Former lead lawyer for Jodi Arias to accept 4-year suspension

Nov 18, 2016, 9:27 AM | Updated: 11:20 am
(AP Photo)...
(AP Photo)
(AP Photo)

PHOENIX — The man who defended convicted killer Jodi Arias in court is likely to be suspended from practicing law over the book he wrote about the sensational case.

The State Bar of Arizona has recommended to a judge that Kirk Nurmi be suspended for four years. Nurmi also requested the suspension to avoid a stricter penalty — a disciplinary hearing and possible disbarment.

The recommendation was based on a consent decree in which Nurmi admitted breaching attorney-client confidentiality.

Nurmi successfully maneuvered a hung jury in the penalty phase retrial in March 2015.

The jury that had found Arias guilty of first-degree murder in May 2013 but could not agree on death or life in prison for her sentence, forcing a retrial of the penalty phase.

The second jury voted 11-1 for the death penalty, but that holdout caused a mistrial to be declared.

Nurmi went on to write a book about his work on the case, “Trapped with Ms. Arias.”

During his time as Arias’ lead attorney he tried to quit the public defender’s office but Judge Sherry Stephens compelled him to stay.

Nurmi was accused of violating attorney ethics rules by revealing in his book the content of confidential conversations he had with Arias and her family and revealing evidence ruled inadmissible.

The presiding judge has the option of accepting, rejecting or modifying the consent agreement and Arias also has the ability to object.

The trial drew worldwide attention. The lurid details of the murder of Travis Alexander riveted millions.

She is serving her life sentence in Perryville Women’s Prison in Goodyear, Arizona, just west of Phoenix.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Former lead lawyer for Jodi Arias to accept 4-year suspension