Rumble in the Jungle: Retrial Update with Geffner

Fact-based reporting

By Rob Roman & Amanda Chen

In this re-trial performance art, the part of Psychologist Robert Geffner will be portrayed by a hapless, knobby-kneed zebra. The part of prosecutor Juan Martinez will be portrayed by an athletic pack of hungry leopards.

The part of 2nd chair defense attorney Jennifer Wilmott will be portrayed by a bandage toting animal field medic.

 

The defense team takes a water break.
The defense team takes a water break. (click to enlarge)

Here we are in 2015, still watching the Jodi Arias penalty retrial finally wind down, and what’s changed in this case? We know there’s an overwhelming majority on one side and a small but dedicated following on Jodi’s side.

 

 

Trial by tweet is like listening to the World Series on an AM radio. You just don’t get a good feel for the tempo, the intensity, or the action. It’s so hard to get a sense of what the jury is actually experiencing. Then the story can be very different depending on who’s tweeting about it. Which courtroom tweeter can you trust?

We think the best are Monica Lindstrom (but she’s not there all the time), Michael Kiefer (some trial watchers see Michael as being against the prosecution), and Jen Wood from the Trial Diaries. The rest generally suck eggs, in our opinion. What do You think?

If we were to have a poll today of all interested trial watchers, the votes for Life would most likely easily win by a great majority. It’s only that those who want death are far more vocal. The percentages on social media can make it appear as if it’s 10 to 1 prosecution supporters, because Jodi Arias supporters are very present and vocal, but in fact the percentage of Prosecution supporters is easily 100 to 1.

The prosecutor at the ready (click to enlarge)
The prosecutor at the ready (click to enlarge)

The problems that Jodi supporters like to point out is that some facts are ignored, speculations are presented as fact, and non-facts are believed to be true. Interesting observations on the defense side in favor of Jodi Arias are often dismissed. Some important facts are not considered at all, and some prejudices that can distort the true facts inevitably leak in.

For prosecution supporters, Dr. Geffner is a slimy hired gun, who will say or do almost anything to prevent a mentally ill woman from being executed. He will cheat on tests and lie to the jury with a straight face. Plus, he’s a Dinosaur.

Geffner’s a sentimental relic of outdated psychology theory that people keep around out of nostalgia. He’s a liberal twerp who should be banned from Arizona.

Jodi Arias supporters see Dr. Geffner as another in a succession of experts trying to give the full story of precisely what went on in Arias’ head and in this relationship that lead to the grizzly killing .

I relied mostly on tweets from Michael Kiefer from the Arizona Republic and Jennifer Wood from the Trial Diaries to try and get a balanced idea of what transpired in the courtroom. Jennifer Wood blocked me on Twitter for tweeting that I thought she was biased. That really wasn’t fair, after looking at more of her tweets. One thing, I think, that gave me the wrong impression about Jen Wood is that people were re-tweeting her tweets, but then they added their own comment at the end of the tweet.

I mistakenly took this as ALL a tweet from Jen Wood. I was wrong about that, and

Jodi Arias greets the jury
Jodi Arias greets the jury

I apologize to her. Jen Wood’s tweets are actually the most complete and accurate that I’ve seen. I don’t think her reporting is biased at all, after taking a closer look. She even tweets the jury questions in exact quotes. Great job, Jen!

In our last retrial update https://spotlightonlaw.wordpress.com/jodi-arias-and-her-defense-add-insult-to-injury/, we were finishing up with Dr. Robert Geffner’s testimony. Juan Martinez was finishing his re-cross. They are discussing the PTSD testing and Martinez indelicately tries to ram in the coded messages written near the spine of a couple of magazines, supposedly intended for Matt McCartney. Jodi Arias allegedly tried to smuggle them out to Matt McCartney from the Estrella Women’s Jail in Phoenix via a reporter.

The prosecution side is cheering Mr. Juanderful for sticking another knife in Arias’ case for mitigation. Some Jodi supporters were claiming that those magazine messages were written by another defendant in another case, and Arias was blamed for it. Our take is this:

Dr. Geffner swears in
Dr. Geffner swears in

The magazine messages were in fact written by Jodi Arias and they were intended for Matt McCartney. Gray Hughes even pointed out on a FB page that the handwriting matched that of Jodi Arias. She was probably desperate to get some corroborating testimony from Matt. It is a legitimate fact to bring up, but we’re just saying that the foundation had not been laid down properly. This has no relation to the line of questioning. It’s just thrown in there while discussing the PTSD testing, Geffner keys right in on this, too. What does this have to do with the PTSD testing, he asks? He has never seen this before and he wants to know the context. They started arguing and talking over each other, and Judge Stephens had to admonish them. Geffner has no idea about the coded message in the magazines.

 

Geffner: What does this have to do with PTSD?

Martinez: Tries to ask more about the magazines and the hidden message.

Stephens: Stop talking over and interrupting each other!

Long Sidebar.

The poor court reporter is probably working up a good case off carpal-tunnel syndrome right around now.

Juan is attacking, demanding Yes or No answers. He demands to see Geffner’s notes. He’s getting all up in Geff’s grill. Juan’s always wanting to see the notes. Geffner is claiming he can’t answer these questions with a simple Yes or No. Kirk Nurmi objects to Martinez’ questioning as badgering and argumentative. Judge Stephens overrules the objection. Rumble in the jungle – it’s on.

Dr. Geffner answers a question
Dr. Geffner answers a question

Judge Stephens seems to have a very simple formula for objections. On direct and cross she sustains most objections. On re-cross and re-direct, she simply overrules most objections. Sidebars abound. The main point Juan wants to make is that Jodi Arias, still clinging to the ridiculous Ninja-intruder story, claimed a non-sexual attack by a stranger as the trauma giving rise to PTSD. The prosecution claims this invalidates the entire test, the defense claims it does not, that the trauma was actually a non-sexual attack by a known person, and all the other answers are valid. Jodi Arias suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress.

Martinez’ wingman, Detective Esteban Flores, whose teenage son recently died in a tragic accident, is noticeably missing from the proceedings.

It’s the old Lions and Tigers and Bears argument made famous by a juror in the original trial. Who cares if it was a Lion or a Tiger, or even a Bear? The attack is the same. Martinez puts the PTSD or PDS test up on the big screens. Geffner complains that the test questions are copyrighted and should not be shown to the public. Juan calls Dr. Geffner combative. Geffner actually has to appeal directly to Judge Stephens and tells her “Your Honor, this is getting real borderline”. Micheal Kiefer calls the questioning “snarly and contentious”.

The hungry leopards hang onto the hapless zebra and commence tearing flesh. The zebra is trying to shake them off.

Geffner tries to say that Martinez is mixing up two different tests. The back and forth is described as ‘going in circles’. Geffner reads verbatim from the test to show that Juan Martinez is paraphrasing and mischaracterizing what was said on the test. Juan transitions out of this and he questions Dr. Geffner’s certification to testify in Arizona. Dr. Geffner says there’s no such thing as a certification to testify. He’s licensed in California to practice, but not Arizona. Juan’s finished and Jennifer Willmott gets up for re-direct.

Juan Martinez is licensed to pounce. For now he’s returned to his chair and is crouching, scanning.

 

Juan Martinez waits patiently in his seat for his turn at the witness
Juan Martinez waits patiently in his seat for his turn at the witness (click to enlarge most photos)

Willmott explains that practicing in Arizona requires a license, testifying does not. This is where my theory about Juan Martinez comes in. Once in a while, Martinez will just throw things in that seem to be trivial, not related, to make no sense. Remember that Martinez didn’t want any co-prosecutors on this case. He has had co-prosecutors in the past. He wants to take care of this himself and he’s gonna handle every detail himself.

My theory is that he has a set way of handling witnesses. Juan has a list of testimony he wants to elicit, and points he wants to make. But he doesn’t want the defense to figure out how he prepares and how he picks the points he wants to cover, so he throws a couple curve balls in there. He brings up things which are irrelevant or not really important, just to keep the defense from discovering his system, which is pretty straightforward. I’ve noticed this a few times, and the not-being-licensed-to-practice-in Arizona is something he knows is not even an issue.

Other trial watchers have pointed out that it is an issue, and that out of state Psychologist enlisted as trial witnesses who aren’t licensed to practice in Arizona have gotten into trouble for things they testified to.

Juan Martinez contemplates his next move.
Juan Martinez contemplates his next move.

Here’s a strange occurrence in the trial. Willmott and Geffner are both saying that Juan Martinez did not tell the whole story about the porn found on the Bishop’s computer. This is the Friday before the Super Bowl football championship between the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks, also going on in Phoenix. Judge Sherry Stephens sends the jury out.

The story of the porn at the Bishop’s residence is that the computer either crashed or was not working well. Witness # 1 sees pop-ups of sexy scantily-clad women. Witness #1 knows about computers and investigates the malfunctioning computer. He traces this back to a file or folder with Travis Alexander’s name on it. He claims he found some child porn. Witness #1’s affidavit continues the story with Travis and the witness going out to his car and they have a heart to heart conversation about the porn. Witness #1 says, “Travis, you are not who you’re supposed to be”.  Then Travis breaks down and explains he was sexually abused at age 12.

jungle porn 30

Then Martinez and Willmott have an argument over whether or not Travis confessed to being the one responsible for the porn. At this point, Judge Stephens tells the gallery “You are not to respond verbally to anything that’s about to be said.” That was quite unusual. The judge calls the two to the stand. They return. Geffner continues. “Travis, you are not the person you’re supposed to be. You would be homeless if I told the Bishop.”  Juan objects – another sidebar. Geffner interviewed the witness with associates. Willmott asks if Geffner believed that Travis confessed to the porn? Martinez objects, and it’s overruled. Geffner answers that was his understanding.

Jennifer Willmott then goes on to show that Travis Alexander had another issue with porn pop-ups in 2007. From testimony we know that Alexander was again having a computer problem from a virus or malware on the day of June 4th, 2008. So, she’s making a connection between Travis Alexander, computers, and an ongoing problem with masking his apparent porn addiction.

Willmott gets Geffner to explain that the date witness #1 gave as the date that Travis grabbed Deanna Reid, his girlfriend at the time, and pushed her down on the couch, was off at first, but he was sure about the incident. This was when Travis supposedly said “Get it through your f*cking head, I’m not going to marry you!” the jury is brought back in. Jenn moves on to Jodi Arias and elicits testimony relating to the months after she killed Alexander. Geffner explains to the jury that Jodi was hazy about what happened. She was not able to come to terms with what she did, so, she made up some stories.

She knew these stories made no sense, but she held onto them anyways. Wilmott asks Geffner if Jodi Arias disavowed the Ninja story and finally confessed. Geffner says that she did. Willmott asks Geffner why she made up the story. There’s an objection and another sidebar and Willmott drops the question. Then she moves on to the masturbation to the photos of young boys allegation about Travis Alexander. Why was there confusion between whether the photos were paper photos or images on his laptop? Geffner explains that all versions and all notes about that story talk about paper pictures, except Alyce LaViolette’s. She had apparently assumed it was images on a computer.

Jeifer Willmott and client
Jennifer Willmott and client

Now Willmott moves on to July 29, 2007, when Arias says she broke up with Alexander after finding intimate communications with several different women on Alexander’s phone. Next she wants to explore what the difference is between the two “going steady” or “officially going out” and being broken up. Geffner explains there was little difference, because they were still seeing each other, still having lots of sex and still hiding the relationship. During that summer, there were text messages of Travis Alexander jealously accusing Lisa Andrews of seeing her ex-boyfriend, while at the same time, he’s wooing Jodi Arias and another woman.

Now it’s time to review the idea about Travis keeping the relationship secret and what that means. Martinez likes to point out that most people do not talk about their sexual experiences and that Jodi Arias also kept it a secret. Keeping things secret, especially in a Mormon environment, is normal and has no application to abusive behavior or any other alleged malfeasance on the part of Travis Alexander.

But that’s really not the point, is it? It wasn’t just the sex, but Travis kept everything else secret from his friends, his co-workers, and his community, too. He didn’t go to dinner with her, or a movie, or a walk. He didn’t participate in any social activities with her, and he made sure she stayed on a different team at Pre-Paid Legal Services. As far as her friends, cohorts and community knew, Jodi hardly existed. That’s what the defense is talking about when they are alluding to abuse.

The questioning heats up
The questioning heats up

Beyond that, text messages between Travis and Lisa show a cycle of love-lust and anger-jealousy directed at Lisa Andrews by Travis. Next, Geffner and Willmott discuss the times Travis talks about marrying several women. The implication here is that in Travis’ world of the LDS church you promise marriage in order to get sex from single Mormon women.

And this is one part of this penalty re-trial and the original trial where the two sides of supporters dramatically diverge. Prosecution supporters seem to discount the whole of Alyce LaViolette’s testimony, when she was giving this same type of evidence. There were multiple women with whom Travis was exchanging risqué messages of love and lust. They were talking about encounters they had in the past and planning more of them. There was lots of sexually graphic talk, including talk about making babies, pubic hair and sexy underwear and clothes. There was talk of boobs, too.

Geffner had to make a graphic chart of the women, there were so many. Jodi Arias supporters believed this testimony and they understood it was objective testimony straight from Alexander’s phone. It didn’t come from Jodi.

Prosecution supporters felt it was just talk and didn’t mean much. They figured that the relationship with Jodi was casual anyways, and that it’s natural for a single man to pursue a number of women. Arias supporters saw this as a betrayal, a web of lies and secret trysts that were most likely also happening in real life with a number of these women, at the same time, Travis was claiming love and monogamy with Jodi, consistent with the Mormon precepts and tenets.

 

Judge Sherry Stephens at the helm
Judge Sherry Stephens at the helm

 

Prosecution supporters saw this simply as Travis playing the field, but Jodi supporters saw it as sexual and emotional abuse, especially when you add in Travis’ jealousy whenever Arias talked about her plans to see other men.

Prosecution supporters see this as manipulation on the part of Arias, trying to keep him and draw him in by the prospect of eligible rivals in the mist.

The implication on the defense side was that this game was going on long before Travis met Jodi and continued unabated the whole time they knew each other. At the least, there’s a misunderstanding as to the nature of the relationship. There’s also a psychological component, as Arias lost out on the affections of her father when her younger sister, Angela, was born.

From a psychological point of view, Jodi Arias may have then drifted from one overbearing or controlling boyfriend to another, doing anything to gain his affections. When she was finally rejected, even as a friend, and cast aside for a younger girl, she may have lost control. Travis may have paid for the sins of the father, in addition to anything he may have done.

The defense fleshes out this line of thinking further with testimony from Dr. Geffner. Travis Alexander and a woman named Chaitanya  Lay are seen on texts discussing a tryst they had while at the same time, Alexander is texting and sexting with other women. Geffner and Willmott then go into the early 2007 Chris and Sky Hughes e-mails, where Sky is talking about various ways Alexander supposedly toyed with and abused other women.

Geffner explains about copyrighted Psych. Tests, relating how Juan had put the actual questions up on the big screen, and answers he got from Dr,DeMarte out onto the public record. It’s a serious issue. The questioning moves to witness #1 and the porn on the Bishop’s computer and Travis’ alleged admission he had been abused as a child. Juan objects, asking what’s the relationship between the admission to childhood abuse and porn on the computer? Geffner replies that it was Travis and witness #1 that made that connection, not him.

Jodi Arias looks on
Jodi Arias looks on

Geffner amplifies the subject about witness #1 seeing Travis grabbing Deanna Reid by the wrists, pushing her down on the couch and yelling at her at the Bishop’s residence. Could it have been someone else he saw? Geffner relates that witness #1 knows exactly who Travis and Deanna are and he knows he saw them, although he may have been mistaken on exactly what month and day he saw the altercation.

Geffner explains that it was only one report from “Psychologist #1”, who everyone believes was Alyce LaViolette (although LaViolette is not a psychologist), that described Travis as being on his knees when Arias alleges she caught him masturbating to pictures of young children. I still cannot figure out why this would be an issue. I suppose Juan Martinez is skeptical about Alexander’s positioning? There were a number of things LaViolette seems to have misunderstood. Next time, she should get a tape recorder and document when she makes an error in her notes.

Dr. Geffner tried to explain why Jodi Arias made up the Ninja intruder story. According to Jodi, it was to find a way to halt further questioning without revealing or facing up to what she had done.  The questioning turns to the January 22, 2008 finger-breaking incident, where Jodi claims Travis threw her to the floor, kicked her in the ribs, and broke her finger while she was trying to protect her side.  They discuss a possible hidden meaning in her journal entry at the end of that weekend: “Nothing noteworthy to report”.

Then they discuss the Secret and the Law of Attraction (The philosophy that negative thoughts will bring negative events into a person’s life) as a reason why Jodi rarely mentions negative issues involving Travis. Geffner says Jodi adheres to the law of attraction consistently in her journal entries.

Dr. Geffner relates that Jodi was experiencing anxiety and depression early in her relationship with Travis. Juan Martinez suggests that perhaps Jodi was feeling these things because of financial problems and losing her house to foreclosure. Geffner said it wasn’t money or foreclosure because her journals only speak of Travis in relation to feeling anxious and depressed.

As a counter to charges that Travis was manipulating Jodi while seeing other women behind her back, Juan charges that Jodi was being manipulative with Travis in May and June, 2008, as she was seeing Travis while also courting Ryan Burns.

Jen from The Trial Diaries reported that Jodi Arias has had the same blank stare all day long in court with no visible emotions.

more intense questioning
more intense questioning

Geffner states that there had been no aggression in Jodi Arias’ history since the teen years and there was low aggression found in her testing. Dr. Geffner stated that Dr. Janeen DeMarte’s report discussed aggression between Jodi Arias and her rival for Matt McCartney, a woman named Bianca. Geffner stated this was not true at all as the encounter was casual and amicable. He stated that Dr, D. had based some of her conclusions on this misrepresentation of facts. Geffner stated that Jodi Arias had often stated that she always wanted the best for Travis, even when they were no longer an item.

Prosecution supporters see this as more manipulation from Jodi Arias. The hungry pack of leopards is poised under shade trees on the periphery, ready to spring.

He stressed that the Havasupai trip was devastating for Jodi, as a nice vacation was soured by a bitter argument with a chilling aftermath. Juan Martinez registered lots of objections here, which were all overruled. There were contentions about a letter Jodi Arias wrote to Abe Abdelhadi, a fellow team member in her PPL group, in December of 2006. In the letter, she was saying she could no longer see him. The idea was that Travis forced her to write the letter. Juan argued that she did it on her own, possibly as a manipulation of Travis to get him to commit to her, and that she never actually sent the letter.

Here’s a video of Abe Adelhadi talking about most of the stuff he discussed on the stand as a prosecution witness:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aRU4NK-7O-g

 

Geffner also reported that there was no proof that Jodi wrote the coded messages in the magazines purportedly intended for a potential witness, her ex-boyfriend, Matt McCartney.

They move on to the jury questions:

jungle leopards 21

Question: Do norms testing for the PTSD tests include incarcerated people?

Geffner – No.

Question: Since JA tested years after the incident, how accurate was the test?

Geffner – I’m looking for consistency.

Question: Could depression, anxiety and PTSD come from murdering someone and being in jail?

Geffner – Yes but we talked to other people who knew her at the time to establish it was not the result of being incarcerated.

 

Question: Can Jodi fake non-aggression on a test?

Geffner – It’s very hard to do.

Question: Why does JA continue to have sex with Travis after being abused?

Geffner – That’s the cycle.

Question: Why does JA call Travis the T-Dogg?

Geffner – That was Travis’ macho side.

Question: Who was the recipient of the coded messages?

Geffner – I don’t know.

 

Question: Is there any supportive documentation of DV?

Geffner – No, just Jodi’s word.

Question: In your review of records and expert opinion did physical abuse take place?

Geffner- Yes.

Question: Why was the DV not powerful enough to write about it?

Geffner – JA was going by the Law of Attraction but some of it still sank into her journals.

Question: Did verbal abuse really happen?

Geffner – Yes.

Just another manic sidebar
Just another manic sidebar

Question: Can a person be attracted to young girls AND young boys?

 

Geffner – Yes and also to adults as well. This would be a non exclusive type of pedophile.

 

Question: Aren’t you surprised as an expert that JA continued having sex with TA after she caught him?

Geffner – I’m not surprised anymore. JA felt bad for TA.

Question: How long did JA talk with Psychologist #1?

Geffner – Alyce LaViolette talked to JA for two days and had type written notes.

Question: How can Jodi Arias function normally and go to work, etc., after the homicide?

Geffner Jodi blocked it out.

Question: A question about giving JA the same test twice?

GeffnerShe was given 2 tests with 100 questions each. One was done from the perspective of now and one we asked her to go back in time to the months following the crime in 2008.

 

Jennifer Willmott goes back on direct after the jury questions:

Birds can be heard whooping and cawing, twigs are snapping, and snakes are heard slithering in the jungle.

 

Juan Martinez plies his craft in a previous trial
Juan Martinez plies his craft in a previous trial

Willmott elicits testimony from Dr. Geffner showing it’s nearly impossible to fake aggression on the test. Geffner says 2 tests were given over a span of 2 years and the results were too consistent to be faking.

 

 

 

Geffner states he looked very closely at Jodi’s ring finger and it’s broken, not sliced.

Geffner says the sex tape of referencing a 12 year-old while masturbating corroborates JA’s story of the incident when she caught Travis with the photos of young children.

The hungry pack of leopards leap out of the brush.

Juan crosses and states that he thinks JA learned a lot about PTSD while she’s been in jail as well while she’s been absorbing the proceedings at her trial. He shows there’s no other evidence about the photo incident except Jodi’s word. He asks Geffner if he believes there was Domestic Violence? Geffner answers that it’s not his belief, but his opinion. Juan asks where is there any reference to physical harm in her journals? It’s all based on Jodi Arias’s word, Geffner agrees.

Someone asked a juror what time it was? The juror said they can’t talk to the person. Kirk Nurmi jumps on this and wants a chamber conference.

Kirk Nurmi says Juan Martinez will now call the Mormon Bishop and Abe Abdelhadi. Nurmi wants Abe precluded from testifying.

 

The jungle is temporarily closed.

This ended the questioning of Doctor Robert Geffner in mitigation testimony. Did Geffner offer any solid mitigators as to why Jodi Arias should receive a sentence of Life in prison rather than Death? Did Geffner, along with Dr, Miccio- Fonseca and Alyce LaViolette finally explain why this was an abusive relationship that destabilized Jodi Arias? Or, are they all just hired guns attempting to rationalize and minimize what Jodi did in order to protect her?

 

jungle courtroom 12

Is there any solid evidence that Travis was sexually and emotionally abusive towards Jodi Arias? Is there any credibility to what witness #1 alleges? What exactly transpired after the relationship soured and Jodi and Travis fell apart? These are the questions many trial watchers are asking, answering, and continuing to ask.

Our next trial update will go into the testimony of PPL co-worker Abe Abdelhadi, Bishop Verno Parker, and Psychologist Dr. Janeen DeMarte.

 

 

Anything you've read that you would like to pounce on?
Anything you’ve read here that you would like to pounce on?

 

Comments from all viewpoints are welcome. 

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Penalty Retrial: Two Craters Traversed, One Giant Chasm Left

Fact-based reporting by

Rob Roman

The jury questions and the back and forth by the prosecution and defense completed computer expert witness “John Smith”s testimony today. Former Mesa Detective Steve Flores was called back to the stand to testify a little more about what happened with Travis Alexander’s lap-top computer. The two sides have finally gotten to the bottom of what happened with the computer and who did what.

The court had been grappling with two giant crater issues in the Jodi Arias Penalty Phase Re-trial. The first was Judge Sherry Stephen’s decision to clear the court room for the testimony of Jodi Arias. This decision must have everyone stumped. Be aware that that decision ONLY pertains to Jodi Arias, and not any other mitigation witnesses. 

 

Giant Crater #1

Can Jodi Arias continue to testify in secret?

No. Many prosecution supporters were incensed with that ruling and have lashed out at the Judge, claiming that she is on the defense side and some have implied that she has been that way throughout the proceedings. jodi jan 1It doesn’t seem so, yet they cite this ruling as a major example that Stephens is rooting for the defense.

Yet, the Judge must have had a reason, other than sending the decision to a higher court to take the blame for making the decision. The media was the most upset about the ruling, citing the Constitutional 1st Amendment right of the public to be present, especially in high profile and high consequence trials.  They already can’t broadcast until after the trial, and they’re not about to be pushed any further. It’s difficult to think of a compelling reason for the Judge to have made that decision, but we should be fair in believing that she did have an important reason.

The only one I can think of is that Jodi Arias was going to talk about the other mitigation witnesses in her testimony and integrate them into her testimony. This means she would have to name them or otherwise expose them. The only way to keep the witnesses who did not want to be identified protected would be to also make Arias’ testimony secret.

Giant Crater #2

The Porn on the computer issue.

The second Large Crater in this penalty retrial is the issue of porn on the computer. How did it get there? Was it purposely accessed or was it automatically accessed due to malware?bryan jan 14 Did the prosecution try to hide porn found on the laptop hard drive, or was automatic actions of the computer creating that appearance? Canadian Deborah Maran has a good set of articles explaining the inner workings of computers, site-blockers, viruses, and malware, etc. It’s a good background on the issues surrounding Travis’ lap top computer.

http://jodiariastrialtruth.blogspot.ca/2015/01/the-truth-about-porn.html

http://jodiariastrialtruth.blogspot.ca/2015/01/the-truth-about-porn-part-two-case-of.html

 

shery jan 14Judge Stephens waited for Bryan Neumeister and his assistant, “John Smith”, to complete their testimony before issuing her ruling on lots of motions pertaining to the defenses’ desire that the court reverse the conviction or remove the death penalty from the proceedings. These rulings were released today. Boom!

“IT IS ORDERED denying the defendant’s Motion to Dismiss State’s Notice of Intent to Seek the Death Penalty Due to Continued Misconduct filed October 1, 2014,

the defendant’s Motion to Dismiss the State’s Notice of Intent to Seek the Death Penalty Due to Defendant’s Inability to Present a Complete Case for Life filed September 26, 2014,

the defendant’s Motion to Dismiss State’s Notice of Intent to Seek the Death Penalty Due to Continue State Misconduct Supplement #1 filed October 24, 2014,

the defendant’s Motion to Dismiss All Charges with Prejudice and/or in the Alternative to Dismiss the State’s Notice of Intent to Seek the Death Penalty due to Recently Discovered Purposeful and Egregious Prosecutorial Misconduct filed on November 10, 2014,

the Defendant’s Motion for Reconsideration: Motion to Dismiss State’s Notice of Intent to Seek the Death Penalty Due to Defendant’s Inability to Present a Complete Case for Life filed November 26, 2014,

and the Defendant’s Supplemental Motion to Dismiss all Charges with Prejudice and/or in the Alternative to Dismiss the State’s Notice of Intent to Seek the Death Penalty Due to Recently Discovered Purposeful and Egregious Prosecutorial Misconduct filed December 14, 2014.”

http://media2.abc15.com/html/pdf/AriasJan14motion.

 

Judge Stephens ruled that nothing the defense brought up, including the computer evidence, can be construed as prosecutorial misconduct, and nothing the defense brought up justifies any sanction including the removal of the death penalty. Also the tweets by Steve Flores’ wife may or may not have been leaks from sealed meetings, however the Judge rules that the defense presented no evidence that the information tweeted came from closed meetings.

juan 3 jan 14As to the hard drive evidence, it was determined that no pornographic photos were found, that much of the accessing of porn sites was the automatic workings of malware, as Deborah Maran stated in her article, and that the prosecution did nothing wrong that would change the outcome of the trial. The court also determined that differences between the different clone copies of the hard drive created on different dates were the result of waking and inspecting the original computer, and only system files were overwritten. The computer did not overwrite any registry files or porn information.

The court also determined that a porn site was accessed purposely by a user on June 3, 2008, one day before the killing.

This should put an end to the computer porn issue, and it’s doubtful that this could be deemed to be a legitimate appeal issue by a higher court. Deborah Maran also reported in her article that she felt the defense violated their “duty of candor” by purposely filing accusations and allegations they knew to be false. Juan Martinez also filed a motion to sanction the defense for the issues and allegations regarding the hard drive. That motion was also denied.

“ IT IS FURTHER ORDERED denying the State’s Motion for Sanctions (Compaq Presario Computer) filed November 16, 2014 and the State’s Motion to Strike (Compaq Presario Computer) filed November 18, 2014.”

These two Huge Craters in this elongated penalty re-trial seem to be traversed, but there’s one huge chasm left.

 

The remaining Giant Chasm

The remaining giant chasm is will Jodi Arias agree to continue her testimony in open court? Will her mitigation witnesses agree or refuse to testify in open court?

jennifer jan 14The Judge has ruled that there are many options available to protect the identity of witnesses short of clearing the courtroom. This is true, and we have already seen this in action with Darryl Brewer not showing his face in the original trial, and most recently, a computer expert who was given the pseudonym of “John Smith” to protect his identity. Maybe “John Smith” was fearful of what his participation in this trial would do to his prospects of being hired by “major corporations” as a private contractor.

That’s one of many reasons Arias’ mitigation witnesses are reluctant to testify. Another is cyber-stalking by over-zealous social media followers. Witnesses from the main trial had their books disparaged in reviews by trial activists on sites such as Amazon.com. Others have found photos of their children and maps to their home, as well as phone numbers publicly displayed on Facebook. juan jan 14Alyce LaViolette has had her speaking engagements seriously curtailed as a result of backlash from her participation and opinions in this trial. Other participants have had their safety and their life threatened.

The media appealed Judge Stephen’s decision to close the court to the Arizona Court of Appeals. The Court ruled in favor of the Media, and stayed the ruling. Arias had to stop testifying until the defense gets a chance to appeal that ruling. The Appeals Court also ordered Arias’ sealed testimony to be released to the public which happened yesterday.

http://archive.azcentral.com/ic/pdf/arias-transcript.pdf

http://archive.azcentral.com/ic/pdf/arias-transcript2.pdf

 

Here are a few samples from Jodi Arias’ secret testimony:

(Click to enlarge)

Childhood and alleges parent's drug use
Childhood and alleges parent’s drug use
writing and journaling began at age 8
writing and journaling began at age 8
Teens, choked by Bobby Juarez
Teen years, choked by Bobby Juarez
Executive Dinner with Travis, borrows Sky's dress
Sept 2006 Executive Dinner with Travis, borrows Sky’s dress
Early 2007. Travis and Jodi hook up at border motel room
Early 2007. Travis and Jodi hook up at border motel room
Evidence on record that the fight over the mitigation witnesses will continue
Evidence on record that the fight over the mitigation witnesses will continue

 

Many people theorized that Arias wanted the testimony to be secret because she was going to make wild and outrageous new allegations of abuse, sexual abuse, physical abuse and pedophilia, either by the victim, Travis Alexander or someone in her family when she was a child, or both. We have yet to see an indication of this yet.

 

The released transcripts reveal no real shockers, but there was some talk of drug use and more details of physical abuse by her parents when Arias was a child.  The Appeals Court ruling put an jodi jan 3abrupt end to Arias’ testimony, which covered her childhood and previous relationships all the way up to her first meeting with Travis Alexander and their initial motel rendezvous at a truck stop in Ehrenberg, Arizona, on the California border.  Perhaps any anticipated shockers were yet to come? Perhaps there were not going to be any shockers at all?

 

The released testimony had more color and detail than in the original trial. Arias seemed to be very eloquent and comfortable and she revealed new information in terms of different friends she made and how she came to move to the different places she lived. For example, Jodi did not just cruise down to the California Coast and find the Ventana Inn job. A man named Richard Molay from Oregon worked there and she actually got a recommendation from him.

 

She also revealed that when living with Bobby Juarez in Montague, 6 miles outside of Yreka, Jodi owned a Samurai sword. After Bobby allegedly choked her, and then convinced her to hang up on the 911 call, she told her brother Carl that Bobby had choked her. Carl showed up with a posse at Juarez’ place to intimidate Bobby, who came sailing out the door with the Samurai sword and chased Carl and his friends away. There are interesting details like that, but no real exploding bomb shells.

 

Now, the big question is, will Jodi Arias continue her testimony in open court, or will she refuse to testify? maria jan 14Also, the Court of Appeals is under no obligation or time limit to respond to Nurmi’s appeal of their decision to stay Judge Stephen’s ruling to clear the courtroom. The Arizona Court of Appeals also said that the defense could not use their decision as a basis to put the trial on hold or to delay the trial further.

 

Will the defense work with the court and the prosecution to find creative ways to protect witnesses and information while still having an open court? Will Jodi Arias continue her testimony or refuse to return to the stand? If she testifies, will other mitigation witnesses refuse to testify now that the promised anonymity may not be available? Will they agree to modifications so they can testify in open court? These are the big questions coming up soon.

 

A witness can be given a pseudonym, a witness can ask not to be identified, a witness can testify on video or by affidavit. Another person, such as mitigation specialist Maria De La Rosa or another suitable person can testify in the place of a witness. The witness can also be subpoenaed and compelled by the defense to testify. There are many ways a witness can testify and protect their identity without going to the extreme solution of clearing the courtroom, and Judge Stephens has explained this in her ruling.

 

So, if witnesses make a personal decision not to testify, this most likely cannot be an appealable issue at this point, because the prosecution and the court have offered many ways for witnesses to testify without having to reveal their identity.

 

This is not such a simple issue, because the Judge is reluctant to force Jodi Arias or her mitigation witnesses to testify in open court, because Nurmi has appealed the ruling. Should Jodi Arias be sentenced to death, and afterwards, Nurmi’s appeal is granted, then the retrial becomes a mistrial and Jodi Arias’ sentence would possibly need to be converted to life, especially if some witnesses refuse to testify. Anything done in open court cannot be undone, so it is questionable how this trial will proceed or even if there will be a postponement of the trial pending the ruling on Nurmi’s appeal.

 

Some prosecution supporters believe that this “witnesses are afraid” claim is just a ruse by the defense to find an excuse not to present mitigation witnesses. This is because some death sentences have been stricken down by the 9th Circuit Federal Court of Appeals, based on ineffective assistance of counsel for failure of a defense attorney to present mitigation witnesses. They claimed that this was what Nurmi did in the first penalty trial, also.

 

If this is his strategy, it’s not going to work at this point. So, it will be interesting to see what happens next. Will the defendant and her mitigation witnesses testify or not?

Another notable thing that happened on Tuesday the 13th was that Jennifer Willmott finished re-direct questioning of Mesa Detective Steve Flores about the chain of custody and what he witnessed about the computer in the evidence room. PNI Arias MonSome evidence favorable to the defense was elicited from Detective Flores. Juan Martinez  got up on re-cross and went after him in a fury and with as much ferocity as he has displayed with any defense witness. Fireworks in the courtroom. Juan Martinez also referred to himself as “Mr. Martinez”. “Objection to what Mr. Martinez thinks”.

 

Two Giant Craters have been traversed. Many prosecution supporters blamed the defense and Judge Sherry Stephens for all the delays and for throwing this crazy train retrial off the tracks, but that’s not the only perspective. The defense did not threaten and intimidate witnesses in the original trial and the defense did not put the porn on the computer. Theses two issues could not be ignored, they had to be confronted and worked out one way or another. The final Giant Chasm is what will the defense do now? Court is out until Tuesday after the Holiday, and we may or may not find out then.

Lilburn_Sketch_t300U1677888

14-356489-composite-drawingWhat do YOU think?

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

Why the Felony Murder charge is the Holy Grail

of the Jodi Arias case

Fact based reporting

by Rob Roman & Amanda Chen

 

monty-python-image-1

 

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

 

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

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

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

4) “F*ck Off, f*cktard!!”

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

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

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

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

“Ladies and Gentlemen: There’s nothing.

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

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

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

– Defense Attorney Kirk Nurmi

 

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

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

 

Law_Society_of_England_and_Wales.svg

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

martinez-01

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

“THE CHARGED OFFENSE – PREMEDITATED MURDER

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

recognizes two types of First Degree Murder – Premeditated Murder and

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

SECOND DEGREE MURDER

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

following:

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

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

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

 

CHARGED OFFENSE – FELONY MURDER

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

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

Second Degree; and

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

18calq4ybym0sjpg

 

 

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

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

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

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

 

holy-grail

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Doesn’t that seem like a blessing for prosecutors?

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

Did you come to the same conclusions as I did?

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

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

UPDATE:

In Arizona, there IS an explanation:

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

images (3)

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

 

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

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

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

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

Start at 9:15

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

Count 1:

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

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

OR IN THE ALTERNATIVE

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

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

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

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

 

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

In Arizona, you get to

have your cake and eat it too

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

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

 

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

winchester .25 auto

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

 

– But they left the defense guessing.

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

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

 

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

1) Sexual Conduct with a minor

2) Sexual Assault

3) Molestation of a child

4) Terrorism

5) Marijuana offenses

6) Dangerous drug offenses

7) Narcotics offenses

8) The use of minors in drug offenses

9) Drive by shooting

10) Kidnapping

11) Burglary

12) Arson

13) Robbery

14) Escape

15) Child abuse

16) Unlawful flight from a pursuing law enforcement vehicle”

 

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

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

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

 

Monty_Python_Holy_Grail

 

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

the defendant:

  1. Entered or remained unlawfully in or on a residential

structure; and

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

– Arizona 2nd degree burglary statute.

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

 

resized_philosoraptor-meme-generator-circular-logic-is-the-best-logic-because-it-is-circular-fa4a24

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

Raven1

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

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

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

 

 

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

There’s a much better argument for that:

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

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

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

 

 

The defense motion to dismiss the felony murder charge.

Start at 47:15

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

Vladimir Gagic, Criminal Law Attorney

Phoenix Arizona

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who’s right and who’s wrong?

 

Holy_Grail_tapestry_The_Failure_of_Sir_Launcelot

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

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

 

holy_grail_png_by_erdmute-d1nodd1

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

monty_python_and_the_holy_grail_blu_ray_disc_5

 

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

 

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

 

Remember the list of 16 predicate felonies?

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

This caused a legal expert to say:

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Monty Python

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

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

What is YOUR opinion?

Comments from all perspectives are welcome.

You can also comment on our FB page

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

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The Jodi Arias Penalty re-trial – The Nightmare that never was.

The Jodi Arias Penalty re-trial – The Nightmare that never was.

Fact based reporting

by Rob Roman

Research by Amanda Chen

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This article is in response to an October 31st article called “Nightmare in Arizona” by Linda Paris on her   http://lindapariscrimeblog.com/.

Linda gives no sources or resources for her information and appears to just be winging it (ie: making it up). We just had to respond. Articles like this really illustrate why you are getting highly biased and slanted information as opposed to the objective facts.  We have to say that some Arias supporters are doing just as bad a job by also just making things up and just telling you the facts they like. In red are direct quotes from the article and in blue are our responses:

 

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1) “Judge Sherry Stephens cost the tax payers over 2 million dollars in the Jodi Arias Trial”

Well, no, the over 2 million dollar price tag was caused by the insistence of the prosecution and the victim’s family to force this to be a Death Penalty case. There is nothing the judge or the defense is doing to make this trial more expensive than it otherwise would be. Half the stuff that has happened in this trial would not be allowed were this not a Death Penalty case.

2) “Jodi Arias is “having a good ole time” at her 1st degree murder, death penalty trial.”

Does it look to you like Jodi Arias is having a “good ole time”?

download (1)images (6)images (14)images (5)

 

3) “Is Judge Sherry Stephens in love with Jodi Arias?”

Actually SpotLightOnLaw was the first to say that Judge Sherry may be smitten with Jodi Arias, but we were only joking.

From our Oct 31, 2013 article: 

Juror question #NA

sherry-contrary-new

“Jodi, what are you doing in 25 years minus 5 years served plus good behavior?

Wasn’t I patient at the bench? I can wait…..

Yoo-Hoo! I have a discount on Pop Rocks and Tootsie Pops, Woot Woot! Call me!” – Sherri

https://spotlightonlaw.wordpress.com/new-discarded-juror-questions-for-jodi-arias-not-reported-by-the-media-october-31/

 

I don’t see any point in the trial or the penalty re-trial where Judge Sherry Stephens has shown any love for Jodi Arias. In fact, she was visibly and audibly emotional when the jury was not unanimous in voting for the Death Penalty the first time.

4) “Judge Sherry Stephens, the judge who has hosted the second biggest judicial joke of the 21st century, is treading on everyone’s rights in order to keep the citizens of Arizona out of her already, out-of-control courtroom”.

Both sides of this debate have pilloried Judge Sherry Stephens in this Capital case. The Jodites have criticized her for over-ruling some of the defenses’ objections, even ones which some legal minds thought should have been sustained. They criticized her for allowing Martinez to go on and on about Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, a vast and prolonged fishing expedition that yielded nary a minnow

They also generally feel that Sherry let prosecutor Juan Martinez take control of the courtroom frequently, deferring to his over 25 years of experience in Capital Murder court rooms. They believe he engaged in various abuses and misconduct which persists to this day. Then there was Judge Stephen’s emotional response on the bench when a very normal and frequently delivered verdict of “no unanimous decision” was rendered.

Travesites blame Sherry Stephens for allowing what they refer to as trashing the victim via Jodi Arias’ accusations of pedophilia and physical abuse by the victim, Travis Alexander. Their cries against the Judge were faint in the guilt phase, but in the penalty phase re-trial, they are going after her with a vengeance, even going back to the original trial and blaming her even more for allowing the defense to get away with what they presented.

 

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Let’s all remember the reason why Judge Stephens is inexperienced in Capital murder trials. In fact, this is her first Capital murder trial. Why is that? This is because Arizona has a tremendous backlog of 1st degree murder Death Penalty cases. And why is this? Because Arizona has the Death penalty but they use it much more often than most states. They use it to intimidate defendants into confessing or pleading to a life sentence, and to try to force a settlement without going to trial. They use it as a political tool, each consecutive candidate vowing to be tougher on crime than the last.

Arizona recently had more pending Death penalty cases than there are prisoners on death row, well over 120 cases pending. There are currently 121 inmates on death row. There were not enough judges to oversee all these cases, so judges  were reeled in from family court and the lower criminal courts, given a crash course in death penalty qualification, and thrust onto the bench.  And Arizona vs. Jodi Ann Arias is a very complicated, multi-faceted case. On top of this, you have two (not one) very experienced attorneys who both know just how much they can get away with under a particular judge. Judge Stephens is very mindful of not looking foolish in front of the highly experienced Juan Martinez, so she defers to him often, in our opinion.

Kirk Nurmi has been sure to bring up every motion and objection allowable, and this has given Judge Stephens pause in making sure she does not commit a reversible error. In fact, Travisites applauded Judge Sherry Stephens in the original trial for bending over backwards to make sure that there would be no appealable issues.

But now, after seeing how quick and smoothly the Arizona Death penalty trials of Marissa DeVault and Brian Hulsey went, and after seeing that Judge Stephens emptied the court room for the testim0ny of, out of all possible witnesses, Jodi Arias herself, many now believe that Judge Sherry Stephens is aiding and abetting Arias and the defense, and helping the trial to last forever.

“In 2011, the pending capital cases were down to 66. The highest number of pending cases was 149 death penalty cases.” This is in Maricopa County alone.

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

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

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

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

 

 5) “Not surprising news since she has assisted Jodi Arias throughout this trial in tormenting, torturing and re-victimizing each member of the Alexander family at every opportunity”.

What? Exactly how did Jodi Arias torment, torture, and re-victimize each member of the Alexander family? Can the author mention even one instance? The Alexander family was not tormented any more than they would have been under any other judge. They must re-visit the pain and agony of their brother’s death each and every time a new legal procedure happens, and there will be much more of them and for a much longer time, with a sentence of death. The author forgets that this was a defense of self-defense, and so there was no avoiding putting the victim on trial. To have prevented the defense from bringing in testimony and evidence that puts Travis Alexander in a bad light would mean a reversal for sure.

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6) “As a result of their lack of experience, Kirk Nurmi and Jennifer Willmott have made hay with Judge Sherry’s willingness to allow virtually everything their sadistic client desires, no matter how demented”.  

This was also Jennifer Willmott’s first Death Penalty case since she became death qualified, but she’s an experienced criminal defense attorney. Any person who wants to say that Kirk Nurmi is inexperienced would be very wrong. Although he has a ways to go as a trial attorney, he made all the right motions and objections and preserved as many issues for appeal as possible. He worked hard on this case, and fought very hard, even with a client who had been very difficult and uncooperative at times.

Only attorneys who are very experienced with a variety of judges could manipulate a judge to do their bidding and “make hay with Judge Sherry’s willingness to allow” the defense to do what they wanted to do. But even that statement is not true, there is no evidence that Judge Stephens assisted the defense, many defense motions were denied. 

7) “Helping Jodi Arias fulfill her sick need to torture the remaining victims, Travis Alexander’s family any way she can, Judge Sherry Stephens has provided Arias with endless opportunities to do just that. The defense, having no legal skills or prowess, have used everything  from sex tapes to close ups of Jodi Arias’s considerable well-worn vagina and anus, all in order to distract from the horrific, premeditated crime that this sociopath has committed and further victimize the real victim Travis Alexander. “

“Judge Sherry Stevens has allowed Arias and her family to giggle in open court as the real victims in this case, the Alexander family, are forced to endure graphic autopsy photos and heartbreaking testimony.”

Oh really, you really think that Jodi Arias or the defense wanted a close up of her genitals to be displayed on huge screens and to be stored forever on the internet? Doesn’t everyone? But that photo is probative because it shows the crude kind of photo that Travis was interested in taking, verses the more sophisticated photos that Jodi took. Kind of sums up the relationship right there:

 

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Remember: These are the photos that Travis Alexander wanted to take

http://dazereader.com/2013/01/jodi-arias-trial-nude-photos-uncensored/

Actually, in real life, the nude photos of Travis Alexander and Jodi Arias were entered into evidence by the prosecution, as the time and date established Arias’ presence and activities in the house on June 4th, 2008. The defense wanted to present edited highlights from the sex tape, but it was the prosecution, who demanded that the full unedited version of the sex tape be played. Let’s get our facts straight.

The idea that in a months long trial, that during a break, the Arias family laughed about something means nothing, it’s human beings being human beings. That’s just another gratuitous media attack on the Arias family, who are as innocent in this case as the Alexander family. This is simply the author showing a double-standard. Enduring graphic autopsy photos and heartbreaking testimony goes with the territory of being the victim’s family, it’s unavoidable in any murder case.

8) “Although Nurmi and Willmott have offered comic relief throughout the trial with their constant objections and requests for mistrials, their shameless mimicking of Juan Martinez is flat out embarrassing and emphasizes the already obvious fact, that they are both inexperienced and their “strategy” all along has been to upset the system and the proceedings as much as possible.”

Let’s just forget about the fact that motions, objections, and requests for mistrials and removing the death penalty are some of the defenses’ primary obligations to their client.  This is referring to the idea that Kirk Nurmi is somehow mirroring the antics of Juan Martinez in the penalty phase re-trial when in fact it would seem that he is merely trying to come out more aggressively in this stage of the trial. Different situations and goals call for different tactics.

9) Their repeated use of effective phrases, phrases used effectively by Juan Martinez throughout the trial, are transparent and childish. There is nothing funny any longer however, about their lack of skill and willingness to upset the system.

The author is referring to the new, slimmed down Kirk Nurmi with a full head of hair in the penalty re-trial as he is much more animated and aggressive, slamming down a binder of records while questioning the Walmart employee and asking Detective Flores if he has memory problems.

Here’s some food for thought: If the defense and especially Kirk Nurmi have alleged misconduct for Juan Martinez’s behaviors and antics throughout these proceedings, why on earth would Kirk Nurmi then try to copy or mimic Juan Martinez, thus obliterating these appeal issues? If he’s copying Juan, he can’t then complain to the higher courts about Juan, can he?

10) “It is clear now that we have a judge who has given them the key to her courtroom and will continue to do so.”

Really, exactly how has Judge Stephens “given them (the defense) the key to her court room”? Do you have any specifics, any examples?

11) “NOVICES, NURMI AND WILLMOTT, MIMIC MARTINEZ BECAUSE THEIR ONLY OTHER OPTION IS TO WRECK  (sic) HAVOC ON THE SYSTEM”

PNI Arias day 3

I think it’s clear that Nurmi and Willmott are working within the system, which is purposed to be an adversarial system, in case the author never noticed this. How can the defense “wreak havoc on the system”? Their examinations can be objected to and over-ruled, their motions can be denied, and their appeal attempts can fall flat. That’s the name of the game, the zealous defense of your client within the confines of the law. What laws does the author feel were broken by the defense or by the Judge? Even the Judges’ ruling on clearing the court room was submitted to a higher court for review by attorneys representing the members of the media. So this case has proceeded all along according to the law (except for some things which the defense will be sure to appeal).

UPDATE: The higher court has stayed the decision by Judge Stephens to clear the courtroom for defense witnesses who were afraid to testify in open court due to past attacks on defense witnesses in this case. This means that the judge cannot clear the court room during testimony, and the defense is appealing the stay.

12) “Milking the system, with their limited supply of legal knowledge, experience and resources, for as long as they can,  for as much of that tax payer money they can squeeze out of this fiasco?”

Milking the system? Kirk Nurmi has made multiple motions to be removed from the case. Again, the cost and length of this trial is all on the prosecution, as they have insisted on making this a Death Penalty case, as opposed to many similar domestic cases which are either pleaded out as 2nd degree murder cases or end in court with a life sentence or less. 

13) “WHY NOT GIVE HER SOME KNIVES TO PLAY WITH, WHILE SHE SITS IN COURT AND LAUGHS AT THE VICTIMS?”

Now, when has Jodi Arias ever laughed “at the victims”? How does NEVER sound? That’s the reality of the situation. This is about dealing with this tragedy without any further killing.

14) “Isn’t it the judge’s responsibility to let the jury know that the guilt phase has already been decided, and now their job is only to decide, by law, what the proper penalty is?”

The jury is well aware that the guilt phase has already been decided. What information does the author have that this is not true? The jury is well aware of what they are to decide and what their job is in the penalty phase re-trial.

15) “Hasn’t it been the judge’s responsibility this entire time to maintain control over her courtroom?”

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Here’s one thing we can agree on. It is “the Judge’s responsibility … to maintain control over her courtroom”. Judge Stephens has fallen short, but mostly by allowing the prosecutor to get away with his outrageous conduct, which should not be allowed in a court of law, and especially not in a Capital murder case – Death Penalty trial.

16) “Well since it’s only the taxpayers who are paying, cha ching, cha ching, let that tax payer cash register ring.”

Trying to arouse the public, especially the citizens of Arizona by emphasizing the tax money spent on this trial, and implicating the defense and the Judge is completely misguided.  This is the action and the responsibility of the State and the prosecution.

veteran1

Lately, some Travesites took the opportunity of Veteran’s Day to again make the bogus claim that the veterans are the ones who have real PTSD, while Jodi Arias only pretends to have PTSD, and therefore Arias somehow is un-American and an insult to our military. It’s just plain propaganda to draw a line and put mother, God and country on one side, and Jodi Arias on the other. Each case of PTSD is an individual case, some are actual and some are not.

The Jodi Arias case has nothing to do with military veterans.

17) “It doesn’t take “Einstein” to know that if Jodi Arias was a man, this trial would have been over with in a matter of weeks.”

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Here is the oft repeated mantra that if it were a man killing a woman in this fashion, the defendant would have been convicted and sitting on death row years ago. The truth is that 48 months is the average time before a Death penalty case goes to trial in Arizona. It was also 4 years until the last woman in Arizona, Wendi Andriano, was tried and sentenced to death by Juan Martinez in 2008. It took five years before Marissa Devault was tried in a Death Penalty case and sentenced to LWOP.  Not much has changed, although the average time to trial for capital murder cases is diminishing slightly in Maricopa County.

18) “There is not one doubt who committed this terrible crime. There is not one doubt that she planned it, scheming for weeks maybe longer, collecting everything she would need, not only to murder Travis Alexander, but to cover her tracks completely and document the event in photos for future enjoyment.

All because he no longer wanted to date her, and who could blame him?”

I will not argue with this opinion of the author at this time. I will say that Jodi Arias never planned to “document the event in photos for future enjoyment”. If she had, she would have taken the camera or transferred the files. Remember that the final three photos were taken by accident and the final two photos were completely black until the forensic expert enhanced them.

19) This is why the death penalty most certainly is a deterrent and it is a powerful one.”

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The greatly enhanced usage of the Death Penalty by Arizona starting in the 90’s has had very little effect on reducing murders, particularly in reducing domestic killings which stay at a steadfast rate in Arizona hovering at about 100 domestic homicides each year, or about 2 per week. That’s around 200 other families (of both the victims and the perpetrators) each and every year, just in the state of Arizona, affected by unnecessary domestic murders. Travis Alexander was a special person, but he is far from the only victim in America. There are more than 1,100 domestic murders in the USA every year. The greater majority of the victims are women.

20) “Do you think that she would have gone forward so happily with her savage plan had she thought for one second that there was a chance she would be sitting on death row for it? Absolutely not.”

Jodi Arias knew full well that Arizona, as California, is a Death Penalty state. She was very concerned about being suspected and being caught, as her frequent calls to Detective Flores indicate.

21) “Much more important, it’s the only way anyone will ever be able to keep this raging sadistic narcissist from killing again.”

This is an often used justification for the Death Penalty, the idea that the killer will kill again. This is statistically rare among domestic killers and rarer still among domestic killers with no prior offenses. The person who is likely to kill again is the hardened criminal.  The idea that the killer will kill again had a lot of credence in the old days (1980’s and before) when first time murderers were usually given light sentences. Now, sentence usually range from 25 years to life, where the killer is well past the age when most murderers kill. LWOP is a suitable punishment for almost any killing. The rare and gross exceptions should be the only ones qualifying for a death penalty, as long as it still exists in the U.S.

22) “She will kill again. She will either kill one of the inmates in the prison or reach out to someone on the outside.”

I had to laugh out loud at this statement, it’s very funny, though inaccurate.

In over six years in custody, Jodi Arias has had no incidents of violence, violent outbursts, or any major problem. She is actually quite passive and compliant. She was attacked once in her cell by another prisoner and she had a few minor write-ups for such offenses as not shutting up, and hiding pens and skin lotion.

Actually, it is statistically more probable that, were Jodi Arias to be sentenced to LWOP, that she will be killed rather than she would kill anyone. Even more statistically likely, prisoners in Perryville prison have a rate of suicide much higher than the national average and many prisoners have died due to the prison staff ignoring the basic medical needs of Arizona prisoners.

http://www.azcentral.com/news/20120602arizona-prison-deaths-system.html

http://www.arizonaprisonwatch.org/2010/09/young-woman-suicides-at-perryville.html

23) “She will also plot and scheme to escape prison for the rest of her life.”

How many successful escape attempts have there been from Perryville Prison? There was one in 2011. There are one or two attempts each year, most unsuccessful. The successful escapes are usually from a much lower security level of custody than those who are sentenced to LWOP or death.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arizona_State_Prison_Complex_%E2%80%93_Perryville

24) “The Jodi Arias Death Stare…”

Here is the photo of Jodi Arias that the author claims is a “death stare”

 death-stare

The “Jodi Arias Death Stare”? You must be kidding! What a ridiculous claim with absolutely no evidence. Of course, the author also repeats the claim about Arias’ “dead snake eyes” or “dead shark eyes”, another device to de-humanize a person to make it easier to kill them. There is nothing to substantiate this claim.

25) “There is a penalty in Arizona for what she did. It’s the death penalty. Any man who did this would already be on death row.”

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We have already explained why this statement is statistically patently false. In addition, there is only one person on death row in Arizona for a crime anywhere near the facts in the Jodi Arias case.

That person is Isiah Patterson who stabbed his girlfriend to death in front of witnesses with their 3 year-old in the home. Here is a summary of the case:

 download (4)

 

“That’s what happens when you try to turn a whore into a housewife.”

  1. “FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

¶ 2 At approximately 1:30 a.m. on March 17, 2006, Patterson and Consquelo, his girlfriend, were in his Mesa apartment with their three-year-old son when they began fighting.2 A downstairs neighbor heard loud crashes and things rolling on the floor. After about ten minutes, the noises stopped. After another ten minutes or so had passed, Consquelo Barker ran from the apartment, naked and screaming for help.

¶ 3 Patterson chased Consquelo through the outdoor common areas of the apartment complex. He caught her at a sand volleyball pit, sat over her, and stabbed her thirteen times in the face, torso, and arm. The wounds perforated her lungs, diaphragm and spleen, and fractured her arm.

Patterson continued stabbing Consquelo until a neighbor, awakened by her screams, yelled for him to stop. Consquelo then stumbled from the volleyball pit, asking for help before collapsing beneath a bush, where she died. Patterson walked back toward his apartment, telling neighbors, “That’s what happens when you try to turn a whore into a housewife.”

¶ 4 Patterson was arrested and indicted for Consquelo’s murder. The State sought the death penalty. Finding Patterson guilty and that the crime was especially cruel, see A.R.S. § 13–751(F)(6), the jury determined he should be sentenced to death.”

http://caselaw.findlaw.com/az-supreme-court/1609184.html

SpotlightOnLaw challenges anyone to find another domestic homicide where a man in Arizona sits on death row, without additional aggravating factors (pecuniary gain, multiple murders, conspiracy, murder of a child, torture) although there are over one hundred such killings in Arizona each year.

We also challenged our readers to find a similar case in any state. So far we received responses stating that Wendi Andriano in Arizona and Scott Peterson in California are similar cases to the Jodi Arias case. Not so, because Andriano killed her disabled and helpless husband for money and Scott Peterson killed his wife who was especially vulnerable because she was 8 months pregnant, and he killed his unborn child. If anyone finds a death row case similar to the facts in the Arias case, please let us know.

26) “She knew full well that what she was doing was wrong, but she enjoyed doing it and had no fear of getting caught or convicted.”

Going back five years before the killing, Jodi Arias has had no incidents of violence or any major problem. We cannot over-emphasize how unusual this is for a defendant in such a violent killing.

Jodi Arias had a genuine fear of getting both caught AND convicted. She was in the process of running away when she was arrested.

27)  “Jodi Arias quipped and smirked her way through the first full day of cross challenging the Prosecutor Martinez to “Bring it!”

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Wrong. Actually, Jodi Arias did what most people do the first time they are cross-examined. People get defensive and feel like they are being attacked, so they try to fight back and they try to defend themselves. Defense witnesses tend to get snarky with the prosecutor. Ater a while, they realize that this strategy only serves to make them look bad, and they learn to relax a little more and just calmly attempt to answer the questions as best they can without taking things so personally.

28) “Let’s get it right. Travis was butchered. He was almost decapitated. He was shot in the face, had defensive wounds and deep cuts all over his body. His neck was slashed down to the vertebrae. “

What the author is saying above is half-accurate. But time and again we have pointed out that Travis Alexander’s throat was slit. As bad as this wound was, he was not “nearly decapitated” (for actual near decapitation, research the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson). Travis Alexander had 29 knife wounds, many of these ranged from superficial to shallow. There were 16 wounds which qualify as “stab wounds” and only 7 “stab wounds” if you view the pattern of 9 back wounds as “chopping wounds” rather than stab wounds. His neck was not slashed down to the vertebrae (for neck slashed down to the vertebrae, please research the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson)

He had serious defensive wounds, and serious stab wounds. He was shot in the face. He did not have “deep cuts all over his body”.  Of course, that does not make him any less dead, or lessen the severity of his wounds, but let’s be accurate.

 

Description of Travis Alexander throat wound from Dr. Horn’s autopsy:

“A gaping oblique deep incised wound across the anterior upper neck 6 x 1 ½ inches with a lower right side (within 2 ½ inches inferior to the right external auditory meatus and 2 inches inferior to the left external auditory meatus), and transaction/perforation of the entire upper airway, strap muscles of neck, right jugular vein, and right carotid artery”.

Here, Doctor Horn is saying that the throat wound is 4 inches short of being “ear to ear”.

http://murderpedia.org/female.A/images/arias-jodi/travis-alexander-autopsy-report.pdf

 

Description of Nicole Brown Simpson throat wound from Dr. Golden’s (far more detailed) autopsy:

“The incised wound of the neck is gaping and exposes the larynx and cervical vertebral column. It measures 5 1/2 x 2 1/2 inches in length and is found at the level of the superior border of the larynx.

On the right side the upwardly angulated wound passes through the skin, the subcutaneous tissue, the platysma, passing under the ramus of the right mandible and upward as it passes through the strap muscles on the right, towards the digastric muscle on the right, and through the thyrohyoid membrane and ligament. Further dissection discloses that it passes posteriorly and transects the distal one-third of the epiglottis, the hypo-pharynx, and passes into the body of the 3rd cervical vertebra where it transversely oriented 3/4 inch incised wound is seen in the bone, extending it for a depth of 1/4 inch into the bone. The spinal canal and cord are not entered.

On the right side superiorly the wound passes towards the insertion of the sternocleidomastoid muscle, and then becomes more superficial and tapers as it terminates in the skin below the right earlobe.

On the left side the left common carotid artery is transected with hemorrhage in the surrounding carotid sheath and the left internal jugular vein is subtotally transected with only a thin strand of tissue remaining posteriorly with surrounding soft tissue hemorrhage. The injuries on the left side of the neck intersect and the pathways of the stab wounds on the left side to be described below.

Opinion: This is a fatal incised wound or sharp force injury, associated with transection of the left and right carotid arteries and incisions of the left and right internal jugular veins with exsanguinating hemorrhage.”

http://www.lectlaw.com/files/cas45.htm

29) “There was no “fight” and this is not the result of a “mental illness.” This is the result of a sadistic narcissistic sociopath, who has no respect for human life and no remorse at all. This is someone who has demonstrated to the court time and again that she is, in fact, quite proud of what she has done, and if she doesn’t get her way, it will happen again.”

Both narcissism (narcissistic personality disorder) and sociopathy (anti-social personality disorder) are mental illnesses to begin with, and Jodi Arias was diagnosed with neither of these, nor was she found to be a psychopath, as Marissa DeVault was found to be. The idea that Jodi Arias “has no respect for human life” and has “no remorse” is just false. She had demonstrated remorse throughout the trial and continues to do so. Her supporters can testify to her many kind acts since they have come to know her through phone calls and correspondence.

30) “Judge Stephens helps Arias to torment the Alexander family as much as she can.”

“This trial should have been over with a year ago and Jodi Arias should already be on death row.”

Really? The trial should have been over with a year ago? Why does the author say this? The jury reached a sentencing verdict of “no unanimous decision” in the penalty phase of the original trial. The penalty re-trial was delayed by requests and scheduling conflicts from both the prosecutor and the defense (they are all very busy people). Is the author saying that Arias should have gotten the Death Penalty the first time? Actually, the five jurors who voted against the charge of 1st degree felony murder and the four jurors who voted for life were the only ones who got it right.  This is because felony murder makes no legal sense under the prosecution’s theory and life in prison is a completely appropriate punishment under the facts of this case.

Juan Martinez needs twelve out of twelve to get a death sentence. He may get it, but he probably will not, which is another reason why the state should have taken death off the table after the original penalty mistrial and this should not have been a death penalty case in the first place.

31) “Arizona is a death penalty state.”

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Really? Who knew?

32) “For Judge Stephens to usurp the process and try to aid the defendant in avoiding what is clearly the punishment a male would have received for such a brutal and horrendous crime like this, is unacceptable.”

Both major ideas in the above sentence are completely wrong. Most likely a male would not get the death penalty for a similar crime and the Judge is not aiding the defense in trying to help Jodi Arias and the defense secure a life sentence for Jodi Arias.  Aren’t all murders brutal and horrendous?

33) “And now we have a secret court,  for a convicted killer?

It just goes on and on and gets worse and worse.”

The author is correct that Judge Stephens has cleared the court for none other than the testimony of Jodi Arias! But has the author ever considered there might be a very sound and important legal reason for doing so? I considered it, and I came to the conclusion that Arias must have changed her story. Then a Facebook poster named “Justus Forusall”, who actually was in the courtroom in Phoenix and witnessed the allocutions of the Alexander siblings, had the best theory I’ve heard yet.

Justus thought that Jodi Arias must be testifying about a witness who, out of fear of what has happened to other defense witnesses or potential witnesses (Gus Searcy, Alyce LaViolette, Patricia Womack), wanted to remain anonymous during the trial. Therefore the Judge is almost obligated to protect Jodi Arias’ testimony in order to protect the witness who will not testify without these protections. Once again, sound legal principles over-rule the irrational fears and ignorant assumptions of the general public.

34) “So now, in a grand act of defiance against the very constitution of the United States, Judge Sherry Stephens has decided that Jodi Arias, convicted killer, can have “secret trials” and “secret witnesses.” In addition, these “secret witnesses” will also be allowed to dictate what goes on in her courtroom. All of this, in spite of the constitution.”

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First, there are no secret witnesses in a criminal court. The audio and/or video and transcripts of the closed part of the trial will be available after the verdict/sentencing. This is to protect the very Constitution of the United States, as the defendant has the Constitutional right to present any and all mitigation witnesses and evidence in defense of her life.

Travis Alexander is dead, and no sentence will bring him back to his family or quell their pain. The Travisites are right that Travis and his family are not on trial, Jodi Arias is. Travis’ family has some rights, but they are not facing a penalty of death, only Arias is. It is she that has the primary Constitutional rights in this action. This is because according to our Constitution, life, liberty, and property cannot be taken away without due process of law.

35) “I have never seen a judge so inept or biased, take your pick.”

Judge Stephens is neither inept nor is she biased.  She is new at capital cases, and one would hope that she has learned a lot in her maiden trial.  I will criticize her a little in that she cannot seem to rule on an objection (any objection) without calling a sidebar. For example, prosecutor Juan Martinez wanted to play a video from the guilt phase of the trial. The defense objected, and Judge Stephens called the attorneys up for a sidebar. Of course, readings from the transcripts are allowed, but Judge Stephens should be able to rule on that objection without a sidebar. Video from the guilt phase of the trial is either allowed in or it isn’t. Let’s get it together.

36) “Death penalty defendants are tried and convicted every day in trials that are overseen by seasoned and unbiased judges.”

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Judges only get seasoned through experience, like everyone else. The controlling idea among Travisites used to be that Judge Stephens had heroically acted by giving the defense great latitude in exchange for a trial that would be virtually appeal-proof. Now they are dog piling on the Judge, because she made a ruling that they don’t really understand and that we don’t have an explanation for yet. Sound familiar? Sounds like the theme of this entire case.

Now, we know that the court of appeals stayed the ruling of Judge Stephens to clear the court room. This means that the court room cannot be cleared pending an appeal of this issue by the defense.

37) (“Death penalty defendants are tried and convicted every day in trials that are overseen by seasoned and unbiased judges.”)

“This is not one of them. This is a joke.”

I have seen some really good comments and articles on the Jodi Arias case by people on both sides and from many different perspectives on each side. I have read many good articles, but this is not one of them. This is a joke.

38) “Justice for Travis.”

No, court is not about justice for one particular party. The idea that a death sentence is the only sentence that would bring justice to this case is false.

 Justice for All.

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We at SpotlightOnLaw challenge anyone to prove to us why anything we said is not true or why anything we pointed out in the article is not false.

Comments from all perspectives are welcome.

You can also comment on our FB page

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

No trolls, please.

 

The Jodi Arias Murder Trial: A Juanderful Closing Argument

The Jodi Arias Murder Trial: A Juanderful Closing Argument

(SpolightOnLaw The Jodi Arias Murder Trial: The OTHER side of the story)

Fact based reporting by

Rob Roman and Amanda Chen

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In this photo, Travis Alexander is wearing the costume and carrying the wig of "Eddie Snell from Alabama", his crude and violent alter-ego.
In this photo, Travis Alexander is wearing the costume and carrying the wig of “Eddie Snell from Alabama”, his crude and violent alter-ego.

In the all-important closing argument, Maricopa, Arizona prosecutor, Juan Martinez, promised to “shine the light of truth” on the defendant. He explained that Jodi Arias is guilty of first degree murder because:

*

  •  Jodi called her sister “stupid” (Important)
  • She had conflicts with her parents
  • She got in big trouble and lied about it
  • Jodi “adjusted” Ryan Burns
A Mormon couple, modeling their "magic underwear".
A Mormon couple, modeling their “magic underwear”.
  • She “committed perjury”. Everything she said is nothing but lies.
  • Jodi is a liar and manipulator because she testified that Ryan Burns was “full of crap”…
  • …after Ryan testified that he thought she said “she worked at Margaritaville” and he “touched her vaginal area”.
  • “A field of lies sprouted every time she took the witness stand”.
After earthly life, the next step for Mormons is to live with God on Earth's sister planet Kolob, which is closer to the throne of God, becuase earth was relocated form near Kolob to it's present position.
After earthly life, the next step for Mormons is to become celestial rulers and live with God on Earth’s sister planet Kolob, which is closer to the throne of God, because Earth was relocated away from Kolob to it’s present position in our solar system.
  • She is a waitress / manipulator who flirts with customers for tips.
  • The defense experts and defense team are all liars.
  • If Jodi told the truth about Travis having a gun and she did not premeditate the murder, she’s still a thief because she stole Travis’ gun and she’s still a murderer in the first degree because the prosecution, with the approval of the judge, legally manipulated the law with the felony murder charge.
Jodi Ann Arias is " a chameleon who will adjust to the situation and make herself go further to manipulate. " - prosecutor Juan Martinez
Jodi Ann Arias is ” a chameleon who will adjust to the situation and make herself go further to manipulate. ” – prosecutor Juan Martinez
  •  She stomped around like a wildebeest migration and left behind incriminating evidence. 
  • She was focused and deliberate, removed incriminating evidence and she did not leave a trail of bloody footprints while exiting the home.
A real Wildebeest "hovering" in a real field.
A real Wildebeest standing, not “hovering”, in a real field.
  • Jodi is a liar because she has a good memory for buying a Strawberry Frappuccino but can’t remember the details of a horrific, traumatic killing.
  • The only victimization or trauma Jodi ever experienced in her life was this: Jodi is “a victim of the trauma of lying”.
  • Jodi implicated herself on the stand and violated the spirit of the law by stealing a license plate that she was not absolutely sure belonged to her rental car.

download (1)

  • Jodi was criminally careless and negligent in possibly depriving a citizen of their lawfully obtained California license plate.
  • Jodi “has created a fantasy world”. Yet, even in her fantasy world, Juan reaches in and catches her several times violating the law.
Scene from Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarves
Scene from Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
  • She decorates her lies with ornamentations to make them more believable.
  • Jodi is a lying liar. She even lied to Travis by faking an orgasm.
  • Jodi is a story-teller and sociopath who will defy the laws of common decency, bend the law to suit her purposes, lie, manipulate and even break the law in order to achieve her goals.
  • Jodi is strong-willed.

 

Scene from the "Wildebeest Stampede" from Disney's The Lion King
Scene from the “Wildebeest Stampede” in Disney’s The Lion King
  • “She’s not a reasonable person, she’s a liar and a murderer.”
  • She is physically strong enough to take Travis and she “Adjusted Ryan” (Important)
  • After killing Travis the “chameleon” proceeds to Utah where “that thing” kisses Ryan Burns, straddles and “adjusts him”, and “rubs genitalia”.
  • Jodi exaggerates and is dramatic.

images

Jodi Arias:
“Has a dumb, stupid sister”
“Is not nice to her mother”
“Is not a very nice person”

Lady-Tremaine-and-Stepsisters-cinderella-1991155-360-264

“will lie and manipulate at every turn”
“targeted a good Mormon boy”
Because she “decided she needed to breed”
Good Mormon boy whose halo is a CTR (Cherish the Right) Ring reminding him never to defile his future bride by engaging in inappropriate sexual conduct prior to marriage.
Good Mormon boy whose halo is a CTR (Cherish The Right) Ring reminding him never to defile his future bride by engaging in inappropriate sexual conduct prior to marriage.
 
For prosecutor Juan Martinez, this is key evidence in the Jodi Arias trial. Jodi called her sister stupid one time while communicating with Travis Alexander. This was one of the first questions he put to Arias on cross-examination. Juan made certain to bring up this major piece of evidence in his closing argument.
Allegations that Arias also once stuck her tongue out at her sister, Angela, and called her a “poopy face” were not allowed into evidence.
Judge Sherri Stephens absolutely controlled the courtroom because earlier in the trial she made sure the spectators remained silent and did not interrupt the prosecutor in an hour back and forth examination about crucial testimony concerning Snow White, the role of the Prince, the ages of the Seven Dwarfs, and whether their home was a “shack” or a “cute cottage”.

judge stephens

If Judge Stephens had the temerity to simply ask Juan “Where are you going with this?” she may have risked a mistrial or a successful appeal. It was a grand fishing expedition, but Juan got nary a nibble.
According to Juan Martinez, Jodi Arias should allow Travis Alexander to berate her father and her grandfather (people he never met) because Jodi called her own sister “stupid”. These are the footprints of murder.

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Arias, like many young people, had a strained relationship with her mother. This is evidence of either abuse or Jodi’s mental and emotional problems stemming from her childhood and mental illness. This is an issue which supports the defense, not the prosecution.
Martinez stated that Arias’ behavior and acts from her birth to her late teens were irrelevant to the crime or it’s mitigation. Yet, he brought them up again and again in this capital murder case.
Juan Martinez is fond of saying “You can’t have it both ways”.

kirk nurmi

This is a man whose imagination is confined to the world of Disney, where the whole world is invited to participate in the reduction of great works of literature and psychologically profound fables about passages into adulthood, into simplistic and pleasing tales and colorful, lilting rides.

That’s why author E.L. Doctorow, in his historical work, The Book of Daniel, called Disney World rides, themed after simplistic Disney stories loosely based on the true literary works of art, “a sentimental compression of something that is itself already a lie”.

"If it's not written in the journal, it didn't happen" - Juan Martinez
“If it’s not written in the journal, it didn’t happen” – Juan Martinez

That’s the Jodi Arias trial in a nutshell, ladies and gentleman, after the actual, and complicated truth was corrupted and bastardized into a simplistic good versus evil morality play by the “Bulldog” of Maricopa County.

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Sources:

http://movies.disney.com/snow-white-and-the-seven-dwarfs

http://movies.disney.com/the-lion-king

http://mormon.org/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kolob

Juan Martinez gives his closing argument in the guilt phase of the trial