Legally Speaking: Drama, drama, drama in Jodi Arias case
There are three dramas going on right now in the State v. Jodi Arias case.
The main drama is being played out in front of the jury, one is being played out at the Court of Appeals and the most recent one is being played out in front of Judge Sherry Stephens. While out of the sight and hearing of the jury, the most recent one has the potential of being the most significant.
Regarding the main drama, Monday the jury returns to the fifth floor of the Maricopa County Superior Court to hear Juan Martinez, the prosecutor, continue his cross examination of defense expert Dr. L.C. Miccio-Fonseca. Many, if not all, are wondering if he will reduce this expert to a babbling, emotional mess like he did with defense experts Alyce LaViolette and Dr. Richard Samuels in the first trial. Last week when cross examination started, Dr. Fonseca held her own, her voice was steady and her explanations were straight forward. However, the same can be said for the first days of cross of the previous experts.
Meanwhile, the issue of locking the courtroom doors and kicking the public and the media out of the courtroom is still alive and present at the Arizona Court of Appeals. In late October Judge Stephens ordered the public and the media out of the courtroom, including Arias’ family, and the doors were shut while a mystery witness testified.
This move did not go over well with the media and it resulted in the media filing an action with the Court of Appeals asking it to tell Judge Stephens she was wrong and can’t lock the courtroom doors during testimony.
The Court of Appeals initially ruled that Judge Stephens is required to allow the media and the public into the courtroom. With that being said, we haven’t heard the last of this issue. Kirk Nurmi, Arias’ lead defense attorney, has stated he will continue to fight the decision on a substantive level. This could result in the public and the media being removed from the courtroom for future testimony.
There is no time frame as to when we will receive the Court of Appeals final decision on this issue.
The most interesting is the third drama, at least from my perspective.
The defense team filed a motion to dismiss the entire case because they allege the government (law enforcement and/or the prosecutor) committed misconduct by deleting thousands of files on the victim’s (Travis
Alexander) computer and then covered it up.
These files allegedly contain pornographic images, the presence of which was a significant issue in the first trial. The prosecutor responded by blaming the deletion of the evidence on the defense attorneys who in return, placed the blame back on the state.
A hearing was held all day Friday with the only result being that there are more questions about the evidence, or lack thereof, than before the hearing.
Arias’ computer forensic expert testified he found breaches in forensic protocol by the cops, missing files and missing SIM cards. Suffice it to say it was not looking good for the state at the end of the day.
This issue is far from over and the hearing will continue in December.
What will happen in the courtroom this short holiday week?