Heroes, Zeros, and Geniuses in the Jodi Arias Case
Fact-based Reporting by
Amanda Chan and Rob Roman
In anticipation of the upcoming Jodi Arias Murder Trial, 2nd Penalty Phase, we have started a new regular report called Heroes, Zeros, and Geniuses.
Here we mention some current updates and commentary about anything related to the case in the media and on social media.
A reporter at the Arizona newspaper, the Arizona Republic, Mr.Kieffer wrote a series of articles on prosecutorial misconduct in Arizona. Kieffer attended the Arias trial daily. One article was specifically about Juan Martinez.
“Martinez helped send seven other killers to death row since he was hired at the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office in 1988.
He was accused by defense attorneys of prosecutorial misconduct in all but one of those cases; the Arizona Supreme Court characterized his actions as constituting misconduct in one of them, and cited numerous instances of “improper” behavior in another, but neither rose to the level where the justices felt they needed to overturn the cases.
Allegations of misconduct by Martinez in the second case and at least two others are pending in state and federal courts.
Justice Michael Ryan then stepped into the discussion.
“Well, this prosecutor I recollect from several cases,” Ryan said. “This same prosecutor has been accused of fairly serious misconduct, but ultimately we decided it did not rise to the level of requiring a reversal,”
Ryan said. “There’s something about this prosecutor, Mr. Martinez.”
There had been multiple allegations of prosecutorial misconduct against Martinez in Gallardo’s appeal. Ultimately, in its written opinion, the court determined that Martinez had repeatedly made improper statements about the defendant.
During the oral argument before the Supreme Court, the justices fixed on a question that Martinez asked three times, even though the trial judge in the case had sustained a defense attorney’s objections to the question.
But in the end, the justices ruled that Martinez’s behavior still did not “suggest pervasive prosecutorial misconduct that deprived (the defendant) of a fair trial.”
And, as the justices noted, it was not the first time that Martinez had walked away unscathed.”
Attention is finally being raised about not only the highly questionable practices in Maricopa County and Arizona State, but also the specific bad acts of the Maricopa prosecutor, Juan Martinez.
Here are the other 3 articles in the series:
CPI (Center for Prosecutor Integrity)
In response to Kieffer’s article and other information, the Center for Prosecutor Integrity is asking Prosecutors nationwide to hold each other accountable for ethical conduct.
“WASHINGTON / November 6, 2013 – Following revelations that 22% of death sentence cases in Arizona involve judicial findings of impropriety, the Center for Prosecutor Integrity is calling on prosecutors nationwide to take a proactive approach to hold unethical prosecutors accountable and restore public confidence in the criminal justice system.
The finding of widespread prosecutor misbehavior is based on a review of all death sentence convictions in Arizona in the past decade. These sentences are routinely seen by the state Supreme Court. Since 2002, there have been 82 death sentence cases reviewed by the state high court. In 18 of the cases – 22% of the total — the Supreme Court made a finding of impropriety.
Examples of unethical practice include presenting false testimony, resorting to emotional appeals in closing arguments, referring to mitigating evidence as “excuses “, and removing a jacket worn by a victim from a plastic evidence bag for the jury’s “smelling pleasure.””
The article also specifically mentioned the conduct of Maricopa prosecutor Juan Martinez in State v. Morris (2005).
Genius that he is, Juan responded colorfully to allegations that there was no proof in State v. Morris (2005) that the serial killer, Cory Morris, engaged in necrophilia with the 5 women he murdered and buried near his trailer.
In open court, he broke open a sealed bag containing a jacket worn by one of the victims and invited the jury to take a good whiff.
Hey Juan, the odor of decomposition on the clothes taken off a corpse yields no evidence whatever of whether or not the defendant engaged in necrophilia (had sex with a dead human body). This is typical of Juan Martinez’ conduct in death penalty trials.
This is the list that CPI offers as the most typical types of prosecutorial misconduct:
Types of Misconduct
Prosecutor misconduct can assume many forms, including:
- Charging a suspect with more offenses than is warranted
- Withholding or delaying the release of exculpatory evidence (State v. Arias – alleged)
- Deliberately mishandling, mistreating, or destroying evidence (State v. Arias – alleged)
- Allowing witnesses they know or should know are not truthful to testify (State v. Arias – Dr. Kevin Horn – alleged)
- Pressuring defense witnesses not to testify (State v. Arias – Patti Womack – alleged)
- Relying on fraudulent forensic experts (State v. Arias – Dr. Kevin Horn – alleged)
- During plea negotiations, overstating the strength of the evidence
- Making statements to the media that are designed to arouse public indignation
- Making improper or misleading statements to the jury (State v. Arias – alleged)
- Failing to report prosecutor misconduct when it is discovered
Famous Appellate Attorney, Law Professor at Harvard, and Constitutional Scholar.
On FOX News, while selling his latest book, this famous legal expert said that we need to realize the truth. The pervasive media coverage of crimes makes it a reality that “the public is the 13th juror”. He said that not only the jury feel the pressure of public opinion, but even judges are influenced by this intense pressure.
He went on to say that juries should be sequestered in high profile crimes, Dershowitz said that TV shows, such as HLN, should not be allowed to televise trials, infuse it with thir own opinions, and use them to attract ratings. Dershowitz feels that court cases, including the Supreme Court, should be televised on free public access without comment. He admitted it would be “boring”, but it’s necessary to ensure fair trials.
Now we introduce our zeroes in the case:
Famous Appellate Attorney, Law Professor at Harvard, and Constitutional Scholar.
Alan Dershowitz said that Jodi Arias “will not have a successful appeal because she’s guilty”. Dershowitz made this remark this past summer. First of all, a famous constitutional scholar should know that guilt or innocence plays no part in whether a trial was fair and whether an appeal is upheld and a conviction is reversed and remanded back to the court for a new trial.
Is Dershowitz actually saying that he doesn’t see any error that could change the outcome of the trial? If so, I cannot believe he watched the trial. If Dershowitz stated that he DID in fact see legitimate appealable issues in the Jodi Arias trial, how would that affect his popularity, his welcome at FOX News and his ability to sell his books?
Alan Dershowitz learned his lesson well after taking an unpopular stance when he supported OJ Simpson in the 1990’s. He managed to mitigate his support for OJ by splitting the difference and saying that he was right to support OJ because “The police framed a guilty man”.
Want to know how? Buy his new book.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Dershowitz is nothing but a Smershowitz.
The elected District Attorney for Maricopa County, Arizona
What’s Not Important, Bill?
“In his regular news conference Wednesday, Montgomery explained that he did not attend the settlement conference as he had intended because the “case is no different than any other case,” he said.
“I don’t see it as an important enough case to where I have to be personally involved to where I can’t have the prosecutor who’s responsible for the case take care of it himself,” he said.”
What IS Important, Bill?
A single piece of marijuana candy.
A man was pulled over for driving erratically. In his center console was a pot pipe and a single piece of marijuana candy. Due to his medical marijuana license, the pipe was acceptable. However, the single piece of candy may be a Felony according to Bill.
“Medical-marijuana users were warned. And now Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery is carrying out his plan to harass qualified medical users for resin-infused edibles.
Montgomery repeatedly has refused to say whether he is prosecuting patients for possession of marijuana concentrates who otherwise are acting within the boundaries of the 2010 Arizona Medical Marijuana Act.
No, the Jodi Arias case is not important to you, Bill. It’s just like any other case, Bill. Would you care to say that under oath, Bill?
Way to get “tough on crime”, Bill.
Various and sundry Pro-prosecution Facebook commentors
Judge Stephens recently denied Jodi Arias’ motion to fire her lead attorney, Kirk Nurmi.
No way was Judge Stephens ever going to grant that motion and delay the 2nd penalty phase by 6 months to one year. Judge Stephens could then kiss her job goodbye. Jodi knows this.
Arias believes that the client – attorney relationship with Kirk Nurmi is hurting her case. Jodi Arias is properly preserving this issue for appeal by filing for the second time to have Nurmi dismissed.
Many Facebook commenters smugly suggested that Jodi was purposely trying to prolong the trial in order to do one or more of the following
1) She likes being in Estrella County Jail and wants to stay there. She does not want to go to Perryville Prison.
2) She is trying to hurt the Alexander family by making them wait and prolonging their suffering.
3) She is trying to hold up the proceedings out of spite.
1) Many prisoners in Arizona prefer the Prison to the CountyJail. One County jail prisoner who was sentenced but not yet transferred to prison, complained to Sheriff Joe Arpaio that he wanted to be transferred to prison, where there were better conditions and food. Juan Martinez replied: “We are not a taxi service”.
Here is what the people who know have to say about this:
“Interviewer: What’s the difference between jail and prison? Can you talk about the specific jails in your area?
Acacia Law: Whether you’re in prison or whether you’re in jail you’re entitled in visitation. In Maricopa County, the most populated county jails include the lower BuckEye Jail, Durango Facility, and Estrella, which include the tents.
Interviewer: Isn’t there The Fourth Avenue Jail, and then TentCity as well? Are they crowded?
Acacia Law: In terms of your question as to whether people prefer the county jails to prison they much prefer prison. The Department of Corrections is actually much easier time. Many of my clients who are repeat offenders much prefer going to prison than spending a year in county as a term condition of probation.
That might give you an idea of how bad the jails are here. They are notoriously bad throughout the state at the county level.
Pima County in Tuscon has bad facilities as well. Penal County used to have one of the worst facilities in the state. I don’t know if they still do or not since they made the new jail about eight years ago.”
2) Jodi Arias wants to Harm the Alexander family and prolong their suffering
In her motion to dismiss Kirk Nurmi, Arias claims that it was her desire, as well as the prosecution’s desire to clear the courtroom before playing the “sex tape”conversations between her and Travis Alexander. Kirk Nurmi fought Jodi Arias on this. Nurmi wanted the sex tape played in public. Arias stated that she didn’t want this to be played in public as it would cause pain to her and the Alexander family.
3) Jodi Arias wants to delay the proceedings out of spite
Jodi Arias has no reason to delay her sentencing because this would only delay her appeals, which cannot be filed until after she is sentenced.
As far as public outcry, more time before the second penalty phase will not help Arias. The media and public fury will begin again and will rage just as before as soon as the trial resumes.
Hopefully, Nurmi and Arias will mend fences and join forces for the 2nd penalty phase.
Frequent guest on HLN during the trial
Slanderer of potential defense mitigation witness Patti Womack
Desecrator of ancient archeological formation
Former Boy Scout Leader
Dave Hall, a close friend of the victim, Travis Alexander, laughed and sang “Wiggle it – Just a little bit” as he filmed his friend, Glenn Taylor pushing over a world-famous, million years old ancient rock formation in a State Park in Utah.
His friend, Glenn Taylor, who grunted and groaned like Atlas on camera as he struggled to man handle the boulder, was suing for injuries he incurred in an automobile accident from which he claimed he was severely physically disabled.
This incident caused immediate and vast world-wide outrage.
SALT LAKE CITY – Two Utah men already facing possible charges for purposely toppling an ancient rock formation in a state park have now been removed from their posts as Boy Scout leaders.
A northern Utah Boy Scouts council announced Monday that Glenn Taylor and Dave Hall will no longer be allowed to lead scouting troops due to what happened Oct. 11 at Goblin Valley State Park, which they filmed and posted on Facebook.
In typical fake-Mormon dishonesty, Dave Hall said they did it “to protect innocent children”.
Watch the YouTube video:
A Funny and raucous Facebook page making fun of Dave Hall the “Goblin Toppler”:
And now, we move on to the Geniuses of the Jodi Arias case.
Commenter on Facebook
This person gave a rant recently on an a pro-prosecution Facebook page:
“Now that I am not looking at or listening to Jodi everyday, as if that were her fault, I can think about the trial with less passion. Before she ever took the stand and started the 17 day marathon of lies, I had some sympathy for her in the sense that she is a girl who probably could have made something of herself and she threw it all away in a jealous rage.
She left home at 17, which is indicative of our troubled youth these days. The I want it all now and I am entitled attitude. Something went terribly wrong in her psyche when she met Travis. His interest in her must have sent her into a fantasyland.
Here is this guy who looked and acted very successful, was liked and admired by hundreds of people, owns a 5 bedroom house, drives a Beemer, travels all over…someone with her background must have thought she had landed in Nirvana and then it all fell down!
What a crushing blow to her. THEN THE REAL JODI SHOWED UP FOR ALL TO SEE AND HEAR! End of story for me. She is where she belongs, keeping other male prey safe!”
I will now reply to her rant:
In fact, a female who leaves home at 17, is much more likely to be used and abused than to be an abuser or a murderer.
Travis’ phoniness and shallow interest in Jodi must have sent her into a fantasyland. Shallow Hal and his fake Mormon, Pre-Paid Legal, religious goon friends turned an honest hard worker into a champagne wisher and a caviar dreamer.
More due to his parent’s actions than his own, something was terribly wrong in Shallow Hal’s psyche from the start.
Here was a phony salesman, never honest with Arias or anyone else. His roommates’ rent paid the mortgage, everything else was financed. Arias said that her Infiniti was nicer than his beat BMW.
The trips were tax-deductible “business expenses” = free. He was going to write a book about himself, buy a Prius and thereby save the world.
Instead, he should have sought help from his church or a licensed therapist and saved himself. The PPL legal insurance racket and it’s promises of vast wealth negatively impacted both Jodi and Travis. Someone with his background, who never finished High School, must have thought he landed in Mormon Nirvana, but then it all fell down.
Typical fake Mormon, he blamed it all on the girl.
Who knows what he was capable of doing when he was finally going to have to face his behaviors, be exposed and excommunicated?
Commenter on Facebook
This is another Michele, with one “L”. Maybe it’s the same Michelle. There’s no way to be sure.
Though we welcome any and all opinions and comments on Spotlight on Law, people who have read the article and take issue with it choose not to directly engage us in a fact-based discussion. Michele is a commenter on a Facebook page that discusses the Jodi Arias case. Here is what this genius said about our article, “Why Jodi Arias will get a new trial”:
“I cannot help but laugh when reports like this claim they can set the rules for the criteria to be met for the Appellate Court. When they go even further by misquoting expert testimony to make their point, it’s shameful.
Not the first or the last time this has been done. Junk like this has been written on many cases without results for obvious reasons.
Your girl is going to need a lot more than this. First degree murder with especially cruel factor. The bar is VERY high when it comes to grounds for appeals and she doesn’t come close to reaching it.”
Hopefully, Michele, you do not need to be an attorney to understand what is and is not a fair trial and what appealable issues are.
When a prosecutor and a Medical Examiner team up to deliberately give the jury false testimony intended to sway the jury to deliver a guilty verdict, this is an unfair trial, gross prosecutor misconduct and an appealable issue. If this one is rejected by the courts, there are plenty of others.
The article is not “misquoting expert testimony”. The article contains no quotes. If you mean “misrepresenting or mischaracterizing expert testimony”, we beg to differ. The article is factual.
Is it possible that you could debate using some facts? We would welcome that.
We don’t “set the rules”. The higher courts, existing statutes, and past cases do. “Junk like this” has been written before many convictions were reversed and new trials ordered. The news and the social media are chock full of such cases. In many cases, public outcry played a large part in reversed convictions, new trials, and exonerated prisoners.
Obviously, Michele, you didn’t read the article or other articles on this site. If you did, you would begin to realize that something is rotten in Denmark (Maricopa, Arizona). Arizona’s “especially cruel” aggravator is unconstitutionally vague and arbitrary.
We will see how high the bar is in 5 to 7 years. By that time, you will have forgotten all about this case.
Commenter on Facebook
“I’d like to see the degree on law that makes this factual reasons.”
Brooke, what I’d like to see is a simple phrase without so many grammatical errors. “degree on law”? “makes this factual reasons”?
Come on Brooke, you must be smarter than that. If not, you are not qualified to debate or give an opinion on the facts.
We anticpate that there will be more Heroes, Zeros, and Geniuses as this case moves forward. Whenever they occur, as they inevitably do, we will collect them, report on them, and issue another update.