Judge denies motion for mistrial in Arias penalty phase

Monday, May 20, 2013

The Chicago Tribune is reporting that Maricopa County Judge Sherry Alexander denied a defense motion for a mistrial today during the penalty phase in the Jodi Arias case. Court recessed for the day and will resume tomorrow with Ms. Arias presenting her plea to the jury.

The defense moved for a mistrial when its only mitigation witness, Patricia Womack, refused to testify claiming that she had received death threats and was conflicted about the case.

I couldn’t do it,” she told NBC News in an email. “I feel there is so much good in Jodi to be saved but then also someone’s dear life was taken.

Defense attorney, Kirk Nurmi also alleged a separate ground. He accused the prosecutor of intimidating Ms. Womack by threatening to charge her with a crime. However, the Tribune reports that

Prosecutor Juan Martinez told the court on Monday that, in a prior interview with Womack, she had refused to answer questions about her drug use. He said that her refusal to incriminate herself would have precluded her from testifying.

Defense attorney Kirk Nurmi claimed that Womack’s absence would deny the jury a full picture of Arias’ life prior to meeting Alexander in 2006.

Maricopa County Judge Sherry Stephens ruled there was no basis for a mistrial. She also denied a subsequent request by Nurmi to withdraw from the case, and adjourned the court for the day.

This is an interesting issue because prosecutors are not permitted to intimidate defense witnesses into not testifying for a defendant. Unfortunately for the defense, Ms. Womack appears to have been more concerned about her conflicted feelings and if that is the case, I believe this issue will not get Ms Arias a new penalty phase, assuming the jury sentences her to death.

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125 Responses to Judge denies motion for mistrial in Arias penalty phase

  1. looolooo says:

    Just made a $25.00 donation. 🙂

  2. Rachael says:

    Xena, I’m not sure what you are saying. Many people live with clinical depression and manage to function. I am one of them, have been diagnosed clinically depressed since age 13. There are people who have different levels of schizophrenia or schizoaffective disorders who don’t go out and shoot up theaters either. Just because someone has a mental illness or a personality disorder, or clinical depression versus situational depression, does not mean the are going to do bad things if treated. But I didn’t really have time to read your whole post because I’m supposed to be working.

    • Two sides to a story says:

      Bottom line is that you can’t compare one person with a disorder to another person with a disorder in the same way you can’t compare any two individuals – each and every person is unique and deserves to be judged only by their actions and the content of their character, with some cognizance of their ability or inability to make good choices based on what brain chemistry issues they may have.

    • Xena says:

      @Rachael.

      But I didn’t really have time to read your whole post because I’m supposed to be working.

      🙂 Then I’ll wait until you have read it before I respond.

      • Rachael says:

        Okay, I read it and I’m still not sure of your point. Yes, some is circumstantial in which case people may need medication for a short time to work through things and the medication is supposed to help while they do that. For some people it is clinical and they may have it continuously or episodes of it for the rest of their life. But I’m still not sure what you are saying.

        I know for people like me who have clinical depression, I have not really found any medication that works all the time – or when I do, I guess because I’m feeling better, I think I don’t need it and go off of it and then have a big problem when it hits again. Which is typical so they say.

        • Xena says:

          @Rachael.

          Okay, I read it and I’m still not sure of your point. Yes, some is circumstantial in which case people may need medication for a short time to work through things and the medication is supposed to help while they do that.

          My point is that professionals treating people for depression need to determine whether depression is clinical or circumstantial.

  3. amsterdam1234 says:

    I am not going to judge whether I think she is guilty based on the possible punishment she may receive.

    In the first place none of the experts who were qualified to diagnose

    her mental health, diagnosed her as insane and/or having halucinations. She does appear to have a personality disorder, but that is not a mental illness.

    There was a lot of evidence of pre-meditation. Too much for me to leave space for reasonable doubt. That is murder 1.

    Did Jodi receive the due process she was entitled to?
    I have some serious questions about the jury being allowed to ask questions. That practice kind of makes the part where jurors are admonished not to share their thoughts and opinions with each other, moot. I guess it is an excepted practice in Arizona, but that may be an interesting angle for an appeal.

    • amsterdam1234 says:

      This was a reply to Searchingmind’s post. Don’t know why it ended up here.

    • Two sides to a story says:

      “She does appear to have a personality disorder, but that is not a mental illness.”

      That’s actually a psychiatric paradigm that is argued around the world: http://bjp.rcpsych.org/content/180/2/110.full

      ” Conclusions The historical reasons for regarding personality disorders as fundamentally different from mental illnesses are being undermined by both clinical and genetic evidence. Effective treatments for personality disorders would probably have a decisive influence on psychiatrists’ attitudes.”

      You do realize there is disagreement about this topic and that science evolves and changes – and that the discipline and conventions of psychiatry are somewhat controversial?

      • Two sides to a story says:

        So no, Jodi is definitely not getting due process nor the treatment she should have and hopefully that people with PD with have at some point in the future when there is better understanding and treatment. She is MENTALLY ILL.

        • Then lets apply the same standards to fogen……

          What a bunch of hypocritical bullshit……..

        • cielo62 says:

          Two sides- Jodi is not mentally ill. There is no cure or treatment for sociopathy or narcissism. She is cognitively aware enough to know the fact that murder is wrong. Hence all the ways she tried to hide it. I’ve worked for sociopaths. Wished them all kinds of bedevil meant because they hurt people emotionally for fun. But they never broke the law. There are many out there who manage to not kill anybody. Jodi is not mentally ill.

          Sent from my iPod

      • amsterdam1234 says:

        I am not making a judgement call, I am just stating it as things stand at the moment.
        She is not legally insane. She can tell right from wrong. She took a lot of actions to hide the fact she was in Arizona. So she knew the possible consequences of her actions.
        I don’t support the death penalty, I am not jumping up and down demanding a certain punishment, I am not calling her the devil incarnate. I do believe she is guilty of premeditated murder, legally and morally.

      • Rachael says:

        I totally agree with you amsterdam.

      • Two sides to a story says:

        What’s hypocritical about believing that some people who commit criminal acts are also truly mentally ill?

      • Rachael says:

        @MMP – you say “Then lets apply the same standards to fogen……”

        In what way do you think “we” aren’t?

        • It seems some people here are supporting jodie in making her the “victim”…….that we should feel empathy and sorrow for her and her plight…..Either by way of mental incapacity, or it was Travis’s fault.

          I DO NOT see the same being applied to fogen on this blog….I see no sympathy, empathy, understanding being applied to fogen here…No “But we have to understand he’s mentally ill”…most all comments are that he should go to prison….then rot in hell……

          Why not apply the same to jodie?

      • Rachael says:

        I guess I’m just not seeing what you are seeing. I neither see nor have any empathy for her. I just don’t think the state should kill her. I have no sympathy or empathy for GZ either, and I don’t think the state should kill him.

        I haven’t really followed Jodi’s case though, but I haven’t seen anyone feel sorry for her.

        Sorry, but I’m just not seeing what you are seeing.

      • Two sides to a story says:

        Amsterdam, as the saying goes – what’s legal isn’t always moral.

        And this is the crux of young Mr. Fogen’s dilemma.

        Whether Fogen is or is not ADD/ADHD with the possibility of some PD, is beside the point if he was truly attacked, in a legal sense. Even if we could prove that Trayvon initiated the confrontation and had done everything Fogen says in exactly the way he reports it, Fogen would probably be legally justified to shoot Trayvon, but would it have been morally justifiable?

        I think not, as evidenced by the minor injuries and his composure after the incident, and this is what has interested me in the case from the beginning.

        Fogen could have been an A+ student interning in a law office and on his way to law school and his coveted judgeship and come from a sterling Afro-Peruvian / White family with awards up the yazoo who were pillars of Florida society and Trayvon could be the ghetto thug that his detractors so want him to be and Fogen would still would not be morally justified in his decision, in my opinion. Either way, some people just can’t think think beyond the parameters of their own mental obscurations, whether of sound mind or mentally impaired.

        I believe that ANGER is the basis for many crimes and how we manage this emotion (and other emotions) speaks to what choices we make, no matter how our marbles are placed.

      • Rachael says:

        I just heard this saying on the news yesterday about a home with a gun can be the difference between an argument and a shooting. Yes, I agree that anger is the basis of most crimes. Even in people with no *previous diagnosis* of anything.

      • amsterdam1234 says:

        Tstas
        I agree that there is difference between legal and moral, that is why I added them both in Jodi’s case.

        I would have a problem calling personality disorders and ADHD to some extent, a mental illness. Both are defined in the context of preferred behavior in a social environment. Change the norms in a certain society and some of the people would no longer have pd, and others would. That is not a mental illness, unless being unable or unwilling to conform to societal pressure is pd. Many people who are diagnosed with pd will never kill or be a danger to other people. They may be impossible to live with, but that is not a reason to lock them up for life.

      • Two sides to a story says:

        Just to be on the record, I wouldn’t call ADD/ADHD a mental illness per se, either . Like I said, ADD/ADHD commonly goes along with other more serious stuff that can be classed as mental disorders or illnesses – but it’s easier to diagnose and treat than the brain chemistry disorders, so sometimes people who also have other problems get only the ADHD label and then it gets a bad rap. It can lead to some impulsive risk-taking behavior, though, an an inability to think things through.

        You could call ADD/ADHD a perceptual impairment, I suppose, but it sometimes comes with creative gifts. So it can be a blessing in disguise in some ways.

        And I don’t work in the mental health field – my two degrees are in the Humanities, so I’m not personally qualified to express an expert opinion about much of anything, LOL. I’ve had lots of personal experience with ADD/ADHD with myself and family and also worked for a time with K-12 students with different IEPs including ADD/ADHD, so I’m just expressing my personal opinion here.

        I guess you have to be careful what exact words you choose to describe these differently abled states because no matter which one you choose, someone objects. 😀

        PS- Silver Lining Playbooks is a film that hit very close to home in my family and was watched both with fascination, and applause, and even a little dismay. There is a lot of bipolar in my family as well as ADD/ADHD.

        • I got into mental health when my late wife was DXed as terminal…..

          Depression….suicidal thoughts…..Then I started learning more about myself…..and in turn being able to share what I had learned to help others…..Before moving to Co I worked as a psych tech at a shelter for the HOMELESS mentally ill……

          Your comment about not knowing rubbed me the wrong way…..There’s more I could say about my work in the field…

          It wasn’t until 1973 that the DSM discontinued listing homosexuality as a “mental disorder”..and now?

          A mental illness is a chemical imbalance in the brain, injury to the brain…..something that organically changes the function of the brain.

          A disorder is how one copes with or deals with life….Consider………………..

          Some scientists were doing research on kids…

          They put one boy in a room full of new unopened toys….the other boy they put in a room full of horseshit…

          They left them there for 2 hours and went to check on them…

          They check the boy with the toys?…and there he sat….chin in his hands…not a toy opened…they ask him…”Why didn’t you play with anything?”…his reply?…”I didn’t know whose they were and I didn’t want to get into trouble”…

          Then they check the second boy…they open the door and he’s nowhere in sight…just tunnels and holes in the horseshit…then the kid pops out of one of the holes grinning from ear to ear…

          They ask him…”Why are you so happy in here?”….his reply?….

          ”With all this horse crap…I KNOW there has to be a pony in here somewhere”……

          It’s all perspective…ones outlook can determine how they see the world……

          BTW….hauled 8 sacks of horseshit up the mountain for the garden the other day….Yeah….I found my pony 🙂

      • Malisha says:

        Having a mental illness is not limited to having a psychosis, which means a person is not in touch with reality. One can have any number of mental illnesses (such as neuroses, phobias, anxiety disorders, depression, etc.) and still be in touch with reality and responsible for one’s actions. The particular group of mental illnesses identified as personality disorders include but are not limited to disorders that make a person fail to experience both empathy and guilt. Then there are mental illnesses that would make a person actually “NCR” — NOT criminally responsible — for their misconduct.

        I have not followed this trial closely enough to know whether Arias got a proper forensic psychiatric evaluation. Thus, “I don’t know what her thing is.”

  4. SearchingMind says:

    The 6th Amendment Is Dead. Long Live The 6th Amendment!

    Someone up thread described Jodi as “this insane in the menbrane chick”. I agree. There could be no better description of her. Jodi is ill. To the core. And she does not even realize that – in line with the symptoms of her illness. In Jodi’s world, hallucinations are her reality and vice versa. Jodi avoids the reality known to you and me (because they are hallucinations in her world) and acts in accordance with her hallucinations (because they are the reality in her world). Upon that should Jodi’s defense have been benched. But her counsels – regardless of what Jodi may have said pre-trial and before their entrée to the scene – botched the operation, while an incompetent Judge presided over what is essentially a circus.

    I most sincerely believe that Jodi did not receive any modicum of- albeit minimum fair trial. It is my opinion that (a) the jury was gravely compromised and biased, (b) key expert witness(es) was/were intimidated by the government, (c) defense counsels were ineffective and (d) the trial Judge incompetent.

    A lot of stuff went wrong during the trial phase and thereafter. In order not to make this post long, I shall name but a few. We all remember the infamous declarations of expert witnesses to the jury to the effect that Jodi “committed heinous crime”; that Jodi “committed murder”, etc. We also recall jurors’ questions to these expert witness(es) such as:

    • “please, explain why you feel that Jodi is not manipulative either before or after the killing based on the reviewing statements and interviews?”;
    • “(…) is not the perpetrator of the greatest domestic violence Jodi?”, etc.;
    • “Is there any reason to believe Arias has not manipulated you, as she has others?”
    • “How confident are you that Arias did not lie to you?”
    • “Do you think Arias exaggerated when she spoke to you about the abuse she claims to have suffered?”
    • “Hypothetically, if you determined Arias had exaggerated, would that change your opinion?”
    • “Do you have personal feelings for Arias?” (!!!).
    • “Could Arias be guilty of psychological abuse toward Alexander?”
    • “Is it possible for the survivor to be the perpetrator?”
    • “Could the reason Alexander said negative things to Arias be because he was afraid of her stalking him?”
    • “Is the level of violence, “which was extreme and way beyond neutralizing a threat,” consistent with what a victim of abuse would do?”

    Jodi thus never stood a chance nor had she any shot at having her case fairly considered by jurors. Apparently, expert witnesses in Jodi’s case made scientific/expert determinations that Jodi is guilty of “heinous crime”, “murder”, etc. Expert testimony is evidence. Those expert testimonies created strong and deep impressions which closed the mind of jurors against Jodi and formed a significant part of the body of evidence upon which the jury’s finding of guilt was based. That is an egregious violation of Jodi’s right to fair trial and tremendously unconstitutional. Experts may not determine the guilt of anyone, for such falls outside their expertise and duties as expert witnesses in a criminal trial.

    Apparently also, the jurors, by the nature of their questions, had (a) deliberated on the weight of the evidence- and (b) formed an opinion as to the weight of that evidence and Jodi’s guilt – before all evidence has been presented. Jurors implied that Jodi manipulated others, is a stalker, a liar; that her “level of violence was extreme and way beyond neutralizing [the] threat”, etc. That, at the very minimum, depicts an appearance of- if not outright bias against Jodi. Again, that is an egregious violation of Jodi’s right to fair trial and tremendously unconstitutional. Some of the questions (e.g. “Do you have personal feelings for Arias?” (!!!)) even went further (to tend) to humiliate, albeit make caricature of an expert witness and unduly diminish her expertise.

    Jodi’s attorneys should have motioned for mistrial beginning from the very moment an expert witness declared that Jodi “is guilty of heinous crimes”, moved to remove the trial Judge and file for Writs of prohibition should such a Motion be denied. On about/more than a dozen occasion the grounds for mistrial, removal of the trial Judge, Writs of Prohibition (should the judge refuse to leave) were presented to these attorneys on a silver platter. On about/more than a dozen occasion, these attorneys botched the operation. That might be a result of incompetence. It might also be because it was not their lives at stake but rather that of a “heinous criminal” whom they would love to abandon at any given opportunity.

    I do not want to make this post very long. So, I will conclude by asking these questions: (a) did Jodi commit 1st degree murder and (b) how do we know the right answer? The philosophers/philosophical anthropologist/ psychologist/ sociologist among us might find the question rhetorical and give us different complicated, brain-jamming answers. But for jurists, the answer is very simple: ‘the right answer’ is one that is reached through pre-established procedures and after those pre-established procedures have been properly followed. Those procedures are inbuilt in the system and are the ultimate guarantors of the correctness of the results reached. Those procedures have not been properly followed in Jodi’s case. Hence, the results reached are seriously flawed and unworthy of any of us to champion.

    • SearchingMind says:

      Personal note: Jodi’s case and the case of the State of Florida v. George Michael Zimmerman cannot be compared to one another. The differences between the two are just fundamental and staggeringly immense (but that’s a different topic we could discuss later). The few making such comparison should at least make a serious augment for their case and we will discuss that.

    • cielo62 says:

      Searching Mind~ I will keep my response short: You are wrong. She IS guilty. The evidence was obvious enough that nobody needed to say anything at all.

    • SearchingMind says:

      Thanks, Cielo. Indeed, the evidence clearly demonstrates that Jodi killed Travis – in a very cruel manner. But that, in and of itself, is not enough for a finding of (a) guilt for (b) 1st degree murder.

      • cielo62 says:

        Searching mind- ??? Premeditated, cruel and proven with forensics. What more do you need? Maybe it’s not enough for the death penalty but surely enough for first degree murder.

        Sent from my iPod

      • SearchingMind says:

        Cielo, the premeditation aspect was based on the fact that Jodi purchased a gun shortly before the killing. But, Jodi could have purchased that gun for a good number of reasons. There is no evidence (I know of) that show that Jodi planned to kill Travis before- or at the moment she purchased that gun. There is also no evidence to exclude that Jodi decided to kill Travis just immediately after one of their “affectionate liaisons” on that fateful day (after the player Travis got what he wanted from Jodi and threw her clothing and shoes out of the door and told her to get the hell out of his house and never return, which would trigger uncontrollable rage in an already seriously mentally unhealthy individual). Jodi is mentally ill while Travis was an abusive player. That’s a recipe for disaster. I think that this tragedy is not black&white and my hands are as such too heavy to pick up the stone and throw at Jodi.

        • Xena says:

          @SearchingMind.

          Cielo, the premeditation aspect was based on the fact that Jodi purchased a gun shortly before the killing.

          She purchased the gun afterwards, and testified that she had planned on killing herself with it. Before she killed Travis, she reported a burglary of her grandparents’ house where she was living, and the only thing stolen was a .25 handgun. Travis was shot with that caliber and Jodi claimed that she threw the gun into the desert and that it belonged to Travis.

          A witness for the State testified that Travis never owned a gun.

          • Travis never owned a gun……nor was ANY type of ammo for any firearm found in his house.

            What type of gun owner would only have enough ammo to fill only one clip for a pistol……..They don’t sell ammo by the round….but by the box.

          • Xena says:

            @MMPat.

            Travis never owned a gun……nor was ANY type of ammo for any firearm found in his house.

            Right, and that was brought out during the trial. Additionally, Jodi said she knew where Travis kept the gun in the closet, and it was never loaded. She said she didn’t know if it was loaded when she fired it. So, why run to get an unloaded gun to stop a life-threatening attack on her, when she could have ran out of the house? That is what Martinez wanted Jodi to answer, but she had selective memory lapse.

        • cielo62 says:

          SM~ “Travis was an abusive player”?? And you base your opinion on what? The SAME basis that Trayvon is a thug?? And Jodi didn’t BUY her gun; she stole it from her grandparents. gas tanks to avoid stopping, washing the camera, etc don’t indicate PLANNING in your mind? Then maybe you better keep searching for a mind, searching mind!

          • Xena says:

            @MMPat. When Travis cut-off the relationship with Jodi, and Jodi continued to stalk and caused harm by slashing tires, would we expect for Travis to throw kisses at her to avoid being accused of being abusive? Let me try saying this another way — Travis had done everything the right way to cut Jodi out of his life. She was persistent. Maybe harsh language would work. Harsh language was not a response to being an abusive person but rather, the result of being abused himself.

          • Xena…..I had one similar to jodie..To get her out?….kid gloves…To the extent, once I did get her out….2 weeks and no contact later I’m served with a restraining order……her claims?……Me pounding on the counter….cussing at her while I was kicking her out !!!!!!!!….She was laughed out of court with her restraining order…

            More later in other places……

      • SearchingMind says:

        Xena and MMp, I believe that Jodi’s testimony are inherently utterly confused – but not calculated. The later imply deceit on the part of the declarant. The former show the distorted state of mind of the declarant. Of all things Jodi has claimed so far, I think she cannot even differentiate between those of them that are real and those that aren’t. Don’t be surprised when Jodi claims to be the Pope. She is already extremely happy, immensely proud for the prize she won singing in prison (!) while life hangs in the balance. What Jodi needs right now is medication to first shut her up and then see where one goes from there.

        • SM

          Couldn’t the exact same thing be said of fogen?

        • Xena says:

          @SearchingMind.

          Of all things Jodi has claimed so far, I think she cannot even differentiate between those of them that are real and those that aren’t.

          I would tend to consider that position if not but for the fact that Jodi tried hiding her crime. At first, she attempted to go along with what she had planned, which was to have no evidence of her presence in Travis’ home. When that didn’t work, she developed the Ninja story, even alleging that one person was Black.

          She was arrested anyway, and tried negotiating a reduced plea from first degree murder. That didn’t work.

          Jodi knows right from wrong, truth from lies. If anything, her insanity is that she believes others should ALWAYS believe her.

      • SearchingMind says:

        while – her – life hangs in the balance ..

        • I AM NOT really believing you people…

          fogen killed Trayvon in a depraved manor…

          jodie killed Travis in a depraved manor….

          “Oh but there’s things about Travis”…yeah dig up dirt…find anything you can to make him the bad guy and deserving of his death.

          Yet oddly people get upset when the same things done to Trayvon.

          jodie has the right to appeal because of ineffective counsel I hear.

          Yet will Ya’ll say the same when fogen tries the ineffective counsel routine?

      • SearchingMind says:

        @ MMP

        First I have to say that this is a difficult discussion – in that WE all agree that what happened to Travis should not happen to anyone. We differ on the qualification of Jodi’s act and appropriateness of the sentence, and good reasonable people and disagree on that. The issue I want to address here is the double standard argument you raised. I do not agree that any such double standard is present and will proceed to offer some few insights below.

        While the acts (homicide) committed by GZ and Jodi are the same, the prime movers of those actions are immensely, fundamentally different. Thus, the moral equivalence drawn between these two cases I find misplaced. I shall explain as follows with just a few examples (of which there are many):

        a. GZ’s crime was not against Trayvon as such, but an entire ethnic group/race. GZ was targeting African Americans juveniles/”kids” (“coons” in GZ’s world). Any random Black kid could have fallen victim to GZ’s sword – for one simple reason: the color of their skin. As far as I am concerned, GZ committed a crime akin to a crime against humanity (i.e. targeting an entire race/ethnic group). This is an anethema in my America.

        b. Trayvon did not know GZ, had not had any form of contact/interaction with GZ prior to his murder and as such could not have remotely provoked GZ into going after him in any way shape or form. Trayvon has zero responsibility in what happened to him.

        c. Jodi’s target was Travis and Travis alone – not random individuals with specific identifiable ethnic/racial appearance on the street.

        d. Jodi and Travis had an affectionate relationship. By virtue of- and during the course of that relationship both entered into “contract” with one another (not speaking legally here). Expectations were created, promises made, and emotional (inter-)dependency established between the two (and I am speaking from the point of view of sociology and psychology). A tear in a relationship can lead to serious psychiatric disorder and can be deadly if not wisely managed (some people commit suicide after their partner dumps them – for goodness sake). Without diminishing the gravity of Jodi’s action, Travis was not entirely innocent in the whole debacle!

        That said, if GZ claims insanity tomorrow, my views on the case against him MIGHT change. BUT, for that to happen: GZ must FIRST:

        a. acknowledge that he(GZ) hunted Trayvon;

        b. disregarded police Dispatcher’s advice to cease pursuing Trayvon;

        c. eventually captured Trayvon and sought to detain him (Trayvon) against his will;

        d. immobilize Trayvon upon capture, specifically aimed for Trayvon’s heart and shot Trayvon as aimed while mounted on Trayvon, with Trayvon asking him (GZ) to stop and begging him (GZ) for his life.

        If GZ (as somehow did Jodi) acknowledges the above and claim claims insanity, that would be a good beginning. But so far, GZ is not there yet. On the contrary, GZ has turned the murder of an innocent juvenile into a financial enterprise that has netted him (GZ) lose to half a million dollars in a year.
        There are no parallels between Jodi’s case and the case against GZ. As such, there are no double standard.

        • “Travis was not entirely innocent in the whole debacle”

          He was in AZ. living his life…..jodie drove from Calif to AZ. to take his life.

          The only thing I can see Travis being guilty of is hooking up with jodie……….Remember “you’re the worst thing that’s happened to me”?

          How prophetic.

      • SearchingMind says:

        … and good reasonable people CAN disagree on that .. (is what was meant in 1st parag. line 5)

    • Judy75201 says:

      Are you angry that this trial did not have the same result as Casey and OJ?

      • SearchingMind says:

        No, not at all, Judy. I am concerned that a mentally ill individual might be executed.

        • cielo62 says:

          Searching mind- she was analyzed multiple times. The legal definition of mental illness only cares about the difference between right and wrong. She clearly knew what she had planned, and what she did were wrong. Hence all of the lies. She is not psychotic and in an alternate world. She is sociopathic and narcissistic and very much a part of this world.

          Sent from my iPod

      • Rachael says:

        Yet still very mentally ill.

      • Two sides to a story says:

        I feel that Travis also has a murky psychology, though not as disturbed as Jodi – these relationship fireworks never happen without two disturbed players, As the greater victim, he came off in death and trial looking like an angel. I have serious doubts about that picture.

    • Xena says:

      @SearchingMind. Only addressing one point.

      Jodi thus never stood a chance nor had she any shot at having her case fairly considered by jurors.

      After more than 2 weeks of having Jodi testify, of course the jury would form their own impression of Jodi. IMO, the defense experts were only put on the stand to try and explain away why Jodi could not remember stabbing Travis, cutting his throat, what she did with the knife, when she deleted pictures from the camera, putting the camera in the washing machine, and all of her other actions that she claimed not remembering.

      Also IMO, the jury considered the case based on evidence.

      • SearchingMind says:

        Good rebuttal, Xena. But, it seems to me that the court and the jurors put the cart before the horse in this case. They are convinced that Jodi is guilty and as such, it did not matter to them whether or not due process is followed. Whatever error that may be made must be harmless, because you know, there is no question that she did it (they reason). That’s not the way the system is meant to work. That kind of summarizes my view.

        That said, Jodi’s case should never have been about self-defense. Her attorneys should have known that from the beginning. Jodi’s actions before and after the killing and while in jail speak of someone is seriously deranged and utterly detached from reality. The criminal defendant’s state of mind and mental health lie at the core of the concept of “criminal quilt and culpability’. No serious attempt was made to seriously explore and determine these aspects pre- and during trial, and determine appropriate penalties and/or solutions after such determinations have been made. Because of this and other reasons enumerated above, I cannot in good conscience support the jury verdict.

        • Xena says:

          @SearchingMind.

          Good rebuttal, Xena. But, it seems to me that the court and the jurors put the cart before the horse in this case. They are convinced that Jodi is guilty and as such, it did not matter to them whether or not due process is followed.

          I’m not sure what due process was not followed. Jodi’s defense argued that the prosecutor is intimidating and they want to blame the judge for allowing it. Logically, prosecutors are not going to throw kisses at witnesses.

          That said, Jodi’s case should never have been about self-defense. Her attorneys should have known that from the beginning.

          Agreed. That defense was raised two years after she was charged, and after she could not bargain with prosecutors to reduce the charge.

          The criminal defendant’s state of mind and mental health lie at the core of the concept of “criminal quilt and culpability’. No serious attempt was made to seriously explore and determine these aspects pre- and during trial, …

          IMO, they were explored. The defense raised that Jodi suffered from PTSD. The State raised that Jodi suffered with personality disorder. Now, had the defense simply agreed with the State, maybe things would have turned out differently for Jodi.

    • Jodie is guilty as sin.

      1. How many stories about Travis’s death? And then when she admits she did it it’s self defense.

      2. Why could the defense only find bottom of the barrel “experts” to testify in her defense.

      3. “expert” LaToilette lied to the court & the jury.

      4. There is a big difference between mental illness and a personality disorder…How much of a “neat freak” does one have to be before being DXed with OCD?…….Watch the show “Hoarders” those are people with a personality disorder.

      5. Most all of us have a personality disorder of some type, to some degree.

      With that said….she IS NOT mentally ill……disturbed? yeah….NOT mentally ill.

      • Rachael says:

        I disagree. She is mentally ill, very much so IMO. Does that mean she is not guilty though? No.

        • Look up the definitions of mental illness and personality disorders….there’s a BIG difference.

          fogen has 2 “disorders” that we know of…ADD & ADHD….BOTH disorders….not mental illness’s.

      • Trained Observer says:

        I don’t care how we parse her mental state. She is guilty of a protracted gun & knife murder, is a menace to society, and needs to be locked up for life.

      • Rachael says:

        I agree that she needs to be locked up for life because there is no assurance to me that something like this would not happen again. I do not think that taking her life would accomplish anything though.

      • Rachael says:

        MMP, those are not personality disorders.

        • Which ARE NOT personality disorders?

          Fogens? ADDisorder, ADHDisorder?

          I suggest you check either the DSM 3 or 4 for definitions.

          Are we now going to say that fogen is mentally ill?

      • KA says:

        I agree on the locked up for life. I do think she has a mental disorder with a marked impairment but I did think she needed to be guilty of murder one and a danger to society and needs to be in person for the duration of her natural life.

      • Rachael says:

        ADD and ADHD are NOT personality disorders.

        Personality disorders

        Last reviewed: November 10, 2012.

        Personality disorders are a group of mental health conditions in which a person has a long-term pattern of behaviors, emotions, and thoughts that is very different from his or her culture’s expectations. These behaviors interfere with the person’s ability to function in relationships, work, or other settings.
        Causes, incidence, and risk factors

        Causes of personality disorders are unknown. Genetic and environmental factors are thought to play a role.

        Mental health professionals categorize these disorders into the following types:

        Antisocial personality disorder
        Avoidant personality disorder
        Borderline personality disorder
        Dependent personality disorder
        Histrionic personality disorder
        Narcissistic personality disorder
        Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder
        Paranoid personality disorder
        Schizoid personality disorder
        Schizotypal personality disorder

        • And which of those are classified as “mental illness’s”?

        • Rachael………..I don’t like being in crowds…concerts, movies and such…..makes my skin crawl…At the same time I’m gregarious with people I’m around……

          Fact is….I fear humans more than I do any Snake, Bear or Mountain Lions.

          SO….Am I anti social?….Paranoid?

          Yet there are others that would have the same feelings sleeping out in the middle of nowhere by themselves, being without the “comforts” of society.

          Nature is my god…..the forest is my temple.

      • Rachael says:

        And they are all forms of mental illness, as is what you are saying, as well as depression, etc. That is why there is such a stigma for people seeking treatment for something like say depression, because it is a mental illness and people assume one mental illness is the same as the next – or that if you are mentally ill you are going to go crazy and do what she did or what GZ did and plenty of people have mental illness and don’t. Hey, I’m on medication for depression myself. Is it a mental illness? Yes. Am I going to go out and shoot my ex? I can’t say I haven’t thought about it – but no, I won’t do that.

        But maybe that is also part of the problem with just state-sanctioned killing.

        • Xena says:

          @Rachael. Some depression is circumstantial. Some years ago I was a member of a Yahoo group where the subject of depression came up. All of the kids who went on a shooting rampage and then killed themselves were on some type of medication for depression. I blamed the medication. This is why …

          The modern day medications for depression are suppose to help people to think through those conditions that cause them depression and find solutions. They come with warnings about taking the medication may lead to suicidal thoughts.

          When depression is caused by the actions of others, then how do patients handle it? They are doing exactly what the medication is intended for, i.e., ridding the source that causes their depression. That means if others teasing, rejecting, berating, etc. is causing the patient emotional harm, they handle it by removing the person or persons doing the teasing, rejecting, etc.

          A psychologist in that group wanted me to write an article for her blog, but I declined because I am no expert in mental illness — just someone who observes and researched what the kids shooting their classmates have in common.

          • EXACTLY Xena…..Clinical vs Situational depression….

          • Xena says:

            @MMPat.

            EXACTLY Xena…..Clinical vs Situational depression….

            Thank you. IMO, situational depression should never be treated with prescription drugs. Rather, people need a support system that provides them with encouragement, and hope, without making them long-term co-dependent on others.

          • The recovery model of treatment vs the medical model…..

            Cognitive thinking is a good thing to learn

          • racerrodig says:

            I only get depressed when I talk about depression, oh, and paying bills, and talking about my family, the weeds in the lawn, the economy, politics, inequity, unbridled racism, the environment, health care, insurance costs, my Honey Do list……….and don’t get me started on the Middle East……..

            Just Kidding !! I just hope people don’t suffer from any personality traits like some have stated here. Life has to much Kool Stuff to let the world just roll by.

            “Life is not a spectator sport” is how I live my life. So, every one come on over for that Celebratory Conviction BBQ !! Date to be announced.

          • Wut he sed

            I want to slide sidewise into the grave yellin’ “Hell what a ride”

            Sum of U have seen the tat on my foot 😉

          • racerrodig says:

            The one that says to the effect “Place tag here” naaaaaaa.

            There was to much for me to get involved with from the time I was a kid. Most of it evolved into bigger things. Not that this life style is for every one, that’s for sure, but if I enjoyed something I always went full tilt. I may drop over tomorrow from burning the candle at both ends, but then again I may not.

          • Yeah….be funny as shit I make it to 102

            “How did you accomplish this?”

            Me “Whiskey, Weed & Women” 🙂

          • racerrodig says:

            Well, playing football in school and being in the baddest rock band was like Babe Magnet City, Hanging with Football hero’s more hot babes around, then add the Hot Rod gals hanging around, what more can a 16 – 17 – 18 year old All American male ask for.

            Only in America…….

          • Only in the American Army 17, 18, 19,

          • racerrodig says:

            I say thank you for your service and dedication my good man.

          • Xena says:

            @racerrodig.

            Just Kidding !! I just hope people don’t suffer from any personality traits like some have stated here.

            People have personality characteristics. Understanding one’s self is the beginning of understanding others. Most people can get along with each other, or know who to avoid by understanding themselves and others.

          • racerrodig says:

            That’s what I say. My son & I had to run to Walmart for some shop supplies and the guy behind us, 20 years younger was puzzled by my stuff. I told him I’ll be the last man east of the Mississippi doing carbs and race motors and his interest was piqued. He was cool and we talked around the subject and I paid & left. He started taking in the lot so I gave my son a card and said he’s asking for one in a round about way. Scott ran it over to him and he started to talk to Scott like he knew all about what I do. He played along and when he came back I told him That’s how the world is supposed to work, We have a niche business, he states his old cars issues, we fix that stuff and he was probing….Now he knows how to get hold of us. Simple. I do this every day, that’s how business grows, As the Fonze once said……bull makes the world go round.

          • cielo62 says:

            Xena- sometimes situational depression requires medication because depression DOES CAUSE chemical imbalances in the body. It’s not “all in your mind”.

            Sent from my iPod

          • Xena says:

            @cielo62.

            Xena- sometimes situational depression requires medication because depression DOES CAUSE chemical imbalances in the body. It’s not “all in your mind”.

            I’ll meet you in the middle by saying, when there is situational depression, before turning to medication, friends and family should turn to the person.

          • cielo62 says:

            Xena- 🙂 that’s a compromise I can accept. In my case I have/ had a very small support group nearby. I tend to think what an individual can do for him/herself.

            Sent from my iPod

          • Xena says:

            @cielo62.

            Xena- 🙂 that’s a compromise I can accept. In my case I have/ had a very small support group nearby. I tend to think what an individual can do for him/herself.

            Yes, it’s better to give a hand-up than a hand-out. At times, I’ve given a hand-out to give people strength so they can reach for the hand-up. Of course, it depends on the individual. There are success stories, and then there are stories where I’ve had to walk away because the person sabotaged everything positive to help them, adding on more problems.

          • racerrodig says:

            Been there – done that. Some people can’t be helped.

          • Xena says:

            @racerrodig.

            Been there – done that. Some people can’t be helped.

            Those are the ones who do not want to be helped, or want action that no one is going to do for them.

          • cielo62 says:

            Xena- prescribing meds for teens and the elderly have something in common; dosages of meds are calculated for middle age adults. It may be too much or too little in the young or very old. Pills were NEVER supposed to “cure” depression. Depression is your body trying to tell you something. It’s telling you to deal with a situation that is causing anxiety. If people only take pills and ignore the root, they will NOT get better. My therapy involved cognitive behavioral reflection and changes. After a few years, I no longer needed the anti-depressants. It’s a tool, nothing more. No amount of pills will “fix” Jodi or GZ.

            Sent from my iPod

      • Two sides to a story says:

        “Most all of us have a personality disorder of some type, to some degree. . . . With that said….she IS NOT mentally ill……disturbed? yeah….NOT mentally ill.”

        That, MMP, is horrendously untrue and you clearly have never lived around anyone with a personality disorder, one of the most heartbreaking mental illnesses of all, simply because these people are seen more as evil and not crazy simply because they function better in the world than people who have psychotic breaks and hallucinations that are treatable with medications, etc. and PD are often difficult or impossible to fix. If the world was fair, these folks would be declared not guilty by reason of insanity and locked away in treatment facilities for their natural life rather than put in prison populations and on death row.

        Jodi is also singled as a monster simply for being a woman. Creepy male murderers with personality disorders like Charles Manson get far more respect than Jodi has received.

        • “That, MMP, is horrendously untrue and you clearly have never lived around anyone with a personality disorder,”

          One should know of what they speak before spouting off BS….

          You don’t know me, or what I have done for a living to make such a statement……….

          How much time and volunteer work I have done for the mentally ill……

          I used to train cops in Crisis Intervention….primarily relating to Vets & PTSD…(oh yeah….that’s a “disorder too”)

          Even a write up in a local paper naming me and my efforts in this.

          So as to your judgement of me….without knowing the facts about me?

          PISS OFF

          nuff said

        • cielo62 says:

          Two Sides/ personality disorders and mental illnesses are NOT synonymous. In the common lexicon we confuse them , but in reality they are very different animals. Like you said, the disorders can’t be treated. They can’t. But mental “illness” indicates that it can be cured or treated. Depression is a mental illness. Therapy and medications controls lots of cases. It does mine. But antisocial disorder CANNOT be treated. Jodi has one or more personality disorders. They cannot be cured or treated. Her disorder made her think she could get away with murder. Did she know it was wrong? YES! Which is why she is guilty and NOT insane.

          Sent from my iPod

          • Insanity is a legal definition that requires an underlying “mental disease or defect” that causes a person not to be able to tell right from wrong and conform their conduct to the requirements of law. That’s a very small subset of the mentally ill.

            Efforts to conceal the commission of a crime, such as what Jodi Arias did, circumstantially establish that she knew killing Travis Alexander was wrong.

            I believe she was diagnosed with a borderline personality disorder with narcissistic tendencies and there are no pills to take for that. I’m probably in the minority, but I believe we will someday discover a complicated set of chemical and genetic interactions that increase the probability that someone will have a personality disorder. I do not believe, for example, that people choose not to have empathy for others. One either has it or they don’t. People do not learn to have empathy. At least I didn’t. I was born with it. It’s my internal compass.

            Given the way I was raised, I should not have that ability.

            I do not doubt for a moment that Jodi Arias would have no idea regarding what I just wrote. She would probably nod her head pretending that she did, while remaining clueless, and immediately steer the conversation back to subject matter that she knows.

          • cielo62 says:

            Mason blue- true. Either you have empathy or you don’t. BUT behavior can be controlled by choice. Being devoid of empathy is not insanity. And it has no bearing on whether one engages in criminality.

            Sent from my iPod

      • Rachael says:

        Well MMP, it depends on some degree how you cope with it. You have found a way to cope with not being around people that works for you. I don’t know if you are anti-social or any of those other things, however, you are able to cope and contribute.

        I am anti-social and paranoid. I do not like to go out of my house even to go to the grocery store. Fortunately I have found work I am able to do from my home and I am able to force myself out to do things with my kids. If I could not work from my home, I probably would not be able to work at all.

        If I were not able to force myself to do things for my child and grands, some might see me as neglectful – even abusive rather than I have a problem.

        It becomes a problem when it interferes with your life. Like the difference between someone who drinks and someone who has a drinking problem.

        Again, I don’t know if you are paranoid or not but if you are, you’ve seemed to develop normal coping mechanisms. Sociopaths make good CEOs

        Many types of personality disorders work well for various types of work – used car salesmen, police officers, lawyers, realtors, clergymen may include a disproportionate number of antisocial personalities.

        Anyway – here is an interesting thing:

        http://quizlet.com/19255241/personality-disorders-flash-cards/

        • cielo62 says:

          Rachael- you sound more like a social anxiety disorder, which CAN be treated with counseling and anti-anxiety medication. Anti social people hate people, even family. If you were anti social you would not care about Trayvon’s case or justice for anybody.

          Sent from my iPod

      • Two sides to a story says:

        I think your anger is unwarranted and misdirected, Pat. You were not personally attacked.

        I questioned how much experience you have personally with personality disorders that you can claim that it is not a mental illness when psychiatry around the world has been debating that question for quite some time and is inching ever closer to the paradigm that yes, it is a mental illness.

        ADD/ADHD doesn’t even come close to the havoc that is wreaked in the lives of people with personality disorders and their families and associates. ADD/ADHD, however, does often accompany personality disorders and other mental difficulties such as bipolar. Fogen’s flat affect and lack of remorse suggest perhaps some sociopathy or some type of borderline personality disorder as well as ADD/ADHD – PD often escapes notice if a person is otherwise functioning somewhat normally in school and at work.

        I would say yes indeed, that young Fogen is mentally ill. As much as I engage in humor and snark about him, I know in my heart that he ain’t right in the head.

        By the way, I’ve lived up close and personal with ADD/ADHD myself, having it myself on the ADD side of the spectrum while sometimes displaying to a lesser degree ADHD, as well as coming from a family with members who have bipolar, clinical depression and anxiety disorders as well as some borderline personality disorders. One of my great uncles murdered his family and himself back in the 1940s before I was born. There are some other sad tales that fortunately have occurred within his generation and not to other sufferers in generations since because of the improvements in modern psychology and psychiatry. My own father had pretty severe type 1 bipolar and became a professor of psychology, ironically. He was brilliant but had many demons and a rather brilliant personality. There is autism in my family as well – we’re seeing it more in our young generations because it is better diagnosed now, but my maternal grandfather was rather peculiar and we think now he was on the spectrum

        That personality disorders are treated as if the sufferer / crime perpetrator is in total control and not mentally ill in our courtrooms is horrendous and sick. Not that there’s much difference for Jodi in being locked up in the Arizona State Hospital in Phoenix or state prison for the rest of her days (and she does belong locked up for the rest of her days, no doubt), but she should be treated as a mentally ill person, not an evil sex-crazed criminal. I believe the same standard is probably applicable to Fogen, and indeed, probably applicable to scores of truly guilty people on death row (and we also know by the work of the Innocence Project that there are scores of innocent people on death row.)

      • Two sides to a story says:

        meant *rigid personality* rather than brilliant personality.

      • Two sides to a story says:

        Ha, hardly anyone cares about sex-addled males unless they children or do things like kidnap women for 10 years or are rapists. But women are often treated like ho-thugs.

    • Malisha says:

      Absolutely brilliant post, thank you.

      I have been appalled at the unconstitutional clap-trap that has gone on during this trial. Her lawyers would be a laughingstock if her life were not at stake.

      OMG. The mess is unthinkable. Can this even be called a trial?

  5. zhickel says:

    “The defense moved for a mistrial when its only mitigation witness, Patricia Womack, refused to testify claiming that she had received death threats and was conflicted about the case.”

    * * * * *

    In Asimov’s 1955 short story, ‘Franchise’, the population of the USA was so relentlessly databased, studied, accounted for, predicted and analysed that it became possible to select one citizen to cast one vote that would typify the voting patterns of the entire constituency. Asimov had no clue of the venom the internet would release.

    Can our legal systems survive the internet? Can we continue to rely on the impartiality of judge and jury in the face of spin, threats and political pressure? Asimov saw data collection as a tool to narrow down the variables which indeed it is. He predicted Chaos Theory long before the mythical hummingbird flapped its wings. The populist responses to the most lurid and recent murder trials have proved him wrong.

    Are we heading towards a future when guilt or innocence is decided by popular vote on the internet? In many minds that would be true democracy – the will of the people. No matter that a large percentage of the general population is biased, racist, bewildered or sour; majority rules. It’s getting easier to reach an overwhelming consensus by internet these days.

    Administrators of justice in all countries need to be aware of the changing scenario,perceptions and trends that could change forever the definition of ‘trial by jury of your peers’. The shenanigans of the Simpson, Anthony, Arias, Zimmerman trials is starting to resemble the screaming mobs of the Roman Coliseum. Their approval (or lack thereof) was also the difference between life and death.

    I dread the eventuation of Asimov’s Franchise world. I dread even more a return to the tricoteuse and lynch mobs.

    • Two sides to a story says:

      Great post – be still my heart. Anyone who can write like you and make literary allusions to support their arguments has my vote. Hope Mr. L will feature this as a blog post.

    • gblock says:

      I read this story years ago. I greatly admire Asimov, but the idea of being able to extract a single “most typical” voter for an election is entertaining nonsense. In addition, a jury trial also presents (or is supposed to present) a different situation from an election. In an election, people make up their minds based on whatever information or misinformation they were exposed to. They may have received a lot of information, a little information, or misinformation. In a jury trial, jurors have certain information presented to them as a basis for a verdict, and they are supposed to make their decisions based on that information and not on any information that they received outside of the trial.

  6. Watched it this morning………..with my jaw on the floor

  7. PYorck says:

    Prosecutor Juan Martinez told the court on Monday that, in a prior interview with Womack, she had refused to answer questions about her drug use. He said that her refusal to incriminate herself would have precluded her from testifying.

    Can you explain how that works? Perhaps I am missing something, but that seems really strange to me.

  8. Enough allready with this insane in the menbrane chick.Whats with all this game playing with her lawyer.She was convicted of 1st degree murder,Do away with her and bring it George Zimmerman,the trial of this century.

  9. cielo62 says:

    >^..^<. Who knew "denied!" Could be such a lovely word. GZ better get used to it !

  10. Xena says:

    When I heard Nurmi’s argument in court this morning, it sounded like he wants Martinez to throw kisses at defense witnesses. Then Nurmi refused to produce witnesses for Jodi in retaliation for the court not allowing him to withdraw. In his argument to withdraw, he tried to blame it on the judge for allowing the prosecutor to intimidate witnesses.

    • SearchingMind says:

      “Then Nurmi refused to produce witnesses for Jodi in retaliation for the court not allowing him to withdraw.”

      That’s a good one, Xena, and a good ammunition for appeal – i.e. ineffectiveness of counsel. I wonder if Nurmi did that on purpose. If yes, maybe he finally woke up from his slumber and is doing what a defense counsel should be doing all along: fight doggedly against the court and prosecutors as if your client is a saint. It’s always a bruising battle, but also one he chose to fight the day he took the oath.

      • Xena says:

        @SearchingMind.

        That’s a good one, Xena, and a good ammunition for appeal – i.e. ineffectiveness of counsel. I wonder if Nurmi did that on purpose.

        I wondered the same. It might present an issue for appeal, but then Nurmi will have to overcome the court’s reason for denying withdrawal. Seldom does a court allow the withdrawal of defense counsel during trial and/or the sentencing stage. Based on Nurmi’s argument, is it good reason to motion to withdraw when you don’t like how the judge is ruling on objections?

      • SearchingMind says:

        Yeah Xena, in cases like this, attorneys knowingly fight an uphill losing battle. Sometimes they win. But Nurmi may not use his own failures to argue ineffectiveness of counsel. Other attorneys would have to do the case on appeal for ineffectiveness of counsel to become part of the equation and successful.

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