Featuring Crane Station on Jodi Arias’s choice for death

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Today I am featuring my better half, Crane Station, who posted the following comment to my article today explaining what happens at a penalty phase in a death penalty trial.

Just wanted to say that I think it is way too soon and premature to put a lot of stock in the initial interview with Jodi Arias. I am not sure if she is wanting to be a volunteer or not, in other words. It seems very odd that she said these things, without 1.) checking with and discussing with her family and 2) her lawyers. Just within moments of the verdict she says this; it may or may not be what her wishes are after consideration.

Other thing, did her lawyers leave the courthouse without speaking to her? Thing is, they still represent her. Even if they don’t like her, they have certain duties, and if they cannot do things in their client’s best interest, should they not withdraw? IANAL, but if I were hers, she would not have given that interview. Don’t get me wrong, I think the crime was egregious. But this is a different issue.

Begs the ethical question and dilemma in general: Client is convicted. Sentence is either LWOP or death. Client wants to ask the jury for death. Does the lawyer continue to represent the client, and argue to the jury for death?

SHORT ANSWER: I do not believe the judge would permit counsel to withdraw, assuming they attempted to do so, because that would require a lengthy continuance and appointment of new counsel.

Apparently there was a brief hearing today that was closed to the public. The record has been sealed and no one is talking about what happened. Sounds like a gag order.

I suspect it had to do with the Arias interview and what to do about it.

The events today make Crane Station’s question even more relevant.

The Eligibility Hearing, or aggravation hearing as it is commonly called, has been continued to next Wednesday, May 15th at 10 am PDT.

Most people who are convicted of a death penalty eligible crime fall off the edge of the world into a depression that is deeper, darker and more hopeless than anything they have experienced or imagined. They simply cannot cope with it and there is no one to whom they can turn for a kind thought or a hug, except the lawyer.

They want to die and they want to die now, but even if they beg to be sentenced to death, the jury grants their request, and they refuse to appeal, it still takes at least a year before the execution date finally arrives.

The day to day countdown toward the at-first distant execution date and the horrific formal, impersonal and antiseptic ritual of the 24-hour countdown is a form of torture beyond description.

They are not thinking about that when they first say they would prefer death over life without parole. Once sentenced to death, the sentence cannot be undone, unless the appeal is successful. This rarely happens.

Experience has taught us that most volunteers, as we call them, eventually change their minds no matter how certain they may have been.

Jodi Arias’s lawyers left the building after the verdict and that is not acceptable because that is a time when the client is most vulnerable.

According to the reporter she contacted, she reached out to him before the verdict and told him that she wanted to talk to him immediately after the verdict. He met her in the salleyport and interviewed her in front of eight burly guards.

He did not contact or attempt to contact her lawyers to get permission. For the record, I don’t believe he was required to do that, but I think he should have at least let them know about it beforehand so that they could have attempted to persuade her not to do it.

The lawyers have apparently lost control over her and I am not a bit surprised.

Serving life without possibility of parole is not something that most people would look forward to, but there are opportunities for self-improvement and to form strong mutually supporting relationships with others in the same situation. This is why many volunteers change their minds.

Unless her lawyers plan to ask the jury to sentence her to death, which I do not believe any responsible and ethical death penalty lawyer should do, they now have a problem because there is a substantial likelihood that she will be asking for death when they ask the jury to spare her life.

Frankly, I do not believe they acted responsibly or in the client’s best interests when they basically abandoned her after the verdict was announced. That shows not only an appalling lack of concern about her emotional and mental state, it constituted and an abandonment of the lawyer’s duty to look after the best interests of the client by reviewing the penalty phase procedures scheduled for the following day. If they had done this, they probably would have prevented the interview.

By their inaction, they have created an un-ringing the bell problem.

The issue of whether to honor the client’s request and advocate for the death penalty when there is so much evidence that defendants change their minds is hotly debated among death penalty lawyers. I would never do it under any circumstances.

I decided to be a death penalty lawyer to save lives. Enabling an extremely depressed person to commit suicide by death sentence is not acceptable to me.

Those who will do it constitute a very small minority and unwelcome part of our tribe.

I saw a lawyer do that in Washington State despite having amassed a substantial amount of mitigating evidence, including evidence of brain damage that caused him to suffer from obsessive compulsive disorder and an inability to control his anger through rational thought. When he lost his temper, he literally could not stop short of violence.

The lawyer was a fellow member of the Death Penalty Committee of the Washington Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. We were aghast when he informed us that he had decided to ask the jury to kill his client, despite the powerful mitigation evidence that we believed would cause a jury to spare his life.

We tried but could not dissuade him. We even attempted to intervene in the trial as a friend of the Court to inform the jury about the mitigating evidence so that they would not be deprived of a complete an accurate picture of the defendant before sentencing him.

We argued that the jury had a right to know the truth before sentencing a man to death, but the trial judge refused to let us intervene.

We appealed to the State Supreme Court, but they refused to consider our appeal.

The jury sentenced the defendant to death and he refused to appeal. After a brief and summary review of the trial and the voluntariness of the defendant’s decision to ask for a death sentence, the State Supreme Court affirmed the conviction and death sentence.

The State Supreme Court refused to review or consider whether defense counsel’s refusal to present mitigation evidence and his advocacy for the death penalty constituted ineffective assistance of counsel in violation of the the 6th Amendment.

I never spoke to that lawyer again and he never attended another meeting.

49 Responses to Featuring Crane Station on Jodi Arias’s choice for death

  1. pat deadder says:

    So up until they abandoned her did they appear to be good lawyers.If so they certainly dropped the ball.I personally don’t believe in the death penalty I couldn’t live with myself knowing I had helped kill another human being ..Vengence is mine sayeth the Lord.I’m not religious but when brought up that way some things stick in your mind.Would the jurors chosen be asked if they believed in the death penalty.I suppose so since it is a death penalty case.

    • Two sides to a story says:

      Yes, they are asked and they are dismissed if they do not support the death penalty.

      • pat deadder says:

        Two sides thank you I guess it was a stupid question so thank for answering respectfully.

      • Two sides to a story says:

        Not at all stupid. I didn’t know this until Mr. Leatherman either answered that question or discussed it in another article.

  2. towerflower says:

    That interview of hers was over the top and, to me, very calculating on her part. She had it planned for some time, promising it to that one reporter. I don’t believe she wants to die and is trying to do some reverse psychology on everyone. Look at what she did with that interview. Did the reporters go nuts interviewing the friends and family of Travis? No, they went nuts on reporting on Jodi. After that verdict it should have been centered on the family and friends of Travis but she once again turned it into her, her, her. She never apologized and instead attacked Travis and his family again. It was all her, her, her. “If they had only accepted my plea deal, they could have kept their memories of him.” You mean instead of your lies?

    I don’t believe for a minute that Travis ever abused her, men like that don’t develop that overnight with only 1 woman and there were plenty of past women in Travis’s past and if he was abusive it would have shown up in others. I don’t believe he was a pedophile, they keep photos, they can’t resist it, it’s part of the sickness and not one photo or computer photo or search was ever discovered. I don’t even believe her finger was broken but instead she had tendon damage when she sliced her finger during the attack.

    But that’s just me.

  3. Xena says:

    There was a bomb threat tweeted that a bomb had been placed in the courthouse where Jodi’s trial was taking place. Funny thing is that the Sheriff was able to trace the tweet to the physical location of a hotel room and caught the guy.

    There is no such thing as hiding behind a computer anymore.


    • Malisha says:

      Xena, I recently heard that there is actually a way to hide behind a computer and that it was perfected by the very wealthy and well-connected (with many national governments in the world) human traffickers within the last few years. The description of how anonymous this slavery-running operation has become is literally terrifying. Deals are arranged; money changes hands (better than Peter Pan!) and humans are bought and sold. It’s simply mind-boggling. The goofus making the bomb threat in the Arias case obviously wasn’t ready for prime time in that regard, fortunately.

  4. thejbmission says:

    ooops I forgot to add the other part of my comment.
    As for Jodi Aria’s choice of death as opposed to LWOP.
    IMO, that’s her choice. For some people facing LWOP is worst than the DP. Do I believe the court will decide to make Jodi happy? No, I don’t think so. She’s not a likable person which makes me wonder, Why was she on the stand in the first place??
    IMO, JA committed suicide when she got on the stand. I’m really surprised that her counsel allowed her to do that? But then again, knowing how arrogant she is, she probably insisted.

    • Xena says:

      It shocked me that a reporter would interview Jodi without first checking with her lawyers. Whenever people are represented by legal counsel, reporters should check with them first.

      Btw, Jodi’s appeal for the death sentence was nothing more than being angry that she did not get her way with the jury. Did you see how she looked at them after the decision was read?

    • Every defendant in a criminal case has a constitutional right to testify at their trial. Their lawyer can recommend against it, but ultimately the client gets to make that call.

  5. thejbmission says:

    Hi Crane Station,
    In an earlier post, while awaiting the verdict, I predicted manslaughter. You asked me to explain.
    I have to admit I didn’t watch much of the trial. I got most of my information from the daily Talking Heads because Jodi Arias’s boring, monotone voice was much too annoying. OMG..
    The girl has absolutely NO personality, IMO. No animation, no anything.
    From what I could gather from the TH’s, I don’t think the prosecution proved premeditation or intent. No one really knows what happened in that house. I have questions. How did Jodi keep Travis under control for so long? If she held him at gun point, I would think at some point he would have wrestled it from her??
    Its just a dilemma to me. Their relationship was kinda sicko. Travis’s statement about tying her to a tree like a 12yo girl sickened me, not that he should have died for it. Just saying…not everything is as it seems. 🙂
    Great post BTW!

    • Xena says:

      @JBmission. HEY JB!!

      From what I could gather from the TH’s, I don’t think the prosecution proved premeditation or intent.

      It was Jodi’s travel arrangements, which she planned in order to leave no evidence behind that she was in the State of Arizona. That, and her grandparent’s house purportedly broken into 2 weeks earlier where the only thing taken from the house was a .25 gun — the same caliber that Travis was shot with.

      • thejbmission says:

        Hi Xena!
        Thanks for reminding me.
        I kind of thought that was what the prosecution intended to present with that information but we still don’t know the motive. I know that Travis treated her like garbage for years but Why? What made her decide to kill him that day? Was there a letter that he broke up with her for good? IDK.
        Did he tell her if she came back he’d kill her? Did she go there for a show down?
        Maybe I should have watched the entire trial for myself. .LOL
        But IMO, without JA’s testimony the case seemed weak and I’m not sure if JA was telling the whole story. Travis may have treated her worst than she said but out of shame, she didn’t tell the jury. Hmm…It all just seemed too cut and dried to me.

        • Xena says:


          I kind of thought that was what the prosecution intended to present with that information but we still don’t know the motive.

          Travis was taking another woman with him to Cancun. As I understand it, that is why his roommate didn’t think Travis was missing because he was suppose to be on that trip. It was Travis’ friends who went on the trip who wanted to know why he wasn’t there. His body laid in that shower stall for 5 days until discovered. And, Jodi made sure she locked the door of the bedroom before leaving.

    • towerflower says:

      mission: You have a couple of stories mixed together. The tree was not with the 12 yr old statement. I believe it was premeditated. I believe she staged the break-in at her Grandparents home for the gun. She got gas cans and filled them up in Calf. even though she said they were for “buying cheaper” gas in AZ. She turned off/removed the battery of her cell phone so there would be no “hits” of her phone in AZ. I think she turned her plates upside down knowing she would be pulled over and she could say “see I was in Utah and have a ticket to prove it.”

      Jodi’s past relationships all have a common thread, like with Casey Anthony, she reinvented herself to the man she was dating. One she dated was a pagen, I believe, so she became one. Travis was Mormon so she became a Mormon. Her past relationships ended on better terms because SHE was the one that ended them and with Travis it was him who wanted to end it. I don’t believe that Travis knew about the tape, I believe it was used to blackmail him into staying with her, she wasn’t ready for it to end. I think that was the secret, the ultimate betrayal he talked about.

      I don’t think Travis was even expecting her, that she showed up with the DVDs as an excuse and then tried to sex her way back into his life and when that didn’t work, and he was still going to Mexico not only without her but with another woman she went to her final plan. She waited until he was the most vulnerable, sitting on the shower floor, and then attacked. If she couldn’t have him, then no one else could either. She wasn’t ready to stop the relationship and only she says when it is over.

      • cielo62 says:

        towerflower~ Jodi Arias is a strange duck in many respects. Usually, it is MEN that do that “if I can’t have her, nobody will” BS. Many battered women end up dead if they try to get help or escape. Also, when women murder, the most common manner is poison. She might have staged the whole thing to make it “LOOK” like a man was the killer, I don’t know. LWOP would be the most fitting punishment for her. Complete obscurity would be like a knife twist in her ego.

  6. sickofArias says:

    It was reported that after the verdict little miss Psychopath and her lawyers,were overheard having harsh words! Her defense team was trying to talk her out of doing this disatrous interview. of course JA would not listen to any of it. JA is a manipulating, lying evil piece of crap! She has been running the show, not her lawyers. so don’t be to hard on her lawyers! I hope and pray that JA gets her wish and is sentenced to DEATH! This is not what she really wants, she is playing everyone once again! Please do not feel bad for her, she wants life in prison so she can continue to torture the Alexander family like she did in her recent interview! She is LOVING all the attention and I am praying for the day real soon when it will all go away for her! The only way that will happen is for her to get DP! Justice for Travis and his wonderful family! May JA rot in hell!

    • cielo62 says:

      Sick of Arias- actually , her circus will continue if she is sentenced to death. There are the preen mandatory appeals, each of which will shoot her right back into the public eye. Life without parole would be the better option if your goal is to shut her up.

      Sent from my iPod

      • Trained Observer says:

        cielo — That’s among top reasons I want Arias sentenced to LWOP, so she can be swept into obscurity. We don’t hear much about Scott Peterson anymore, do we?

        As a manipulator. Arias seems determined to trash Travis Alexander and his family over and over, and I think she needs to be removed from prominence.

        It likely pains both Arias and Fogen that the Cleveland kidnap saga (already on grocery checkout mag covers) stole the spotlight last week. People like this bask in celebrity and don’t like to share.

  7. colin black says:

    Sorry have not read article but have followed this case more keenly than amy other since T Bundy.

    Jodi wants to die about as much as foggagges wishes to eat healthy and exersise.

    Never in the history of fellonious skanks has this narrsasstic bitch wanted to live.


    This week break inproceedings isto try an get her cerified incompetant by hre council.

    Otherwise there bailing.

    Jodi is attempting to use reverse ligic /phycoligy on the jurours an it wont

    An then we will see if she was lieing or truthfull.

    Forgoes all appeals an doesnt fight the needle
    Or fight tooth an nail inevery frigging court appelate in the universe .

    • Nef05 says:

      Felonious skanks! ROTF! That’s hilarious. 🙂

      Great comment, as usual, Colin.

    • ChrisNY~Laurie says:

      I was thinking the same thing Colin…she is conniving and she reminds me of Casey Anthony. They belong in a class of their own.

  8. KA says:

    I felt like her statement on TV was far too “out there” to be thought through with reason.

    If she was “shocked” by the verdict, then why would she not think she could appeal it?

    I thought for someone who was “shocked” she was convicted to immediately turn around and say she wanted to die, was clearly a lack of rational thought and consideration on her part. I do not think I would have allowed the cameras in for her to even say it if I were her attorney or family member.

    It seems not to be taken seriously any more than your child saying they “hate you” and want to be in different family immediately after being corrected. It makes no sense.

    • Trained Observer says:

      I feel like who’s running this circus, anyway? The eight burly guards should have been hustling her out of public view and on back to her cell. I can’t fault her attorneys for not thinking that was what was happening.

      What jailhouse administrator allows those held and on trial or just convicted to pause willy-nilly for a little gabfest?

  9. Trained Observer says:

    “He met her in the salleyport and … ” — Crane Station

    Don’t know what a salleyport is, but it sounds worthy of a song. This whole post-verdict episode is fascinating.

    BTW — If the reporter she contacted for an interview turned around and said, “No wait, let me ask your lawyers for permission first” — he’d be laughed out of the broadcast news profession and likely sacked from his job.

    Crass as it seems, given the death penalty at stake, one does not look a gift horse in the mouth.

    • Trained Observer says:

      Whoops! Apparently the professor said that, not Crane, but it’s still tune-worthy.

    • cielo62 says:

      sally port: a gate or passage in a fortified place for use by troops making a sortie
      2: a secure entryway (as at a prison) that consists of a series of doors or gates

      • Trained Observer says:

        cielo — Could this be why we sometimes sally forth? 🙂

        • cielo62 says:

          Trained Observer~ NO DOUBT that’s where that phrase came from. I had never heard of a sally port either so a quick little google and voila! Now we can SALLY FORTH and vanquish the evil fogen!

      • LeaNder says:

        cielo, do I remember correctly that it was the term used sometimes for the place where the police cars entered SPD on the famous video? I seem to remember that was the context I looked the term up.

    • Two sides to a story says:

      I was surprised that the justice system / state – whoever the law enforcement agency who was guarding Arias would even allow an interview after the verdict.

      Sad, sad, sad, case. People who are sociopathic or have serious personality disorders really deserve some compassion because these conditions are often insurmountable – not that everyone who has these commits murders, of course, and a few are able to progress with intensive therapy, but it’s a very difficult disability, not being able to self-correct the way most people do.

      • LeaNder says:

        tstas, I somehow can’t agree. Strictly I know little about the US death row system. But I once saw a brilliant US documentary by friends of film and literature prof I met over here, and took some courses with.

        It was really impressive. The people were kept in some type of open cages. Maybe so they can be observed to not try to kill themselves. As Fred writes above, the most horrible part is probably the waiting period and it can be rather long. I can also imagine you are never given precise dates.

        So, yes, I think she had time enough to find out more about it, and maybe met people told her more about it. So yes, if it happens at all, better sooner or later, I can understand that if you have given up the idea of having the decision ever reversed.

        Bottom line: I do not need to be idiopathic to understand, what she may have in mind. She may even try to uphold the illusion of free will, ultimately her own free decision, in a context were her freedom to decide is nil. I myself demanded a death sentence.. Can’t see this component?

        Maybe this is going to far, but here goes. Her planning suggests a really egoistical trait, if I cannot have him on my own, no one else shall. Thus the fact that it will kill her now too, never mind she didn’t plan that way, almost adds a twisted Romeo and Juliette angle to the tale. There is at least one scholar on love that made the love – death relation a central aspect of his book.

      • LeaNder says:

        Odd – no idea how this happened:

        idiopathic = sociopathic

        strange, what is idiopathic? An pathology of an idiotic mind?

        Interesting little accident.

      • Malisha says:

        Leander, “idiopathic” is a term used in medicine to describe some condition that arises “who knows how” and “nobody knows from what” and so forth. Also, can be a symptom that is specific to that patient and just that patient.

        It is not related to sociopathic or psychopathic. Perhaps you were thinking “idiotic” and also thinking “sociopathic” and you accidentally typed “idiopathic.” 😀

  10. looolooo says:

    HLN / Vinnie Politan is about to do a segment with legal experts in a few minutes.

    • looolooo says:

      Oooops! Featuring the Fogen case.

    • Nef05 says:

      Thanks for the head’s up. I have it on. Appreciate it!

    • Nef05 says:

      Pffffttt! Commentator is making his comments (re: experts screams) based on the premise that Zimmerman is screaming, totally ignoring the fact that the DEFENSE has filed the motion to exclude expert testimony. Which clearly indicates their testimony is not going the defense’s way.

      Do they have NO critical thinking skills?

  11. Nef05 says:

    Zen? Alpha? What was that again?

    • Nef05 says:

      In all seriousness, her attorney’s behavior sounds egregious, and downright cruel. Her (allegedly apparent IMO) sociopathic tendencies does not mitigate their behavior. I’m glad to see it being called out, as well as the WA state attorney whose behavior who mentioned.

      I understand (somewhat) following the wishes of your client, to a certain extent. But, (I don’t believe) there was anything to prevent him from arguing for life w/out parole – and forcing his client to make his own case to the jury for death, was there?

    • Xena says:

      @Nef05. The “LOL” was in response to your “Zen? Alpha?” comment — not your serious comment.

      • Nef05 says:

        I figured. I simply couldn’t remember which one had been decided on, felt like the bonus round of wheel of fortune. LOL 🙂

    • Lonnie Starr says:

      follow, not caught up yet.

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