Tuesday saw the swearing in of the jury and opening statements in the retrial of convicted murderer Jodi Arias.
But before the jury was even brought into the courtroom to be sworn in, Judge Sherry Stephens informed the parties that one of the selected jurors had called in to say she could not be in court because of a family emergency.
In spite of Kirk Nurmi objecting, and even requesting jury selection to start all over, Stephens excused the juror. The judge explained that since a total of 19 jurors made the cut, and only 12 are needed to deliberate, there are plenty and the missing juror could be excused.
Then on Wednesday a female juror, whose family member was friends with Arias at one time, was excused for asking a member of the media a question.
Nothing like starting off the re-trial with a little juror drama!
As the now 18 (this was before one was dismissed on Wednesday) jurors filed into the jury box from a private room off to the side of the courtroom, I was standing on tip toes and craning my neck to see who made the cut. I don’t know their names but here is what I learned from them during the selection process:
• There are 6 men and 12 women (before a woman was dismissed on Wednesday).
• The super majority of the jurors appear young and in their 40s or under.
• All appear Caucasian or Hispanic.
• Only two of the 18 (again, this was before one was dismissed on Wednesday) made comments during the large group questioning although the majority spoke during small group questioning.
• There are five jurors that made no comments and were not brought in for small group or individual questioning.
• One female, who appears to be in her 30s, has a B.S. in psychology and favors the death penalty but not in all circumstances. She leans more towards being neutral and would need to take it on a case-by-case basis. She believes the death penalty exists for a reason and that she could be fair.
• One female, who appears to be in her 40s, said she has no opinion about Arias, can form her own opinion in regards to what mental health professionals would say, dates an attorney and that integrity is a big issue with her.
• One female stated she didn’t have an opinion on psychologists and assumes they are capable if they are testifying.
• One male, who appears to be in his late 20s or early 30s, explained he had no decision on what was appropriate at this time in regards to a punishment for Arias.
• One female juror, who appears to be in her early 30s, said she believes in the death penalty and the concept of “an eye for an eye” but that it is all about the circumstances.
• One female juror, who appears to be in her early 30s, smiled a lot when answering basic questions.
• One female juror stated she would be OK with a life sentence.
• One female juror admitted she saw coverage of the first trial “like everybody else” but she didn’t follow it closely, she is a kindergarten teacher and barely knows how to use the Internet.
• One female juror, who appears to be in her 30s, is a trauma nurse who deals with serious injuries and will not be offended by graphic pictures, and whose mother is in the psychology field.
• A male, who appears to be in his 30s, stated “death penalty is there for a reason.”
• Another male, who appears to be in his 30s, would want to know if a person is remorseful, he is capable of giving the death penalty and is more likely to sentence someone to death if they are not remorseful.
So what does this all mean for Arias? The younger women may identify with Arias and her claims of abuse at the hands of her family and at the hands of Travis Alexander. Or they could believe that she went far beyond the bounds of reason.
The men may secretly like her and how she was before the murder, or they may think she deserves to die.
I could hypothesize more, but at the end of the day, only time and the verdict will tell.
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