Jodi Arias was found guilty of murder in the first degree in May of this year 2013 for the brutal slaying of her boyfriend, Travis Alexander on June 4th 2008. I think most people would agree that the way the Jodi Arias trial has been conducted is a very bad advertisement for the adversarial approach to justice and the judicial system in Arizona. It’s difficult to imagine a trial in Europe being conducted in such a manner, whether under the ‘inquisitorial’ system or the ‘adversarial’ system. I have been following the trial closely from shortly after the opening (Jan 2nd 2013).
Although Jodi Arias was found guilty in Maricopa County, Arizona of murder in the first degree the jury were unable to reach agreement when it came to the sentencing phase regarding whether or not she should receive the death penalty. She has languished in prison for more than five years and still, as of now, her fate is undecided. The amount of controversy, hatred and passion that has been fuelled by an insatiable media circus is very sad. Seldom, if ever, has a low profile person been exposed publicly to such a degree. The jury was not sequestered, some of them may have been threatened, witnesses certainly were and some refused to give, what may have been, vital evidence. The prosecution’s case was built on circumstantial evidence and Juan Martinez had a difficult time in proving much of what he presented to the jury. In addition a number of vital witnesses appeared to have been less than credible. Perjury is a serious offence. Yet it appears now, and sometimes seemed obvious during the trial, that, not just one but, a number of witnesses perjured themselves. Jodi Arias, herself, admitted to lying and changing her story several times. Add to all this, the fact that there was no adequate protection for the jury or witnesses and it is difficult to see how this could possibly have been a fair trial for Alexander or Arias.
I wasn’t in the least bit surprised that the Jury did not impose the death penalty? How could they when they had based their verdict on circumstantial evidence. I just hope that they didn’t feel so guilty that they had returned a Murder One verdict that this was the only way they could say ‘we are sorry Jodi Arias’. But please understand that we feared for our own safety so we sacrificed you.
But it is far from over yet. There is to be an ‘Evidentiary hearing’ on 27th September, followed by ‘Oral argument’ on 4th October and ‘Settlement conference’ on the 24th October. Then undoubtedly there will be the appeal process. All the time the supporters of Travis Alexander will no doubt continue baying for blood, Jodi Arias’s supporters will keep saying it was self-defence and the media will continue fleecing the public of their hard-earned cash. Even a made for TV movie ‘Dirty Little Secret’ was released in June, apparently shot in 16 days and is classified as a drama. Nothing would surprise me now. I won’t be surprised if some people face perjury charges, if this eventually goes down as a miscarriage of justice or even if an appeal is upheld.