Opinion by Amanda Chen and Rob Roman
Lise LaSalle, a Canadian blogger, fired the first shot across the bow in the battle of the upcoming 2nd penalty phase in the Jodi Arias trial with her article called “The Infamous Trial of Candy Crush”. Lise’s article was a very well written and intelligent summary of many of the problems Jodi Arias supporters and others see in the first phases of the trial.
This shot must have made quite a splash, because JustDaTruth, a well-known advocate for the prosecution fired back with a scathing article, called “Crushing the Candy Crush”. In this article, the author, who prefers to remain anonymous, gave factual reasons and logical arguments for why he believes the Candy Crush article was off base.
In this article, we will be replying to the Crusher of Candy Crush, and we will not fire back. We will simply serve him or her milk and cookies, better known as food for thought. This culinary response is based on facts, logic, and reasoning.
These are the first articles we have read from Lise LaSalle and from JustDaTruth. We were impressed with both articles as civil dialogue and a healthy exchange of ideas. Links to both articles are shared below. We highly encourage and recommend that you read both of these articles to get some real insight into the major arguments from both sides.
One major point:
We disagree with the verdict of 1st degree premeditated murder. We do not find fault with the jury on that verdict. We are saying that what was presented to the jury was not the truth.
Why Try to Plead to 2nd Degree When Arias Claims it was Self-Defense?
Jodi is responsible for Travis’ death, regardless of whether it was self-defense, heat of passion, or murder. She knows this and she was willing to take a 20 year sentence for that responsibility and to avoid making this so public with a trial. However, she is not willing to take a life sentence or allow the state to execute her for a domestic homicide with no prior offenses, which has no business being a death penalty case in the first place.
The Jury Wasn’t Biased
“Death qualified jury” means that no one who is totally opposed to the death penalty should be allowed to serve. That’s a whole lot of people. This is why the State of Arizona prosecutors like almost every murder trial to qualify for the Death Penalty. This means there are more people on the jury who will side with the prosecution and be more willing to convict. This deprives Arias of some jurors who will understand the rights of the accused, including some who are especially empathetic and understanding of both domestic violence and some of the less understood causes of violence in our society.
(Please see new discarded jury questions for Jodi Arias….)
The Defense Attorneys “Are Not Public Defenders”
All Arizona defendants in a capital crime MUST, by statute, have two attorneys. A mitigation specialist is now required. Nurmi and Willmott ARE public defenders no matter where they work now. They are under constraints of a budget when presenting a defense. They cannot advocate for the defendant in any way outside the courtroom. Lawyers who are strictly public defenders also clear their schedule for a major trial and are very busy at other times, just like private defense attorneys.
Niether Nurmi nor Willmott can compete in terms of trial experience with Martinez’ 25 years prosecuting cases and influencing juries in court. If you look at his trial history, you can see that winning the conviction trumps the truth and ethical considerations, in spite of his having convicted some really bad blokes.
(Please see Spotlight on Juan Martinez, State vs. Falater, State vs. Grant. You might also want to watch Martinez’ testimony at Robert Towery’s Commutation hearing on Youtube. Look at the defenses’ response and the testimony of Towery’s sisters. There’s something about this Martinez, there really is.)
Arias is death penalty eligible meaning her crime qualifies her for the death penalty. But does it really? No one in America has faced the death penalty with similar facts. This is because of Arizona’s F(6) aggravator cruelty prong which can qualify almost any homicide for the DP. Three other women stabbed their partners to death in AZ in 2008. One shot their partner to death, and two ran them over with cars. None of these women, or any of the scores of men who killed their partners in 2008, or any other years, besides one man who chased down and stabbed his wife to death outside his home in front of witnesses, faced the DP in Arizona.
If we always rely solely on precedent, we ignore the realities of an ever-changing society. The new reality, according to Alan Dershowitz, the very experienced appellate attorney and Harvard law Professor, recommended by Fox News, is that no one can expect a fair trial in a high profile murder case in this day and age. He went on to say that even judges and governors can be affected by ratings motivated sensationalism and the “lynch mobs” they create.
(Please see Heroes, Zeros ans Geniuses in the Jodi Arias Case)
Judge Stephens Controlled the Court Room
Judge Sherry is not experienced in capital cases and this was her first. What’s the reason? The court in AZ is jammed with capital murder trials, so they need more and more judges to preside over them. Judge Stephens was afraid to make the tough decisions for fear of political backlash and appellate review and she was not in control of her courtroom.
Had a cell phone gone off during Martinez’ closing statement instead of Nurmi’s, do you think that Judge Stephens would have admonished the court instead of just giving a blank stare? The idea that Arias’ family said or did anything inappropriate in the courtroom is a flat-out lie, there’s no evidence of that at all and they are as just as about far away from the jury as you can get.
The Alexander family did in fact purposely make eye contact and conducted non-verbal communication with jury members. It’s not their fault, they were never told they cannot do this. This is entirely different than emotional reactions when they were looking straight ahead instead of to their left. This is forbidden in most court rooms throughout the US. Did you see this principle being clearly demonstrated in the Zimmerman trial? The Martin family members were stoned-faced throughout the trial, and they left when they felt they could not keep their emotions in check.
Evidence of this non-verbal communication is clear in many trial videos. Family members can be seen making direct eye contact with jurors. This communication revealed itself when one juror went directly up to the Alexanders and apologized for the failure to achieve a death verdict. Look at the stares of anger at jurors when there was no death verdict. If Sherry had no bias, how do you explain her emotions when the jury could not come to a unanimous agreement? Failure to reach a unanimous decision happens all the time, so what was that emotion about?
Electronic Devices Are Not a Problem
It’s just too easy to go on Facebook or Twitter, etc. and see things about the trial without meaning to do so. If these comments and reports are all one-sided, the juror then is aware of overwhelming public sentiment, and may feel compelled to act in support of that sentiment, which is the main argument for sequestration. (Please see New Discarded Juror Questions….)
Your statement “What exactly was out there that was patently false, that the juror’s might have been influenced by?” – You really can’t be serious by asking this, can you? Where would we begin?
Lisa Daidone: Stalking Evidence
Lisa Daidone hardly knew Jodi, had rarely met her and only spoke of one incident when Jodi showed up at Travis’ home. She depended primarily on the word of Travis Alexander, who was derisive of Jodi to his friends while talking to Jodi for hours and having sex with her late at night between and after dates with Lisa Daidone. Did YOU watch the trial? Please tell me who else testified with a first-hand story about Jodi’s “stalking behavior”?
Deanna Reid didn’t testify that Jodi hid behind a Christmas tree or crawled through the doggy door. Deana Reid, Travis’ ex-girlfriend, showed up at Travis’ home one week when Travis was away on business. She claimed that Travis asked her to walk his dog, Napolean. Deanna went over to Travis’ home and was surprised to see Jodi Arias there. She claims that Travis had no knowledge that Jodi was there. Is this true? Jodi didn’t hide behind a Christmas tree then. Instead, she was baking and she offered Deanna some chocolate chip cookies. Deanna’s described Jodi’s behavior to the jury as like a “Stepford Wife”. Damned if you do serve cookies, and damned if you don’t and just hide behind the tree .
LaViolette Was Not Balanced / Fair To Travis
As far as Travis being afraid of Jodi, he did not report any incident, he did not change his locks, he did not change his garage code, and he did not even lock his front door. He did not stop answering the booty call. This is why LaViolette was saying that Travis’ actions did not mimic his words when he said he was in fear of Jodi.
Alyce LaViolette is one of this country’s foremost experts in domestic violence. She isn’t a “shopped for” witness. With over 30 years experienced directly dealing with both the victims and the perpetrators of domestic violence, she’s a wish-list witness. Her testimony is that Travis Alexander’s behaviors as reported by Jodi Arias and as objectively supported by independent evidence, were derisive and abusive throughout the relationship. They fit a pattern she recognized. LaViolette stands by her testimony to this day.
(Please see Spotlight on Domestic Violence)
Samuels Cheated for Jodi
Psychologist Dr. Samuels did not think that Jodi needed to be re-tested because whether she is a witness to a murder or a participant in a killing, the trauma she experienced is the same trauma experience. Therefore the idea that she needed to be re-tested is a ludicrous technicality. PTSD victims have different symptoms and different ways of compensating, depending on their personalities, etc. Since you feel Jodi Arias does not suffer from PTSD, can either you or DeMarte explain the extra symptoms in her testing not accounted for by either BPD or PD non-specified (NOS), yet do account for PTSD? We are patiently awaiting your answer……
Offering Books to Prisoners
Offering books to prisoners, to put it bluntly, don’t mean sh*t.
This is just nitpicking by Martinez.
Arias was tested by 3 psychologists in all and the findings of 2 were reviewed by a 4th psychologist. Yes, there were four Psychologists altogether. You may hear from the 4th Psychologist at the 2nd penalty phase. The sole dissenting opinion about the diagnoses came from Dr. DeMarte, a novice.
How do you know the prosecution did not “shop” for Dr. DeMarte, as they did with Ray Krone, who spent 10 years in prison and 2 years on death row on shopped for false expert testimony?
(Please see What’s going on in Arizona, Maricopa part 1 and 2)
Jodi Lied to Her Parents
What Jodi’s parents said about her, that was not brought into evidence at trial, was that Jodi did not CONFIDE in her parents. This is much different than saying she lied to them all the time. Jodi did not share the details of her life with her parents. She hardly spoke to them. This is understandable as she was shown little affection or love. If you think a good idea as a parent of a 14 year-old is to call the police because your daughter is growing some pot seeds in Mom’s Tupperware on the roof, then God bless you. Experimentation is the basic job description of teens. This is a perfect occasion to communicate and be a parent. If your own parents are not on your side and loyal to you, God help you. Who throws their own child to the wolves and doesn’t even provide legal help for a daughter accused of murder? Fortunately people can change. Jodi has changed and her parents have changed.
The Defense Agreed with DeMarte
The defense did not “buy” Borderline Personality Disorder. They had already stated Personality Disorder NOS (Non-Specified). The defense adopted both BPD and the 1st degree premeditated guilty verdict at the time of the 1st penalty phase because that is what threy believed the jury accepted. At that point in the trial, you have to argue the facts that the jury most likely believes, not your own.
Martinez Destroyed Defense Witnesses
With both LaViolette and Samuels, Martinez did little damage to their testimony and the objective facts they presented. What Martinez is so experienced at is discrediting the source of the information. Samuels is nothing more than a Messy Marvin and a pervert aching to touch Jodi’s naughty parts. LaViolette is a kooky liberal lesbian who believes that even Snow White is a battered woman.
Defense Expert’s False Claims
There were no experts who claimed or tried to demonstrate that Jodi acted in self-defense or that it was a sudden heat-of-passion homicide. The experts presented merely provided evidence and testimony which demonstrated that it was a possibility, and that’s all they needed to do.
Gas Can Evidence Proves Premeditation
The amount of gas purchased at Tesoro was 25 + gallons. The capacity of 2 gas cans and the Ford Escort gas tank is 25 + gallons. It was not proven that Jodi had 3 gas cans at Tesoro, nor was it proven that she did not return the third gas can to Wal-Mart. It was merely proven that a clerk, who testified that a SKU number is spelled S-K-E-W, did not find a record of return in the places that she searched.
Talk about skewed testimony! The defense had no opportunity to adequately investigate and respond to this claim.
Back Stabbing and George Barwood
A note about George Barwood.
George is a UK resident. He has painstakingly compiled many facts and ideas about the Jodi Arias case on a Wikispace. George is active in helping advocating for the accused in wrongful conviction cases and he has worked on issues such as reducing domestic violence and abolition of the death penalty.
George is attacked as “not an expert” and not from the United States and therefore not qualified to give his opinion. This is the typical Martinez tactic of attacking the source rather than the information. Since George Barwood, as posters say, is not an expert, then you don’t need to be an expert to refute his ideas. So how about attacking his ideas and opinions with some of your own, instead of trying to cop out and attack him personally? Hmmmm?
The questions surrounding the tight pattern of wounds on Travis’ back have been contemplated by many people with the autopsy photos and a sense of reasoning. It is not only George Barwood’s theory, but agreement among many people, including, believe it or not, Juan Martinez.
Many people on the defense side of this trial have vastly differing beliefs about what the verdicts should be as well as having vastly different theories. This includes ideas from George Barwood, a meticulous collector of facts, and two articles by Richard Speights, on how the knife attack can be defensive in nature and a theory about the gun being first. Various others with varying degrees of experience and common sense, have also come to similar conclusions.
It was Juan Martinez himself, demonstrating using the court reporter as victim, who showed that a person can be stabbed from a variety of angles and positions. Juan used both sides of the same argument to make his points many times during the trial.
If you stabbed a person in the back from in front, the sharp edge could still be facing downward depending on how you grasped the knife. Most of the stab wounds are diagonal. How can a stab wound to the back be an inch or more deep when they were all stopped by the ribs and spine? Travis was a man, he was not a seal.
The measurements listed in the autopsy report are the widths of the wounds, not the depth. The deepest wound could not be more than 1/2 inch, and the majority were 1/4 inch. No one has given a good theory about how, where, or why Jodi Arias would stab Travis in the back with shallow wounds when one stab to the kidneys would have stopped him in his tracks. Defensive wounds meant to ward him off make much more sense. These are “chopping wounds”, and chopping wounds are most often defensive.
Martinez theorized that Travis was stabbed in the back at the sink. Really? Logically and reasonably, why would a person do this?
Use of Felony Murder Charge
If the prosecution was so positive it was a premeditated murder and only Jodi was involved, then there’s no need for the 1st degree felony murder charge. You stated that under felony murder if a fight breaks out and a person is killed, if it’s the victim’s house, it’s first degree felony murder and if it’s at the perpetrator’s home, it’s not.
This is what you said. Think about it. That’s ludicrous.
This is why felony murder and domestic violence don’t mix. The added charge of felony murder means that the prosecution does not believe the gun was last (Gun first is the only reasonable explanation for felony murder). The felony murder charge can also mean that the prosecution doesn’t believe that only Arias was involved in the crime (felony murder charges are often used when accomplices are involved) and/or that this was a pre-mediated murder (felony murder charges are used when the murder is not pre-meditated).
In any case, this doesn’t bode well for a fair trial, because the jury believed all of these ideas.
This is just an advanced version of Martinez’ trick questions akin to “Have you stopped beating your wife yet?”. A good example of this is “Did you cry when you were stabbing him?”. How clever! Both trails of yes and no choices mean you beat your wife, you stabbed him and you are going to the execution chamber.
Sex Evidence Used for Distraction
The sex evidence was not used for distraction or to win over a horny juror. The sex evidence was crucial in showing Travis’ carefully hidden character and why it was possible that he suddenly could fly into a severe and violent rage. This was a hidden relationship with hidden activities, hidden conflicts, and alleged hidden violence. Without that sex evidence, no jury could ever believe what Jodi was saying about Travis, an ordained elder in the LDS Church. The sex evidence was not aimed at “trashing Travis”
(Please see An Open Letter to Wendy Murphy)
“Humiliation / Battery” of Victim’s Family
Perhaps this is just your perception because of your viewpoint. There is no real evidence that Jodi lied under oath about Travis. There is no basis to claim that she has done anything at the trial or publicly during the trial or since that “batters” or “humiliates” the Alexander family. This is begging for sympathy for Travis, which by the way we ALL have, but not when evaluating the facts.
As a matter of fact, Jodi Arias sided with the prosecution against her own attorney in arguing to clear the court for the playing of the sex tape.
If you insist that your allegations of “humiliation and battery” are true, please supply specific examples. Travis’ lifestyle and behavior were objectively proven, independently of Jodi’s testimony, to be abusive and demeaning throughout the relationship. In fact, he was abusive to Lisa Daidone and Mimi as well. Deanna was all for living with Napoleon, not so much with Travis.
Oh Holy Night
Both Lisa LaSalle and JustDaTruth are correct. Sheriff Joe has not done anything negative towards Jodi Arias, in fact he has done some good things for her (allowing her interviews, supplying her with excellent protection during the trial, allowing her participation in a talent contest at Christmas time). Regardless of how anyone feels about the other policies of Sheriff Joe, he has been generally good to Jodi Arias.
Lise LaSalle’s paragraph about Oh Holy Night (the song Jodi sang in Estrella Jail to win the Christmas talent contest) wasn’t about Sheriff Joe, it was about how so-called “haters” love to hate Jodi and love to wish her cruelties and suffering even at Christmas time.
This hating of a complete stranger continues, even though Jodi Arias is in custody and will face life in prison or execution for her acts.
…….As if somehow this is not enough.
Relax. Let justice run its course. Listen to both sides of the story, follow the 2nd penalty phase and enjoy some milk and cookies!
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Unlike most blogs, ALL comments are accepted and will be posted.
Lise LaSalle’s Article:
George Barwood’s sites about the Arias case: