Legally Speaking: What is on tap next in the Jodi Arias case?
On Jan. 14 Judge Sherry Stephens issued her 16 page ruling on Jodi Arias’ various motions to dismiss all charges and/or in the alternative, to take the death penalty off the table, and all the motions/supplements in between and after.
In her ruling Judge Stephens lists all the various pleadings and then goes through, briefly though succinctly, the 17 areas the motions to dismiss are based upon.
At the end she denies every motion filed by the Arias defense and the two motions filed by the prosecutor, Juan Martinez.
Now that we have the answers to the long outstanding questions of whether the case will be dismissed or whether death will be taken off the table, the question becomes where do we go from here?
If you’re the prosecution, Martinez, the answer is you forge ahead and combat with 100 percent passion and effort, every allegation, comment and witness that Arias sets forth and puts on the stand.
If you’re Arias and her defense team, Kirk Nurmi, Jennifer Willmott and Maria De la Rosa, you forge ahead trying to convince this jury there’s enough mitigating evidence to save her life.
If you’re Judge Stephens you forge ahead with tackling the inevitable legal issues, questions and objections that will rear their heads during the sidebars and in the pleadings that will continue to come all while repeating the mantra “one day this will end…one day this will end…”
If you are Travis Alexander’s friends and family you continue to stay strong and pray for an end.
If you are the public and/or the media, you continue to watch, listen, report and explain the phenomena that IS the State v. Jodi Arias trial to the millions of people who are watching, reading and listening to the trial updates.
The trial is scheduled to resume Tuesday with defense expert Robert Geffner testifying. The jury was told there would be three days (yes, a whole three days) of trial this week, though I’m not holding my breath. As I have said before, this trial is unpredictable.
There are a couple known issues out there that weren’t yet resolved by Judge Stephen’s ruling.
The first being whether the Arizona Supreme Court will accept Nurmi’s appeal of the Court of Appeals decision allowing the media and the public to be present during Arias’ testimony. The Supreme Court denied the request to keep Arias’ late October testimony secret but it hasn’t made a decision about the underlying issue of whether she can continue to testify in secret/private.
Second, will the defense witnesses testify?
Nurmi has argued that “potential defense witnesses have refused to participate in the penalty phase retrial because they fear the prosecutor may make ‘improper personal attacks in court and inspire others to attack them outside court.'”
Although there hasn’t been a discussion about any particular witnesses, Judge Stephens did address the issue in her ruling.
“The courtroom is open to the public. The Court can’t control what the public and the media report about what they observe in the courtroom. The Court has stated the defendant may request accommodations be made for witnesses who have concerns about testifying in this case.
The Court has indicated it’s willing to consider creative ways to protect the privacy interest of potential witnesses…If a witness is unwilling to testify voluntarily, the defendant may subpoena that witness to testify to assure the jury has the benefit of the testimony. Alternatively, that testimony could be provided through an affidavit, videotaped statement or the testimony of the mitigation specialist or another witness.”
As such, there is still room for Arias’ witnesses to testify “safely” though maybe not completely “privately.”
There are still options which means there is still room for objections and renewed motions to dismiss. I do not see Nurmi, or Martinez for that matter, lying down their weapons anytime soon.
With all the twists and turns, uncertainties and questions, I can tell you one thing for sure about the State v. Jodi Arias trial, it will end…some day.
The some day I’m talking about won’t come around anytime soon since the appeals are inevitable and will take a long time, but it will end.