Tuesday, January 14, 2013
Following a closed-door session, a spokesperson for the Maricopa County Superior Court announced that the resentencing hearing in the Jodi Arias case will commence on March 17, 2014.
A jury previously convicted her of the capital murder of her boyfriend, Travis Alexander, but was unable to unanimously agree on whether to sentence her to death or to life without parole. I believe the jury deadlocked at 8 for death and 4 for LWOP.
The sensible and cost-efficient resolution would have been to sentence her to LWOP. Alexander’s family and friends could have begun the process of moving on with their lives and forgetting about Jodi Arias. Instead, they want more spectacle and blood. So does the prosecutor.
Given the split, there is little likelihood that a new jury will unanimously agree on the death penalty. Nevertheless, here we go again.
Judge Sherry Stephens, who presided over the first trial, will preside over the resentencing. She has already decided to ban livestream and live television coverage, so we will not get to watch any of the proceedings. The resentencing will take place in Phoenix, so you will have to go there to see it.
To refresh your recollection of the case, go here.
During jury selection, the defense will try to eliminate every potential juror who would automatically vote for death, regardless of any mitigating evidence, and the prosecutor will attempt to do the same to every potential juror who might have difficulty imposing the death penalty.
Any potential juror who is opposed to the death penalty will be excused on the ground that they cannot follow the law if they are unwilling to consider imposing the death penalty.
Keep in mind that the issue of guilt has already been decided. The new jury will only be tasked with deciding the penalty.
Nevertheless, the prosecutor will be permitted to introduce evidence about the murder since it’s relevant to consider in determining the sentence.
All defendants in criminal cases have the right of allocution, which means she can ask the jury to spare her life or sentence her to death.
To refresh your recollection on the procedure the court will follow and the jury instructions that the court will give to the jury, please go here to read my article from last May.
This is our 852nd post. We posted 3 articles yesterday and covered the atrocious verdict in the Kelly Thomas case late into the night. I was going to go to bed when I saw a news report about the Arias resentencing. I decided to hell with sleep and wrote this article instead. My article (to which I linked) about the penalty phase procedure and jury instructions is comprehensive and easy to read. I was a death-penalty lawyer so I know how it works.
We had 620 visitors to the site yesterday and only received 3 donations. That is not encouraging and I am not the least bit ashamed to say so.