Human Rights

Jodi Arias – Staggering announcement!

300px-Flag_of_Maricopa_County%2C_Arizona.svg Jodi Arias – Staggering announcement!
Flag of Maricopa County, Arizona (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I really thought I was going to get a break from Jodi Arias, and now this!!!  

“Some people have been questioning the validity of the JAA Trust Fund. This fund was set up by me (Susan Halterman) through a reputable Attorney. It has been set up so that the money donated to it can only be used for Jodi Arias’ legal defense for an appeal. Donations can be made through the Bank or through a PayPal account that is linked only to this Bank. I will not release any other details about the trust. Go to the web site for a link to make a donations. Thank you to all who have already donated.” (Facebook 23rd October 2013.)

Jodi Arias supporters will be devastated by the above announcement made yesterday by Susan Halterman on Facebook. No doubt the Alexander family will be delighted and I am absolutely stunned at her point blank refusal:

  1. to give any explanation for the reason to launch a public appeal now and
  2. to disclose any information regarding the trust or inform donors as to where they can get information.

Sure, Susan Halterman has an absolute right of non-disclosure if it was a private trust and she wasn’t appealing to the public’s charitable instincts to give money to what they perceive to be a good cause. But it isn’t a private family trust. It is a public appeal and she is refusing to tell the people she needs money from, anything. Unless I am totally wrong people considering making contributions or investments to Charities, Trust funds, Mutual Funds, Stocks, Bonds or the like have a legal right of entitlement to view the relevant legally approved documentation before they contribute or invest. This is normal practice around the world and the solicitation of money from the public is closely controlled by regulation under Acts of Parliament in the UK and I would imagine it must be the same in the USA. You cannot just wake up one morning and say ‘Today I think I’ll set up a trust and raise a load of cash from the public over the internet or other media.’ There are regulations and you have to get approval first. If not the public would be fleeced out of millions every day. And one of the main criteria is transparency and disclosure.

Last year there was a review – Call for Evidence – under the UK Charities Act 2006 regarding the self-regulation and transparency of fundraising. The Charities Act 2006 Review considered  whether the self-regulation of fundraising had been a success, and what changes (if any) were needed to strengthen public trust and confidence in charity fundraising.  The Review looked at the requirements that apply to professional fundraisers and commercial charity promotions to determine whether the rules are operating effectively, providing sufficient transparency to enable the public to make informed decisions.

So what possible reason can there be for this ‘cloak and dagger’ stuff? Why would you make a public appeal to raise funds for, what you believe is, a good cause yet create suspicion through non-disclosure and make it so difficult for yourself to collect the money you need. It doesn’t make any sense to me at any rate.

The whole problem with the Jodi Arias Appeal is that the public still have no idea what it is all about and furthermore are now being told by the creator of the Trust that she has no intention of telling them. So anyone who donates money purely on a Facebook announcement must accept 100% risk.

Application to fire Attorney

It is hardly surprising that Jodi Arias has made another attempt to sack her defence attorney Kirk Nurmi (as reported by Michael Kiefer, The Arizona Republic yesterday 24 Oct 2013). She tried and failed in June when Judge Sherry Stephens refused her request. So it is pretty clear that her relationship with Nurmi hasn’t improved since then. But her relationship with her other attorney Jennifer Wilmott always appeared strong as they sat side by side throughout the trial. I was under the impression that a defendant had the right to choose their own defence from available attorneys, as they can in Britain, or alternatively defend themselves. Presumably in Arizona that is not the case and defendants have to accept who the State appoints to their case.

Settlement Conference news

Superior Court Judge James Keppel presiding over yesterdays ‘settlement conference’ has apparently referred the case back to Judge Stephens as no agreement was reached. No comment has been forthcoming from the Defence Attorneys or the Maricopa County Attorney who did not attend the settlement conference. Apparently another hearing is scheduled for next Friday, which is 1st November, after which there will be a sentencing re-trial as the trial jury were unable to agree on a sentence, earlier this year, in May.

The immediate questions that now remain are:

  1. Will the Jodi Arias application to dismiss Kurt Nurmi and appoint another attorney be accepted? – If so this alone could delay proceedings considerably.
  2. The reason for the hearing on November 1 was not stated in the ‘Arizona Republic’. So what is it for?
  3. Has a settlement deal been ruled out completely?
  4. Will the sentencing re-trial definitely be held in Maricopa County?
  5. When will the date for re-trial be set and when will it be?
  6. Will Judge Sherry Stephens preside or will another Judge be appointed?
  7. What form will the re-trial take, what evidence will be presented and which witnesses will be called?
  8. How long is it likely to take?

When I look at that list I can see the possibility that this case could go well into next year. Only then will the appeal process begin and that, of course, can take years.

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0 thoughts on “Jodi Arias – Staggering announcement!

  1. More rational points you make, James. While there may indeed be nothing nefarious at all with Aunt Sue’s efforts, her online attitude and incomplete disclosure casts yet another pale over “all things Jodi”. And again, Jodi is left in the middle, between that rock and hard place she must be accustomed to by now.

    1. Hi Sandra. On the hot line again! It seems like this is one of those cases that will never go away. I can’t imagine any substantial funds being donated under these circumstances. So the whole exercise will become pretty pointless. And if, as you say, there is nothing untoward why the refusal to speak. I hope for the family’s sake they don’t get caught flouting the fund raising regulations. Then they’ll have more problems on their hands. keep well. James

  2. Your title, “Staggering Announcement” is spot on. So much information in the Arias case and yet it has created even more questions. If I were interested in making a donation to the JAA Fund, I would certainly wait until answers about the Trust were made available. I suppose that the family might believe that they don’t have to share what they feel is a private concern or that it might not be to their benefit to share their strategy. I admit that I have been curious, though.

    Jodi’s request to have Mr. Nurmi replaced had some very valid points but was also contradictory. She deserves to have counsel that is responsive to her needs and someone who will be supportive on and off the clock regardless of who is paying the bill. I would be interested in your opinion on the motion that was filed.

    1. Hello again Karliethom. I don’t have an opinion on the motion to fire Nurmi other than I explained in the post. It didn’t surprise me. As far as the family sharing information, I agree they may not want to share but they are legally obliged to disclose the information if they are asking the public for donations. Their alternative is to close the fund to the public and raise money privately. regards James

  3. Hi James. I have seen you over at JustDaTruth!

    Kirk Nurmi himself, had tried several times to be removed from the case over the years and was denied. He started out as a court appointed attorney from the Public Defenders office. When a defendant has no money to obtain an attorney on her/his own, they are appointed an attorney from the public defenders office. An attorney is not “forced” on the defendant, but are available to those who cannot afford an attorney of their own!

    Kirk Nurmi started his own business and tied to withdraw from the case, as he was no longer going to be working for the Pubic Defenders office. However, a deal was stuck to pay him private attorney fees to stay on the case. First Arias wanted him. Then she didn’t. Then she wanted to represent herself, then she wanted Nurmi back. (I may not have gotten the order correct. But she went through an attorney or two).

    What I have gleaned from her long winded letter to the court, he is blaming Nurmi for her conviction!

    I believe the Nov 1st hearing is for motions previously submitted to the court for…well, I don’t know!

    I believe the settlement deal is over because no settlement was reached. I doubt either side wanted to settle and it looks like Arias would rather play with her life. In my opinion.

    Keep digging into that trust, James!

    1. Thank you Ms New York and welcome to JAMOOKI. That’s very useful information even if, like me, you are not 100% sure of everything. On the trust issue; it would be quite interesting to know how it is structured but I am more concerned as to why the family feel they can get donations without complying with regulations and disclosure. But Sue Halterman obviously believes they can persuade people to donate blindly so good luck to her. See you again soon. regards James

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