldman and Nicole Brown Simpson). The prosecutor made the decision to take the D.P. off the table for the football star and celebrity, even though the crime qualified for this penalty in California.

Most states have similar aggravating circumstances such as the murder of a child, multiple murders, prior violent felonies, conspiracy, murder for monetary gain, or the murder of a police officer. Arizona has all these aggravators, but they have added more and more to the list until now, many people believe there is almost no murder that cannot qualify for the Death Penalty if the prosecutor chooses to use it. This seems to go against the entire purpose of Furman vs. Georgia.

mahatma-gandhi-quotes-036

The Arizona statutes now have 14 aggravating circumstances to qualify a defendant for the death penalty.

  1. Prior offense for which a sentence of life imprisonment or death was imposable.
  2. Prior serious offense even if committed at the same time as the murder.
  3. In the commission of the offense the defendant knowingly created a grave risk of death to another person besides the murdered person.
  4. The defendant procured the commission of the offense by payment, or promise of payment, of anything of pecuniary value (conspiracy).
  5. The defendant committed the offense as consideration for the receipt, or in expectation of the receipt, of anything of pecuniary value (murder for hire).
  6. The defendant committed the offense in an especially heinous, cruel or depraved manner.
  7. The defendant committed the offense while in custody, or on parole for a violent offense.
  8. Multiple murders.
  9. Murder of a child or unborn child or a person over the age of seventy.
  10. Murder of a Police Officer.
  11. Murder as part of or to join a street gang or syndicate.
  12. Murder of a witness or Police informant.
  13. Cold and Calculated.
  14. Use of a stun gun during the murder.

This caused some public defenders in Arizona to make this statement:

“Two public defenders in Arizona’s Maricopa County contend that the state’s death penalty law is unconstitutional because its aggravating factors allow for a death sentence in virtually every first-degree murder case.”

The statute, they argue in the motion filed in February, “has no method of meaningfully distinguishing the few cases in which death is deserved from the many cases in which it is not.” The New York Times mentions the motion in a story about less culpable defendants who draw harsher sentences than co-defendants.”

http://www.abajournal.com/news/article/pds_argue_arizonas_death_penalty_law_is_unconstitutional_because_it_is_indi/

20140802texas-race-death-sentence

Most of Arizona’s 14 aggravating circumstances are the same as most other Death Penalty states. The use of a stun gun (Number 14) doesn’t seem to make too much sense. “Cold and Calculated” sounds good, but the interpretation of exactly what that means could cause problems. Numbers 2 and 3 are unique to Arizona.

Number 2, like most states, provides that a prior violent felony can qualify a murderer for the death penalty. But in Arizona, that “prior” violent felony can be committed at the same time as the murder. This means that if the defendant is not guilty of the murder, then they might also be not guilty of another felony committed during the murder. So there is then a scenario in which an innocent person can be found both guilty of the murder AND qualify for the Death Penalty. Arizona has used this aggravator to impose the Death Penalty on defendants whose crimes would not normally qualify at all.

Number 3 seems reasonable, that a defendant who created a grave risk of death to another person besides the murdered person qualifies for the Death Penalty. This aggravator however, also seems to be wide open to interpretation.

heinous

The gold standard in Arizona, though, is number 6, the “especially heinous, cruel and depraved” aggravator. This aggravator has 3 “prongs”. There can be a finding of any combination of the three. The prong that is the most wide- open to interpretation is the Cruelty prong. As a matter of fact, 6 of the 8 most recently executed prisoners in Arizona had “especially cruel” as one aggravating factor.

That is the aggravating factor used in two out of three of the most recent Death Penalty cases in Arizona, Jodi Arias and Marissa DeVault. Cruelty stands out in Arizona as being applicable to almost any murder. There is no “especially” in “especially cruel”. According to the statute and the jury instructions, the prosecution has to show that the victim suffered, either mentally or physically, and the defendant knew they would suffer.

Why is this a problem? The problem is that almost every murder victim suffers. Even people who die a natural death suffer. There is nothing in the statute or jury instructions which make the distinction of extreme, extraordinary, or above average suffering, it is simply any suffering at all. On this basis, not just most murders but most natural deaths, even death by lethal injection, fit this definition. The Arizona aggravating circumstance, as written and as explained in the jury instructions, can be made to fit almost any murder. Defense attorneys have claimed this, Kirk Nurmi filed an appeal on this basis in the Jodi Arias case, and we have claimed this here at SpotightOnLaw.

So between this cruelty aggravator, the 14 Arizona Death Penalty Aggravators, and the other 3 strange aggravating circumstances, it seems clear that Arizona has a scheme to make any murder fit the Death Penalty qualifications if they want it to, thus violating at least the spirit of Furman vs. Georgia.

Maricopa County Prosecutor Juan Martinez even tried, unsuccessfully, in State vs. Miller to make execution style murders fit under the especially cruel aggravator.

More than this, the actions of Arizona prosecutors show that they target specific individuals with the Death Penalty, while not invoking the Death Penalty for other defendants whose crimes are as bad or much worse than those targeted.

 

Robert Towery - Executed March 8, 2012
Robert Towery – Executed March 8, 2012

SpotlightOnLaw showed the large disparity between the punishment of Robert Towery (Death), and his accomplice, Randy Barker (10 years) in the strangulation murder of retired philanthropist Mark Jones. We also showed the large disparity in the punishment between Richard Dale Stokley (Death) and his accomplice, Randy Brazeal (20 years), in the rape and murder of two 13 year-old girls.

Mandey Meyers, 13. Raped and murdered by Dale Stokely and Randy Brazeal.
Mandey Meyers, 13. Raped and murdered by Dale Stokely and Randy Brazeal.
Mary Snyder, 13. Raped and murdered by Randy Brazeal.
Mary Snyder, 13. Raped and murdered by Randy Brazeal.
Randy Brazeal, released back into society July 2011
Randy Brazeal, released back into society July 2011

Sometimes it’s necessary to give a sweetheart deal to one of the defendants in a murder case in order to get needed testimony and evidence against the other(s). We saw this with the Manson family, as first Susan Atkins and then Linda Kasabian, were given sweetheart deals in exchange for testimony that would help convict the other Manson defendants.

Usually, you have the least culpable defendant testify against the more culpable defendants. Randy Barker was Robert Towery’s accomplice, but Towery is the one who strangled the victim to death. Linda Kasabian was with the Manson murderers, but she was the designated driver and she did not participate in the actual killings. But in Arizona, they needlessly give co-defendants a sweetheart deal in order to get the Death Penalty for the other.

In the case of Robert Towery, Robert knew Mark Jones and devised the home invasion robbery. Robert Towery was the one who strangled the 68 year-old victim to death. While Towery was executed, his accomplice received 10 years and is now living among us. Towery was a meth. addict and had been severely abused as a child. It was prosecutor Juan Martinez who prevented Towery’s sentence from being commuted to life by falsely claiming there was no evidence of childhood abuse and falsely claiming that Towery injected the victim with battery acid (a claim that had been disproved 20 years earlier). It was Juan Martinez who made sure Towery was executed 6 days after his commutation hearing. Robert Towery was the more culpable of the two, yet the disparity in sentencing was massive.

In the case of Richard Dale Stokley, the opposite occurred. Two young girls were kidnapped, raped and murdered. Stokley couldn’t live with his guilt and went to the police the next day and confessed. Randy Brazeal knew the sister of one of the 13 year-old girls. He devised the kidnapping, rapes and murders. It was his car and entirely his plan. Most of the evidence pointed at him and he raped both girls.

Richard Stokely, executed December, 5, 2012.
Richard Stokely, executed December, 5, 2012.

Richard Stokley was more or less just along for the ride. But Randy Brazeal claimed that Richard Stokley was the mastermind of the murders. He made a deal to testify against Stokely before DNA tests came back showing Brazeal had raped both girls. As a result, Stokley was sentenced to death and executed in 2012. Brazeal served 20 years. Brazeal was released in 2011 and was recently arrested (July 2014) in Arkansas for “urinating on Horseshoe Lake City Hall”.

http://www.kpho.com/story/26096822/convicted-murderer-urinates-on-city-hall

http://murderpedia.org/male.S/s/stokley-richard.htm

Similarly, Daniel Wayne Cook was sentenced to death in 1988 and executed in 2012. He and an accomplice, John Matzke, brutally murdered Matzke’s 26 year-old roommate and a 16 year-old co-worker. The murders included sodomy, torture, strangulation, purposely prolonging the murders and the burning of the victims genitals with cigarettes. John Matzke, received only 20 years for these heinous murders and is reported to be living in Tucson, Arizona, under an assumed name. We could not even find a photo of Matzke, who’s identity has been carefully hidden by prosecutors. Did prosecutors really need to give these sweetheart deals in order to convict their accomplices? Not really, but they needed them in order to achieve the Death Penalty for their accomplices.

Without the Death Penalty being involved, all these murderers would likely still be behind bars. Arizona prosecutors didn’t seem to mind that equally culpable or even more culpable defendants were allowed to plead to 2nd degree murder and get relatively short sentences, as long as one of the defendants got the Death Penalty. Sure, it’s great for the prosecution that one of the defendants was sentenced to death, but the other vicious and dangerous murderers were released out into the public.

Patrick Bearup. Sentenced to death on February 5, 2007, for the Februeary 2002 slaying, with 3 accomplices, of Mark Mathes.
Patrick Bearup. Sentenced to death on February 5, 2007, for the February 2002 slaying, with 3 accomplices, of Mark Mathes.

It didn’t seem to matter either, to Arizona prosecutors, if the more culpable defendant got a sweetheart deal as long as somebody was made to pay and sit on Death Row. This leads us to the very strange case of Patrick Bearup.

Four “skinheads” were arrested for the murder of Mark Mathes. Mathes was the roommate of Jessica Nelson, who thought Mathes had stolen $200 from her room. She called her “skinhead” friends and the four murdered the roommate. They were soon arrested as suspects in the murder.

 

 

Deadheads
Deadheads

 

Skinheads
Skinheads

“One of those defendants was Patrick Bearup, who helped three co-defendants in the murder of a man they accused of stealing $200 from his roommate. By all accounts, the Times says, Bearup was not directly involved in the killing, though he did help dispose of the body and severed one of the victim’s fingers to retrieve a ring. Bearup was the only defendant in the Maricopa County case to receive the death penalty. The three others, including a defendant who shot the victim, accepted plea deals and avoided execution.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/06/us/in-many-capital-cases-less-culpable-defendants-receive-death-penalty.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

 

Patrick Bearup
Patrick Bearup

Patrick Bearup didn’t beat the victim nearly to death with a baseball bat, he was not in the car that concealed the victim in the trunk. He didn’t shoot him twice with a shotgun, and he didn’t throw him over a cliff. His co-defendants did. Yet they all were allowed to plead guilty to 2nd degree murder while Patrick Bearup was sentenced to death.

Not coincidentally, Patrick Bearup is the son of Tom Bearup, a man who worked for Maricopa County and was Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s right hand man.

That is, until they had a big falling out. In fact, Tom Bearup was a born and bred local who gave support and legitimacy to Sheriff Joe, a transplant from Massachusetts . Tom Bearup rationalized Joe’s eccentricities to co-workers and assured the others that Sheriff Joe was a good leader. It wasn’t long before they had a falling out and became enemies.

Tom Bearup
Tom Bearup

Tom Bearup didn’t like how Joe Arpaio was making lots of money on the side selling pink underwear to the public (mimicking the pink underwear he forces all prisoners, men and women, to wear) and diverting the money to his personal “posse”. Tom Bearup started sounding the alarm that Sheriff Joe had crossed the line from eccentricity to being a very dangerous person. He clashed with Arpaio over the wrongful death of Scott Norberg, which cost the county 8.25 million dollars. Tom stopped supporting Sheriff Joe, claiming Joe had “turned into a monster”.

 

sheriff-joe-arpaio-pink-boxers brt

“In 1992, Arpaio, a longtime DEA agent, was elected sheriff in Maricopa County, the largest in Arizona, which includes Phoenix and its suburbs. Bearup was raised in Phoenix, and besides having been a police officer in and mayor of Soldotna, he was a longtime Republican operative. He worked with the Reagan administration, and was once nominated to be the U.S. ambassador to South Korea. His reputation and connections helped Arpaio secure his position.

After Arpaio was elected, Bearup became an executive officer in the new sheriff’s office. He was Arpaio’s right hand man, the buffer between underlings and the big guy. He managed the sheriff’s publicity and media relations—no small task for a lawman obsessed with seeing himself on television. In the process, Bearup helped forge Arpaio’s mythic persona—that of “America’s Toughest Sheriff,” a title later made famous by a January 1996 profile in Penthouse magazine (and also the title of Arpaio’s 1996 book).

Arpaio is known for many things: his “Tent City” jail, constructed of Korean War-era tents on concrete in a city that’s temperature reaches more than 110 degrees (43.,3 degrees C.) for long stretches; male, female, and juvenile chain gangs; dressing inmates in stripes and feeding them green bologna; and, not least of all, inmates dying in his jails. In 1997 Amnesty International issued a condemnation of many of these practices.

 

Joe Arpaio - "America's Toughest Sheriff" - according to Sheriff Joe Arpaio.
Joe Arpaio – “America’s Toughest Sheriff” – according to Sheriff Joe Arpaio.

“I’m so embarrassed that I’ve ever had the relationship I had with Joe Arpaio, because I helped him get to where he’s at,” Bearup tells Kelley. “I think a lot of it was my credibility that got him to where he’s at, because people trusted me when I told them about him. ‘Don’t worry about that, he’s a little bit eccentric, but his heart is in the right place. He wants to do the right thing.’ And I know there was something in my heart that said maybe there’s something wrong there… the guy’s a little wacky in some areas…He became a monster. And that monster is not anything that I could be with.”

Bearup ended up running against Arpaio after leaving the MCSO. His opposition to Joe earned him retaliation in the form of wiretaps and being tailed by undercover deputies. Bearup and his wife Adele eventually gave up on Arizona, heading north to Alaska, and freedom from fear.

adult-grateful-dead-green-dancing-bear-costume

But there’s another, sadder part to Bearup’s life, his son Patrick’s involvement with neo-Nazi skinheads here in Sand Land and with the brutal 2002 skinhead slaying of 40-year-old Mark Mathes. Papa Bearup contends his son is innocent, but his son was convicted for his part in the killing, which according to testimony involved Patrick cutting Mathes’ ring finger off while Mathes was still alive. Patrick is currently the only one on death row for the murder, though all parties agree he did not strike any of the fatal blows in Mathes’ beating death. Two others involved copped pleas. Ringleader Sean Gaines is still awaiting trial.

I’ve read about Patrick’s story before, and though he may not deserve to be on death row, it’s hard to feel any sympathy for him. Bearup’s die-hard belief in his son’s innocence seems borne of a father’s willful blindness more than reality.”

 

http://www.arpaio.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=272&start=0&postdays=0&postorder=asc&highlight=&sid=85a2a3c4a6e37a07075946fcfe8b449b

http://www.arpaio.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=947

 

June, 1996

scott-norberg-lt-2 (1)

Scott Norberg was a local football star who got drunk and got in trouble with the law.

Amnesty International believes Scott Norberg was shocked multiple times with a stun-gun while he was handcuffed and forced into a face-down position. He was then transported to a restraint chair and strapped in with a towel over his face. He was surrounded by a gaggle of Corrections Officers.

After some time working on him, they quickly dispersed, laughing. Norberg wasn’t moving. There were allegations that the scene was washed down and evidence destroyed. After he was found dead, detention officers accused Norberg of attacking them.

Settlement $8.25 million dollars.

http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/1999-01-14/news/the-8-million-victim/full/

 

patrick bearup

Bearup, Patrick

With three accomplices charged with beating a man half to death with a baseball bat, throwing him in the trunk of a car, cutting off his finger, shooting him twice with a shotgun and throwing him off a cliff.

“The three men got out of their vehicles and approached the Mathes home. Gaines carried a loaded shotgun, Johnson had an aluminum baseball bat, and Bearup had a folding knife with a nine- or ten-inch blade. They advanced across the backyard toward Mark, who was sitting on the rear patio with Nelson.

Bearup, Johnson, and Gaines surrounded Mark. Johnson attacked Mark with the baseball bat, striking him in the head and upper torso as many as twenty-five times. Bearup maintained his location throughout the assault, preventing Mark from leaving.

The witnesses disagreed about whether Mark was alive following the beating. Nelson was certain that Mark was killed on the patio, while Johnson claimed that Mark was still conscious and groaning. After the attack, Johnson and Bearup dragged Mark to one of the cars and stuffed him in the trunk. Bearup kicked Mark’s head to make him fit into the trunk.

The four perpetrators got into two vehicles – Bearup and Nelson in Bearup’s car and Johnson and Gaines in the vehicle containing Mark’s body – and drove to an isolated area near Crown King. Johnson testified that he heard Mark mumbling and moaning in the trunk during the drive.

When the cars stopped on Crown King Road, Bearup pulled Mark from the trunk. Gaines and Nelson stripped him to make the body more difficult to identify. Nelson was unsuccessfully attempting to remove Mark’s ring when Bearup approached and cut off the finger with a pair of wire clippers. Mark was then thrown over the guardrail and, as he lay in the ravine below, Gaines shot him twice.”

http://murderpedia.org/male.B/b/bearup-patrick.htm

 

“Mr. Bearup’s case was one of 135 pending capital cases in Maricopa County in 2006, more than the combined number of cases in the next three jurisdictions at the top of the list: Los Angeles County, California and Clark County, Nevada., each with 36; and Harris County, Texas, with 17”

 

“The highest number of pending cases was 149 death penalty cases.” This is in Maricopa County alone.

http://www.omlaw.com/uploads/publications/2012-04%20-%20LAH%20-%20ARTICLES%20%20Capital%20Case%20Crisis%20in%20Maricopa%20County%20Arizona%20and%20A%20Response%20From%20the%20%20(4).pdf

http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/documents/2011__Year__End.pdf

http://www.abajournal.com/magazine/article/pending_death_penalty_cases_weigh_against_maricopa_county/

 

Is it just a coincidence that the least culpable of 4 perpetrators of a horrendous crime sits on death row when the 3 people most responsible and who caused the death of the victim directly got sweetheart deals?

What kind of justice is this? All three should have gotten life sentences.

 

charles-manson

Well, you might say, Patrick Bearup was the leader who, like Charles Manson, didn’t get his hands dirty. However, it’s undisputed that Sean Gaines was the leader of the gang.

 

The 3 others will all be up for parole between 2019 and 2028 and could be out of prison and living in your neighborhood in 5 to 14 years.

 

Sean Gaines, 22, Jessica Nelson, 27, Patrick Bearup, 26, and Jeremy Johnson, 20, were arrested by Phoenix police on September 10 and 11, 2003 on charges of the murder of Mark Mathes.

 

jessica nelson

Jessica Nelson (14 years) –

Instigated the murder of her roommate. Mark Mathes, accusing him of stealing $200 and calling her skinhead friends, asking them to exact revenge

 

Eligible for parole 2019

 

jeremy johnson

Jeremy Johnson (14 years) –

Beat Mark Mathes nearly to death with a baseball bat, tossed him in a trunk and helped throw him off a cliff.

 

Eligible for parole 2019

 

sean gaines

Sean Gaines (25 years) –

Blasted Mark Mathes twice with a shotgun, and helped throw him off a cliff.

 

Eligible for parole 2028

 

bearup

Patrick Bearup

– Helped stuff Mathes into the trunk of a car and cut off Mathes’ ring finger to retrieve a ring.

 

Sentenced to Death

 

To his credit, Sean Gaines is reported to have denounced racism and his skinhead association, saying,  “I’m tired of living a lie. They can kill me, but at least they kill me with all of this off my shoulders.”

http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2008/spring/the-transformation

 

Jessica Nelson and Sean Gaines.
Jessica Nelson and Sean Gaines.
Sean Gaines
Sean Gaines

 

 

“Superior Court Judge Warren Granville chastised the County Attorney’s Office at the time over the disparity in sentencing in the Mathes affair. “Granville was not pleased that Bearup was the only defendant facing the death penalty.”

 

dancing_bear_serbian-in-bulgaria

 

 

“He wrote in a 2007 minute entry:

The County Attorney, as the law allows, made a unilateral decision not to withdraw the death notice for Mr. Bearup, a defendant who, even under the State’s theory of the case, did not cause the physical death of Mr. Mathis.[sic] Under the State’s theory of the case, Mr. Bearup acted only as support for Mr. Johnson as he baseball batted Mr. Mathis [sic] to death or to near death, and helped drag Mr. Mathis [sic] to a car trunk and the desert. Under the State’s theory, Mr. Bearup’s act of cutting off Mr. Mathis’ [sic] ring finger while cruel and heinous, was not a cause of the death.”

“Granville further noted:

“This Court, nonetheless, finds that Mr. Bearup’s death penalty sentence for Count 1 was not justified in the context of the relative responsibility of the co-defendants whom the County Attorney chose to withdraw the notices of death and reduce their sentencing range. It is the County Attorney’s motto that `let justice be done.’ This, of course, coincides with a prosecutor’s unique ethical responsibility. This Court finds that justice was not done for Mr. Bearup in Count 1.”

 

“Patrick Bearup was no angel, by all accounts. I know his father was upset when I said in my 2008 column that I figured Bearup probably deserved to spend the rest of his life in prison. But to face execution, when the ringleader and the main protagonists cheat death? That’s more than a little whack.”

“Which is why I regard the death penalty as an obscene joke, one that should be banned. The Mathes murder is but one example. There are a plethora of cases just like it, where justice is a card sharp’s game. But they receive little or no attention.”

The jurists and attorneys involved are all playing their assigned roles. I wouldn’t argue that they shouldn’t.

But if Bearup is executed while those more responsible for Mathes’ slaying live on with the hope of eventual release, that just further proves that capital punishment should be abolished, because our criminal justice system is not capable of meting out such draconian judgments equitably.”

http://blogs.phoenixnewtimes.com/bastard/2010/12/sean_gaines_gets_25_years_in_s.php

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/06/us/in-many-capital-cases-less-culpable-defendants-receive-death-penalty.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

 

 

Protesting Arizona corruption
Protesting Arizona corruption
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer.
Arizona Governor Jan Brewer.

So, is there some kind of connection between the large number of Arizona wrongful convictions, the lack of the use of good forensic science, the tight budgeting of law enforcement in Arizona, the targeted use of the death penalty, more culpable defendants getting sweetheart deals, the secret deals and unexplained deaths in the jails of Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the omnipresence of corruption in Maricopa County, the checkered history of prosecutor Juan Martinez, and the Jodi Arias case?

 

Or are these all mere coincidences?

 

spotlighonlaw

At SpotLightOnLaw, we have been trying to demonstrate to you that there is such a connection. Please take a look at our past articles (especially “Spotlight on Juan Martinez”, “What’s Going On in Arizona, Maricopa?”, “Stranger than Fiction – The real Sheriff Joe” “The Executives and the Executed” and “Spotlight on Dr. Kevin Horn”)

 

It seems as if Arizona likes to run things on the cheap, ignore and avoid a lot of forensic science, target certain people with the Death Penalty, make a lot of under the table money with schemes such as taking the meat out of all prisoners meals, “video visitation” at 65 cents per minute – no more face to face visits allowed, and the sale of pink underwear, and corruption just seems to permeate all areas of their “justice system”. We all know the Jodi Arias case could have been settled long ago, but instead it goes on ad infinitum, along with the suffering of the Alexander family.

http://www.prisonpolicy.org/blog/2014/11/10/sheriff-joe-phases-out-in-person-visits/

 

Letter from Patrick Bearup (click to enlarge)
Letter from Patrick Bearup (click to enlarge)

Even though there is effectively zero evidence remaining against Deborah Milke in the shooting death of her young son, the D.A. still refuses to drop the charges against her after she wrongfully spent 23 years on Death Row. They cannot admit they were wrong and will not accept responsibility for the egregious error.

http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/20131206mcso-to-allow-video-jail-visits-price.html

 

Why is the state more capricious about who lives and who dies than most murderers?
Why is the state more capricious about who lives and who dies than most murderers?

Whether the Jodi Arias case is as it appears to most people, or the truth of it has been carefully hidden, we do have her case to thank for shining a spotlight onto the very odd occurrences, the very strange case of Patrick Bearup as well as all the other really strange goings on which many people have helped to uncover in Maricopa County, Arizona.

 

Do YOU concur?

i-dont-know

Comments from all perspectives are welcome.

You can also comment on our FB page

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Spotlight-On-Law/189870931203328

 

dancing-bears-fleece-blanket

Interesting sources about the article above:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-2024664/They-said-monster-Casanova-Meet-woman-married-man-death-row.html

https://www.facebook.com/FreePatrickBearup/photos/a.444896288941973.1073741826.340851069346496/444896292275306/?type=1&theater

Stranger than Fiction: The Real Sheriff Joe

Stranger Than Fiction:

The Real Sheriff Joe

images (2)

Fact Based Reporting by

Amanda Chen & Rob Roman

Sheriff Joe is Jodi Arias’ jailer in Arizona. This article is in response to various posters, who claim that Maricopa County’s Sheriff Joe Arpaio is doing a wonderful job and they have statistics that prove his outstanding job performance.

Claims to Fame

  • Being a Korean War Veteran
  • Inventing the use of tents in a custody setting
  • Pulling over and/or arresting Elvis Presley in Nevada
  • Getting in weekly shootouts as a DEA agent
  • Breaking the famous “French Connection”

elvis-presley-clambake1971 french connection

These are some of  the actual claims Sheriff Joe has made. All these claims have little or no basis in reality.

(Spanish language overview http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Arpaio)

Reality Bites

Real Joe was an unremarkable Army Typist who was stationed in France during the Korean War. He was a mediocre police officer and DEA agent and he would probably also have claimed to have invented the internet, if only former Vice President Al Gore hadn’t beaten him to it.

There’s something about Arizona, where run of the mill, but whacky and ruthless people seem to rise to the top of the heap. Juan Martinez was recently named Prosecutor of the year in Maricopa County. Even a person whose highest educational achievement, a certificate as a radiological (X-ray) technician, from Valley Community College, now sits in the Governor’s seat.

A Tough Nut to Crack

“ He’s notoriously tough — and arguably brutal — towards inmates, too. Sheriff Joe has made headlines for calling his “Tent City” jail a “concentration camp,” and for making the inmates there wear pink underwear, eat only two meals a day, and endure unbearably hot temperatures in the summer.

http://www.businessinsider.com/maricopa-county-sheriff-joe-arpaio-profile-2013-10#ixzz2tOVqhOnH

Somehow, in Maricopa County, this man became a legend.

http://borderlessnewsandviews.com/2012/07/jan-brewer-the-face-of-arizona/

how-arizona-sheriff-joe-arpaio-became-the-most-hated-lawman-in-america

Recidivism Schism

Besides saving the county money, Sheriff Joe’s other main purpose was to make detention and jail so unpleasant, that people would avoid being arrested at all cost. CountyJail would no longer be a home away from home or a cheap hotel for lawbreakers. They were going to tighten up the screws in MaricopaCounty.

But then, wouldn’t fewer prisoners mean a smaller budget and less need for a “legend”? The more, the merrier would be a better rule of thumb.

Known as “America’s Toughest Sheriff”, a moniker Joe modestly bestowed upon himself, Maricopa County’s Sheriff Joe Arpaio has made himself the indispensable top lawman in the greater Phoenix area.

20 Year Sentence

After over 20 years in office as Sheriff, the rate of offender recidivism (repeat offenders) under Sheriff Joe is actually no better than his predecessors and no different from any of his contemporaries.

Additionally, many experts think Sheriff Joe’s practices are harmful to prisoners and the community. His policies border on being unconstitutional, as well as violating the rights of citizens both inside and outside his jails.

http://www.arpaio.com/arpaio-truth/

http://www.vice.com/read/a-reminder-that-sheriff-joe-is-the-worst-lawman-in-america

Here’s a better idea: Run a safe, humane jail system with a certain minimum level of dignity for the prisoners. But that would be expensive, wouldn’t it?

Maricopa+County+Sheriff+Runs+Tent+City+Jail+4wvnKAnhYRsl

Shame Game

He’s known for shaming prisoners by

  • Parading them through public squares in their striped uniforms
  • Publishing the names of everyone who’s been arrested
  • Posting the “mugshot of the day” on his website
  • Forcing prisoners to wear pink underwear
  • Installing cameras and showing live video feeds displaying prisoners in their daily activities on his website

Is Sheriff Joe really the mastermind of ineffective, callous and even brutal policies that harm both inmates and the community?

The FBI says so, so do local Arizona newspapers, so does a leading conservative think tank, so do neighboring communities and states.

http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/cius2007/data/table_10_az.html

http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/news/articles/2010/06/21/20100621joe-arpaio-crime-sweeps.html#ixzz0v4kZx8ZQ

http://www.goldwaterinstitute.org/Common/Img/Mission%20Unaccomplished.pdf

http://newmexicoindependent.com/53176/crime-immigration-connection-unclear-justice-dept-statistics-suggest

There are dissenting views, however:

alg-mugshot-arizona-jpg

Joe’s Support Network

  • Some police organizations,
  • Joe Arpaio’s personal Twitter site @RealSheriffJoe
  • www.MCSO.org, his official Maricopa County website …

…and the people of Maricopa County Arizona, who have overwhelmingly re-elected the 81 year-old lawman as County Sheriff five times since he won office in 1992.

Oh dear, he’s such a nice man. Isn’t he that baseball player who married Marilyn Monroe?

http://www.policeone.com/columnists/24seven/articles/113956-meet-americas-toughest-sheriff-joe-arpaio/

http://www.mcso.org/About/Sheriff.aspx

https://twitter.com/RealSheriffJoe

He did do a good job of facilitating Jodi Arias’ interviews and protecting her from potential attacks by crazy people on her way to and from the courthouse.

So in return, I will not mention:

indictarpaioVETPARADE (5)

Armored Vehicle Attack

  •  the armored vehicle SWAT attack on a family
  • the purposeful murder of their puppy (2nd degree)
  • the burning down of their home…
  • …when the man had nothing but some overdue traffic tickets.

http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/2004-08-05/news/dog-day-afternoon/full/

I’ll try to forget about Clint Yarbrough

December, 2005

It was said that Clint Yarbrough was on drugs and combative. No medical services were rendered. Instead, he was strapped into a restraint chair and rolled into a hallway where he was left restrained and unattended for 3 hours. He passed out and eventually died.

Settlement: $2 Million dollars.

http://www.lawyersandsettlements.com/settlements/08460/restraint-chair-death.html

Scott-Norberg lt 2

I won’t mention Scott Norberg…..

June, 1996

Amnesty International believes Scott Norberg was shocked multiple times with a stun-gun while he was handcuffed and forced into a face-down position. He was then transported to a restraint chair and strapped in with a towel over his face. He was surrounded by a gaggle of Corrections Officers.

After some time working on him, they quickly dispersed, laughing. Norberg wasn’t moving. There were allegations that the scene was washed down and evidence destroyed. After he was found dead, detention officers accused Norberg of attacking them.

Settlement $8.25 million dollars.

http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/1999-01-14/news/the-8-million-victim/full/

I won’t mention the breaking of the neck of a prisoner

while under Joe’s restraint chair and the choking to death of another in the same restraint system.

December, 1996

Richard Post

was a paraplegic. He complained from his cell that he needed a catheter in order to urinate. Instead he was strapped into Joe’s restraint chair and left for four hours. When he begged to be let out of the chair, the guards instead tightened the straps with all their might, breaking his neck. Why would you need to do that to someone with no use of his legs? Now he is practically a quadriplegic.

Settlement: $800,000 dollars.

Don’t these things happen to everybody? There’s nothing special here for people to see.

http://www.lawyersandsettlements.com/settlements/08460/restraint-chair-death.html#.Uv9g1PldWUo

http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/1997-01-23/news/jailers-show-a-paraplegic-who-s-boss/

http://www.laprogressive.com/inside-joe-arpaio-arizona-deputy-calls-him-a-disgrace-to-the-department/

Or Charles Agster,

the man who died in custody mysteriously with 17 times a lethal dose of methamphetamine in his system.

August, 2001

Charles Agster, a special needs prisoner, had a “spit hood” forced over his head and was strapped into a restraint chair, where he had a seizure and lost consciousness. He was declared brain dead and was found to have 17 times the lethal dose of methamphetamine in his system.

Verdict: $ 9 million dollars.

charles agster

http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/2006-03-16/news/death-sentence/

Did anyone in Maricopa County MCSO (Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office) ever hear of a Doctor, or a Nurse, or a Hospital?

In many of these cases there are first hand reports of the guards smiling, joking and laughing out loud during these activities.

Apply Force

It’s a great job for biblical law revenge seekers, every day sadists, and for just ordinary, robust people with a well developed sense of humor and a healthy curiosity.

No arrests were made and no one was held accountable for any of these “incidents”.

Most of the time, there are no witnesses, other than staff who receive their pay, benefits and retirement funds from the County.

I won’t mention the diabetic woman who became seriously ill and died

in jail after begging for and being refused basic medical treatment.

Deborah Braillard lt

Deborah Braillard

was offered no help, even after “moaning and crying out in pain, asking for help, repeatedly vomiting, defecating on herself and having seizures. She shook violently and then her body would stiffen up. Her fellow inmates begged the corrections officers to assist her. They were told “This is jail.” and to “Get over it”. She died soon after.

Key evidence in this case was also destroyed. The County recently settled with her family for $3.25 million.

http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/2010-12-09/news/what-s-mom-worth-when-a-woman-became-deathly-ill-in-sheriff-joe-arpaio-s-cells-guards-and-nurses-ignored-her-agony/

http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/09/13/841161/lawsuit-sheriff-arpaios-jail-denied-medicine-to-diabetic-inmate-causing-her-death/

http://www.abc15.com/dpp/news/local_news/investigations/Key-evidence-in-Maricopa-County-Jail-death-suit-of-Deborah-Braillard-destroyed

It’s fun to come to Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s tent city. You can live in the desert and enjoy the great outdoors and you can stretch your legs and get some fresh air on the volunteer chain gangs in the lovely, blazing Arizona sun.

June Weather

Average temperature: 91 (33 C)
Average high temperature: 104 (40 C)
Warmest ever: 122  (50 C)

July Weather
Average temperature: 95 (35C)
Average high temperature: 106 (41 C)
Warmest ever: 121 (49.4)

August Weather
Average temperature: 94 (34.4)
Average high temperature: 104 (40 C)
Warmest ever: 116 (46.7 C)

Should I bring up the case of Juan Mendoza Farias, who was beaten to death by guards?

taser-m18-deployment

December, 2007

Juan Mendoza Farias

BookingPhoto_optFariasNreducedwas a DUI (driving under the influence) intake. He was suffering severe alcohol withdrawal.

The corrections Officers made fun of his incoherence and inability to follow directions and they goaded him into making funny faces for his mug shot in order to win the “mug shot of the day contest”, a source of great merriment for the guards. Then he was surrounded by 12 guards

The correction officers wanted to help him. Eleven of the officers attempted to assist him by handcuffing him behind his back, shoving a “spit hood” over his head and forcing him into a face down position.

Mr. Mendoza fought against suffocation and he was pelted with 6 rounds of “crowd control pepper balls” and shocked repeatedly with tasers. He choked on his own blood and died. He had multiple blunt force injuries on his face and body, ruptured vessels in his neck and even a chunk was missing from his nose.

Settlement: $1 million dollars.

Standard Operating Procedure

Real Sheriff Joe chalked it up to business as usual, after the County settled another huge lawsuit when he said, and I quote:

  •  “It was settled due to the nature of doing business,”
  •  “That (settlement) wasn’t up to us, that was the county that decided to settle it.”
  •  “We have nothing to do with this.”
  •  “We never like to ‘lose’ anybody in jail.”

pepperball-600px

http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/2008-09-11/news/was-juan-mendoza-farias-beaten-to-death-by-sheriff-joe-arpaio-s-guards/

http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2011/11/15/20111115maricopa-county-pay-1-million-over-death-arpaio-jail.html#ixzz2tWGfEvV7

Birds of a Feather

Sheriff Joe’s well-worn, joking answer when various requests or complaints are made? “We are not a hotel.”

When one prisoner was sentenced to prison but remained in the jail, he pleaded to Sheriff Joe to be transferred to the prison, where conditions are better.

Juan Martinez’ response to the prisoner? “We are not a taxi service”, he replied laughingly, echoing his buddy, Sheriff Joe.

I won’t mention the legally blind and mentally disabled man who was beaten to death for fun.

brian crenshaw lt

March, 2003

Brian Crenshaw,

a legally blind and retarded inmate was brutally beaten to death by corrections officers who then claimed he fell off his bunk. The Medical Examiner confirmed that Crenshaw suffered a broken neck, broken toes, and a perforation of his duodenum (1st part of the small intestine leading from the stomach) all from a single four foot (1.22 M) fall off his bunk. That’s what the Correction Officers reported had happened, so hey, why investigate?

The ME performed no autopsy and relied solely on the report given to him by the guards stating that Crenshaw fell off his bunk.

Settlement $2 million dollars.

http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/news/the-long-lawless-ride-of-sheriff-joe-arpaio-20120802

http://backspinmymovie.com/tentcity.html

The Fantastic Four (and More)

Sheriff Joe has to sell himself every four years. So, he needs to make the headlines with new innovations and crowd-pleasing measures. Last election cycle, in 2010, the big crowd pleaser was his announcement that he would enforce Arizona’s newest and highly controversial immigration laws, widely regarded as in violation of The U.S. Constitution.

dick-tracy

Sheriff Joe teamed up with:

  • Dick Tracy (No, he’s just some retired cop type guy who happens to share the same name.)
  • Wyatt Earp (Nephew of the famous lawman by the same name)
  • Peter Lupus (the Muscle man from the original Mission Impossible team)
  • Lou Ferrigno (The deaf Body Builder who was the original Incredible Hulk until he was replaced by digital animation)
  • and Steven Seagal (The actor-martial artist who likes to brag about his mysterious associations with the CIA).

Fantastic Four

These name-brand, quasi-celebrities were made into “Deputies” and joined forces to help form citizen posses to keep the riff raff from crossing over the boarder and/or remaining illegally in U.S. territory.

The Arizona crowds went wild. Joe seems to have a certain fascination with shirtless, male body builders, collecting them with as much enthusiasm as a wide-eyed child collects action figures.

Suddenly, Joe’s mission to force shackled men to wear pink underwear makes more and more sense.

http://talkingpointsmemo.com/muckraker/sheriff-joe-s-new-posse-includes-hulk-lou-ferrigno-steven-seagal

Too bad My Hero will not be a member of Joe’s posse

billy-jack-laughlin (1)

“When lawmen break the law, then there is no law. There’s just a struggle for survival”.   – Billy Jack

Election Year

This year, in addition to his possible claim to fame as the dungeon master of the “dangerous” Jodi Arias and other inmates, he is also trying to do the other thing that drives his Maricopa fans wild: saving that money.

arpaioperry28n-1-web (1)

  • Joe has taken all the meat out of prisoners meals, which he estimates will save over $100,000 per year and has already caused a women’s hunger strike.
  • He is also the first jailer to charge prisoners directly for all meals ($1.25 per day) giving an estimated savings of $900,000 per year.
  • This policy is obviously designed to save an additional $1,000,000 dollars per year to make up for all the lawsuits and other budget overruns that voters may be angry about.
  • His other big venture is teaming with a company to provide a sort of pay-per-view Skype type operation where family and friends of prisoners must pay to visit their incarcerated member to communicate via computer video.
  • Last year, right before Christmas, the Sheriff’s Office cut visitations from 3 hours per week to ½ hour. This year, the phone system just happened to be shut down during the Valentine’s Day weekend. How warm and fuzzy!

Augmenting this money saving “War on Christmas: Joe Arpaio’s New Inmate-Visitation Policy is a money making Bonanza.

December 11, 2013

Arpaio_brain

Party Pooper

“Birther Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona, is not only cutting back on inmate visitation at the county jails, just in time for the holidays, he’s also charging for visitation visits via a new video-installation system which is installed for free but his office gets a kickback of 10 percent, and that fee will go up to 20 percent as more revenue comes in.”

“It’s the only way to visit a prisoner for the holidays and Arpaio will make their families suffer. If a family member or friend wants to have a video visit with an inmate from their own computer, it will cost $12.95 for a 20-minute chat.”

Since video communications via computer such as Skype are virtually free, one can imagine the enormous profit potential in this venture. Watch as prisoners soon are allowed more and more visiting time as this low-cost / high-tech scheme unfolds. Sheriff Joe needs to make up for all the money he’s lost to personal injury and death liability lawsuits.

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Eternal Vigilance

Besides showboating, another part of Sheriff Joe’s public relations campaign is to illicit sympathy or show that his job is incredibly dangerous. He needs to be viewed as facing crafty adversaries facing off against him in his fight for truth, justice, and the American way.

Anyone who says anything that in any way can be viewed as a “threat” against Sheriff Joe is gathered by his office, and distributed to the media to garner sympathy and support for “America’s Toughest Sheriff”.

This is true even if the “threat” comes from a facebook posting from some guy in Tennessee or an e-mail from a  16 year-old boy living in Canada.

“Sheriff Joe Arpaio seems to have an obsession with trying to get the public to believe that his life is in constant danger.

And no matter how many times Arpaio cries wolf about the latest “death threat,” there never seems to be any intent of legitimate harm against the elderly, publicity-hungry sheriff. Check out 10 of the most bogus death threats Arpaio has cried about:”

October, 2013

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October 2013

“Sheriff Joe Arpaio announced that a 16-year-old Canadian boy might be facing criminal charges for threatening to murder Arpaio, who’s a “massive d*ckhead,” according to the boy’s alleged e-mail threat.

Adding to the long list of non-credible “death threats” Arpaio has publicized, the boy e-mailed the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office saying that he’d murder the “d*ck sucking sh*tface” Sheriff and his family, and bomb his house.”

http://blogs.phoenixnewtimes.com/valleyfever/2013/07/10_most_bogus_death_threats_against_joe_arpaio.php

Trumped Up Charges

Along with real millionaire entrepreneur Donald Trump, Real Joe was front and center in the “birther” movement, questioning Barack Obama’s legitimacy as President of the U.S. because they claimed he was not a natural born U.S. citizen. They continued this for years, even though Obama’s mother was a United States citizen and her father was a real war veteran of World War II.

They fought a long and unsuccessful campaign trying to prove that Obama’s birth certificate was a forgery, including offering a reward for information proving the President was born in a foreign country. This quest ended abruptly around the sane time that political comedian Bill Maher offered a reward for proof that Donald Trump was not the offspring of an Orangutan.

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Monkey Business

Back to Sheriff Joe’s exploits:

We promise not to mention

Ernest “Marty” Atencio

Mr. Atencio was arrested and booked on suspicion of assault

Mr. Atencio was not on drugs and he was not combative.

The official story line was that Marty Atencio was found unresponsive in his cell, with a weak pulse, and rushed to the hospital.

Ernest marty atencioThe true story is that Marty was shocked with tasers by Detention Officers so many times that he went into cardiac arrest. After that, they put him in a cell and left him there. AFTER it was feared he had died, THEN they got him out of his cell and rushed him to a hospital, where he was placed on life support.

“The family said Atencio had a history of mental illness and that a stun gun was likely not necessary.  They said there were marks from the gun’s barbs on Atencio’s chest.

“They treated him as less than a human being,” said Mike Atencio, Marty Atencio’s brother. “I believe that they took advantage of someone who has special needs.”

The family’s biggest problem, however, was not with the use of a stun gun, but that their brother was not cared for better after he was found not breathing.”

“When a human life is involved, it should be at the highest level,” said brother Eric Atencio. “It does not matter what is going on. It does not matter the circumstances. It does not matter that they are in jail. You are handling a human life.”

BINGO!

Why has the real Joe Arpaio been unable to learn this real simple lesson?

Maybe Eric Atencio should run for Maricopa County Sheriff.

Marty Atencio

Shell Shock

Later, when Sheriff Joe Arpaio found out that Marty Atencio was a disabled Gulf War Veteran instead of just a another ‘lowly Hispanic’, Joe went on a frantic campaign to prevent this news from getting out. Joe suppressed news of the event for months and then tried to prevent news organizations from getting any information about the death.

The Atencio family recently refused a settlement offer of $550,000 for the shocking death of their family member.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/23/sheriff-joe-arpaio-lawsuit-inmate-death_n_2007391.html

http://www.azfamily.com/news/Sheriff-Joe-Arpaio-others-sued-over-inmate-death-175519271.html

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/06/03/jail-death-of-veteran-haunts-joe-arpaio-america-s-toughest-sheriff.html

What’s Sheriff Joe’s latest overcompensating improvement? Placing stickers of the American flag in all prisoner’s cells to evoke and improve patriotism.

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Love It Or Leave It (alone)

In an “I dare you to knock this chip off my shoulder” arrangement, Sheriff Joe had the stickers installed in all cells as well as loudly blasting patriotic songs throughout the jails each morning and evening.

What’s the punishment for defacing, tearing, moving, or otherwise interfering with the American flag stickers? The prisoner is put on a diet of bread and water only.

This should teach the prisoners to love their country, or else.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2014/01/26/arizona-sheriff-joe-arpaio-puts-inmates-on-bread-and-water-for-destroying-us/

http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2011/11/15/20111115maricopa-county-pay-1-million-over-death-arpaio-jail.html#ixzz2tWGfEvV7

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Driving While Latino

We won’t mention the many legal American Latinos and Latino U.S. citizens who were pulled over without probable cause other than their skin color and subjected to illegal searches and seizures on suspicion of “trespassing on American soil”.

“How do we know that Joe Arpaio, sheriff of Maricopa County, Ariz., is a racial profiler, an abuser of power who has subjected Latinos for years to unconstitutional arrests, detention and harassment?”

“Judge G. Murray Snow of United States District Court in Phoenix, in a 142-page opinion released on Friday, excoriated the Maricopa Sheriff’s Office for violating the 4th and 14th Amendment rights of Latinos by illegally using race as a factor in questioning. “

“But we also know that Sheriff Arpaio has singled out Latinos for unjustified abuse because the sheriff said so himself, as loudly and in as many ways as he could.”

“He said it in press releases. He said it in news conferences. He said it to Fox News and CNN. He said it to adoring crowds in retirement communities outside Phoenix, who pressed him for photos and autographs of his books.”

“He said it in his books. He said it when he paraded immigrant suspects through the streets of Phoenix, in chains and prison stripes. And he said it every day to the hundreds of thousands of brown-skinned residents of MaricopaCounty, where Latinos have long understood: The sheriff is out to get you.”

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http://takingnote.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/05/25/arizonas-illegal-sheriff/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/24/arpaio-racial-profiling_n_3333907.html

http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/federal-judge-finds-that-sheriff-joe-aripiao-violated-rights-of-latino-suspects/

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Does this really say that real Sheriff Joe Arpaio arrested a 6 year-old, for real?

http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/06/17/501097/arizona-sheriff-joe-arpaio-arrests-6-year-old-undocumented-immigrant/

Chain Labor

… or shackling pregnant moms

“In some ways, she was lucky. The MCSO’s policy heretofore has been to shackle pregnant women as they give birth.”

“My colleague Valerie Fernandez has previously reported on this MCSO policy for New Times, describing the ordeal of another pregnant Latina who was shackled throughout her labor, despite the wishes of healthcare providers.”

“But during Mendiola-Martinez’s C-section at county, her female MCSO guard cut her some uncharacteristic slack by not shackling her during the actual operation.”

“Afterward, though she was in terrific pain and could barely walk, the male guard who took over for the female officer shackled the new mother to her hospital bed.”

http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/2010-01-07/news/mcso-shackling-pregnant-moms-and-linda-ronstadt-marches-against-arpaio/

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Crude Awakening

I almost forgot to mention one of Joe’s guards who went home and stabbed his own father six times or another one of Joe’s guards who went home and smashed his girlfriend’s cell phone, assaulted her with a stun gun, pepper sprayed her vagina, put a loaded gun in her mouth on multiple occasions and sexually assaulted her with a souvenir baseball bat.

Where do you think they got all this pent-up hostility? Where do you suppose he learned all these nasty tricks, hmmm?

It’s kind of difficult to minimize these things, especially when there were eye witnesses.

http://www.abc15.com/dpp/news/region_west_valley/avondale/avondale-father-son-stabbing-mcso-detention-officer-stabbed-dad-6-times-dad-in-critical-condition#ixzz2gBAXI2V4

http://www.kpho.com/story/22845025/avondale-man-accused-of-sex-assault-with-bat

Paper Chase

Now for his best recent legal act: Joe Arpaio feels there is nothing wrong with a deputy snooping through a defense attorney’s papers during open court, removing papers, and attempting to sneak them out of the courtroom.

Sheriff Joe advised his deputy to continue his court duties and to not listen to the judge, who banned him pending a written apology, because to follow the instructions of a judge in her courtroom “would be unconstitutional”, according to “America’s toughest sheriff.

http://www.abajournal.com/mobile/comments/officer_ordered_to_apologize_or_face_jail_after_taking_lawyers_paperwork

http://www.heatcity.org/2009/11/arpaio-to-judge-fat-chance-of-apology.html

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Dollars to Donuts

Did I mention the two thousand lawsuits and the 43 million dollars in payouts against Sheriff Joe?  That’s “50 times as many prison-conditions lawsuits as there were in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, and Houston jail systems combined”.

(Sources: Wikipedia and AZCentral.com).

Joe wraps himself in the American flag and fancies himself as a defender of our Constitution. But, he’s an insult to both and should be an embarrassment to most Americans.

Governor Jan Brewer, who just recently broke the record for the most executions in her terms as Arizona’s top official, most likely will not be able to be re-elected due to term limits.

So, I saved the best news for last.

In 2014, Sheriff Joe is talking about running for Governor of Arizona!

tent-cityGovernor would be a safer position for Joe Arpaio. As Governor, how could Joe possibly be responsible for any needless deaths?

What possible harm could he do in this position?

What’s the worst that could happen?

All opinions of all stripes are very welcome.

All Rights reserved

http://killedbypolice.com/victims.html