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County attorney demands Jodi Arias holdout juror’s safety

PHOENIX — Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery demanded the safety of the holdout juror in the Jodi Arias case in a statement Thursday.

Juror 17 was the only one on the 12-person panel to not vote for the death penalty in Arias’ penalty phase retrial, resulting in a hung jury. Montgomery came out strongly in favor the juror system after the trial.

Within hours of the hung jury announcement, Juror 17’s address and other information were posted on social media. Authorities said that while she received no credible threats, she was provided with security.

There has been a good deal of controversy surrounding Juror 17, who admitted to watching parts of a Lifetime movie about the trial and was allegedly difficult to interact with during deliberations.

Montgomery’s statement, in its entirety, is below. It has not been edited in any way.

Claims of juror misconduct in any trial are viewed with seriousness given the potential impact on the integrity of our criminal justice system and confidence in jury verdicts. Closely associated with this concern is the importance of avoiding an environment in which jurors are singled out for attack and subjected to threats to their safety and well-being because of individual decisions made in the process of jury deliberations. Whether those decisions are in the favor of the prosecution or not, they must be respected if we are to expect fellow citizens to willingly serve in the future and conscientiously carry out their oaths with honor and integrity.

In instances where there is credible information of misconduct, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office will review the matter, request an independent investigation, and then seek an independent review for any potential charges and then for prosecution. This process may be altered where circumstances warrant.

In the current situation surrounding the State v. Arias trial, attacks on Juror 17, which can only presently be based on speculation, must cease. There is a process for review that is outlined above. Anger and frustration at suspected actions inconsistent with our jury system does not provide justification for death threats or disgusting characterizations of what should happen to someone’s person. Instead, the same fidelity to fairly assessing available information as expected in the underlying criminal trial should be observed in this matter.