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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Jodi Arias Trial – Jury Selection / Media Clown Reunion

Jodi Arias Case – Jury Selection / Media Clown Reunion

by Rob Roman

 

The Jodi Arias Murder Trial, the OTHER side of the story

Many people believe that much of the media storm against Jodi Arias was due the the results of the Casey Anthony trial.
Many people believe that much of the media storm against Jodi Arias was due to the results of the Casey Anthony trial.

 

The Jodi Arias trial is back on the front burner again with what is usually a mundane process, but hope springs eternal that some controversy or drama can be somehow squeezed out of this situation. Tweeters in the Phoenix, Arizona courtroom are experimenting with different titles for Ms. Arias Such as “Convicted Killer Arias” or “the Murderess”. A woman named “Jen”, and others are joking about the slowness of Defense Attorney Kirk Nurmi, especially after lunch. They’re questioning if he is being slow on purpose in order to add to the trial’s tremendous tab. Now slimmed down and reportedly sporting hair, Nurmi has written yet another voluminous motion to dismiss the Death Penalty, based on previous accounts of “prosecutorial misconduct” along with some new allegations. It’s like a high school reunion of class clowns as all the celebrities start gearing up and jockeying for position during the jury selection of the Jodi Arias 2nd penalty phase. HLN is coming on strong and is the current media fave among potential jurors, according to tweets coming from reporters inside the courtroom.

Jen from the Trial Diva’s fame is now back with her Trial Diaries website, tweeting every occurrence in the courtroom. CNN has made sure to cozy up to her as she has great popularity on Twitter. Earlier rumors reported that Jen and Prosecutor Juan Martinez had become good friends. Vinnie Politan is gone form HLN, which is no big loss, but Nancy Grace and JVM have more than made up for his absence with their powerful vilifications of Jodi Arias and her defense. There’s no need to pretend there is any objectivity or to try to hide their favoritism in the case, like they tried to do at least in the beginning of the guilt phase. Beth Karas is basically a free agent now after possibly having refused to go along with HLN’s completely one-sided reporting. She stayed at HLN too long until they finally decided to try to humiliate her in the process of dumping her.

Jodi Arias and Casey Anthony
Jodi Arias and Casey Anthony

Today, on the fourth day of jury selection, for example, reporters are tweeting about the clothing and hairstyle of Arias. Ms. Arias is wearing a “royal blue top” and a “mid-high ponytail” according to Tweeters inside the court room. It’s a different court room and the reporters can get much closer to her. The prevailing sentiment of potential jurors has been that Jodi Arias should get the Death Penalty. Of course, most of these jurors have been dismissed. There was at least one who thought that all 1st degree murders should get the DP. Other potential jurors are saying that they could never vote for anyone’s death, no matter what they have done, but that they could still be fair? What?? You have to hand it to Arizona jurors, they seem to be a special breed, truly. Some jurors have been victims of murderers and one potential juror has had co-workers who were stalked and murdered.

Look-it what this special breed of media moron Tweeted:

Jeffrey Evan Gold ‏@jeffgoldesq  5m5 minutes ago

Sitting behind #JodiArias today and much closer than usual. With her hair up, her creamy neck and shoulders beckon…the hangman’s noose.”

This perfectly exemplifies the tone and tenor of reporters as they gear up for this story, attempt to ramp up the hatred, and try to find a way to wrangle up some drama at the start of the final courtroom scenes and acts. This is what JVM has on tap for tonight. Oh, that voice of her that sounds just like an air-raid siren!

 

Jane Velez-Mitchell ‏@JVM  8m8 minutes ago

TONIGHT at 7p @LisaBloom @claycane @LukeBurke @TrialDiariesJ @janegarrison join me tonight to discuss #DanielCrespo #RavenSymone #jodiarias

 

Of course there are the Travis watchers and Tweeters who need to be heard from (This one appears to be the reincarnation of @HodiHo69:

 

superdooperday ♥ ‏@AnneWyattanne7  1h1 hour ago

Happy 2see potential jurors r taking precautions be4 entering court with that disease ridden whore #jodiarias there

 

A group of nearly 400 potential jurors has been whittled down to 82 finalists, with 12 that have just made it to the 3rd round, or pre-emptive elimination round where attorneys for the defense and the prosecution will dismiss jurors without cause. They have so many of these (10 each, instead of the usual 3, I believe) and then they must give reasons for cause for dismissing any potential jurors who make it past the 3rd round.

Of the Tweeters in the courtroom, Jen, from Trial Diaries recommends Jeffrey Evan Gold and Monica Lindstrom in her absence. As above, Jeffrey Evans Gold seems to show what he’s all about. Monica Lindstrom seems to be much more fair and normal, so-far.

 

Monica Lindstrom ‏@monicalindstrom  26m26 minutes ago

The juror that had a family member who grew up with #JodiArias is the one that seems like she is trying a bit harder than most 2b on jury

 

Monica Lindstrom ‏@monicalindstrom  42m42 minutes ago

I think #Nurmi is doing a good job questioning potential jurors, calm, understandable, prepared and methodical #JodiArias

 

I Haven’t seen any reporting like that from anyone else. Someone actually complimented the Defense, imagine that! Nice to see at least one person attempt to present both sides reasonably fairly and accurately.

 

Jen’s Trial Diaries ‏@TrialDiariesJ  32m32 minutes ago

Juror 82 sister in law knew #jodiarias and she is also juror that knew people killed by stalker

 

This one juror incredibly has family who knew Jodi Arias and has co-workers who were murder victims of a stalker. This does not by any means indicate that this juror will be good for the prosecution, but it’s so doubtful this juror will survive the later rounds.

 

Well wonder of wonders, Jeffrey Evans Gold Tweeted something that actually makes sense:

 

Jeffrey Evan Gold ‏@jeffgoldesq  10m10 minutes ago

Death penalty juries are special because they decide the ultimate human sentence. In #JodiArias there’s complication of prior media circus

 

Jeffrey Evan Gold ‏@jeffgoldesq  4h4 hours ago

Sort of funny the way #JodiArias Pros Juan Martinez style is bombastic whether def on stand or a juror in box.

 

Maybe I should take back what I said about him earlier. So this should be easier to report from a media-bias view, as the two sides are no longer about guilt or innocence, but about whether the convicted should spend life in prison or be executed. Prosecutor Juan Martinez will be sure to drum into the jurors heads that it’s a fact that Jodi Arias committed pre-meditated murder and that that murder was especially cruel. You can expect him to make that absolutely clear.

 

Jen’s Trial Diaries ‏@TrialDiariesJ  3h3 hours ago

Juan tells this woman “not only is she guilty of murder it was especially cruel” Nurmi objects but Judge overruled #jodiarias

 

Another cut-and paste blog with little to no original content “Wild about Trial”, is also on the scenes trying to drop a new bombshell

 

Wild About Trial ‏@WildAboutTrial  23m23 minutes ago

I have a surprise that will drop in a few days. #JodiArias.

 

Translation: I’m late to the party and I desperately need to distinguish myself as a top reporter on this penalty phase re-trial before I’m left behind in the dust and forgotten. Let’s see if that “SURPRISE” will ever really materialize.

Update: There was no surprise.

 

Here a mock-up of Jodi Arias is surrounded by so-called supporters (Clockwise from the top) Webmaster Jason Weber, Some guy who wanted to attack Nancy Grace, Friend Donovan, The foreman from the original trial, William Zervakos, Defense expert Dr. Robert Samuels, and Humanitarian from England, George Barwood.
Here a mock-up of Jodi Arias is surrounded by so-called supporters (Clockwise from the top) Webmaster Jason Weber, Some guy who wanted to attack Nancy Grace, Friend Donovan, The foreman from the original trial, William Zervakos, Defense expert Dr. Robert Samuels, and Humanitarian from England, George Barwood.

Here a mock-up of Jodi Arias is surrounded by so-called supporters (Clockwise from the top) Webmaster Jason Weber, Some guy who wanted to attack Nancy Grace, Friend Donovan, The foreman from the original trial, William Zervakos, Defense expert Dr. Robert Samuels, and Humanitarian from England, George Barwood.

We wonder how the trial is going to go, yet, below the surface we know how the trial is going to go. Juan Martinez will try to force his opinion every step of the way and the defense will try to oppose this at every opportunity. Juan will argue that the jurors should, with objectivity and without emotion, apply the facts to the law. The defense will argue that life in prison is an appropriate punishment and they will argue the value of a human life in general, and of Jodi Arias’ life in particular. The defense will try to personalize Jodi Arias while Juan Martinez will call her “it” and “that thing” who chopped up Travis Alexander without a thought, then giddily rushed to Utah to perform mating rituals on Ryan Burns.

As the new penalty phase re-trial has abandoned the question of guilt or degree of guilt all together and now only asks about life or death, so too the blogs and Facebook pages have for the most part abandoned any discussion or debate about the guilt phase. A secret Facebook Page called “Jodi Arias Both Sides” is run by Brad Justda, who now is calling himself Brad Smith. He seems to be a good guy, but I wonder what he means by “both sides”. Both sides of what, you may wonder? On that page, which is a secret page to begin with, are a large variety of a mixture of decent people, ignoramuses, and mad zealots, who do not tolerate any hint of the guilt and aggravator phase of the trial not having turned out exactly right. In their view, it was a fair trial logically worked out and all allegations about Jodi Arias were proven to be true.

A Prosecution supporter uses a famous comic strip to mock Jodi Arias Supporters.
A Prosecution supporter uses a famous comic strip to mock Jodi Arias Supporters.

In the world of the mad zealots of the prosecution supporter pages, no one is allowed to question the verdict or to bring up any question which may reflect unfavorably on Travis Alexander. If you do, you are met by almost hysterical personal attacks. On that page, if you allow someone to voice their minority opinion, you are a traitor to the Travisites and you have let down your idol and your team. You must launch a personal attack on anyone who doesn’t believe the same things as you, you must block anyone who is a Jodite and who has a different opinion than you do. You must insult that person, fabricate false evidence against them, obstruct and divert the conversation, spam the thread, and do whatever it takes to repel the agitator off of the page.

king juan

This is what alternate juror Tara Kelly was told by fellow Tweeters when she showed up on Twitter so shortly after the trial. Her wise friends advised her to not have discussions with people who have opinions that are in opposition to hers and to just block them. Then you can live in the peaceful bliss of unanimity. It hardly seems American, but free speech has no place in the Travisite world, where speech is only free when people are being told what they need to hear.  On a page that is 99% prosecution supporters, any voice in opposition is not able to be heard. Yet, on some Jodi Arias support pages, prosecution supporters are allowed to speak their mind and air their opinions freely. You have to wonder why that’s so?

Here are some sentiments of some prosecution supporters on Twitter:

 

TeamTravisUnited retweeted 7h7 hours ago

@yours917 @mitchiepoo46 @jodimustdie @bunnykittenpupp @ClubLove13 I Sooo want it to get DP!! It on death row…Priceless!!

 

Juan football

juan gloves are off

 

Retweet3 retweets3 Favorite3 favorites3 More· Oct 6

TeamTravisUnited

@mitchiepoo46

The grim reaper is waiting! #jodiarias

 

Arias Reaper

Jodi Arias supporters are thought by prosecution supporters to be every bit as vile and as guilty as they suppose Jodi Arias to be. This means if you support Jodi Arias, you are a lying, murdering scum. You are a felon and a deviant. You are no better than a murderer and you are hypnotized and controlled by Jodi Arias and her crew of foreign fiends. Actually, the truth is that some people will always gather to support someone who has been rejected by society. Some people will always see that no matter what Jodi Arias has done, there have also been some injustices done by the other side. Some people will always rise up to support the oppressed, the underdog, the downtrodden, and the hopeless. The truth is that HLN helped to create Jodi Arias supporters, prosecution supporters helped to create Jodi Arias supporters, and Juan Martinez especially helped to create Jodi Arias supporters.

The real, true support for Jodi Arias comes from very quiet people who do not talk about, discuss or debate the case, who say absolutely nothing derisive about the victim or his family, and who strive every day in their secret groups to give well wishes, words of encouragement, strength, prayers and love for Jodi Arias. Some people can’t stand that fact but it’s a fact. Some Jodi Arias supporters are counting on a type of Stockholm Syndrome where people have come to know and perhaps hate Jodi Arias so strongly that perhaps they will also want to see her life spared.

abc_2020_arias2_130510_wg

People we know never use the word “Travis supporters”, because actually, most Jodi Arias supporters feel badly about what happened to Travis Alexander and support him as much as anyone else. We don’t hear much of anything positive or supportive towards Travis and his family coming out of the other side at this time. Not to say it’s not there, just that it hasn’t been very visible. It seems more a sport or a game, a spectacle of entertainment as many fervently hope that Jodi Arias will get the Death Penalty and they can call it a day.

This can be the final victory for Travis as the Defense team of Kirk Nurmi, Jennifer Wilmott, and mitigation specialist Marie De La Rosa and Jodi Arias herself are finally, publicly vanquished and the world can see that there is no mitigation for such an atrocity. However, many Jodi Supporters and also many prosecution supporters as well are hoping that at least some of the jury will see that there is value in a human life, that this case has been somewhat overblown, and that life in prison is an appropriate punishment. It’s really in the hands of this new jury. Only time will tell.

Here’s a sentiment that we at SpotlightOnLaw  can identify with:

Rain Shine ‏@RedTailspin  3h3 hours ago

Iranian woman facing death penalty may b spared, officials say. If only #JodiArias was in Iran, instead of #Arizona. http://www.latimes.com/world/middleeast/la-fg-iranian-woman-death-penalty-20141006-story.html …

 

Other people may feel this way:

Beth Karas ‏@BethKaras  10h10 hours ago

The final juror on the third panel being questioned. “What’s good for the goose is good for the gander.” Not an Arias fan here. #jodiarias

 

Opposing viewpoints are welcome. Please comment.

You can also comment on Facebook at “Spotlight on law”

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

Sources:

Twitter feed on #JodiArias Oct 1st through 8th, 2014

Photos and Memes courtesy of Twitter

The Best Way to Help Jodi Arias? Don’t!

The Best way to help Jodi Arias?  Don’t!

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Fact based reporting

by Amanda Chen & Rob Roman

Now, why would a blog in support of Jodi Arias say something like this?

We are saying it for one little, insignificant reason, because it’s true.

Support-JodiThere are many people helping Jodi Arias as we speak. They send her supportive cards and letters, they go to visit her at Estrella Jail, they communicate with each other and share important news about the case. These Jodi-helpers write letters and sign petitions, write blogs and comment on websites, purchase her art and raise money for her appeal, organize gift-packs, and keep in communication with her family members.
Still others may feel that Jodi Arias may be guilty but they do not believe it was a fair trial or they do not believe in the death penalty. All these people support Jodi in some way. They yearn to be able to do something more to help. They might not believe that best way to do this is to join in objectives that are not about Jodi Arias.

Help to End Executions in the USA

Help to End State Executions

in Arizona and the other states that use it.
images (8)There are two basic categories of the death penalty in America. The first category is the death penalty statutes in the individual States. These can be repealed by acts of the individual state legislatures. This can depend on who is in power in the legislature and who the Governor is at the moment. There will be an election in Arizona in 2014, and Jan Brewer cannot be re-elected. Governor Brewer has already tried to get the legislature to change the rules so that she can serve an extra four years. Here is a good place to start.
This is the new abolition movement in America. Most of us will never be accused of murder and most of us will not be imprisoned on death row. But we know that many people on death row have been wrongly convicted and some have been executed. We know that the death penalty creates numerous injustices, even for the victims of violent crimes as well as the free citizens of death penalty states,
Clodagh+Joyce+Death+Penalty+Protesters+Hold+Xlqx4bY6faZlSome states such as Texas, Ohio, and Arizona have the death penalty and use it frequently. It’s a hot political issue and many people in these states think it is the right thing to do and it’s the will of God. These states may one day decide that the amount of money spent on capital cases could be put to better use. The victim’s family and friends are not satisfied with a guilty verdict, but suffer through decades of appeals and wait 20 years to finally “get closure”. Most of the time, the execution is of little solace to the family and friends.

Each State is Different

Some states have repealed the death penalty and no longer execute convicted criminals or sentence them to death. Many states have found that the death penalty violates their individual state constitutions. In these states it’s significantly more difficult to return to executing convicted murderers.
Still other states put moratoriums on the use of executions, but the moratoriums can be lifted. The states that do not use the death penalty but have not found it unconstitutional may bring it back into use. There has been talk of this in several states. Other states still have the death penalty, but use it rarely. These states are the most likely to one day create a moratorium or repeal the death penalty statutes.
0350a5f0-19c4-4813-9847-059cebcacc13People living in the states that have a moratorium can argue against bringing the death penalty back. They can get involved in efforts to end the death penalty in states that still use it. People in other states and outside the U.S. can also write letters and articles supporting the abolition of the death penalty in the states that use it regularly.
If you want to help Jodi Arias, or even if you don’t, you can make an effort to end the death penalty in the state of Arizona. You will have done everyone residing in Arizona and humanity a favor, and indirectly, you will be helping Jodi Arias. Then, we would not have to see similar spectacles from Arizona, such as more exonerations of death row prisoners like Debra Milke, and the Jodi Arias trial, embarrassing Arizona and the U.S. in the eyes of the world.

Help end federal executions by the United States Government

The second category is executions practiced by the U.S. Federal Government. The federal government reinstituted the death penalty in 1998. There are 59 people currently on Federal death row.  Fifty people have been sentenced to death from 2000 to 2012.
137458348592614114000701197_104_mcveigh_pastSince 1998, three people have been executed by the United States government. Timothy McVeigh was executed in 2001 for the bombing of a U.S. Federal building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma in 1995. This act was primarily why the Federal government brought back the death penalty in 1998.
Also in 2001, the U.S. executed luis jones jrJuan Raul Garza, a drug dealer and murderer from Texas. In 2003, Luis Jones Jr. was executed for the 1995 kidnapping, rape and murder of a young Army recruit in Texas. Both McVeigh and Jones were military veterans who fought in foreign wars.
Should mass murderers and terrorists such as Timothy McVeigh and the Boston Marathon bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, be executed? Timothy McVeigh is long gone. Wouldn’t it be better if he was still in prison having to face the consequences of his act?
dpcountiesIf you want to talk about injustice, how just is it to make the innocent children, siblings, and parents of Condemned prisoners face the death of their loved ones by the government? How just is it that many other countries will refuse to extradite criminals to the U.S. Government or to states that use the death penalty?
As long as the Federal Government executes people, the states will also want to have that right for themselves. If the Federal Government ends the use of executions, this could set the stage for abolition of the death penalty in individual states. This can also indirectly help Jodi Arias.
 

Help restore the “presumption of innocence”

for suspects and defendants.

bad dogThe power of public opinion is so pervasive it infuses court proceedings and can influence juries, judges, people in high places, and even governments.

hauptmannThere are many reasons to believe that Bruno Richard Hauptman was guilty of the kidnapping and murder of the Linbergh baby (Charles Lindbergh was famous for making the world’s first trans-Atlantic flight in 1927).
imagesThe prosecutor in his trial exhorted the jury to look at Hauptmann’s “predatory eyes” as proof of the certainty of his guilt. We should all be outraged by such tactics, as they are entirely subjective, appeal to the emotions rather than logic, and obscure the facts. Yet, in the case of Jodi Arias, there was much talk on the media about Jodi’s “dead shark eyes”.
Yet even today, emotional persuasion, speculation, and a presumption of guilt have been utilized in the place of or to supplement facts and evidence that should be the sole determinant of guilt or innocence in a trial.
Here are some quotes about the presumption of innocence for suspects and defendants:
hesiod-sm smSo the people will pay the penalty for their King’s presumption, who, by devising evil, turn justice from her path with tortuous speech –Hesiod, 700 BC
images (2) smIt is better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer. William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England, 1767
benjamin-franklin-520 smInnocence is its own defense. Benjamin Franklin, 1733
download (2) smTo vice, innocence must always seem only a superior kind of chicanery.-Ouida, Two Little Wooden Shoes, 1874
download (3) sm“Always the innocent are the first victims…. So it has been for ages past, so it is now.” -J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, 2001
leonard peltier sm Innocence is the weakest defense. Innocence has a single voice that can only say over and over again, “I didn’t do it.” Guilt has a thousand voices, all of them lies–Leonard F. Peltier, Prison Writings, 1999
 
sc00210 sm“Anybody who understands the justice system knows innocent people are convicted every day.” Florida Supreme Court Justice, Gerald Kogun (Ret.)
078skayfqa6870sa sm“The presumption of innocence only means you don’t go right to jail”. –Ann Coulter, Hannity & Colmes (Fox News), Aug. 24, 2001
download (4) sm“In this country the presumption of innocence is dead, dead, dead.” –John Grisham

Which of these quotes does not seem to go with the others? Which of these quotes just doesn’t belong?

 
22597_002_0036.JPG“What was the quesion…..?” –Vinnie Poitan, Headline News, 2013
The media is a major culprit in the erosion of the presumption of innocence for the accused and defendants in a trial.
“The presumption of innocence, sometimes referred to by the Latin expression Ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat (the burden of proof is on he who declares, not on he who denies), is the principle that one is considered innocent until proven guilty.”
“Application of this principle is a legal right of the accused in a criminal trial, recognized in many nations. The burden of proof is thus on the prosecution, which has to collect and present enough compelling evidence to convince the trier of fact, who is restrained and ordered by law to consider only actual evidence and testimony that is legally admissible, and in most cases lawfully obtained, that the accused is guilty beyond a reasonable doubtIf reasonable doubt remains, the accused is to be acquitted.”
“The proof lies upon him who affirms, not upon him who denies; since, by the nature of things, he who denies a fact cannot produce any proof.”
“This right is so important in modern democracies, constitutional monarchies, and republics many have explicitly included it in their legal codes and constitutions.”
http://www.wikipedia.org/
trial by media“Trial by Media” and the huge public interest in murder trials has been an ever-growing factor in the erosion of the presumption of innocence. The public is exposed to speculation and selective facts as well as evidence not allowed in at trial. Murders and murder trials, crime and punishment have a huge entertainment value, which is exploited by media outlets for profit.
Most trials are over 90% boring and there is a constant temptation for the media to spice things up with speculation, unsupported evidence, and outright lies. This creates an assault on the presumption of innocence because once people make up their minds, they will ignore or reject facts which challenge their opinion.
According to Wikipedia, “Trial by media is a phrase used to describe the impact of television and newspaper coverage on a person’s reputation by creating a widespread perception of guilt before, or even after, a verdict in a court of law.”
201002010_lynch“During high-publicity court cases, the media are often accused of provoking an atmosphere of public hysteria akin to a lynch mob which not only makes a fair trial nearly impossible but means that regardless of the result of the trial the accused will not be able to live the rest of their life without intense public scrutiny.
The counter-argument is that the mob mentality exists independently of the media which merely voices the opinions which the public already has.”
http://www.wikipedia.org/
injusticeFor the accused and defendants of less means, who have public defenders, the negative impact of trial-by-media is far greater. They often have no representative or proxy to give their side of the story and to counter untruths. This is why HLN and other media handled the recent Brett Seacat murder trial (A police officer with a private attorney) and the Dr. Martin MacNeil murder trial (An M.D. with a private attorney) with kid gloves compared to the way they absolutely crucified Jodi Arias.
safe_imageThis is especially true of CNN’s HLN, who took a public interest and right to know concept of televising trials, and twisted it to the point where they seem to believe they actually own these trials and can control public opinion.
Yes, HLN was voicing the opinions of the public in the Jodi Arias trial, but they super-charged it and raised the hatred to epic proportions. They told documented untruths, rumors reported as facts, and they told pure lies every week during the Jodi Arias trial. In addition we have instant communication to the masses by means of the social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram which allow facts, rumors and falsities alike to travel at light speed.
trial by social mediaThis has also added the challenging dimension of creating the ability to harass and intimidate participants in the trial as well as people holding unpopular, minority opinions. This phenomenon has outraced common legislation to control such harmful new capabilities.

Help reduce trial by media and restore the presumption of innocence

before and during trials

622539We should call HLN on its lies and incomplete facts and make them prove their allegations. Jodi killed her childhood dog, Jodi wore fake glasses, Jodi attacked another prisoner at the Estrella jail, Jodi has a bad jail record, Jodi flipped the bird at Nancy Grace, Jodi deliberately made “throat slashing” gestures, Jodi lied about wanting the death penalty rather than life in an Arizona jail – all lies told by HLN.
The camera feeds from these high profile trials are available publicly and some websites have offered links to these feeds to shut out players like HLN who try to co-opt and exploit the defendants and their trials for their own ratings and profit purposes. We need to see more of this. Let’s make the feed available to everyone publicly, so that there is less trial by media. It’s too late for Jodi Arias as far as a presumption of innocence and trial by media, but we can help the next person to get a fair trial.
Help reduce wrongful convictions
by advocating for extra funding for forensic testing and more adequate investigations.
exoneratedOf course, there are always limits in manpower and materials to completely investigate each and every factor and lead in a murder investigation.
Still, grossly under-investigated crimes combine with political agendas and this leads to the pressure to indict, arrest, and convict on scant evidence. This is especially true of states like Arizona that are constantly seeking to cut spending to the bare bone. This approach is short sighted and counter productive because it ends up costing more in the long run.
images (3)States should put more money into complete and competent investigations and scientific testing in order to save money from wrongful convictions, reversals, appeals, re-trials, and lawsuits.
Incomplete and incompetent investigations and inadequate testing are two huge factors in wrongful convictions. More thorough investigation and more testing of evidence may change the tide of the Jodi Arias case in appeal and will help to prevent countless wrongful prosecutions.
Help to promote humane prison conditions.
mqh6kxw33e_amnesty_international_logo smInhumane prison conditions cause embarrassment to us all as a nation and reduce our ability to promote improvements in other countries. Arizona is a proven culprit in creating inhumane prison conditions. There should be strict standards for the treatment and conditions of people in custody in the U.S.
images (11)This would help Jodi Arias in the short run and would benefit every citizen in the long run.
Help end the “Incarceration Nation”
and reduce extremely long prison terms for non-violent offenders
 
Fareed Zakaria wrote in Time magazine that the number of jailed prisoners in the United States is one of the great scandals of American life. “Mass incarceration on a scale almost unexampled in human history is a fundamental fact of our country today,” writes the New Yorker’s Adam Gopnik.”
images (10)Over all, there are now more people under ‘correctional supervision’ in America – more than 6 million – than were in the Gulag Archipelago under Stalin at its height.”
Is this hyperbole? Here are the facts. The U.S. has 760 prisoners per 100,000 citizens. That’s not just many more than in most other developed countries but seven to 10 times as many. Japan has 63 per 100,000, Germany has 90, France has 96, South Korea has 97, and Britain – with a rate among the highest – has 153.
 
170342714_640Even developing countries that are well known for their crime problems have a third of U.S. numbers. Mexico has 208 prisoners per 100,000 citizens, and Brazil has 242. We here in America make up 5% of the world’s population but we make up 25% of the world’s jailed prisoners.
http://content.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2109777,00.html#ixzz2kRNJQip1
The prison system has become a major for-profit industry in the United Sates.
This is mostly due to the “war on drugs”, but has expanded to include other non-violent crimes.
download (8)download (9) marissa
In two recent cases in Florida, a 19 year-old was sentenced to 162 years in prison with no possibility of parole for a series of unsuccessful armed robberies where no one was hurt. He shot only at a dog, but he missed. A woman who was threatened by her estranged husband in her own home was sentenced to 20 years in prison for discharging a firearm into a wall as a warning to her ex-husband.
These laws are unfairly applied to people of less means and to minorities. There are alternatives to incarceration which include GPS monitoring, rehabilitative counseling, mandatory drug and alcohol treatment, and training and education which can help turn lives around as opposed to throwing lives away.
abc_jodi_arias_jef_130307_wg
Such concepts as mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines should be restricted because they remove the discretion of judges in individual cases and give too much power to District Attorneys.
Shining a spotlight on our embarrassing prison system will help the U.S. to look at the value of rehabilitation as opposed to warehousing people in prisons. We can try to reduce the growth industry of  private prisons and replace this with more constructive and beneficial enterprises.

Help keep local and state governments honest

 
curr-26541When government corruption, especially in law enforcement is observed it should be reported and acted upon. The Jodi Arias trial has helped to shine a spotlight on a variety of highly questionable practices in Arizona. You can get active and speak out on these practices and advocate for investigations and reforms. You do not have to be from a particular state or even from the United States to speak out on these matters.

Help to reduce bullying and domestic violence.

download (7)Domestic violence is not really growing in America, but it’s becoming more deadly, due to the proliferation of firearms and an inability to communicate and deal effectively with conflicts. Bullying in America has increased due to our competitive and aggressive culture.
High-tech has served to make one-time incidents permanent by photo or video. These incidents, accusations, and rumors can spread with lightning speed throughout an entire community. This high-tech dimension makes fleeting incidents into long lasting attacks that few people are equipped to withstand.
images (14)Worse than this, like the current epidemic of the “knockout game”, where young people go out and sneak up on an unsuspecting person and punch them in the head as hard as they can while a friend records it on video, bullying has become a dangerous and potentially deadly “game”. Some young people get a thrill out of using technology to try to destroy the life of another young person, hoping they will cause them emotional distress, or even run them out of a school or the town. They are excited at the idea of using their computers and cell phones to cause a person to take their own life.
images (12)We see this same tactic employed by adults in society at large and especially in the social media, where people can hide behind a computer or cell phone and lash out at opponents protected by anonymity and multiple profiles. Here, we are setting a dangerous and potentially deadly example for children and young adults. This leads to the next item:
Help fight for Jodi by not fighting for Jodi
 
incarceration-nation3There are political courses and classes that teach people to attack the opinions of others by means of personal attacks. These attacks are meant to silence people with an opposing opinion by short circuiting the issues and changing the subject. The usual response to this is to counter-attack with insults and personal attacks.
If we hold an unpopular or minority opinion, fighting with others will not change their opinion or help our cause. It’s better to present factual reasons why we believe the way we do and to respect the holders of opposing opinions. This way we can take the high road and show that our reasoning is based on facts and that we have considered our position carefully.
images (6)We can give our opponents some facts to ponder and some things to think about. This helps our cause by reducing the criticisms that the holder of a minority opinion is ignorant, unreasonable, or crazy. It also makes the attacker look bad when the holder of an unpopular opinion refuses to counterattack or ignores the attack completely.
Another thing we can do is to see if we can find common ground in any of the above issues. People who don’t hold the same opinion you do most likely agree with you on at least one of these other issues.
Helping to put an end to federal and state executions, restoring the presumption of innocence for the accused and defendants, and limiting trial by media is something we can all do to improve the criminal justice system in America.
Pakistan-domestic-violence-via-AFPAdvocating for the Reduction of wrongful convictions through more complete testing and investigations, and improving prison conditions will help to make our system more just and will save money in the long run.
Helping to reduce our prison population, investigating and reporting corruption in government, and helping to reduce bullying and domestic violence incidents and deaths are all things we can work on to improve our society.
images (15)Setting a good example for our kids by not allowing ourselves to be reduced to the level of personal attacks on social media is another positive step we can take. Taking the high road when communicating with “Travis supporters” may get more people to rethink their ideas and opinions about the Jodi Arias trial.  We can show we have a more complete knowledge of the case and we can improve our debating and communicating skills.
Each of these issues directly helps to improve our society and positively impact our culture. They make us a better country in the eyes of the world.
These are not liberal or conservative issues, but are a matter of evolution.
As a bonus, all of these issues indirectly benefit Jodi Arias. That’s one of the reasons why Jodi wants to help domestic violence victims by making sure they seek help and document their abuse. It’s to prevent many others from the same tragic circumstances Jodi is facing now.
We can help improve the system and conditions which may have failed Jodi Arias, and will certainly fail countless others if nothing is done to change the conditions .

images (17)

Sometimes, the best way to help Jodi Arias is to not help Jodi Arias. I think even Jodi would agree.

worldFor more insight into why the death penalty is unjust to crime victims and the public please see:

http://americancultureshock.wordpress.com/dp-needs-a-lethal-injection/

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Please let us know your opinion

What’s Going On in Arizona, Maricopa (part 1)

Fact based reporting

By Rob Roman

The State of Arizona is suing the U.S. Government      The U.S. Government is suing the State of Arizona      Juan Martinez is accusing Maricopa police of hiding evidence       Judges are suing Maricopa County and Sheriff Joe      Sheriff Joe is indicting County officials      County Officials are suing Maricopa County      The U.S. Government is suing Sheriff Joe      The ACLU is suing Sheriff Joe      Prisoners are suing Maricopa County     Juan Martinez is accusing the police of obstruction of justice      Juan Martinez is fighting with Judge Janet Barton

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What’s going on in Arizona, MaricopaCounty?

(part 1)

azOverview

In order to fully understand the Jodi Arias trial, we must look at the context in which the trial is taking place. Arizona has long been a very conservative “red” state. The conservatives hold sway over Maricopa county and they want to show the rest of America how justice is served. They want to show they can keep the cost of government low and the services effective.

They want to show they can bring criminals to justice and lock them away from the public while staying on a tight budget. Politics are fierce as the leaders fight against the U.S. Justice Department in such areas as law enforcement and immigration. There is tremendous pressure under this system for those in high offices to produce results and advance the conservative causes of their political leaders.

cactusThis is especially true in law enforcement. Certain crimes fit a political agenda. Certain crimes get a lot of play in the media. Law enforcement is pressured to solve the case and make an arrest. The Maricopa Attorney’s Office is then pressured to bring the case to trial and get a conviction.

This works splendidly until there comes a case where there isn’t enough solid evidence to get a conviction. Then the pressure is directed downward, from the CountyD.A. to the prosecutors involved to the detectives, to the forensic technicians, to the cop on the beat. There is an agenda driven push in high profile cases to make an arrest quickly. Once the arrest is made, there is a concerted effort to get a conviction and make it stick.

Of course, these occurrences are not particular to Arizona or conservative states. There are many reasons why suspects can be wrongly convicted. But for the County prosecutors, pressure from above or even self-imposed pressure to get the arrest and the conviction seems to be a primary cause of faulty prosecutions.

justice projectThe Justice Project

Most people have heard of “the Innocence Project” and other agencies like this. They investigate questionable convictions and pursue justice for the wrongfully convicted. In many cases, DNA evidence is re-examined. This can only be a small percentage of cases. There are many more convicts serving time who were wrongly convicted with no DNA involved. It is generally agreed there are many more prisoners who are not guilty of the crime(s) charged.

Organizations like The Justice Project were created to provide assistance and resources to clients who might not be able to afford or have access to such services. The Justice Project has been operating in Arizona since 1998 to help overturn wrongful convictions. The Justice Project “examines claims of innocence and manifest injustice, and provides legal representation for inmates believed to have been failed by the criminal justice system.”

lady-justice “Nearly all of the exoneration cases in the registry’s report came about because of public attention or the efforts of innocence projects. The states with the most exonerations – California, Texas, Illinois and New York each has more than 100 cases.”

University of Michigan Law Professor Samuel Gross said the courts should be more willing to reverse course and overturn previous rulings. “We need to be more ready to acknowledge mistakes were made,” Gross said. “Change in attitude is more important than any policy.” “We don’t think we’ve scratched the surface in wrongful convictions,” Gross said. “This is a tiny number.”

http://usnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2012/05/21/11756575-researchers-more-than-2000-false-convictions-in-past-23-years?lite

In the span of 25 years, eight death row convicts have been exonerated in Arizona. These are only the 1st degree murder convictions resulting in death sentences. This is a problem because it is especially the death row convictions which should be beyond a reasonable doubt. Below are some of the recent Arizona exonerations:

RobisonJamesPC

James Robison **** Aquitted

Convicted: 1977 **** Exonerated: 1993**** (16 years in prison)

“ArizonaRepublic reporter Don Bolles was fatally injured on June 2, 1976 when a six-stick dynamite bomb attached to the vehicle was detonated by remote control.

John Harvey Adamson, confessed to planting the bomb in Bolles’ car. Adamson pleaded guilty and implicated his friend, James Robison, as the one who pushed the button on the remote control device. The sole evidence was Adamson’s word. Robison was acquitted by a jury after three trials.

Here a guilty party implicated his friend because he wanted to make a deal with the prosecutors or because he wanted to limit his culpability in the crime. There was no other evidence to substantiate his claim.

https://www.law.umich.edu/special/exoneration/Pages/casedetail.aspx?caseid=3588

Robert Charles Cruz **** Acquitted

Convicted: 1981 **** Exonerated: 1995 **** (14 years in prison)

In this case, there seems to be a concerted effort to convict Cruz on the top charge, even though it appears evident that prosecutors did not have enough evidence to get or sustain a conviction. Cruz had mafia connections, which were improperly admitted into evidence and were prejudicial to the jury. At his fourth trial on the same charges, the Supreme Court found a violation because four Hispanic jurors were excluded solely due to their race. A special prosecutor assigned to Cruz’s fifth trial was caught bribing two inmates to testify against Cruz. The jury acquitted Cruz and stated they did not believe the prosecutor’s new “star witness”.

http://www.law.umich.edu/special/exoneration/Pages/casedetail.aspx?caseid=3139

David Wayne Grannis **** Acquitted

Convicted 1991 **** Exonerated 1996 **** (5 years in prison)

The defendant admitted he was at the scene but claimed he fled before the murder. Here again, a defendant facing the death penalty feels the pressure and implicates another in order to make a deal and reduce his own culpability. Evidence having no connection to the crime was improperly admitted and was prejudicial to the defendant. There was no physical evidence whatever to corroborate the other defendant’s claim. http://www.victimsofthestate.org /AZ/

Christopher McCrimmon **** Acquitted

Convicted 1993 **** Exonerated 1997 **** (4 years in prison)

In this case, there seems to have not been enough evidence to convict. A”witness” is found among convicts willing to give information to prevent a 25 year jail term. A police investigator committed perjury and a judge even coerced a reluctant juror to find the defendant guilty.

http://www.law.umich.edu/special/exoneration/Pages/casedetail.aspx?caseid=3424

raykrone

Ray Krone **** Charges Dismissed

Convicted 1992 **** Exonerated  2002 **** (10 years in prison)

Defense attorneys for the defendant claimed Maricopa County “obtained the conviction and death sentence… by prosecutorial misconduct, the use of altered and manufactured evidence, expert shopping, a refusal to adequately investigate… through the concealment and destruction of evidence, through perjured documents and statements, and through the unfairly prejudicial inflammation of public opinion.”

“Among other deficient acts, the crime lab failed to test and/or analyze “hair, blood and fingerprints” that when examined years after Krone’s second conviction, excluded him and implicated another person in Ancona’s murder.”

In this case, again, there seems to be not enough evidence to convict. The public was inflamed against the defendant. The investigation was predicated on saving money and time. Tremendous media and political pressure came to bear on the prosecution. There was an inadequate investigation and evidence manipulation. Perjured documents and statements were also used in the attempt to get this conviction.

“Expert shopping” means that there were a number of witnesses the prosecution hired who found fault with the prosecution’s theory of the crime. The prosecution continued seeking experts until they found the one who would say what they wanted.

http://justicedenied.org/issue/issue_32/krone_jd32.pdf

prion000Lemuel Prion **** Charges dismissed

Convicted 1999 **** Exonerated 2003 **** (4 years in prison)

According to the Supreme Court, “There was no physical evidence identifying Prion as the killer,” and the trial court abused its discretion in not allowing the defense to submit evidence that a third party, John Mazure, was the actual killer.

Prion’s conviction was based largely on the testimony of Troy Olson, who identified Prion as the man who was with Vicari on the night of her murder. However, when police first showed Olson photographs of Prion, Olson could not identify Prion. This information was not admitted into evidence.

In this case there seems to be an effort by both the prosecutor and the judge to allow a man to testify as an eye witness even though they knew there was a serious problem with the testimony of this witness.

Debra-Milkedebra milke 2

Debra Jean Milke **** Charges dismissed or reduced to time served ?

Year convicted 1990 **** Year exonerated ? **** (23 years in prison)

Debra Jean Milke is a German immigrant convicted of the murder of her 4 year-old son Christopher Conan Milke in 1990. On March 14, 2013, Milke’s conviction was overturned on March 14, 2013 by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

debra milke 3“The Debra Milke case out of Maricopa County, Arizona caused a stir earlier this year when the 9th Circuit threw out Milkie’s conviction, citing prosecutorial misconduct.”

“The Court handed down a biting critique of the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office for its failure to disclose evidence that the lead detective in Milke’s case had a long and sordid history of misconduct, including lying under oath and accepting sexual favors for leniency.”

Milke’s alleged confession to Armondo Saldate, was the only direct evidence linking Milke to the crime. The only evidence was Saldate’s word. Saldate had been implicated in the past for lying under oath and other serious violations The prosecution withheld this evidence from the defense.

debra milke“Milke’s roommate, Jim Styers, had Milke’s permission to take Christopher to allegedly see Santa Claus at a shopping mall. Styers and an accomplice took Chrisopher out to the desert and shot him. Styers and an accomplice have both been convicted of the murder and are currently on death row in Arizona. Nether has testified against Milke.

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

http://www.prosecutorialaccountability.com/az-milkes-lawyer-says-maricopa-county-attorneys-office-ought-to-be-recused-from-retrial/

There is a significantly higher amount of faulty convictions when there is a higher amount of media attention, political pressure, or a focus on a particular case because of a political agenda. In these cases, more than one tactic is usually applied to get and hold onto a conviction. Different offices will coordinate and cooperate to achieve the conviction.

The reasons for these faulty convictions fall under the following categories:

Other Defendants and Suspects

-Forced or manufactured confessions  (Milke)

-Defendants implicating others

to lessen their culpability and / or make a deal  (Robison, Milke, Granis)

-Inadequate investigation of other suspects

Improper Evidence                                                                                                                  

Improperly admitting evidence more prejudicial to the client than probative (Cruz, Granis) Alltered and / or manufactured evidence (Krone)                                                                     Concealment and destruction of evidence (Krone)                                                               Failure to collect or test crime scene evidence (Krone)                                                             Not allowing exculpatory evidence to be admitted into trial (Milke, Prion)

Misconduct by Witnesses and Prosecutors

Lying by the prosecutor (Arias – Alleged)                                                                                Perjury by prosecution witnesses (Milke, McCrimmon, Arias – alleged)                                   Manufactured “witnesses” (McCrimmon)                                                                         Shopping for experts (Krone)                                                                                               Witness intimidation (Arias – alleged)

Improper Police investigators and technical evidence

Perjured documents and statements  (Krone, Arias – alleged)                                     Incomplete testing (Krone, Arias – alleged)

Faulty testing and investigation (Krone)

Incomplete investigation (Arias – alleged)

Problems with Judges and juries

Judge makes a bad ruling                                                                                                           Judge fails to make a ruling (Arias – alleged)                                                                                   Judge uses coercion (McCrimmon)                                                                                             Jury problem at selection (Cruz)                                                                                                       Jury problem during the trial (Arias – alleged)                                                                             Media bias affects jury (Krone, Arias – alleged)

http://www.deathpenaltyinfo.org/innocence-list-those-freed-death-row

The current District Attorney is pressured to hold onto the conviction and death sentence of Debra Milke even though there is no credible evidence of her guilt. The D.A. wanted to limit embarrassment and the liability of his office by insisting on retrying a case that is unlikely to be winnable. Refusing to take responsibility for past wrongs in this case shows a clear conflict of interest. The continued prosecution of Debra Milke is clearly politically motivated and not in the interest of justice.

grand jury 2Prosecutors, in order to secure a quick arrest and trial will also deliver false or incomplete testimony to a Grand Jury. They will make an arrest without probable cause. The prosecution will depend on wresting the needed evidence out of the defendant after they are under arrest. This is especially true in Arizona when an upstanding Mormon or a child is the victim of a violent crime.

2005GrandJuryThere are other ways of gaining an advantage used by prosecutors over defense attorneys. This includes withholding evidence, offering a mile-long list of witnesses, most of whom will never be called, and delivering witness lists to the defense just days before the trial. The prosecution also uses last minute surprises, evidence dumps and massive paperwork dumps to overwhelm the defense attorneys prior to trial.

In a harsh political climate such as Arizona, all these factors pushing towards faulty convictions are attenuated. In Arizona, they fight amongst themselves. Prosecutors fight against judges, the County, the legislature, and law enforcement. We only need to look at the latest headlines in Maricopa County to see the political outfighting, infighting and constant scandals to see this is fertile ground for the misapplication of justice.

Please see What’s going on in Arizona, Maricopa County (Part 2)

All Rights Reserved

Unlike some Blogs, ALL comments are accepted and will be posted.

Spotlight on Dr. Kevin Horn

jatrial

The Jodi Arias Trial    On The Horn of a Dilemma

 

Fact based reporting

By Amanda Chen with Rob Roman

horn 3 images (9) 

 attack new

At the trial, Jodi Arias said something very true about Dr. Horn and the prosecution. She said “I disagree with the order of injuries”.

 The diagram above is how Jodi explained the gunshot. A not incapacitating shot stunned Travis, and he fell to the bathroom floor, before going to the sink. This diagram is not scientific. The shot (red line) would have to come from above Travis’ head and to his right on a roughly 45 degree downward angle.

This theory fits the forensic evidence. Jodi Arias may have gone to his aid, when the deadly struggle resumed. Dr. Horn made the jury and all of us certain that this could not be so. So we should take a look at the very important testimony of Dr. Kevin Horn.

There are many ways a prosecutor can win a case. There is hard work, attention to detail, experience, excellent direct and cross-examination of witnesses, and preparation. There is also a fierce devotion to the job of bringing a dangerous criminal to justice. Finally you will need a good grasp of the evidence, and know how to explain and persuade a jury that your evidence is sound.  

Detective Flores was very convinced before the trial that the gunshot was first. He told the 48 hours interviewer three times that this was so. Was this because he trusted what Jodi Arias told him? I don’t think so. Detective Flores said that he is not a medical doctor and he cannot determine the order of injuries. He must rely on the medical examiner to be so confident that the gunshot was first or last.

Why does it matter? If the gunshot was last, this means many things that Jodi Arias said on the stand about June 4th, 2008 must be lies. It means that the attack on Travis Alexander began with a knife. After so many knife wounds and slitting the throat of her victim, Jodi then shot Travis in the head in cold blood, just to be sure he was dead or maybe to create the illusion of two attackers. Here, there is no possibility of self-defense. 

 Pretend that it was proven that the gunshot was first. What does this mean? Here, there are two possibilities. Jodi shot Travis while he was sitting in the shower. The shot did not incapacitate or kill him and he was still moving about in pain. Jodi could not call the police or get help, because it looks very bad for her. So she gets a knife and “finishes him off”.

The other possibility is that Jodi was telling the truth. She shot him in self-defense and he continued to come at her, so she got hold of a knife and fought back. Then in a highly charged state fueled by adrenaline, she went too far. Her memory was impaired in some way.

If even one juror could believe this possibility, this jury could “hang”. If more jurors see the possibility, Jodi might not be found guilty of 1st degree murder. This is not a good position for the prosecution. Jodi Arias already tried to plead guilty to 2nd degree murder. Every member of the jury must be convinced that the gunshot was last for the prosecution to be certain of winning this case. 

horn 7Then we are introduced to Doctor Kevin Horn. Dr. Horn proved convincingly that the gunshot was last. During his testimony, the prosecutor asked over and over about this point. Dr. Horn testified three times during the trial, and each time he gave more testimony about the gunshot and the order of injuries.

A medical examiner is a trusted public servant, a scientist, and something of a detective. They are experts in their field and we can be sure what they say is true, right?

 If you saw the trial of George Zimmerman, you will remember Dr. Shipping Bao testifying for the prosecution. First he said Trayvon Martin could only live 3 minutes after being shot. Then he said Martin could live 10 minutes. He thought Martin could have been shot from .4 inches away or maybe from 4 feet away.Bao said Trayvon would be immediately incapacitated. Later, he said Martin could have walked 20 feet. He said that many things were “not my job”.  He read from notes that no one ever saw before. He admitted to improper procedures before, during and after the autopsy.

http://www.talkleft.com/story/2013/7/5/145044/7130/crimenews/Zimmerman-Medical-Examiner- Changes-Opinions

http://www.heavy.com/news/2013/07/medical-examiner-testifies-in-zimmerman-murder-trial/

 Why do I bring up Dr. Bao? It took Dr. Vincent DiMaio, a renowned medical examiner and gunshot expert, to discredit Bao’s testimony. It seems that many times, lower level workers and assistants do a lot of the work, and a supervisor signs off.

 Dr. Bao said something very interesting. ‘My opinion is mine, it belongs to me. I can change any time, my right to change.’ But a change in opinion in a capitol murder case can mean the difference between life and death.

There’s always plenty of other evidence and witnesses in a case. Can the testimony of a medical examiner be so critical to a case? Can a small change in the medical examiner’s report or opinion change the outcome of a trial? Let’s look at some recent cases:

 “Dallas, Texas — A jury found appellant, Victor Hugo Quinonez-Saa, guilty of murder and assessed punishment at 75-years confinement and a fine of $10,000.

In his first point of error, appellant asserts that the admission into evidence of autopsy photographs was reversible error because the medical examiner who testified had not performed the autopsy or viewed the body of the deceased. The autopsy had been conducted on the deceased by Dr. Auerlio Espinola, an assistant medical examiner.”

http://www.leagle.com/decision/19931564860SW2d704_11465

 “BROCKTON, Mass. — Massachusetts prosecutors have taken the highly unusual step of charging one of their own expert witnesses — Connecticut state medical examiner Dr. Frank Evangelista — with perjury for what they allege are inconsistencies in his testimony in a murder case.”

http://www.middletownpress.com/general-news/20120120/connecticut-assistant-medical-examiner-charged-with-perjury-in-massachusetts-3

images (7) “ST. PAUL, Minn. — After spending six years in prison, a Minnesota man has been exonerated in his daughter’s death. Avry was just four months old when she died. Mike lost his daughter and then six years of his life, after being convicted of killing her. A judge found the Ramsey County medical examiner gave false or incorrect testimony.”

http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2011/10/03/county-to-further-review-case-involving-medical-examiners-false-testimony

 “Highlands, Texas  — On May 5, 1999, Brandy Briggs found her 2-month-old baby Daniel Lemons limp, barely breathing and unconscious at her home. She called 911 and the baby was rushed to the hospital. On May 9, the baby died. Ms. Briggs was prosected for 1st degree murder. The evidence was based on the opinion of Dr. Moore, a medical examiner.

The trial court found that “Dr. Moore’s trial opinions were based on false pretenses of competence, objectivity, and underlying pathological reasoning, and were not given in good faith.” The trial court characterized her testimony as “expert fiction calculated to attain a criminal conviction.””

 Here is a passage from the court report on this case:

“The Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment is violated when the State knowingly or unknowingly uses perjured testimony to obtain a conviction. We held on direct appeal that false testimony resulted in a due process violation when there was a fair probability that the death sentence was based upon incorrect testimony.””

http://www.cca.courts.state.tx.us

 Medical examiners make honest mistakes like everyone else. Medical examiners are overworked and they are under pressure to help the prosecution team get a conviction. So, what do a few cases gone wrong really show?

 Doctor Horn appeared confident, thorough, and trustworthy. We should not try to implicate Dr. Horn because of mistakes in other states and under different conditions. He is very careful with his reports and testimony, isn’t he? Let’s take a look at two of Dr. Horn’s past legal cases:

images (8) “Ms. Randall operated a home day care business. She discovered a four-month-old child unconscious on her floor on April 18, 2007. She called 911. Paramedics transported the child to Phoenix Children’s Hospital. The youngster was taken off of life support the following day, and passed away.”

 “Kevin Horn, M.D. (“Horn”) performed an autopsy. A CT scan revealed a “possible skull fracture, secondary to brain swelling.” The Peoria police were notified and Detective Kevin Moran was assigned as the lead investigator. Subsequently, Dr. Horn concluded that the youngster died from “blunt force trauma of the head and neck.”

 A grand jury indicted Randall for the child’s death in November 2007.The Prosecutor’s Office announced they would seek the death penalty.”

 “Nearly two years later, the State finally withdrew its notice seeking the death penalty. After argument, the charges were dismissed with prejudice on August 4, 2010.

 Ms. Randall then filed a complaint. The amended complaint alleged eleven causes of action and the named defendants included Maricopa County, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, Thomas, Whitney, Horn, Moran, and the City of Peoria.”

http://statecasefiles.justia.com/documents/arizona

 Here, Dr. Horn seems to make a neutral diagnosis of injuries, which then changes to intentional infliction of injuries shortly after meeting with Detective Moran and the D.A.’s office. This death penalty case never made it to trial. In the next case, the self-defense case of Harold Fish, Dr. Horn seems to pass off mere speculation for scientific certainty.

 “ISSUE PRESENTED FOR REVIEW:

The speculative testimony of the Medical Examiner, Dr. Horn (in State v. Fish), was relied upon by the State as “forensic science” in arguing their case to the jury. Yet, the testimony of Dr. Horn failed to meet minimum evidentiary standards.” 

 “Although the Court of Appeals found that Dr. Horn ultimately focused upon “offensive” and “defensive” wounds as equally likely ….. we submit that expert testimony speculating about gunshot wounds as “defensive wounds” when they are no more likely than “offensive wounds” not only falls short of evidentiary standards, but is more prejudicial than probative.”

 “The State relied upon the testimony of Dr. Horn as essential evidence to support its conviction. It is obvious that the State would not have prevailed (in State v. Fish) without the testimony of Dr. Horn.”

“An expert opinion must be within a reasonable degree of medical probability which is an important evidentiary standard throughout the United States that must be enforced in order to prevent unreliable medical testimony from swaying juries, which is exactly what happened in Fish’s case.”

 “Dr. Horn’s interpretation of the wounds as “consistent with defensive wounds” was nothing more than a speculative judgment about one possibility within an array of many possible inferences.” 

 “The testimony of Dr. Horn not only swayed the jury, it was used as the decisive “evidence” against Fish. Dr. Horn’s testimony fell below evidentiary standards and was misleading. It violated due process of law.” 

http://www.haroldfishdefense.org

horn 2 ta 115

In the Arias case, Dr. Horn said that the gunshot pierced the skull and therefore must have impacted the brain. Dr. Horn said the victim was shot in the frontal lobe and therefore would be “immediately incapacitated”. Dr, Horn’s report indicated that the brain was not impacted by the bullet, but he claimed it was a typographical error. All of this is highly questionable.

 Dr. Horn stated that he found no blood in the wound tract. Crime scene photos show blood pouring out of Mr. Alexander’s nostrils. Dr. Horn stated that the gases from the gunshot would cause a massive shockwave through the brain. If the brain was impacted, the wound tract through the brain could only be mere fractions of an inch.

http://www.youtube.com/user/croakerqueen123

 Shortly before the trial, Juan Martinez aksed Detective Flores to meet with Dr. Horn. They met to discuss possible death penalty aggravators. Detective Flores changed his opinion and his sworn testimony. Dr. Horn’s opinion and report also changed. Detective Flores stated all this at trial. Dr. Horn was insistent and adamant about his new opinion after holding the opposite opinion for years. Imagine that!

http://www.youtube.com/user/croakerqueen123

 Imagine this: Lisa Randall was a grandmother and Day care operator who faced the death penalty and three years of prosecution based on no evidence other than the faulty medical opinion of Dr. Horn.

 Harold Fish was a retired teacher and a Mormon father of 7. Fish was an avid hiker and hunter forced to kill a man who attacked him on a trail. His conviction was reversed and he was released from prison to enjoy three years of freedom before he passed away.

horn fish randall

 In both cases, there was no evidence at all to support a conviction. There is nothing anywhere in the past of either to suggest they would harm or kill another person. There are only the tragic events of one day and the testimony and opinion of Dr. Kevin Horn.

lisa randall 

  Lisa Randall:  Death Penalty and First Degree Murder Charges Dropped

fish freed 125

Harold Fish: Conviction Reversed 

The Prosecution was certain that the gunshot was last. It was a post-mortem gunshot and Travis Alexander was already dead. If so, then there is no question that this is “gratuitous violence”, needlessly inflicting a gunshot after the victim had died. If so, this easily proves the heinous and depraved prongs of the cruelty aggravator. Interestingly, heinous and depraved were not charged in this case.

 The prosecution took the gunshot last theory, persuaded the jury and most trial watchers, and got the conviction. Yet, the way the case was presented shows that the prosecutor does not even believe his own theory.

 Here is something else to imagine: the theory, using a presumption of guilt, that the gunshot was first and that Travis Alexander was shot above the right eyebrow while sitting down in the shower.

 This theory fits the forensic evidence. It has a much more profound “cruelty aggravator”, and it is a much more reasonable theory to seek a 1st degree murder conviction. Further, this is the only scenario under which the charges of both 1st degree premeditated AND felony murder make any sense at all.

 So you really need to ask yourself: Why, then, did the prosecution try so hard to disprove it?

 Death From Above

shower shot ta

I call this the “death from above” theory.

It’s not so scientific. Like Jodi, I’m an artist, so maybe I can see images in my mind and understand the dimensions easier than others. Maybe we need to use a dummy to truly see it.

If Travis was sitting in the shower, then taking a presumption of guilt, this is how he was shot. It’s a slightly angled downward shot from in front and above Travis. The prosecution didn’t want the jury to consider this theory because then the jury would also have to consider the defense theory, and the defense theory is the most reasonable of the three, according to the facts.

travis floor

 Post Traumatic Death on the Floor

This is the prosecution’s theory. After Travis Alexander is stabbed and his throat is cut, Jodi drags him still “bleeding out” near the bathroom sink where, for some reason, she shoots him at a slight angle. She doesn’t shoot him last in the shower, because he was found in the shower with his left side facing out.

 The average width of a human head is 18cm (7.1 inches). Let’s imagine Travis’ head diameter is 8.0 inches. The gun barrel would have to be somewhere near 8 to 12 inches above the floor.

 That makes good logical sense, doesn’t it, Dr. Horn?

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These are actual X-Ray and CT scans of the brain. Look at all that room right where Travis was shot. There is easily plenty of room for that gunshot to completely miss the brain. Travis was shot in the face through the skull and the nasal cavity. Travis was not shot through the frontal lobe. It was not “rapidly incapacitating”. Dr. Horn is wrong again. 

2837904-human-x-ray-head-with-brain images (9)

The “Linebacker”  position

attack new

Defense Theory

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Unlike most blogs, ALL comments are accepted and will be posted.

Spotlight on Juan Martinez

The Jodi Arias Trial

Shining a spotlight on the Prosecutor Juan Martinez

Fact based reporting

By Rob Roman

“Mr. Martinez, you keep trying to make this a rational scenario, and it isn’t rational.” – Expert defense witness

For Juan Martinez, there are no “irrational” scenarios about a murder. Murder is against the laws of God and man. There is a victim here. A human being is dead in an unnatural way. The defendant is the accused. Many hours of police work and investigation have been rendered. The defendant has been brought to trial. Juan Martinez is going to trial to put them in a cage. A conviction will slam the door shut. When the conviction survives appeals, the door will be locked. That is the only rational response to murder.

 

juan in 2002

 

Juan Martinez doesn’t want to hear about any exceptions to the rule. He doesn’t want to hear “this is not what it seems”. The defense always seems to have an excuse, a rationalization, explanations, and alternate scenarios. The prosecution must prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt. All the defense must show is any doubt, any doubt at all. The prosecution needs a unanimous jury to convict. The defense only needs one juror on their side to jam the wheels of justice. If you get a conviction, an appeal can change a sentence, send the case back to trial, or even free the defendant.

 

juan martinez large

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Juan’s perspective, one can see why he may feel like the system is against the victims of crime.  To Juan it’s truly an “adversarial system” and he will fight to win. When the death penalty is involved, the two sides tend to go too far and we might be losing a search for the truth. Winning the conviction becomes more important than the truth. Juan’s black and white way of viewing crime works well most of the time. But sometimes there will be someone in the defendant’s chair who is innocent of the crime charged or over-charged.

Sometimes this person gets stuck in the wheels of justice. Many innocent defendants have been convicted and jailed and some have been executed. So we must always be sure a trial is a search for the truth, even if sometimes the guilty person is set free. The prosecution and the defense both play vital roles in this process. The rights of victims must be carefully balanced with the rights of the accused.

During the final arguments in the guilt phase of the Jodi Arias murder trial, lead Defense attorney, Lawrence Kirk Nurmi, talked about shining a spotlight on the actions of the prosecution, specifically detective and co-counsel Esteban “Steve” Flores and the sole prosecuting attorney, Juan Martinez. The implication was that Mr. Martinez had acted improperly during the trial. I believe Detective Flores to be an honest man who only followed Dr. Horn’s opinion and he tried to help Jodi at the interrogation.

Of the enthusiastic trial watchers in the Jodi Arias case, there is also a spotlight on Juan Martinez. Prosecution supporters (Justice4Travis), see him as a “bulldog” a hero who tenaciously pursues the defendant until he can wrest a guilty verdict. Defendant supporters (Team Jodi) see him as over the top, going too far, and using a combination of emotionally charged persuasion, some direct evidence and some speculation to sway juries to render a guilty verdict.

There are many ways a prosecutor can win a case. There is hard work, attention to detail, experience, excellent direct and cross-examination of witnesses, and preparation. There is also a fierce devotion to the job of bringing a dangerous criminal to justice. Finally you will need a good grasp of the evidence, and know how to explain and persuade a jury that your evidence is sound. Juan Martinez is all of this and more.

He is passionate, dedicated, and I believe he sees the defense as having too many advantages in the system. I believe he employs methods normally used by defense attorneys to persuade the jurors to see things his way. Juan Martinez is well known for using wild speculation and “facts” not supported by the evidence in his closing arguments.

Maybe the truth is not in the extremes but somewhere in the middle. We can shine the spotlight on past and present cases to try to determine what is motivating the prosecutor with the impressive 22-1 record, Juan Martinez.

new sealHere is what his admirers in cyber space say about Juan:

Respectfully I’d like to thank Mr. Martinez for giving me the realization there’s someone fighting for victims. My father was brutally murdered in 1990, very similar to what happened to Travis Alexander.

It was very brutal I lost my faith in the judicial system after what my family went thru and watching the way these murderers have all the rights yet the victims do not. Mr. Martinez, as I see it, represents a man who I wish there were more of. He is God’s light and I wish him all the best in this world where sometimes I think our society’s become blind to so many things…

And if anything at all, perhaps some could look at this man and appreciate what he does for so many. He is truly an asset to the state. As for Ms. Arias, I hope for the victims’ family…Justice.

Juan Martinez is the best. So sick of the trash that is going around surrounding this case. Who is on trial here?

I think he is the best. If I ever need a lawyer he’s it. No BS with him. Why waste time with guilty killers?

Juan is the second youngest of a family of nine. He came to America at age 6 when his family emmigrated from Mexico and settled in California. He vowed to learn English well and be a success. He participated in many activities, such as running long distance track in high school. He finished college and attended ArizonaStateUniversity where he earned his law degree. Juan did some volunteer legal work and some work defending clients. Then, in 1988, he joined the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.

juan early yrs

 

 

 

 

 

What is in Juan Martinez’ heart and mind? We can try to have a better understanding of him by knowing his feeling. In this world and surely in Arizona, there is crime and there are criminals. There are vicious and violent senseless crimes and uncaring evil and cruel criminals. Juan is very aware of this. Let’s take a look at the A B C’s of the convicts now on Arizona’s Death Row:

 

frank atwood atwood victim

Atwood, Frank

Kidnapped and raped an 8 year-old boy.

Kidnapped, raped and Killed an 8 year-old girl and left her in the desert.

 

patrick bearup

Bearup, Patrick

With three accomplices, beat a man half to death with a baseball bat,

threw him in the trunk of his car, cut off his finger,

shot him with a shotgun and threw him off a cliff.

 

jonathan burns and victim

Burns, Jonathan

Kidnapped and raped a woman and shot her twice in the head.

 

chappell

Chappelle, Derek

Choked his girlfriend’s 2 1/2 year-old son nearly to death

then later drowned him in a swimming pool.

 

cota

Cota, Benjamin

Beat an older man to death with a hammer, then bound his wife and struck her

in the head repeatedly with a hatchet until dead.

He wrapped them up in plastic, hid in their home, then stole everything they had

of value including their car.

 

djerf

Djerf, Richard

Raped a 17 year-old girl, then shot, stabbed and beat to death the girl,

her father and mother and her 5 year-old brother.

 

ellison

Ellison, Charles

With an accomplice, broke into a couple’s home, bound them with telephone cord

and masking tape, then suffocated the husband with a pillow and choked the wife to death.

 

So, it’s easy to see why Juan grew up believing in law and order, right and wrong, good and bad. He believes that if you intentionally caused a person’s death, you should pay by being removed from society and in many cases, sentenced to death. It’s just so simple. It’s not difficult to see where his sentiments come from.

 

It was 1997, ten years after Juan Martinez joined the Maricopa County Attorney’s office. Late at night in an upscale neighborhood in MaricopaCounty, Greg Koons heard screams coming from his neighbor’s back yard. He went outside and peered over the fence. He saw his neighbor, casually pushing his wife into his in-ground swimming pool and holding her head under the water. He sprinted inside and called the police.

scott falater

 

 

 

 

 

Soon after, the neighbor, Scott Falater, opened his door to the police. Confused and not understanding what the fuss was all about, the police went into his backyard and found his wife Yarmilla floating dead in the pool. She had been stabbed 44 times. Scott Falater was a High Councilor in the Mormon Church, and a husband and father of two. He was a successful design engineer with Motorola and very active in the church. He was a mild-mannered man, had seldom become angry, and had no motive to kill his wife whom he loved dearly.

Juan Martinez went to court to exact justice. It seemed like an open and shut case. There was an eye witness, a direct identification of the perpetrator, and a viciously stabbed and drowned wife. The man was arrested within minutes of the crime. The courtroom was nearly empty. Next door in a crowded courtroom was a high profile case. Teen members of a Crips gang were on trial for a brutal, three hour sexual assault of a fifteen year-old mentally handicapped girl.

Juan Martinez was shocked to find out that the man’s high paid attorneys were claiming their client, Scott Falater, was innocent by reason of sleepwalking! Like the Jodi Arias case, the focus was not on who did the killing, but why. The defense claimed that Scott Falater had no incentive, motive or reason to kill his wife of 20 years. There had to be another explanation for why this would occur. For Juan, there is no why. She’s dead and he killed her and justice will be done. For Juan, you are either a good or bad person. If you do something like this, you are a bad person and the “why” shouldn’t matter at all. Still he needed to give the jury a viable motive.

This is the template case for the Jodi Arias case. Both involved horrific killings where the defendants admitted to horrific acts but claimed no knowledge of the killings or any intent of murder. Both defenses relied on crucial expert testimony. Juan struggled to find a motive for this senseless killing during the trial. He offered many scenarios to the jury. His wife refused to have more children. His wife was moving his family away from the Mormon Church.

falater family large

Sure, he was mild mannered, but he took his anger from work home to his wife. Juan argued with the defendant and declared that Falater didn’t even know his wife’s birthday. He told a shocked Falater he had the year wrong. Juan was mistaken due to an incorrect report.

Juan Martinez even argued that Falater killed his wife because he thought she was fat and dumpy. Falater made the statement to police that “a terrible sin has been committed”. Falater was referring to the killing. Juan suggested to the jury that Scott Falater killed his wife because SHE committed a terrible sin.

By the end of the trial, State v. Falater starring Juan Martinez had become the new high profile trial in Arizona. The sleepwalking defense became famous around the country. Juan attacked the defense experts. He claimed that the expert’s conclusions were invalid because the expert was not provided with all the details. The defendant recognized his dog but not his wife, and he cleaned up the scene and the evidence.

In closing the defense attorney reminded the jury that Juan Martinez mischaracterized the evidence and made comments not supported by the evidence. The defense attorney implied that the prosecuter violated his duty to see that truth and justice is done. The defense reminded the jury that Scott Falater was a passive and non-violent man, and that the prosecution could not come up with a valid reason or motive for the killing.

The defense attorney tried to explain to the jury that sometimes there are cases where things are not as they seem. There are exceptions when things happen which are difficult to explain. At one point the defense expert witness addressed the prosecutor:

“Mr. Martinez, you keep trying to make this a rational scenario, and it isn’t rational.” At some point in the closing, Martinez slammed the door on all this talk about sleepwalking.

“Do you think that she deserved to die?” he asked. “Look at her. We’ve placed so much attention on him, everything’s about him. Look at her!”

juan 1

 

 

 

 

 

Juan Martinez then threw a photo up of the victim on the autopsy table. He loudly implored the jury to look at her, to look at the indignity of the victim.  The defense attorney talks about reasons, REASONS?

Scott Falater “had 44 reasons to KILL his wife”, Martinez screamed. He was referring to the 44 knife wounds. Only one member of this Arizona jury had a college degree.

He appealed to the nuts and bolts sense of the jury.

He had a sound argument for the jury:

“This guy here killed his wife ….. and he’s guilty of first-degree murder.”

Scott Falater was found guilty of 1st degree muder and sentenced by the judge to life without parole.

Even 15 years before the Jodi Arias case, Juan Martinez was already honing his craft. He was becoming an expert at arguing the details with expert witnesses, discrediting witnesses, questioning the memory of the defendant and defense witnesses, and calling them out as liars. He was becoming better than defense attorneys at weaving speculation into the facts of the case while at the same time, calling defense evidence fictions and  “fantasy”.

He ridiculed defense theories, calling them such things as “The man of La Mancha defense”. Fifteen years before the Arias trial, Juan was already in the habit of yelling at witnesses, including a priest, and ridiculing witnesses. Even in the Falater trial, he questioned the children of the victim and the defendant in a voice laced with irony and sarcasm.  In Juan’s view, he had delivered justice for Yarmilla. Her children who lost two parents may beg to differ.

doug grant

 

 

 

 

 

hilary falaterLater, Juan had another case of seemingly obvious 1st degree murder. Two divorced Mormons had married. Doug Grant was a very successful in the health products business. He owned a multi-million dollar company. His clients included famous professional athletes and NBA teams.

Doug cheated on his wife with his receptionist. His wife, Faylene, found out and complained to the church. Here we see the dangerous nexus between the LDS Church, social life, and business. It seems that if Doug Grant did not return to his wife, the church would get involved and this would impact his business. It’s important to understand this dynamic of the Mormon Church in the Jodi Arias trial.

Doug told Faylene he ended it with his girlfriend Hilary, and he wanted to remarry Faylene in Las Vegas. They went for an impromptu  2nd Honeymoon at Timpanogos Cave National Monument where his wife suddenly and mysteriously fell into trees down a sixty foot cliff.

ht_doug_faylene_090331_msShe survived and they returned home. Faylene took some pain killers and a bath to heal from her injuries.

She was found dead in the bathtub by Doug Grant in September, 2001. Three weeks after Faylene’s death, Doug Grant married his receptionist, Hilary Dewitt, and they soon became a family aftter Hilary adopted Faylene’s two sons.

Another high priced attorney and in Juan’s mind, more excuses, fancy explanations, technicalities, more sure signs of guilt that the court would not admit into evidence.

hilary falayer 2Imagine Juan’s shock and disbelief when he could not convince the jury of the 1st degree murder he believed was so obvious. The jury was clearly divided and Juan was forced to give instructions for lesser included offenses. Murder one and the death penalty was off the table for Doug Grant. He got  a 5 year sentence for manslaughter.

Faylene had made many statements about committing suicide and had even given Hilary her blessing to take car of her children. The prosecution had tried, unsuccessfully,  to hide these facts from the jury.

I can imagine that Juan was devastated, and thought justice had not been done. He had failed to get justice for Faylene. He contemplated his lessons and moved on.

 

 

The Grant family still believes Doug is innocent. They list a number of accusations of prosecutorial misconduct in State v. Grant. This includes

-“Losing” key evidence, “throwing away reports”, and failure to turn over key evidence to the defense in a timely manner.

-Convincing the judge to not allow into evidence testimony that the medical examiner was pressured to change his opinion about the cause of death on the victim’s autopsy report from “accident” to “undetermined”.

-Convincing the judge to rule possible exculpatory evidence as inadmissible

-Convincing the judge not to allow into evidence testimony and records showing that investigators were removed from the case when they told their superiors they could not find evidence of foul play.

-Objecting over fifty times during the defense opening statements.

-Preventing defense witness from trying to explain their answers by cutting off their answers and forcing them to answer either yes, or no.

-When these same witnesses were being questioned by the defense, Juan Martinez objected “over 200 times per day”.

-The prosecution case took three and one half months, but the judge ordered the defense to complete their case in two weeks in order to “stay on schedule”.

-Intimidating defense witnesses by accusing them of violating the law without evidence or any record of a law having been broken. The accusation that they broke the law is used to discredit their testimony and truthfulness.

-Accusing defense witnesses of lying but using arguing tactics and word tricks rather than evidence to support it.

-Using the normal and common variations in a witness’ statements and memory to attack their memory of an event, and then to suggest that the memory varies because the witness is lying.

-Also in this trial, jury members who were not a part of the final jury admitted that they had been influenced by the media and they had made up their minds the defendant was guilty before the trial began.

The jury did not believe the prosecution’s theory and did not like Juan’s tactics. Do any of these tactics foster a “search for the truth”? Do you recognize any of these tactics from the Jodi Arias trial? Doug’s family feels that truth and justice were not found in State v. Grant. These two quotes appear on their website:

 

“Anybody who understands the justice system knows innocent people are convicted every day.” –Florida Supreme Court Justice, Gerald Kogun (Ret.)

 

“In this country the presumption of innocence is dead, dead, dead.” –John Grisham

 

Not long after, Juan found himself on the losing side of a case. A man had been found shot dead in the forest. The defendant was David Wayne Carr. The evidence was thin. Juan started fighting back in his own way. With less than two weeks before the trial, Martinez did not give the defense a list of his witnesses and other materials. The defense was angry. They could not properly prepare their defense. They filed a complaint to the judge. This offense was punishable by up to six months in jail. The judge was very upset that his court was delayed.

The County attorney hired a high powered attorney to defend Juan. He fought back against the charge. Juan accused the defense of not giving a list of possible defenses to him until 2 weeks before the trial. Do you recognize this lawyer’s tactic of counter-charging from the Jodi Arias trial? Juan ended up being forced to write a letter of apology to the court. The case was delayed and later, the jury found David Carr not guilty.

This is the only case Martinez lost. Strangely, a mysterious friend of Jodi Arias appeared in the courtroom during her trial. He called himself “Bryan Carr”. He claimed to talk to Jodi daily and that he had confidential information. He claimed Jodi was telling the truth about the two masked people that were responsible for the murder. The claim was that Travis Alexander’s murder was actually an old Mormon atonement ritual called “blood atonement”. A Mormon who had committed grave sins could still go to heaven if he paid for his sins through this death ritual. Arias claimed she did not know Carr and she did not listen to him. Then, “Bryan Carr” disappeared from the courtroom and the media as quickly as he had appeared.

wendi andrMartinez recovered with the murder trial of Wendi Andriano. Wendi’s Husband was terminally ill. There were changes in his life insurance policy. He was going to win a large lawsuit. The bleach blonde Wendi was neglecting and cheating on her husband and always out drinking. She was never home. There was a question about whether her husband would leave her. Maybe he would cut her out of his will.

On October 8, 2000, Wendi tried to poison her husband. It wasn[t the first time. She called an ambulance when it seemed like he was about to die, then she sent the ambulance away when he partially recovered. Later she hit him 23 times in the head with a barstool. She stabbed him multiple times leaving the knife in his throat.

 

wendi andriano large

 

 

 

 

 

Arias

Juan cross examined Wendi Andriano ferociously. Wendi claimed that the poisoning was a planned assisted suicide, that her husband accepted her cheating, and that he attacked her and she defended herself.

On the stand she said “If I am convicted, it is because of my own bad choices”. Interestingly, Jodi Arias actually mimicked some of the mannerisms of Wendi Andriano and quoted her while on the stand. Wendi’s hair also returned to its natural brown color and she dressed down and wore glasses at her death penalty trial.

But the victim, Joseph Andriano would win the day. The jury didn’t believe her story and they sentenced her to death just a few days before Christmas, 2004.

wendi andriano 1

 

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Empowered from his victory, Juan must have felt invincible. Things were going well for Juan, and his record was impressive. Then he ran into a legal buzz saw named Shawn P. Lynch.

This may have really hardened him about the justice system.  Lynch and a friend had killed a man and then went on a spending spree with his credit card. There was plenty of evidence and little doubt about who committed the crime. The confusion came from who did what. The jury convicted Lynch of murder but they could not agree on premeditation.

Next Juan would learn about the aggravation of the aggravators. The jury agreed on murder for a money motive, but they disagreed on heinous cruel or depraved. A second mitigation and penalty phase was ordered.

During the second phases, Juan instructed the jury that there were four aggravating circum206125stances: Pecuniary gain (money), heinous, cruel, and depraved. In 2006, the jury found all four aggravators and sentenced Lynch to death.

Juan thought he had justice for James Pazarella, but the case was far from over.

Shawn Lynch appealed with a barrage of issues, including prosecutorial misconduct on the part of Juan Martinez. The higher court rejected most of the claims.

Technically, heinous, cruel and depraved are not three aggravators. They are three “prongs” of a single aggravator. The court stated that since the jury was instructed there were four aggravators instead of two, this was found to be prejudicial to the client. So this crime from 2001 and death penalty sentence from 2006, has yet go back to trial a third time for another sentencing phase.

More than 12 years later, there is not a final sentence. There has been no closure for the Panzarellas.  I think this experience aggravated Juan and made him feel that the justice needs a little push sometimes since the system and appeals process all seem to be on the defendant’s side.

dean glickJuan had better success with State v. Glick. Dean Glick, 41, was a vile and degenerate person by any standards. He lived with his 82 year old mother. He abused her and stole her money. He hired a prostitute and promised her a huge bonus. His mother protested when he tried to use her credit card to pay. The prostitute left with her driver when the argument became heated. They quickly called the police.

Dean Glick then beat his 82 year-old mother to death with a plastic flashlight. When the police arrived, Glick had barricaded the front door. There was plenty of evidence and two eye witnesses who saw the beginning of a horrible fight just minutes before the murder.

Imagine Juan’s attitude towards defense attorneys when Glick’s attorneys told the jury that Dean was caring and responsible. He loved his mom way too much to kill her. They simply had an argument. The argument got out of control and the beating was not so bad. Glick broke his mom’s ribs and sternum not while beating her but while trying to perform CPR on her fragile body! It is not difficult to understand Juan’s disdain for the defense. Dean Glick was convicted of 1st degree murder and sentenced to life in prison.

cory and victimsMartinez had further success with a high profile serial killer case. Cory Morris was accused of killing his girlfriend and four other women and burying them next to his trailer. From 2002 to 2003 he had lured the women into his home with promises of money. Then the victims were subjected to beatings, rape, murder and then necrophilia. Imagine the disdain on his face when the defense counsel addressed the jury.

corry morrisThis is the case where Juan Martinez cut open an evidence bag containing the coat of one of the murdered and buried victims, removed it, and “invited the jury to take a good whiff”. This was supposedly to prove necrophelia, even though:

1) There was really no need to do so, and

2) How does a jacket that smells like death prove necrophelia?

 

 

The defense was equally irrational, arguing that although Morris committed 5 murders, he had not premeditated any of them. Therefore, Corey Morris should get five counts of 2nd degree murder and not the death penalty. The jury did not accept the argument.

Morris was sentenced to death in July, 2005.

 

In 2005, Juan Martinez was the prosecutor in the case of an Arizona State University star running back who shot a teammate to death in a parking lot. Juan was not moved by the idea of the popular Arizona Sun Devils running back making some bad decisions and a terrible mistake.

loren wade 2

In 2007, Loren Wade was found guilty of second degree murder and sentenced to 20 years in prison. Juan had another win under his belt. Most likely Juan doesn’t remember Loren Wade’s name, but he certainly remembers Brandon Falkner, who was shot to death for talking to Wade’s girlfriend. Falkner was the less well known football player who’s life was cut so short.loren wade

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then there was State v. Miller. William Craig Miller, 34, was a business owner who committed arson, burning down his own home for insurance money. He talked his employee Steven Duffy into helping him. When Duffy and his girlfriend, Tammy Lovell, offered to help the police prosecute him, Miller retaliated.

He killed Duffy, his eighteen year old brother, Lovell, and her two children ages 15 and 10. Imiller victimsmagine the ire in the conscience of Juan Martinez when the defense attorney implored the jury to “keep an open mind” and to remember that “things are not always as they seem”.

The defense attorney told the jury that life in prison is punishment enough and showed smiling baby photos of Miller. They said to remember that there was a human being inside the monster and that Miller suffered from bipolar disorder. Juan pounced on this sickening plea. What about Duffy, Lovell, her brother, and the children? Where is their mercy?

1234216_GThe jury convicted him of five counts of 1st degree murder and sentenced him to death in 2011.

For Juan Martinez, he will grudgingly provide a “why”. If the jury needs a “why”, he will find one to give them. But for Juan, there is no why. You took a life. We know you did it, and now it is time to pay for your sin. Many murders are straightforward. Juan Martinez doesn’t see that there are rare exceptions and sometimes there are possible explanations for something that seems like a horrible and vicious murder.

In 2013, in the Arias trial, Juan finds himself once again accused of prosecutorial misconduct.  Withholding from the defense text messages, Instant messages, and e-mails recovered from the cell phone of Travis Alexander in time for trial.  Thousands and thousands of messages were recovered and turned over in 2011 shortly before the anticipated beginning of the trial. The trial was delayed many times.

Other incidents of misconduct throughout the trial have been alleged by the defense, including suborning perjury in the testimony of the Medical Examiner, Dr. Kevin Horn. More recently, there are allegations that the prosecution tried to hide evidence found on victim, Travis Aexander’s computer.

*********************************************************

Juan Martinez was in his usual element, berating defense witnesses, attempting to insult and humiliate the defendant and expert defense witnesses. Appealing to the emotions rather than the reason and logic of the jury, trying to shape the testimony of defense witnesses, cutting them off  before they can explain their answers, and questioning witnesses with cynical and aggressive questioning, even screaming, barking and snapping at witnesses in bulldog fashion.

 

jodi juanNurmi attempted to shine a “spotlight” on the actions of the prosecutor by making accusations of misconduct throughout the trial, an attempt to deceive the jury by making their unlikely order of injuries a scientific certainty which would highly benefit the prosecution’s case.

Finally, adding the nonsensical charge of 1st degree felony murder for fear that the jury would not believe the thin and mostly speculative evidence of premeditation. Whatever it took, Juan vowed to deliver justice for Travis Alexander and his shattered family.

juan katie wicktrial century

Many trial watchers praised Juan Martinez as a hero. In the media and also in social media, victim’s rights were enshrined and Juan’s devices were duplicated.

Witnesses were threatened and intimidated by mostly anonymous Facebook and Twitter avengers. Only one side of the story was presented. Anyone who said anything in support of the defendant, her attorneys and witnesses was castigated. Speculations were presented in the media and social media as fact. Exculpatory evidence was not allowed into the public domain. Any opinion in any way favorable to the defendant or the defense was ridiculed, blocked, and deleted. Posters were driven away by swarms of avengers and Facebook pages supporting Jodi Arias were deleted due to false complaints of “pornography”.

juan 2Currently, Juan has completed the Chrisman trial where a former Phoenix police officer is charged with 2nd degree murder, assault, and cruelty to animals after shooting a man and his dog in his home during a complaint of violence. Juan had an eye witness and some evidence, but there was a problem with missing evidence from outside the home favoring Chrisman.

chrismanJuan responded in a clever fashion. He suggested to the jury during closing arguments that Chrisman’s fellow officers may have hidden and destroyed evidence as well as altering the crime scene. No evidence was introduced in support of the accusation.Richard Chrisman2794230_G

The judge gave the jury instructions that what is said in closing arguments is not evidence and that lack of evidence should be seen as favorable to Chrisman. Even so, jury members were influenced by the contention that his fellow officers helped Chrisman by removing and destroying evidence.

chrisman trial 2Chrisman claimed that he shot the victim because he picked up a bicycle and threatened to assault the officer. Juan told the jury that “no gun residue was found on the bicycle”, proving that Chrisman was lying. In fact, no tests were conducted on the bicycle for gun residue. Juan Martinez had used a defense-style tactic to influence the jury.

Chrisman’s defense attorneys have complained that the Grand Jury was not given the evidence it needed to make a sound decision about whether the case should be brought to trial or what proper charges were to be brought.

“Chrisman’s lawyers filed a motion claiming the prosecutors in the case, Juan Martinez and Ted Duffy, omitted certain facts and ignored questions from the grand jury that indicted him”.

“Chrisman’s lawyers say prosecutors never told the grand jury about the victim’s alleged drug use or comments made by Chrisman to the first officer on the scene.”

juan crossIn the past, these actions were deemed as misconduct by Arizona judges. Now the exact same behaviors are not viewed as misconduct. Here is the response to such behavior in Arizona in a 2006 murder case:

“Mr. Duffy  (the prosecutor) did a lot of things during the trial that in my opinion were just outrageous,” said Raynak (the defense attorney).”

“Raynak says Duffy’s misconduct included introducing evidence after he was told not to, and making statements about evidence that simply weren’t true. Judge Arthur Anderson agreed, and after notifying the bar, Duffy was suspended for 30 days and given probation for a year”. In the Chrisman case, Martinez and Duffy had teamed up to deliver Justice for Danny Rodriguez and his mother who had called the police to begin with.

Although it seems that ex-officer Chrisman was very wrong in his actions, pepper spraying, tasing, then shooting Rodriguez to death, the jury should be given the sound evidence and be able to make a fair decision based on the evidence and testimony presented. The jury should not be unduly influenced by tricks and tactics designed to influence the jury outside of the facts of the case.

The prosecutors should not mislead the Grand Jury, try to keep out exculpatory evidence, and make arguments to the jury which mischaracterizes evidence. Expert witnesses can be discredited or have their opinions questioned, but character assassination, taunting and ridicule of qualified experts should not be allowed. The prosecution should turn over witness lists and evidence to the defense on time.

http://blogs.phoenixnewtimes.com/valleyfever/2010/11/richard_chrisman_phoenix_pds_k.php

Iredondoeric shuhandler

In his upcoming case, State v. Christopher Redondo, Juan has been sparring with the judge. Redondo has already been convicted for the unrelated murder of Ernie Singh on June 24, 2009.  For this, Redondo was sentenced to life in prison. Now, Redondo is accused of shooting to death Gilbert Police Lt. Eric Shuhandler in January 2010.

Redondo was reportedly despondent in his cell and refusing to talk to defense counsel. Judge Barton requested that Juan Martinez attempt a plea bargain to life in prison and has ordered a competency hearing. Juan Martinez became incensed and convinced that the judge is trying to stop him from getting Redondo the death penalty.  Juan also feels Judge Barton is “sympathetic” to the defendant and should not be allowed to preside in the competency hearing. I would say she believes the Death penaty should be used judiciously.

He wants a stricter judge to find him competent to stand trial and to be eligible for execution. Juan knows Redondo is already serving life in prison for the killing of Singh. If he is found guilty, this means he will get no extra punishment for the killing of Officer Shuhandler in 2010. So, Juan feels that Redondo should stop playing mentally sick and should just face execution. In his motion, “Martinez accused Barton of being hostile toward the death penalty in three other cases”.

judgeBartonJanetThis can be directly traced back to State v. Miller. The judge in that case was Judge Barton. Miller was the man who killed 5 people as retaliation for testifying against him in an arson case. Even though there were multiple aggravators such as multiple murders, prior felonies, witness elimination, and the murder of two children. Juan still insisted in motions with the judge that the especially cruel, heinous or depraved aggravator be allowed to be used. The judge replied that there were plenty of other aggravators, and that the five were shot in rapid succession, making it difficult to prove significant mental suffering took place.

“Based upon the evidence presented, the state has not shown that any significant period of time elapsed between the killings and that any victim did not die instantly from the gunshot wounds,” Barton responded. “Rather, it appears that the victims were killed in rapid succession and none of them had significant time to contemplate their fate,” the judge said.

Why does Juan Martinez fight so hard to get an aggravator he doesn’t need to get the death penalty? The answer is precedent.

If this particular crime is seen as supporting the heinous, cruel, or depraved aggravator, then many more cases can claim this aggravator for gunshot murders due to the precedent that can be created in State v. Miller. This allows the prosecutors in Arizona to use the threat of the death penalty more often to force a plea in selected cases. This also widens rather than narrows the number of homicides that can be found eligible for the death penalty.

Judge Barton has presided over other death penalty cases where the sentence was death. Judge Barton has also refused to block death sentences from being carried out. So maybe Juan Martinez is being too tenacious in attacking Judge Barton for being reasonable and judicious in the application of the death penalty.

 

Update: Bryan Hulsey was found guilty of 1st degree murder of a Police Officer and was sentenced to death in the murder of Glendale Police Officer Anthony Holly on August 28th, 2014. Juan Martinez was the prosecutor. Hulsey threateningly gave the jury a standing ovation, of sorts.

juan 3It’s wonderful when you have a tough prosecutor who will fight hard for the rights of victims and victim’s families. It’s a blessing to have a tenacious prosecutor to protect society from serial killers, cop killers, rogue cops, mass murderers, and outlaw felony murderers with drug habits. The problem comes when you have people such as Scott Falater and Jodi Arias.

These are passive people with no criminal history or history of violence who are claiming that something irrational or not easily explainable happened resulting in a murder. These are cases where the jury really needs to decide on the facts and the evidence without the undue influence from emotional arguments, speculation, and deceptive tactics.

The code of ethics for prosecutors states:

(a) The office of prosecutor is charged with responsibility for prosecutions in its jurisdiction.

(b) The prosecutor is an administrator of justice, an advocate, and an officer of the court; the prosecutor must exercise sound discretion in the performance of his or her functions.

(c) The duty of the prosecutor is to seek justice, not merely to convict.

So to try to discredit an expert Psychological witness with 30 years experience because he made a math mistake, or to try to discredit a domestic violence expert with 30 years experience because of the title she chose for a speaking engagement, seems a little over the top. To withhold evidence and witness lists from the defense in order to put them at a disadvantage in a case where their client faces possible execution also seems over the top.

To try to convince the jury with argument based on speculation and emotion also seems to fall outside the bounds of the ethics of a prosecutor who is supposed to seek justice. To express the sentiment that the defendant is a liar and by extension, all defense witnesses are liars also, falls outside these bounds. To accuse defense witnesses of crimes without evidence and to use these accusations to try and prevent a witness from testifying is a violation of law. For Judges to tolerate these tactics is wrong on its face. Excessive screaming, sarcasm, taunting, and contempt violate the decorum of a capital case. So is purposely dropping evidence (the camera).

Do you want to defend a mass murderer? Neither do I. Do you want to defend a child rapist and killer or an outlaw drug induced spree killer? Neither do I. How far over the line would you go to prosecute the bad guy? If you go too far, the scales are tipped, and you start to become part of the problem. But if you are falsely accused of such a thing, you would want a prosecutor with ethics. You would not want a Grand Jury to indict you on false, misleading, or missing information. You would not want charges to be brought against you without probable cause. You would not want to be overcharged in the crime.

jodi 2You would not want a prosecutor withholding evidence that could set you free, manufacturing, destroying or mischaracterizing evidence, influencing the jury with speculation, or shopping for a hanging judge. Deciding whether a person lives or dies should be based on their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. People who think Juan Martinez is a hero like to ask “What if Travis Alexander was your son, your brother, or your friend?

But you also need to ask “What if Jodi Arias was your daughter, your friend, or your sister?”

us constitution

There is no “Justice for Yarmilla”, “Justice for Faylene” or “Justice for Travis”. There is only Justice for all. The balance between victim’s rights and the rights of the accused must be carefully maintained. Otherwise, we are only seeking a conviction. We will have left Justice far behind.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

We warmly welcome any comments from anyone with any opinion.

ALL comments are accepted and will be posted.

You can also comment on our FB page

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

 

Sources:

http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/2002-08-29/news/justice-delayed/full/

https://asuwebdevilarchive.asu.edu/i…11/news/701208

http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/new…=image&photo=0

http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=2897067

http://www.abc15.com/dpp/news/region…y’s-murder

http://murderpedia.org/male.M/m/morris-cory.htm

http://murderpedia.org/male.M/images…CR050267AP.pdf

http://www.azcorrections.gov/inmate_…RRIS%2C+CORY+

http://www.azcourts.gov/Portals/23/p…CR060220AP.pdf

http://murderpedia.org/mal

http://www.azcorrections.gov/inmate_…ype=SearchInet

http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/2002-…stice-delayed/

http://www.people.com/people/archive…128694,00.html

http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/2009-…rything-wrong/

http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/2002-…the-big-sleep/

http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepu…rder-case.html

http://crime.about.com/od/deathrow/i…andriano_w.htm

http://www.azcentral.com/arizonarepublic/local/articles/20121102prosecutor-files-motion-vs-judge.html#ixzz2eoadFt00

http://www.phoenixnewtimes.com/1999-07-01/news/wake-up-call/7/

http://murderpedia.org/male.M/m/morris-cory.htm

http://www.abc15.com/dpp/news/region_phoenix_metro/central_phoenix/arizona-man-sentenced-to-death-in-family’s-murder#ixzz2eq4EwMy

http://news.gila1019.com/delays-in-the-death-penalty-trial-for-christopher-redondo-in-the-shooting-death-of-gilbert-police-lt-eric-shuhandler/

http://www.azcentral.com/community/mesa/articles/20110531mesa-craig-miller-murder-death-penalty0531.html#ixzz2f7LDhTin

 

An Open Letter to Wendy Murphy

An Open letter to Wendy Murphy

horses ass

Yes, you guessed it. I’m a wee bit disappointed with her.

On May 28, 2013, an attorney named Wendy Murphy, who was appearing on CNN’s notorius HeadLine News Network HLN, Wrote an article called:

“PORN DEFENSE AND SEXIST MANIPULATION STRATEGY

WORKED FOR NOW, BUT JODI “HANNIBAL LECTER” ARIAS MIGHT NOT GET A SIMILARLY NAÏVE JURY THE NEXT TIME.”

http://wendymurphylaw.com/jodi-hannibal-lecter-arias/

wendy murphy 2This article kind of jumped out at me, and I just had to read and analyze it. Obviously, Wendy Murphy was just another in a long line of useless idiots riding the wave of the Jodi Arias trial. She is always trying to sell one book or another, like most people who came on HLN and walked all over Jodi Arias and the facts to hawk their latest book. She is some kind of a law professor at some or another college somewhere.

Wendy Murphy is supposed to be a Victim’s Rights Advocate. She is supposed to be a Civil Trial lawyer. You know, the ones who go after the deep pockets money and have a much lower burden of proof than in a criminal trial. According to her Website, she has recommendations from such celebrities as Geraldo Rivera (Who was the only one I know of to publicly condemn Nancy Grace for her twisted reporting on Arias and the trial),  Judge Andrew Napolitano, the jovial bloviator with the hair that seemingly grows out of his forehead, also put in a word for Wendy Murphy.

Geraldo-Rivera-Fox-news-OBama-e1339163421529

judge andrew napolitanoThese two people just happen to both appear on FOX News Network, where Wendy also appears from time to time. The next recommendation comes from Dominick Dunne, who congratulates her for her work on the 1996 Jon Benet Ramsey case. Wendy!  You must be older than I thought! A fourth “celebrity” who recommends Wendy Murphy is Rita Cosby, yet another FOX Friend, and possibly a drinking buddy of Ms. Murphy when she’s in town.

jonbenetdominick dunnerita cosby

Wendy Murphy is looking for Victims to represent in civil court.  Apparently this line of work is not enough to sustain her, so she writes books and appears on FOX NEWS or she tries to con her way onto CNN or MSNBC as they all do.

wendy murphy 4Apparently, she was too busy to reply to my letter which I E-mailed to her in early June. When I took exception to her “Porn Defense” article. I saw this as just a blatant attempt to garner Civil Trial clients and book deals by being the next opportunist to throw rocks at Jodi Arias.  Rita Cosby probably told her to never respond unless it’s a business opportunity.

Now, rape on Ivy League campuses is her next big thing. Maybe Wendy discovered where the real lucrative civil suits can be found. Wendy Murphy is happy to share her new-found expertise on campus rape, if you buy her new E-Book for $8.00. Of course, she’s plugging another in a long, long line of books entitled “……. the book they don’t want you to read” or “things……they don’t want you to know”. Oh, it’s the old reverse psychology, forbidden information, ploy.

wendy murphy 3Wendy is another in a long line of middle aged “personality wannabees”. She got herself a facelift, wrote a couple of books, and speaks out on a couple of different news outlets. Her latest article is “An Open Letter to Juan Martinez, where she decides she must warn Juan of Jodi’s dirty tricks and give advice to Juan Martinez about the finer points of law.

I believe what she did to Jodi Arias is reprehensible, and no different than what Geraldo condemned Nancy Grace for doing.

wendy murphy 6http://wendymurphylaw.com/

The following is my updated response to her article:

Dear Ms. Murphy,
In reference to the State of Arizona vs. Jodi Ann Arias, I understand your sentiments. I watched you on CNN’s HeadLine News (HLN) and I respect your position and your ideas. I read your article entitled “PORN DEFENSE AND SEXIST MANIPULATION STRATEGY…”
 I really have to tell you that I respectfully disagree with much of what you opined.
I believe that it more likely than not that Jodi Arias doesn’t remember the stabbings and that she was under extreme duress. I believe there is a real question as to the order of injuries, and that makes a huge difference in this case. It is abundantly clear to me that the gunshot was first, and that changes the death penalty calculus dramatically.
Your idea that she “shot him in the face for fun” is just not believable given all the facts of the case. For instance, the trajectory of the gunshot wound is nearly impossible to achieve if Travis was lying on the floor of the bathroom. Why would Travis Alexander, being under attack from Arias with a knife, be able to go to the bathroom mirror and turn his back on his attacker? It’s much more likely that Travis Alexander went to the mirror unchallenged because he was shot in the face and he needed to find out what had happened to him.
That there seems to be some malfeasance in the Medical Examiner’s report is a devious and real possibility which creates a genuine issue for appeal.
You expressed your shock and distress that Jodi Arias could go on the stand and “lie with a straight face about whether and why she stabbed a man 29 times, tried to slice off his head, and then shot him in the face for fun.”
There’s no legal basis for any of these claims. Alexander was stabbed 16 times according to the official autopsy report. He had 13 incised wounds for a total of 29 knife wounds which includes the throat wound. There is a scientific basis to claim that the “cluster of 9 stab wounds” to Alexander’s back are actually “chopping wounds” which are often defensive blows on the part of the assailant. “Chopping wounds” are defined as having the characteristics of both sharp force trauma and blunt force trauma. The official autopsy report states that among the “cluster of 9 wounds” only, “all wounds display “blunt and sharply incised ends”. These wounds could have been made by the assailant from beneath the victim defensively or face to face with the victim, defensively*. This means it is reasonable to infer that Alexander was stabbed 7 times.
None other than prosecutor Juan Martinez, using court reporter Mike Babicky as “the victim”, demonstrated at trial that the knife blows could have been delivered from a variety of positions. There is no basis for your claim that Jodi “tried to slice off his head”. Alexander’s throat was slit and the process of decomposition served to expand the size and depth of the wounds. In the famously shocking autopsy photo, Alexander’s head is tilted far backwards to fully expose and open the wound.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERATravis was not stabbed 29 times. This is the media running wild with speculation as do you. This assumes facts not in evidence, Ms. Murphy. I believe that there are real questions about what happened that day and that the defense team demonstrated that there are multiple avenues for reasonable doubt.

I believe they showed that there are legitimate questions regarding the prosecution’s and the media’s narrative about what actually happened.

The prosecution’s case which forms the entire basis of the case for first degree premeditated murder AND the reason why the death penalty is warranted amounts to this mathematical formula:
Circumstantial Evidence + Lies + Speculation + Autopsy Photos + Seasoned Manipulative Persuasion = Guilt.
In fact, there is proof of and justification for neither a first degree murder charge nor the death penalty in this case.
You wrote that “This case was always ONLY about the death penalty, as evidenced by the fact that Arias’ lawyers played their hand during trial as if the only thing they cared about was persuading a single male juror to resist voting for death.” Although the defense strategy always had the aim of avoiding the death penalty, the main thrust of the case was to present facts and evidence which all point towards reasonable doubt.
The defense team was not experienced with crime scene evidence, blood spatter, and forensic analysis. The prosecution offered little crime scene forensic evidence of its own. These factors, when analyzed, tell a much different tale than what was presented at trial.
According to you, Wendy Murphy, the Arias defense attorneys were not interested in preventing a 1st degree murder conviction or the finding of the single prong of the “Especially Heinous, Cruel, or Depraved” aggravator which opens the door to the death penalty in Arizona. Instead, you opine that Arias’ defense attorneys maintained a laser focus solely on the task of preventing a death sentence.
Their “Porn Defense”, in your words, targeted a few male jurors or even a single male juror by attempting to get a male so hot and bothered by a frank discussion of sex, that they could never put Jodi to death. I have no idea if all the 4 “life jurors” were male or were vulnerable to such a “Porn Defense”, and, frankly, neither do you.
Here’s an interesting death penalty case from Arizona:
stephen reeves 2May 17, 2011
“A Maricopa County Superior Court jury on Monday brought back a death sentence verdict against Stephen Reeves, who murdered a young woman working in a west Phoenix insurance office in 2007.
It was the second trial for Reeves, 56, who was caught on surveillance video on June 2, 2007, as he beat 18-year-old Norma Gabriella Contreras with a brick, then choked her with a stick and finally slit her throat with a box cutter. Reeves was later found covered in blood in Contreras’ car.
On Dec. 10, the first jury pronounced Reeves guilty of first-degree murder, armed robbery, kidnapping, burglary, and auto theft. A week later, the jury found aggravating factors that would qualify Reeves for the death penalty.
But despite the surveillance video, the jury could not reach agreement on life or death, forcing a retrial.”
http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/20110516phoenix-insurance-office-killing-verdict-brk16-ON.html
stephen reevesThis jury actually saw the crime on video. The video was so horrific that jurors were given trauma counseling referrals prior to viewing the video. There were 3 Aggravating Circumstances found to be proven true beyond a reasonable doubt.
Yet, these jurors were unable to present a unanimous verdict for a death sentence. Did these jurors have a “porn defense” to make them “forget” all about the brutal killing?
In furtherance of your theory, you state that the “phone sex tape” was the centerpiece of the “porn defense”. I would say that I am at least your age and probably older. What you call “porn”, I call rather pedestrian and basically common and normal behavior between consenting adults
That is except for the things that are not common and normal about their sex life or the sex tape:
  • Evidence that Travis Alexander preferred anal sex almost exclusively and used religious doctrine to justify this to Jodi Arias.
  • The dismissive and callous way Travis treated Jodi in that tape and the things he didn’t say on the tape that are normally said by a person who cares about his sex partner. It reveals something more like a John being serviced by a prostitute than a girl and a guy engaging in some playful sex talk.
  • The sex evidence is absolutely necessary to explain why this is a dominant / submissive relationship and why it was abusive to Arias. It gives us an insight into what this relationship and the victim were really all about.
  • Travis got what he wanted without having to give anything. Jodi wanted love. The incredible extremes people will endure simply to be loved know no bounds.
You stated that “guys like to protect girls in danger, especially when they dress up like 12 year-old librarians, even if that danger is an appropriate legal judgment of death by lethal injection”.
I don’t remember any “12 year-old librarian” at the Jodi Arias trial. If they were really going for sex appeal, why didn’t the defense dress Jodi up like a model for the trial? They could have made her up like a young Hannah Montana or an older Miley Cyrus. I never felt sexually attracted to Jodi Arias. I was more impressed by the sexual exploitation and the psychological and emotional abuse by Travis Alexander towards Jodi Arias which is objectively evident in all aspects of their relationship:

travis penis

Photos of Travis’ genitals he sent to Jodi Arias

jodi ass new

This is the photo Travis Alexander took of Jodi

travis shower

This is the photo Jodi Arias took of Travis

A cunning narcissist who demands compliments and needs to quell his anger with sex. A religious hypocrite who uses a passive and vulnerable woman for his wish-list of fantastical sex acts while simultaneously despising her, ridiculing her to his friends, blaming her for his own behaviors and withholding even a hint of love.
You wrote about all the supposed “red herrings” in the defense case. Yet I saw more red herrings on the prosecution side. No real blood spatter evidence or other crime scene evidence was introduced to buttress the prosecution’s theory of events. It was only proved that a killing had occurred and that Jodi Arias committed it. It was merely proven that Jodi Arias premeditated a road trip. We knew all this at the very start of the trial.
The ample evidence of abuse on the part of Alexander was glossed over by attacking the defense witnesses. Do you honestly believe that there is no room for reasonable doubt in all of Kurt Nurmi’s final argument? There is plenty of room beginning with the ridiculous motive proffered by the prosecution (murdered over a trip to Cancun!), to all sorts of questions about absence of blood evidence, crime scene evidence, medical and ballistic evidence that should reinforce the prosecution narrative of events, but  in reality contradicts it.
gall.death.rowIt is just as likely an explanation that Arias did in fact want the death penalty and did try to sabotage her mitigation case after the guilty verdict. Faced with a choice of life in an Arizona prison or death, who among us could say for certain that we would choose life?
This is, in fact, further proof of Jodi’s veracity. So you are saying that the whole case was about avoiding the death penalty, and yet the defense at the last minute took away the mitigation witnesses which were clearly her best shot at avoiding a death sentence? That is absurd on its face.
jodi allocutionYou stated that Arias’ allocution was “full of hokey acts of benevolence”. You wrote that Jodi had never engaged in benevolent acts before she was in jail. How would you know this? She was only 27 at the time. You are not as able to perform acts of benevolence when you are struggling economically, although you may always have planned on giving to others, and hoped to do it someday.
You stated that “Arias admitted in subsequent interviews that she intentionally came up with project ideas in order to manipulate jurors by appealing to their specific interests.”
That a man is hard of hearing in no way supposes that he knows or appreciates sign language. How could you name a list of planned benevolence without stating a common interest of any 12 people? Some people would say that Arias’ boldness in asserting that she was a “survivor” of domestic abuse was proof that her story is true. Who would dare do this in the face of death, when the cost of making that claim may well be death? This is the act of someone who is either psychotic OR someone who is telling the truth.
You stated “she blamed the prosecutor’s refusal to give her a sentence she did not deserve for why she smeared Travis Alexander’s reputation during trial”.
randy-brazeal-1Did you know that in Arizona, a man went to a 4th of July event where he spied the younger sister of a girl he knew camping overnight at the event. He lured this 13 year-old girl and her 13 year-old companion out into the desert with his accomplice. He savagely beat, choked and raped the girl on the hood of his car. He then strangled her to death and stomped on her body with all his weight. Then he threw her naked and lifeless body down a mine shaft and burned her clothes.
brazealIt was his plan, his DNA, his car, his foot impressions on the victim, and the victim’s impressions in the hood of his car.
This man was charged with 2nd degree murder in Arizona and is free today. He made a deal with the prosecutor. Is this the sentence that he “deserved”?
Jodi was willing to plead guilty to 2nd degree murder but was refused. It couldn’t be because Jodi lied, because both these defendants lied about what happened when they were caught.
Let’s look at what you had to say, Wendy Murphy:
“Arias doesn’t deserve a deal because a deal would only reward her bad behavior and manipulation strategies, and indulge all the shady antics of her lawyers who shamelessly hustled the male jurors by exploiting sex and other gender-biased irrelevancies for tactical gain.
 
Indeed, allowing Arias to testify falsely under oath for eighteen days may have amounted to legal malpractice otherwise.  But they knew that having a cute female defendant talk about oral and anal sex for weeks, and describe how she “bent over” for Travis Alexander, followed by the playing of a recording of Arias engaging in phone sex with the guy until orgasm, would surely, um, stimulate the male jurors to think about all sorts of things OTHER than the near decapitation of an innocent murder victim.”
 
That’s quite a barrage of unsubstantiated allegations for an attorney such as you, Ms. Murphy. What makes you think anyone, under any circumstances, could possibly forget those horrible crime scene photos and shocking autopsy photos?
How do you suppose that a self-defense homicide case can go forward without bringing up negative evidence against the victim? It seems to me that this was an abusive and volatile relationship. Travis Alexander was more than happy to use the LDS Church for business contacts, for customers, for social contacts, and for a bevy of young women who would not tell about their sins.
travis 12Yet, though he was an ordained Church Elder who taught bible study and baptized children into the LDSChurch, he did not feel he needed to follow the sacred tenets of a very serious and strict, family oriented religion. In light of his religious upbringing, the way Alexander treated Jodi Arias is particularly sickening. To goad a woman into anal sex on the day of her baptism into the faith on the pretext that vaginal sex was a violation of their chastity vows?
jodi bobbyIt is obvious to me that Travis Alexander’s preference for anal sex had nothing to do with vows and plenty to do with his freely stated excitement about little girls and sex. It is also clear that his abusive childhood and absentee parents could easily have become a catalyst for abuse, both sexual and physical. This is no fault of the victim’s.
Did you see the disgustingly crude picture he took of her anus on June 4th? How can you honestly say that Travis was the innocent victim and that Jodi is a Psycho-demon? Hannibal Lecter, you called her. You liken Jodi Arias to a fictional serial killer who consumes the victims? Is that in any way fair-minded and rational?
r-DANIEL-FREEMAN-large570At the trial we heard objective evidence about Travis’ hot headed outbursts in front of two pious Mormon friends on relaxing vacations, no less.
At trial we were shown objective evidence by text messages of a 3 hour marathon of seething and violent anger from Travis Alexander. Do you honestly have doubts that Travis could have been sexually and physically abusive towards Jodi? Can you blame that all on Arias, or did Travis have to finally deal with the truth and the inevitable exposure of his lies and hypocrisy? Do you really have absolute certainty that Travis didn’t attack Jodi on June 4th?
You wrote that “Arias had “no mitigating factors” but then the defense attorney refused to call her family members to testify as mitigation witnesses, while helping her create a slideshow demonstrating all the “mitigating” things they could think of.”
Actually, Arias was telling the truth. She didn’t have any of the usual statutory mitigating factors, (extreme child abuse, abandonment, mental retardation, insanity, severe drug and alcohol abuse and child sexual abuse) and that as many of the miscellaneous mitigating factors as possible needed to be found and employed.
WendyMurphy-1How do you know that the slideshow wasn’t prepared long before as a review during her allocution after the proposed witnesses testified?
How do you know that Arias didn’t try to sabotage her own mitigation case? How do you know the mitigation specialist didn’t scramble to find a way to put her factors into a slideshow so that she could present them without her witnesses?
You stated that “Arias’ lawyers hedged their bets, knowing that even if Jodi’s entire family and all her childhood friends took the stand and begged for her life, the jury would still vote for death simply because no amount of mitigation evidence would make a dent in the mountain of reasons that justify imposition of the ultimate punishment”.
What is your mountain of reasons for justifying the death penalty? There is no one on death row in America today for a murder with extreme cruelty or any other murder without one of the following factors: (Murder with Prior violent convictions, murder for money. murder by conspiracy, murder with kidnapping, rape, or torture, multiple murders, murder of a uniformed law officer, murder of children).
Please let me know if you find one without at least one of these factors. Scott Peterson? He killed his helpless pregnant while she was 8 months pregnant with his own child. Unlike Arias, we have clear and convincing proof of his bad character and bad intentions prior to the murder.
jodi 2You wrote that “As judgment day on the ultimate issue grew closer, Arias’ lawyers were near frantic in their efforts to derail court proceedings, no doubt worried that the little mitigation evidence they had to offer was nowhere near substantial enough to justify life rather than death.”
  • No prior record is not substantial?
  • 4 relationships lasting years, not months, 3 of which ended against Arias’will and amicably are not substantial?
  • A history of mental illness is not substantial?
  • No history of violence or rage both years before meeting Alexander and years after the killing is not substantial?
  • Proven emotional and psychological abuse (which are the precursors to sexual and physical abuse) are not substantial?
  • A GED graduate who is more articulate and poised than many college graduates is not a reason to show leniency?
  • A prisoner with no prospects for happiness or freedom using her time and talents to reach out to victims of abuse is not a reason to show mercy?
jodi-arias-300A major part of the strategy seemed to be to put Arias on the stand, not for sexual stimulation, but to bond with the jury in either an empathetic way or in a Stockholm Syndrome type of way. Your Victorian views on sex and your outdated views on the priorities and the lack of a capacity for empathy in males cannot change the wisdom of such a strategy.
Since that effect can hardly be achieved in the second penalty phase, why do you think “the defense is at an advantage the second time around”? Why does Arias and the defense have an advantage the longer the distance is between the 1st and 2nd penalty phase? The same review of the facts has to take place. The same aggravating and mitigating factors have to be presented. The same media and social media hounds will rise up again. So, where’s the advantage of time? Arias must spend more time behind bars because she must wait to file most of her appeals until after the inevitable sentencing.
You wrote about how the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals is reversing death penalty convictions based on “ineffective assistance of counsel” because the defense attorneys refused to present mitigation witnesses.
Since you are an attorney, would you care to cite some cases in support of your position? Did you notice that in Arizona, Capital defendants are required to have a mitigation specialist? Defense attorneys have no justification for failure to present mitigation evidence or witnesses in Arizona. That is unless they are threatened and intimidated into not testifying as seen in State v. Jodi Ann Arias.
patty womackThe way you put it, Arias’ defense “ploy” to not present mitigation witnesses would only work if Arias were in fact sentenced to death. You can’t appeal a death sentence in the 9th Circuit if you don’t get sentenced to death. So then, why were Jennifer Willmott’s final arguments so visceral, heartfelt and heroic? Why was Kirk Nurmi’s closing argument so full of valid and substantial reasons to be doubtful of the prosecution’s theory?
3EBB5B3F-F5E1-4C2E-9E6EFC266421528BThe defense can’t refuse to call mitigation witnesses the next time and you have already stated that no amount of mitigation could help Arias. So how is your imaginary strategy supposed to work? Did you forget that Arias presented no mitigation witnesses, yet there was no unanimous decision for a death sentence?
I believe your analysis is full of holes, full of speculation, and full of …. contradictions. It flies in the face of all we know about Arias’ life years before the incident all the way up the month and day of the tragic event on June 4th, 2008.
Also, there are the 5 years since that day, where Arias has been a model, compliant prisoner. It flies in the face of what you must concede we know about Travis Alexander, the lying, the manipulation and the abuse. The idea that she has “no conscience” is easily debatable. I feel that she has shown remorse all through this trial. It is really asking a little much for a mentally ill woman to show contrition to Travis Alexander’s estranged family and Mormon community as they fervently seek revenge and will stop at nothing short of execution. This woman is clearly mentally ill and clearly unable or unwilling to show emotions in the way that we would like.
arias sandyYou say her slideshow was “offensive”. Given her situation, what would you expect her to present? I found it pitiable. I found her allocution a singular exercise in bravery and sincerity.
What is she supposed to say and do? I think the subject of remorse is also a red herring. What could she possibly do to show remorse in the face of this killing while fighting for her life? Your answer is that she should confess to what “really happened” that day in the bathroom. As an attorney, you should know how stressful a trial like this is and how stressful 18 days on the stand can be, even given the best conditions.
Many people have very good reason to believe that this is not as it seems and that Arias did tell the truth to the best of her ability. Even though she has lied in the past, there is reason to believe that the objective and physical evidence can prove that the prosecution’s narrative is false.
s c justicesEven if we take all the verdicts to be absolutely correct, it should still be abundantly clear to thinking and feeling human beings that the facts of this case do not merit the death penalty and Arias herself does not warrant execution.
us supreme courtInstead, I believe that this case will be successfully appealed and a new and fair trial may yield vastly different results. Then perhaps the family of crime victims will learn to their benefit that such things as “closure” and “forgiveness” should not and do not depend on the actions or the fate of the accused or the convicted.
justice swordThank-You for your time.
Sincerely,
Rob Roman
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