Arias Files to Give Nurmi the Heave – Ho, Settlement a No – Go (Oct 28)

Fact based reporting by

Amanda Chen and Rob Roman

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Predictably, the settlement conference on October 24, yielded the status quo. The only interesting thing would be to see if either side offered anything at all. Jodi Arias faces a penalty of life in prison or the death penalty, and has little to gain if the death penalty is taken off the table. The state would refuse to offer less than a life sentence. Arias would never give up her appeals.

Jodi Arias and family have already begun a drive for funds to hire an appeals attorney, setting up a trust bank account and soliciting funds online. She has filed for bankruptcy which is a prerequisite to both setting up the trust and preparing for the inevitable civil trial against her.

Earlier in the week, Arias filed a 12 page hand written motion to dismiss lead attorney Kirk Nurmi. This follows an initial motion filed in June. Arias contends that she cannot work with her attorney and does not trust him. Though she had refused to allow him to visit twice since the first penalty phase, she contends that Nurmi has made no efforts to improve their relations, contact her, consult with her or keep her informed of preparations for the second penalty phase.

Arias also stated that her wishes were not respected and she was not consulted during the trial, causing emotional turmoil for her and damaging some of her testimony on the stand. Arias contends that Nurmi refused an offer to clear the courtroom to play the sex tape, which she claims was hugely embarrassing for her and disrespectful to the victim, Travis Alexander, and his family.

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We contend that Kirk Nurmi has done a wonderful job in the area of objections, motions, and preserving the most important issues for appeal which has now become the most important function of Jodi Arias’ defense, and will continue to be going forward.

Arias makes a strong case to dump Nurmi, however. She contends that as a prisoner with a mental illness, it is Nurmi who should be making the effort to repair the attorney-client relationship, consult with his client, keep her informed and involved with the progress of the case, and to allow her to participate in the decisions and strategies involved in all matters pertaining to her case. She’s right, Nurmi is being paid to represent Jodi Arias and not just to independently perform his duties.

Nurmi is not imprisoned, he’s not on trial for his life, and so far as we know, suffers no mental illness. Defense lawyers often have difficult clients, and it is a necessary part of the job to deal effectively with difficult clients.  Arias contends that Nurmi refused to offer even simple explanations for his actions, telling her that he was not going to sit down and explain evetything he has learned in years of law school and trial experience.

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It is evident that Arias has been an albatross around Nurmi’s neck, as Nurmi has left the public defender’s office and started his own private practice long ago. Yet, he was not allowed to get out of this case because he was too far into it to leave pre-trial without causing significant delays. The trial was originally scheduled for 2011. The trial will continue into 2014 and there is no beginning to the 2nd penalty phase in sight.

Nurmi probably would like nothing better than to be off the case. He and Willmott both made a motion to be dismissed from the case following the guilty verdict, and this motion was denied.  Nurmi attempted to get off the case as it was approaching trial, but Arias pleaded with Judge Stephens to not let him off the case, citing their agreement on strategy and Nurmi’s in-depth knowledge of the case as well as the time it would take for a new attorney to get up to speed on the case.

Jodi Arias 9 out of 10

Arias stated she was very upset when Nurmi told the jury that “nine days out of ten, I don’t like Jodi Arias”, claiming that this statement and his behavior during the trial telegraphed to the jury that he may not believe in Jodi Arias or care about her ultimate fate. It also reinforces Arias’ contentions that Nurmi refused to meet with Arias, allay her concerns, and coordinate his moves with her during the trial.

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Arias made reference to the body language at the defense table during the trial, which showed a seeming indifference bordering on hostility between Arias and her lead attorney. She was correct to note that this body language does influence the jury. Arias stated that she is very happy with the work and performance of second chair attorney Jennifer Willmott, and wishes to keep her on board.

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Arias stated that Nurmi, before and during the trial, had refused phone calls from Arias at a cost of nearly $3.00 per call. She stated he even refused to take messages. Hey Nurmi, if Arias is being a pest with phone calls, you should have just told her to take notes about her concerns, and to call once per week if it’s not a “time is of the essence” issue. What’s so difficult about that? You should know that it takes a lot of effort to arrange phone calls from jail.

We have long contended that Willmott believes in Jodi Arias, but may not like the defense strategy, whereas Nurmi believes in the defense strategy but does not like Jodi Arias.

As a change of attorney would delay proceedings by 6 months to one year, we predict the motion will again be denied, butressing an expected “ineffective assistance of counsel” appeal. Judge Stephens will not take responsibility for further delays in the proceedings and will never grant the motion. The trial needs to go forward right away if it is to be held in early 2014 as it is.

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The only interesting development is that District Attorney Bill Montgomery made a statement hat he didn’t need to attend the settlement conference and Juan Martinez could handle it by himself. Montgomery stated that this case was of no special significance and is no more important than any other case.

We contend that this is a lie. The Milke case and the Arias case are both vital to the District Attorneys interests, as he refuses to make a settlement with Debra Milke and the state must spend money on a new trial to keep her on Death Row. Milke has already spent 23 years on Arizona’s death row and with almost no evidence, it seems a real uphill climb to get a second conviction.

There is no comparable death penalty case in Arizona or in America. There are many reasons why.  Because of this, Arias will never be executed and any death sentence will be commuted to life prior to any decision to reverse the conviction or remand for a new trial.

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Arizona’s Death row for women which was supposed to receive Arias as the fourth inmate, is now down to just two inmates due to Milke’s conviction being thrown out and her release on bail pending a settlement or a re-trial. We know that it is cheaper to oversee four or more women on death row than it is to oversee only two. We know it is critical to Montogomery’s reputation and status as MaricopaCounty’s elected District Attorney to get a conviction for Milke and put her back on death row and to get a death sentence for Arias.

We believe Arias’ chances for a successful appeal are greatly enhanced should she be sentenced to death, and she should never give up her appeals, so she has nothing to gain from any deal struck with the District Attorney.

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So, Bill, we contend that when you say that the Arias case is not important and the same as any other case, we contend you are lying and grandstanding again.  You didn’t go to the settlement conference because it was a mere formality and you had no intention to do any other than continue to seek the death penalty.

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You will continue to run up the tab on this never ending trial to protect your reputation and appease a political agenda and a family and Mormon community who wish to show their devotion to Christ by continuing to seek revenge. Bon appétit, Bill.

Newspaper article about the settlement conference:

http://www.azfamily.com/news/No-deal-struck-during-Arias-settlement-conference-229150051.html

12 page hand written motion by Arias to fire her lead attorney:

http://www.azcentral.com/ic/pdf/jodi-arias-nurmi-motion.pdf
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5 thoughts on “Arias Files to Give Nurmi the Heave – Ho, Settlement a No – Go (Oct 28)”

  1. I predict that Jodi won’t be sentenced to death, purely because it will prolong her Appeal; this is just another malevolent strategy against Jodi Arias in this vendetta against her; its a complete mockery having another trial, putting Jodi through yet another trial, when the outcome is a given, not to mention a total waste of tax payers money; it is nothing more than a cruel game of charades of putting on a show for AZ and other barbaric states, who no doubt will see this as nothing less than fair. There’s no doubt in my mind that the people who want death don’t just hate her for what they think is ”premeditated” murder, they also hate the fact that Jodi is extremely articulate, for the poise she has shown throughout the trial, her intellect and intelligence, for she is showing everyone very starkly what has happened between herself and Nurmi. When I heard Nurmi tell the jury that even he didn’t like Jodi Arias, I thought he was trying to inject some humour; I consider even the thought of that a very bad decision; was he seriously thinking republicans (the members of the jury) would see it? He of all people, being a defence attorney should not have taken that gamble, he should have known that it could be taken 2 ways and that his desire to appeal to a republican jury and AZ’s inhabitants, would be lost on them, and thus an exercise in futility. .

    1. Heather, you can bet that Juan Martinez, just because of his ego, will come out guns blazing in the 2nd penalty mini-trial. He will go for the kill.

      Jodi does not have the same opportunity to bond with jury members.

      At the time Nurmi made that statement, Jodi thought and I thought it was for strategic purposes. That was a mistake. Jodi was correct, it would have helped if he showed some warmth towards Joidi.

      Nurmi also during closing arguments, forgot the facts of the case, as Jodi stated in her letter to Judge Stephens. This may be just because he was trying to concentrate on his argument.

      Nurmi is underrated. I think he did a really good job. It’s was a difficult and risky defense. I think Jodi actually has really good instincts about strategy.

      I like your comments. You have a really good grasp of what was going on, and a great way of explaining it.

  2. Would love to see Nurmi’s response. While you state it is the job of attorney’s to deal with difficult clients, Jodi has shown she has her own agenda. Do you really believe Nurmi and Willmot want Jodi to continue to “tweet?”. And, what do you think their position was on all of her post verdict interviews. How can one defend a client who undermines your efforts at every turn. Jodi is throwing Nurmi under the bus just like she did Travis. At least Nurmi has a vouce in this matter. And Heather, perhaps you should do some research on the damage the democrats are doing to this country! It will take years to correct the damage Obama has done/is doing! He has made us look weak, and now is strapping Americans with the heavy burden of outlandish health care expences. The Arias trial is not a Republican/Democrat issue. It is a right or wrong issue. Jodi murdered and must be held accountable! I don’t support death for Jodi, but the DP is part of the laws of the State of Arizona.

    1. BBH, nice to see you back!

      You are right. Jodi did go against the admonitions of her attorneys and this is a problem. It was not at every turn, but at a few key moments. Nurmi should have consulted with his client and made sure they were in agreement and on the same page. The client is always the boss of their own defense.

      The Tweeting you brought up is a good point. Are other convicts allowed to Tweet? The law has not caught up with technology. Jodi has generally kept her tweets innocuous. I saw her as using the social media to fight for her right to respond to virtually all the media allied against her and attacking her constantly during the trial. It is difficult to have no voice at all as you are fighting for your life.

      I congratulate you on your stance against the death penalty. You are correct that it is currently the law of the land in Arizona and half of the other states, so it is a factor to be dealt with.

      As for conservative (Republican) vs. Liberal (Democrat), I am sure that Arizona politics plays a big part in why the death penalty was applied in this case. If you read the articles on this Blog, you will see that Arizona tried unsuccessfully to use “resisting arrest” as a death penalty aggravator and thought nothing of trying unsuccessfully to use the death penalty against a grandmother with no prior record or history of violence.

      Arizona let vicious murderers off with light sentences of 10 or 20 years, and then released them back into the community. This is only because they helped to secure the death penalty for their co-defendants. Absent the death penalty, all co-defendants would have had long sentences for their crimes.

      Without the death penalty on the table, this trial would have been about 4 weeks long and a lot of the most controversial testimony would never have been allowed. A settlement without trial could have been reached.

      I believe Jodi’s defense attorneys would support her 1st amendment rights after the trial to speak out, if they had counseled her about what was appropriate to say and if they could arrange to be there during her interviews to protect her from herself.

      If you are interested, Amanda and I have a new Blog. It’s 99% Jodi Arias free and it has an interesting article about the death penalty in America.

      AmericanCultureShock.Wordpress.Com.

      I think you are a good person with strong convictions and I enjoy your opinion and your views on this case.

  3. Oh lord. Again, everything Jodi says must be truth, and correct. Not just more manipulative behavior by another defendant seeking to blame now her atty. Or cannot be wrong. I just don’t get this blind allegiance and love towards this woman. Nurmi said what he said in court becs he correctly suspected Arias herself was disliked by many on the jury. I would imagine having THAT conversation with her was difficult but I do believe he had it and she knew something like that was going to be said. I don’t believe for a minute she ws kept in the dark on argument and strategy. Jodi is the type of woman to take one meaningless example and use it as the basis of her argument for something else. That ws clear by her testimony. And btw it’s NOT a special ‘gift’ Arias has it’s a feature recognized in all pathological liars. So he correctly surmised she was not liked but wanted to really drive it home that this ws NOT abt liking her. Jodi’s problem is she gets sidetracked by her ego. Her ego won’t let her acknowledge the intense dislike others have for her. As she said, it’s not ‘her’ not could it be what her crime was that has caused such dislike but must be some special ‘phenomena where society likes to…etc’ as told to her once by a psychologist. That’s incredibly ignorant and incredibly dismissive of the horrendous pain she has caused so many. But it’s totally in keeping with someone with a personality disorder.
    Nope, Arias knows that Nurmi is effectively amputated in his ability to respond to her lies abt him. That’s her style. Travis now Nurmi and his ethical vows. She really is quite a piece of work.

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