Reader: Your Arias trial ‘Holy Grail’ felony murder charge article is baloney

Reader: Your Arias trial ‘Holy Grail’ felony murder charge article is baloney

by Rob Roman & Amanda Chen

liberty-bell-at-independence-hall-1901-padre-art

Did “Cate” decimate our Arias trial felony murder arguments?  It’s complicated.

“Like a wrecking ball’ –  One of our Readers decimates our Arias Trial felony murder argument?

miley_cyrus_wrecking_ball

One of our readers read our Holy Grail article about how we believe the 1st degree Felony Murder charge was bogus.

https://spotlightonlaw.wordpress.com/why-the-felony-murder-charge-is-the-holy-grail-of-the-jodi-arias-case-nov-5-2014/

“Cate” believes that Judge Stephens and Juan Martinez were correct and that Kirk Nurmi, Vladimir Gagic, Amanda Chen and Rob Roman are wrong about the validity and the application of the Felony Murder charge. “Cate” supplied some very good case law on this issue.

 

In our last article, we were asking a number of questions about the Felony Murder Charge:

  • Does it make sense that in Arizona, you can find someone guilty of BOTH Felony Murder (an unplanned murder) AND Pre-meditated murder (a planned murder)?
  • Does the felony murder charge correctly apply to the Arias case, or was the charge kept solely to give the jurors another choice of 1st degree murder (in a sort of heads I win, tails, you lose situation for the prosecution)?
  • Can you be found guilty of felony murder (A death occurs in the course of another dangerous felony) based on burglary with intent to commit the murder?
  • Is this a legitimate charge under the facts of State v. Arias?
  • Were the 7 jurors who found for felony murder correct or not?

It's complicated lg

We needed to dig deeper into the issue to get to the bottom of who’s right and who’s wrong about this. I’m going to make this as easy to understand as possible, easy enough for even me to understand. The citings and cases are all here for you to look at in more detail if you like.

“Cate” offered up an appellate case which had most of the relevant case law regarding the felony murder rule in Arizona, and how the elements of the felony and the elements of the murder can now be, in some cases, the same.

The appelate case is State v. Moore, argued in the Arizona Supreme Court.

az_moore_j

State v. Moore

http://supremestateaz.granicus.com/DocumentViewer.php?file=supremestateaz_34a4d3c5c51b1eedea7eb5b74365035c.pdf&view=1

Moore: It’s not felony murder because I can’t be charged with felony murder based on a burglary that is itself based on the intent to murder.

The Court: Yes, you can, and you did.

 

“Relying on State v. Essman, 98 Ariz(1965), Moore also argues that under the merger doctrine, felony murder cannot be predicated upon a burglary that is itself based on the intent to murder.”

State of Arizona v. Julius Jarreau Moore is an appeal of a death sentence for a man who killed 3 people. One murder victim was outside the house with a woman who also was shot, and 2 murder victims were inside the house. Sergio Mata, Guadalupe Ramos, and Delia Ramos were all shot to death in their rental home and Debra Ford was shot and survived. The crimes took place during a flurry of crack smoking.

'This is a textbook case of homicide.'

“Debra Ford went to the Phoenix apartment of Sergio Mata, Delia Ramos, and Guadalupe Ramos to purchase and smoke crack in the late evening hours of November 15, 1999. In the early hours of the 16th, Moore came to the apartment looking for Debra. When Debra came out to see Moore, they talked for a bit and smoked some crack.

Shortly after, Sergio came out of the apartment and Moore shot him in the head, killing him and then turned to Debra and shot her in the neck.

Debra remained alive and conscious while praying for her life. She heard several additional shots fired while she was on the ground. When police arrived and went into the apartment, they found Guadalupe on the couch and Delia inside the bedroom closet. Both were shot to death. Debra survived and testified against Moore during trial.”

Sergio was shot outside the apartment building in a public area, and there was evidence of pre-meditation, so his murder was charged as a premeditated murder. Guadalupe and Delia were shot inside the home, it appeared as if Moore’s motive was to steal drugs, and there was some reflection, so those two murders were charged as both premeditated and felony murders.

The felony murder was first based on burglary – theft, but the prosecution changed it later and based it on burglary – assault, possibly because they had more evidence of the assault than the theft.

The trial was in 2002, the jury found for the aggravator of multiple murders, but did not reach consensus on the aggravator of cruelty. The case is interesting because right during the penalty phase, Moore’s medical expert had a heart attack, causing a mistrial. Moore had a new aggravation and penalty phase in 2007, the jury found the same aggravator and sentenced Moore to death.

 

Our felony murder argument being destroyrd by one of our readers.
Our felony murder argument being destroyrd by one of our readers.

In the mandatory appeal before the Arizona Supreme court, Moore cites a number of issues. The relevant one to the Arias case is this:

Relying on State v. Essman, (1965), Moore also argues that under the merger doctrine, felony murder cannot be predicated upon a burglary that is itself based on the intent to murder.

 

State v. Essman (1965)

Essman: It’s not felony murder because the felony and the murder are the same thing.

Felony Murder does not apply when the felony is included in (Merged into) the charge of homicide.

Court: Yes, we agree.

 

Essman is in itself an interesting case. Essman was home and cleaning his gun with his daughter in a near bedroom. He began playing around with the gun. His wife came home and told him to put the gun away before someone gets hurt.

Essman said something like “See? It’s harmless”, as he pointed the gun at the family dog and fired twice. Nothing happened because Essman had emptied the revolver. Then he aimed the gun at his wife and pulled the trigger. The gun went off and killed her. Apparently there was one bullet left in the chamber. Jerk.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ylqEN7J3GLA

 

In his instruction on second degree murder the judge in Essman instructed the jury that the felony-murder doctrine applied where the felony was assault with a deadly weapon. The pertinent portion of the instruction was “when the killing is done in the perpetration or attempt to perpetrate a felony such as assault with a deadly weapon.” The felony-murder doctrine does not apply where the felony is an offense included in the charge of homicide.

The felony murder doctrine basically states that any death caused during a dangerous felony becomes a 1st or 2nd degree murder.

 

The decision quoted People v. Moran 246 N.Y. 1927

“The acts of assault merge into the resultant homicide, and may not be deemed a separate and independent offense which could support a conviction for felony murder.”

 

In the appeal of State v. Moran, Chief Judge Cardozo quoted State v. Huter

“To make the quality of the intent indifferent, it is not enough to show that the homicide was felonious, or that there was a felonious assault which culminated in homicide”. People v. Huter 184 N.Y.

“Making the quality of the intent indifferent” means that the intent needs to be to commit a felony which causes a death, rather than an intent to commit a murder. Remember in felony murder, the death caused could be accidental (heart attack, death of a bystander, etc) or intentional (sudden decision to kill, foreseeable consequence of felonious activities).

“Such a holding would mean that every homicide, not justifiable or excusable, would occur in the commission of a felony, with the result that intent to kill and deliberation and premeditation would never be essential.” People v. Wagner 245 N.Y.

 

– And this is why most states practice this kind of common law.

“The felony that eliminates the quality of the intent must be one that is independent of the homicide and of the assault merged therein, like robbery or larceny or burglary or rape.” 246 N.Y.

This is the Merger Rule. When the predicate felony of a felony murder merges with the actual murder itself (assault, aggravated assault, assault with a deadly weapon), the merger rule applies and the crime cannot be charged as a Felony murder.

It's complicated

 

Why is this so important?

In the case of 1st degree murder, if the crime can be charged as a Felony Murder, two things happen:

 

First, there are no lesser included offenses or degrees of the crime. You either get convicted of the highest degree of murder, or you are not convicted. It’s all or nothing.

With Pre-mediated Murder, the jury can decide on lesser offenses and lower degrees of the crime (2nd degree Murder, Heat of Passion, Manslaughter), so you do not necessarily get convicted of the highest degree of murder.

 

Second, intent to murder no longer  has to be proven, only that a death occurred during an intent to commit a dangerous felony.

It might be advantageous for the prosecution to charge felony murder over premeditated murder, because a conviction would be of the highest degree, and intent to kill doesn’t need to be proven.

 

This is why the Merger rule is meant to prevent a murder with no dangerous felony other than the murder itself from being charged as a felony murder.

A serious problem with the Arias case is that the prosecution never really specified prior to trial exactly what the felony defining the burglary was, meaning the Felony part of the felony murder is Burglary with intent to …….?

 

It’s not even specified in the jury instructions, the way it is in other cases. It merely says burglary with intent to commit any theft or felony.

So what’s the felony in the felony murder charge in the Arias case?

 

SWCC bell

In Moore, State v. Miniefield is also cited. You can hear Kirk Nurmi discussing this on day 9 of the trial (we included the video and where to find it in the Holy Grail article).

Miniefield basically got drunk and went ballistic trying to kill a guy he got angry at. He had at times, a handgun, a shotgun, and finally, Molotov Cocktails. He finally managed to set the guy’s house on fire and the guy’s young daughter was burned to death.

Kind of makes it difficult to root for this guy in his appeal, doesn’t it?

 

It's complicated lg

 

State v. Miniefield (1974)

http://law.justia.com/cases/arizona/supreme-court/1974/2763-0.html

This guy wanted the felony murder conviction dropped so badly, he was even willing to admit to pre-meditated murder.

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Minefield: It’s not felony murder because I intended to murder the victim.

It’s not felony murder because the arson was not independent of the homicide.

Court: Yes, it is felony murder and the arson IS independent of the homicide.

 

“Later Arizona cases implicitly rejected the broad language in Essman suggesting that the predicate felony must be “independent of the homicide.” For example, in State v. Miniefield, the defendant argued that it was fundamental error to charge him with felony murder by arson because “the arson was merely the use of fire to attempt to kill the victim.”

The Court rejected this argument by noting that the felony murder statute provided that when a person commits arson and the arson results in death it is first-degree murder. “The statute does not draw a distinction between a person who intends to kill another by fire and one who only intends to burn down a dwelling house and accidentally kills one of the occupants.”

 

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See the logic there? Arizona doesn’t care if premeditated murder and felony murder, seemingly mutually exclusive, are both charged and both found as long as the basic elements of each theory are proven.

Most recently, the Court distinguished Essman in State v. Dann (Dann I), (2003).

“There, the defendant argued that because he intended to murder a victim rather than assault him, he could not be convicted of felony murder.

 

Noting that the defendant did not dispute that felony murder could be predicated on burglary based on intent to commit assault, the Court held that sufficient evidence supported the finding of the predicate offense. The Court further observed that the merger rule does not apply in cases in which the separate crime of burglary is alleged.”

Meaning that it helps a felony murder charge, to have a separate charge for the felony.

The Jodi Arias case did not have a separate charge for felony.

 

“Moore complains that the State, while charging felony murder based on burglary, did not specify until the settling of jury instructions, and after the close of evidence, that burglary would be defined by his intent to commit murder rather than theft.”

Prosecutor

Arizona prosecutors sure like to keep secrets from the defense, don’t they?

“We agree with Moore that Blakley implies that the state should identify before trial the particular felony that will be used to define burglary when the latter crime is the predicate for felony murder.”

 

Moore was indicted for and convicted of two counts of premeditated and felony murder for the murders of Delia and Guadalupe, one count of premeditated murder for the murder of Mata, one count of attempted first-degree murder for the injuries to Ford, and one count of first-degree burglary. The trial court was to sentence Moore in August 2002, but the hearing was vacated after the Supreme Court held that Arizona’s capital sentencing scheme was unconstitutional. See Arizona v. Ring (Ring II), (2002).

 

Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, John G. Roberts, Anthony M. Kennedy, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, Smauel Alito Jr., Elena Kagan

Arizona v. Ring (Ring II), (2002). Is a landmark case which held that juries, not judges, should decide the death penalty mitigators and aggravators and decide on life or death.

 http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/us-supreme-court-ring-v-arizona

Landmark cases are sometimes based on the trials of real pieces of ……… work, like Ring.

 

“In November 2004, the trial court empanelled a jury to determine Moore’s sentence. The State alleged two aggravators: that Moore murdered Delia in an especially cruel manner, and that Moore murdered multiple persons on the same occasion. The jury did not reach a verdict on the (F)(6) aggravator, but did find the (F)(8) aggravator. Before the penalty phase concluded, the court declared a mistrial because Moore’s medical expert suffered a heart attack.

Moore was another endless case.

 

Why felony murder is so contentious:

Remember that Felony Murder means that if someone dies in the course of a dangerous felony, that death can become a 1st degree murder. A defendant could get life in prison or the death penalty. While Premeditated Murder includes lesser charges a jury could decide on.

There’s a famous case where a man goes into a home with a gun to rob it. He hears a sound and changes his mind and runs out of the home. On the way, he trips over a wire falls and the gun goes off. Unknown to him, there was a person behind the wall who was shot and killed. The man leaves thinking the worse thing he did was the gun went off. He was arrested for felony murder and faced the death penalty. This is because he attempted a burglary and in the course of the attempt, he caused the death of a person.

This is the landmark U.S. Supreme Court case of Furman v. Georgia.

http://www.floridalawreview.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/01/ShatzA2.pdf

 

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Scary to think that because of the felony murder law, the man faced the death penalty for what was otherwise an accidental shooting. Without the felony of burglary – theft, this would normally be a 2nd degree murder at most or manslaughter.

So, there are lots of consequences, sometimes unintended, when applying the law to the facts of a case or deciding how a defendant will be charged.

– and sometimes they are intended.

 

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State v.Dann (2003)

http://supremestateaz.granicus.com/DocumentViewer.php?file=supremestateaz_510ea0c0c124b6f12fd2ce54a0d0ad2d.pdf&view=1

Dann: It cannot be Felony Murder if I enter the home in order to commit premeditated murder.

Court:  It is felony murder because the felony was burglary with intent to commit assault. In the course of that felony, you caused the death of a person. There is sufficient evidence to find intent to assault.

 

“The jury found Dann guilty of felony murder on all three murder charges. The predicate offense for the felony murders was burglary, which, in turn, was predicated on an intent to commit aggravated assault. The State charged that Dann went to the apartment intending to shoot Andrew, which constitutes an aggravated assault.

Dann asserts that the evidence showed that he entered Andrew’s apartment intending to murder Andrew, not assault him; therefore, he argues, the only felony offense to support the burglary charge was murder, not aggravated assault.”

 

“This results in ‘bootstrapping’, Dann maintains, because the State is saying that he committed felony murder because he entered the apartment intending to commit premeditated murder.”

 

 

 

The Court held that sufficient evidence supported the finding of the predicate offense. The Court further observed that “merger does not apply in cases in which the separate crime of burglary is alleged and established.”

“Dann I and Miniefield defeat Moore’s argument that felony murder cannot be predicated on a burglary that is based on the intent to murder. The felony murder statute, A.R.S.§ 13-1105(A)(2), does not distinguish between burglaries defined by intent to commit assault versus intent to murder.”

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In Arizona, yes you can!

So who is right about the Arias case? “Cate” and Juan Martinez and Judge Sherry Stephens and The Supreme Court of Arizona or Amanda Chen and Rob Roman and Kirk Nurmi and Vladimir Gagin?

“Cate” made the comment that legal interpretations and decisions should be left to the professionals (Prosecutors and Judges), and not to layman blog writers. She forgets that Nurmi and Gagin are experienced criminal defense attorneys in Arizona, and they say the felony murder charge is in error.

 

“Cate” also forgets I went to law school as did Amanda, I’m a paralegal working in Federal and State Civil Litigation with an emphasis on the Disabled. I think I can give it a shot.

 

“Cate” made a big legal boo-boo. She forgot that in State v. Moore, all those cited cases and the appeal apply to State v. Moore. They do not necessarily apply to State v. Arias.

 

Now let’s bring down all the questions from the top of this article and see if these cases have answered our questions:

  • Does it make sense that in Arizona, you can find someone guilty of BOTH Felony Murder (an unplanned murder) and Pre-meditated murder (a planned murder)?

Yes, it makes sense – in Arizona. You can find a defendant guilty of both premeditated murder AND felony murder. You can see that it’s a correct verdict in State v. Moore, because Moore was convicted of both 1st degree premeditated murder and felony murder of 2 victims.

 

So, to clarify, you can be found guilty under both theories of first degree murder IF, in the course of a dangerous felony, you commit pre-meditated murder. That’s the reality in Arizona.

This seems to be only in Arizona, as far as I know. It seems like this gives prosecutors two bites at the apple, though.

 

Arizona seems to like those second bites at the apple, as shown in their nifty little ‘if at first you don’t succeed (at the death penalty) try, try again’.

  • Does the Merger rule apply in Arizona? Can you be found guilty of felony murder based on a burglary with intent to commit murder?
  • Can Juan Martinez use an intent to assault or murder as the basis for the Felony burglary in State v. Arias?

 

If the felony merges with the murder, then any murder would be a felony murder and there would be no need to prove pre-meditation, deliberation, or an intent to kill.

This is the law in most states. This was the law in Arizona. But, Arizona didn’t like that too very much, so they do it their way.

 

Later Arizona cases implicitly rejected the broad language in Essman suggesting that the predicate felony must be “independent of the homicide.”

These next three cases reflect that rejection of Essman:

 

 It's complicated lg

 

Moore:  How can I be guilty of Felony Murder based on a burglary with the intent to commit pre-meditated murder?

Court: Because we find you committed burglary with the intent to commit assault. In the course of this felony, you caused the death of a person. Have a nice day.

 

Other states have held that a felony-murder conviction cannot be based on a burglary intended solely to murder the victim. Arizona don’t give a squid what them there other states do.

“We have already recognized that Arizona’s felony-murder statute identifies burglary based on assault as a valid predicate offense”.

 

Miniefield: It’s not felony murder because I intended to murder the victim

Court: Your intention to murder the victim is of no consequence for the purposes of felony murder. Your intention was to commit arson because you did commit arson. Whether you intended to kill or not, doesn’t matter in felony murder. You set the building on fire and someone died as a result, Jerk.

 

Miniefield: I did not intend to commit arson, my intent was to kill the victim.

Court: You lit the Molotov cocktail and you threw it at the house.  How was that not your intention, sir?

 

Dann:  How can it be Felony Murder if I enter the home in order to commit premeditated murder?

Court: We have proof you entered the home to commit an assault. Also, we have a separate felony charge

 

Felony murder can be predicated on a burglary that is based on the intent to murder.

The felony murder statute does not distinguish between burglaries defined by intent to commit assault versus intent to murder.

 

  • Does the felony murder charge correctly apply to the Arias case, or was the charge possibly kept solely to give the jurors another choice of 1st degree murder, (in a sort of heads I win, tails, you lose situation) for the prosecution?

curious george

I would not put it past a prosecutor who tries to bring in evidence of “animal cruelty and torture” based on a vague, 3rd party report of a too tightly squeezed cat. After that monkey business with the order of injuries, I wouldn’t trust him anyways, nohow.

  • Can you be found guilty of felony murder (A death occurs in the course of another dangerous felony) based on burglary with intent to commit the murder?

Under some circumstances, yes you can.

  • Is this a legitimate charge under the facts of State v. Arias?

No. They can charge whatever they want, but then you have to wonder if there is an ulterior motive.

  • Were the 7 jurors who found for felony murder correct or not?

Incorrect. (but, it’s complicated)

 

It's complicated lg

 

CONCLUSION:

In Arizona, Yes You Can:

  • Prosecutors can charge a defendant with BOTH 1st degree pre-meditated murder AND 1st degree felony murder of a single victim. (Guess what? You can charge a defendant with anything you want – but, then you have to prove it)
  • Jurors can find a defendant guilty of BOTH 1st degree pre-meditated murder AND 1st degree felony murder (The verdict form proves it and State v. Moore proves it) (A juror can make any decision allowed by the jury instructions).
  • Arizona’s felony murder statute recognizes assault as a valid predicate offense.
  • prosecutor_tsukichima_in_action_by_tsukichime-d5v3t03
  • In Arizona the Merger Rule doesn’t always apply. The felony can incorporate some parts of the murder.
  • In Arizona the felony predicate does not need to be independent of the homicide
  • In Arizona, felony murder can be predicated on a burglary that is based on the intent to murder.
  • In Arizona, burglary does not distinguish between an attempt to assault and an attempt to murder.

 

crown_prosecutor_marie_grills_addresses_the_weathe_85063054a4

So, are Juan Martinez and Judge Stephens correct that the felony murder charge is a viable extra 1st degree murder charge under the facts of the Jodi Arias case?

Has “Cate” decimated all the arguments we made in the Holy Grail article?

Do Nurmi and Gagic and Chen and Roman have it all wrong and are their arguments are no good?

 

Uh………no. They’re still good. Here’s why:

 

In State v. Arias,

There is insufficient evidence to support the finding of the predicate offense of burglary with intent to commit theft.

There is insufficient evidence to support the finding of the predicate offense of burglary with intent to commit assault.

 

Although the Essman ruling used to be the law, where the merger rule always applied and a predicate felony needed to be independent of the homicide, that’s no longer true, because of the decisions in the above cases

Later Arizona cases implicitly rejected the broad language in Essman suggesting that the predicate felony must be “independent of the homicide.” The key here is “the broad language” That does not mean that the Merger rule never applies or that felony predicates can always be the same as the elements of homicide.

 

The important thing is that each element needs to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt to the jury. This means that to find for pre-meditated murder or felony murder, each element of the charge needs to be proven according to the requirements of the two separate theories.

 

So let’s take another look at the chart from the Holy Grail article, and see if we can find Jodi Arias guilty of Felony murder under the facts of the case.

To find Arias guilty of 1st degree felony murder, we need:

  • A predicate felony (We are told it is 2nd degree burglary)
  • A death caused in the course of that felony.

 

Jury Instructions:

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
  2. 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.

 

#1 As far as the first part of burglary, I will accept Juan Martinez’ explanation for now that once Jodi Arias started stabbing Travis Alexander, he revoked his permission for her to be there, and she was now remaining unlawfully in the residence.

Many people believe Alexander was shot first. Then, let’s say that once Arias ‘began her assault’ on Travis, she was no longer welcome and she was now remaining unlawfully in the residence.

 

Problem: Wait a minute, Juan is assuming intent to assault or intent to kill – take your pick. We don’t know exactly what happened in that bathroom. Reporters still want to ask Arias that question.

Let’s ignore that for a moment and move on.

 

#2 Remained unlawfully in the residence with the intent to commit any theft or felony therein.

Juan Martinez gave us the theft of the gun as defining the burglary. If we believe Arias’ account of the crime

(No premeditation, she brought no weapons with her, A fight breaks out, Arias shot Alexander with his own gun in self-defense, he kept attacking, she finishes him off with a knife, she steals his gun).

 

I say “No pre-meditation”, because for felony murder, pre-meditated or not makes no difference. Only an intent to commit the dangerous felony matters. You cannot use your finding of premeditation as proof of intent in a felony murder.

So theft of the gun fails as defining the burglary right here. Why? Because, Juan Martinez did not PROVE WHEN the intent to take the gun was formed. The intent could have been formed AFTER the killing (and most likely was). This means that the death would not be caused “in the course of and in furtherance of the burglary”.

 

Do you understand?

A death has to be caused as a consequence of Arias trying to steal that gun. If she forms the intent to steal the gun after he’s already dead, then the death is not a consequence of the theft.

“Cate” made a remark that maybe Juan might have been being facetious about the gun. I thought of that also, but I hope not, because this is somewhat of a serious matter.

 

So the gun theft fails. Let’s move on to the assault.

Jodi Arias remained unlawfully in the home. She did so with the intent to commit assault upon Travis Alexander.

Problem: Where is Juan Martinez’ proof beyond a reasonable doubt of intent to assault? There isn’t any, because Nurmi was right, there is no other felony. There is no other felony because Juan Martinez failed to PROVE it.

 

Well, I believe she pre-meditated the killing, isn’t that intent?

  • No, because pre-meditated or not makes no difference. It cannot be an element of intent to assault, or intent to kill. That has to be proven separately. Well, that’s really bizarre. Yes, but law is very bizzare sometimes.

Well, there’s the crime scene and the stabbed and shot body. No one else was there. It had to be Arias. Isn’t that intent to commit assault?

  • No. Because Juan Martinez didn’t prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Arias intended to assault Alexander.

 

Well, what about all that case law above?

  • Right. Did you see the Judge say hey, Moore, You were convicted of both premeditated AND felony murder? You dispute the felony murder, but, you premeditated it, so there’s the intent. He didn’t say that.

Did you hear the judge say, hey, Moore, you see that dead body? That proves your intent. He didn’t say that either.

 

What the judge said was, it doesn’t matter what’s in your mind, we have evidence that you were heavily engaged in crack smoking throughout, that you got a gun, that you told your gf you “weren’t going to stand for it” and to come and find you if you didn’ return. You showed a friend the gun and asked him for hrlp to “get”the victim. You entered the home with a weapon. There’s an eye witness. That’s proof of intent to assault. And people died in the course of the assault. That’s felony murder.

 That kind of evidence does not exist in the Jodi Arias case.

In Minifield, it was proven that he took a Molotov cocktail, lit it, and threw it at the home. That’s proof of intent to commit arson. A little girl died. That’s felony murder.

 That kind of evidence does not exist in the Jodi Arias case.

In Dann, he claimed there was no other felony except the murder. The State charged an intent to kill, but later changed it to an intent to commit aggravated assault. Dann told the court he intended to kill the victim, not assault him, so there is no other felony.

The court replied that we have testimony that you borrowed a gun from your ex-gf, you tried to boorow another “untraceable gun” from a friend, you told your friend you intended to “straighten out the problem, you entered the home with the gun, you called your ex-gf and told he you just shot three people, and that’s proof of intent to assault. As a consequence, someone died. That’s felony murder.

 That kind of evidence does not exist in the Jodi Arias case.

liberty_bell

– Well, what if we forget about pre-meditation for now, and let’s say Jodi Arias was proven to be going to Alexander’s home after preparing for a nefarious purpose of some kind, isn’t that proof of intent to assault?

No. Because we don’t know when or where or if she formed the intent to assault, no proof.

– Well, it’s a reasonable assumption that Jodi brought a gun and/or knife to Mesa and into Travis’ home. Isn’t that proof of intent to assault?

No. There’s no proof that Jodi brought the gun or the knife to the crime scene.

In Moore and Dann, there was proof they were armed when they entered residences. Moore was also charged separately with a felony, so for the facts of his case, the merger rule doesn’t apply anyways.

 

Arias was charged with the felony predicate of 2nd degree burglary – assault. They used 2nd degree instead of 1st degree precisely because the state could not prove she brought a weapon into the house.

– Well, she said she did it. She said she did it all. So, if I don’t believe her self-defense story or that Travis attacked her, or if I believe she went way too far, then that proves her intent to assault, doesn’t it?

No, I don’t think so. I wouldn’t rely on her word about anything. I see the merger rule coming into play here, as there’s no distinct felony here, just like Nurmi said. I don’t see how there’s a clear intent to kill or assault, beyond a reasonable doubt.

 

She was an invited guest, they did interact and have a good time, she was there over 12 hours, then something happened, and I believe there will always be some doubt there as far as what exactly happened. Apparently, it wasn’t very clear to 5 of the jurors.

Now, I believe the only way that felony murder makes any sense at all in this case is if the gunshot was first. Think about this: She shoots him in the shower, as part of a plan to kill him, only he doesn’t die. Jodi Arias doesn’t leave the residence, and she doesn’t call for an ambulance or for help. At this point, she’s remaining in the residence unlawfully. It’s burglary – assault. Jodi Arias then picks up a knife and finishes him off.

 

Here I would say this is a clear burglary – assault, and in the course of and furtherance of this felony, she caused the death of Alexander. The other way, it’s not so clear at all. Maybe Juan Martinez wanted it that way.

That’s another reason why the change in the order of injuries by the prosecution is problematic. The felony murder charge certainly fits much better with the gunshot first murder theory. I believe that when the prosecution changed the order of injuries to gunshot last, they forgot that this new theory doesn’t fit felony murder. I believe that later, they stubbornly refused to drop the charge, for fear it would draw attention to the fact that they swcithed the order of injuries intentionally to squash Jodi Arias’ self-defense claim.

 

– Well, what is your reasoning for felony murder not working the other way, with the stabbings first?

I see a merger rule problem with that theory. I just don’t see clear proof of intent either to kill or assault, to make this strictly a felony murder.

 

“Cate” said something to the effect of, well, if the felony murder charge really didn’t make sense, why weren’t the legal minds in the major media discussing it? This is her type of street logic that I just don’t get, using something that didn’t happen to prove that something else did.

Remember the saying – “Evidence of absence is not absence of evidence.”

You drive me crazy that way, Cate, I have to admit.

 

Maybe they weren’t discussing it because the prosecution was pushing pre-meditation, or because pre-meditation elements and the lesser included offenses that go with it are more interesting to talk about. Or maybe the viewers weren’t asking about it. Who knows?

If Arias was found unanimously guilty of felony murder 1 instead of premeditated murder 1, maybe they would have talked about it then.

Who are these legal experts she’s talking about, anyways? Dershowitz? Beth Karas? Vinnie Politan? – Please!

 

Is there a quote or an article or a video from anyone about how the felony murder charge is correct?

I couldn’t find any major media Legal Eagles speaking on the soundness of the charge, but I did find one legal commentator who said what Nurmi said – that there was nothing there. Does the name Monica Lindstrom ring a bell?

 

This case is not the same as the other cases cited above. This is the only case of the above in which I see no clear felony outside of the murder, despite the Arizona way of not always using the merger rule and sometimes allowing the felony to incorporate certain parts of the murder, which certainly seems to favor the prosecution.

  • Why was the prosecution so reluctant to explain to the defense exactly what their felony murder theory was in this case?
  • Why was there was a lot of contention in motions in 2010, before Nurmi took over the case about this exact question?
  • Why did the prosecution argue for pre-meditation all day every day and then spend just 5 minutes arguing felony murder?
  • Why didn’t the prosecution specify the exact felony (assault, murder, theft, etc.) defining the burglary, even in the jury instructions? Other cases do.
  • Why was the prosecution intentionally ambiguous about it, and why did they spend so little time explaining it?

That’s just more than a little fishy when the felony murder is obviously not as clear-cut and much harder to understand.

 

Maybe Nurmi was right: “(This) 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”. 

 

images (1)images (2) 

It certainly seems that felony murder charge was left there more to ensure a first degree murder conviction than because the prosecution honestly believed it was a legitimate charge.

Good job rejecting it, jurors!

 

  • 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).

circular_logic_by_mestafais-d5vm1d1

 

  • Even in Arizona, and even considering all the cited cases above, “Felony-murder still cannot be charged if all the elements of the felony are included in the elements of the murder”. This is the merger doctrine in Arizona. 

 

  • The gun theft fails, timing of the intent to steal the gun – not proven – therefore no burglary, therefore no felony murder.

 

  • The assault fails – no clear and convincing of proof of an intent to assault, therefore no burglary, therefore no felony murder.

 

  • Remaining unlawfully in the home. No clear proof of intent to assault – therefore no proof of revocation of consent to be in the home, therefore no burglary, therefore no felony murder.

 

The charge should have been dropped.

We invite any legal expert, especially those who practice criminal law in Arizona to explain to us why the felony murder charge in the Jodi Arias case makes any sense at all.

Monica Lindstrom Legal Commentator After the prosecution rested in the Arias Trial guilt phase: “I think the Court has every reason now to kick that felony murder count or alternate theory out, because there’s nothing that I’ve seen, and I don’t think anybody else has seen anything that will go to that.”
Monica Lindstrom Legal Commentator After the prosecution rested in the Arias Trial guilt phase:
“I think the Court has every reason now to kick that felony murder count or alternate theory out, because there’s nothing that I’ve seen, and I don’t think anybody else has seen anything that will go to that.”

What is YOUR opinion?

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Heroes, Zeros, and Geniuses in the Jodi Arias Case (Nov 10)

November Update:

Heroes, Zeros, and Geniuses in the Jodi Arias Case

Fact-based Reporting by

Amanda Chan and Rob Roman

iq-bell-curve 2 new

In anticipation of the upcoming Jodi Arias Murder Trial, 2nd Penalty Phase, we have started a new regular report called Heroes, Zeros, and Geniuses.

heroes 2

 Here we mention some current updates and commentary about anything related to the case in the media and on social media.

kiefer lg

Hero #1

Michael Kieffer
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.
michael-kiefer-pet-rocks2
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.”
  http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/20131028jodi-arias-juan-martinez-conduct-day3.html
 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:
http://www.azcentral.com/news/arizona/articles/20131027milke-krone-prosecutors-conduct-day1.html
http://www.azcentral.com/news/arizona/articles/20131027wintory-prosecutor-conduct-day-2.html
http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/20131029prosecutor-conduct-can-system-curb-abuses-day4.html

cpi logo

Hero #2

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.
cptThe 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.””
http://www.prosecutorintegrity.org/media/cpi-calls-on-prosecutors-to-root-out-misconduct-after-az-report-of-widespread-unethical-practices/
http://www.prosecutorintegrity.org/wp-content/uploads/EpidemicofProsecutorMisconduct.pdf
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:

heroes 3

  • 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
http://www.prosecutorintegrity.org/

Alan-Dershowitz-

 Hero #3

Alan Dershowitz
Famous Appellate Attorney, Law Professor at Harvard, and Constitutional Scholar.
heroes 4On 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:

alan-dershowitz

Zero #1

Alan Dershowitz
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?
gigiMaybe the judge and the jury were not the only ones feeling the pressure. Commentators, other lawyers and potential witnesses feel the heat, too.
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.

bill montgomery

Zero #2

Bill Montgomery
The elected District Attorney for Maricopa County, Arizona
What’s Not Important, Bill?
zreos 2The Jodi Arias case in general and the settlement conference in particular:
“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.”
http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/2013-11-07/news/bill-montgomery-is-prosecuting-a-medical-pot-patient-for-one-piece-of-thc-infused-candy/
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.
candy 4“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.
candy 2Montgomery 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.
candy 1New Times has learned that his office is moving forward with at least one such case, a felony prosecution of a medical-marijuana patient for possession of a single piece of infused candy.”
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?
candy 3
Way to get “tough on crime”, Bill.

facebook 2

Zero #3

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.
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/10/24/jodi-arias-files-motions-to-fire-attorney/3183327/
facebook 1Arias 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.
zeros 7 None of these “reasons” have any factual basis.
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.
heroesThere is also a Durango Juvenile Facility. There is also The Towers. Each one of them has their own pluses and minuses, in the viewpoint of someone who is incarcerated.
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.”
http://www.acacialawgroup.com/is-there-a-difference-between-jail-and-prison
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.

Zero #2

dave hall 5
Dave Hall
dave hall 2Friend of Travis Alexander
Frequent guest on HLN during the trial
Phony Mormon
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.
dave hallHis 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.
dave hall 2A 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.
http://www.foxnews.com/us/2013/10/22/boy-scouts-remove-2-men-who-toppled-ancient-rock/
In typical fake-Mormon dishonesty, Dave Hall said they did it “to protect innocent children”.
dave hall 7
Rock-on, Dave!

Watch the YouTube video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AYFD18BwmJ4

And now, we move on to the Geniuses of the Jodi Arias case.

Genius #1

“Michelle”
Commenter on Facebook
This person gave a rant recently on an a pro-prosecution Facebook page:
facebook 3“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.
zeros 6Here 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:
zeros 9Leaving home at 17 is indicative of nothing. Family dynamics run the gamut and there is nothing to be derived as far as murderous tendencies in having left home at the age of 17.
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?

Genius  #2

“Michele”
Commenter on Facebook
This is another Michele, with one “L”. Maybe it’s the same Michelle. There’s no way to be sure.
facebook 5Though 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.
zeros 3Your 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.
facebook 4When 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.
heroes 5We 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.

Genius #3

“Brooke”
Commenter on Facebook
zeros 5In response to our article “Why Jodi Arias will get a new trial”, this is her response:
“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.
******************************************
zeros 8
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.

Unlike many blogs, All opinions and any comments are welcome here

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