Sunday, June 1, 2014
JODI ARIAS MURDER CONVICTION PENALTY PHASE RETRIAL – NEW JURY TO BE SELECTED BEGINNING SEPTEMBER 8 – JUDGE REJECTS LIVE MEDIA COVERAGE AND MOTIONS TO TAKE DEATH PENALTY OFF THE TABLE
On May 8, 2013 in a high-profile first-degree murder case, Jodi Arias was convicted by a jury of killing her ex-boyfriend in 2008 in a particularly violent manner. The trial lasted five months, and many individuals were glued to their televisions watching the live proceedings. The jury determined that she was eligible for the death penalty, but after many hours of deliberation in the sentencing phase of the trial, they were unable to reach a unanimous verdict to impose death.
The State of Arizona decided to go forward with another proceeding on sentencing – with a new jury. The new jury is scheduled to be selected beginning on September 8, 2014. Judge Sherry Stevens has heard many closed-door hearings on the case and she recently decided to deny a request by media outlets to again provide live coverage. She ruled the proceedings could be recorded, but no release of the recording will be allowed until after the jury rules on the sentence. In the event the jury is unable to reach a unanimous verdict on the sentence, the Judge is to decide the sentence - but the death penalty will not be an option for the Judge.
Judge Stevens also ruled this week that Ms. Arias suffered no prejudice when a member of her defense team (a mitigation specialist) was barred for a time from visiting Ms. Arias in the Maricopa County jail. The defense team member was accused by the Maricopa authorities of smuggling out of the jail drawings prepared by Ms. Arias.
Ms. Arias had attempted multiple times to agree to life imprisonment but the State of Arizona has not accepted her requests.
Jon Stewart poked fun at the media for its coverage of the Arias trial - see: http://thedailyshow.cc.com/videos/jprb6v/nancy-grace---the-jodi-arias-trial.
Written by Ann M. Murphy, Professor, Gonzaga Law School