Jodi Arias Trial: Prediction
As the Jodi Arias criminal trial winds down, I have to go out on a limb and make my prediction.
I have tried a lot of cases and have a good sense of which way a criminal case will usually break. Figuring out the Jodi Arias case is compounded by the notoriety of the case and the media coverage (some might say obsession).
The trial has certainly been high-profile, reminding us of past cases like OJ Simpson, the Menendez Brothers, and Casey Anthony, where the case takes on a life of its own in the media. This is even more complicated in the Arias trial by the 24-hour news coverage of the trial and all of its twists and turns, along with the impact of social media. It is hard for the court to prevent the jury from exposure to the media or social media influence.
As a former prosecutor, it pains me to watch a criminal trial so poorly managed. It is not an accurate reflection of day-to-day criminal trials, and no matter what – the trial judge bears the responsibility for this chaos. Some commentators have suggested that she is forced to incur delays and defense requests for sidebars and other ridiculous delay tactics because this is a death penalty case and she has to bend over backwards to protect the record. That point is seriously misguided.
Plenty of trial judges have conducted death penalty cases in an efficient manner without losing control of the trial. Judge Stephens has demonstrated that she is in over her head and does not have the temperament nor the intellectual capability to run an efficient trial, most especially a death penalty trial.
While I have not observed the jury and its responses to the parties, I am sure the jury is on the side of the prosecutor Juan Martinez. Why? His work before the jury has been dedicated to reminding the jury to focus on the evidence and the truth of what occurred. Jodi Arias committed a brutal murder of Travis Alexander, leaving behind a gruesome crime scene.
From press reports, the jury is distracted or less attentive when the defense questions witnesses. This reflects the jury’s determination that defense questioning is not helpful to them in assessing the testimony of various witnesses. Defense questioning focuses on picayune and immaterial issues, with little regard to an overall theme or defense. It is incredible to watch such misleading and obviously ineffective questioning of witnesses. A good defense attorney knows how to make their points, weave together a defense, and do something even more effective – make your points and then sit down and move on.
One of the most important pieces of evidence – which surely reflects Arias’ premeditation – was her borrowing and purchase of gas cans for her trip from California to Mesa, Arizona where she murdered Travis Alexander. She did so with the obvious intent to avoid detection on her return trip after committing the murder. This is a fact which prosecutor Martinez has not devoted adequate time reminding the jury in cross-examination of the defense expert witnesses.
It was amazing to watch a very effective government rebuttal witness – Dr. Demarte – as she decimated the defense experts in two-days of testimony. She was an excellent witness, very well prepared and deft at handling inept defense questioning (I especially loved when she explained to defense counsel that there was no way for her to find out what Travis Alexander meant in his emails, texts and instant messages because he was dead).
The jury questioning of witnesses is a significant barometer of who they believe and who they do not believe – Jodia Arias, Dr. Samuels and LaViolette – were asked hundreds of questions, many of them hostile.
In the end, aside from the sheer brutality of the murder, the ineffective defense questioning of witnesses, and the sponsoring of completely incompetent “expert” witnesses, Dr. Samuels and LaViolette, the case will boil down to the defendant’s own credibility.
Given the series of lies surrounding Jodi Arias, her addiction to immature publicity ploys and her eighteen day “performance” on the witness stand, no reasonable juror will ever credit her self-defense story. Trust me – she is a borderline personality, a danger to society, and she will be convicted of first degree murder.
For Travis Alexander and his family, this result will be little consolation for the taking of his life. Justice may be served but their loss will always be with them.
You wrote just what I have been thinking. I have too admit I am addicted to watching this trial. I have been cooncerned about how the judge is letting the defense ‘do what they want’. Good article.
I think you are spot on! Judge has done a horrible job controlling court room. I hope you are correct on verdict. I cannot imagine anything other than M1, but there are some really stupid people out there!
Thank you for writing this very professional perspective. I can’t imagine the jury not convicting her of anything less than 1st degree murder. It was cruel and heinous and she deserves to sit on death row for 12 years thinking about what she did but we know she won’t think anything about it or feel an ounce of remorse for what she has done. She makes my skin crawl and find that when clips of her speaking I can’t watch or listen to her anymore as she turns my stomach. Another thing is I don’t understand the people that support her and love her; I have realized these people must have a mental disorder as well such as borderline personality disorder and feel close to her because of their common sickness. I pray for the day they read the verdict of 1st degree and see her face and watch her eat her words that no jury will ever convict her.
Amen to that. I totally concur with your observations. Jodi Arias story is nothing but ludricous. Imagine Travis soaking wet slamming Jodi on wet tile. Not feasible. The gun story is even more bizarre. I know there was no gun in Travis’s closet. She brought it with her after she stole it from her grandfather on May 28th. Gee, that’s coincidental. Same calibre, gee that’s odd. The wounds to the back and back of head don’t show self defense. Jodi Arias brutally murdered Travis in a psycho frenzy.
She shot him last as a final goodbye, a part of her maniacal frenzy.
I hope she pays with the ultimate, her own life. Is well deserved! Justice for Travis Alexander!
Thank you, your wraped the case up , and it didn’t even take 5 min. Why in the world this judge has not been spoken to is beyond me. I thought the judge in the o.j. trial lost control , but really this judge allowed expert witness testimony about snow white. I pray your prediction prevails. Again, thank you
Thank you, i trust your prediction.
Thank you for reassuring me that she will not get away with this.
Thank you for sharing your insights. The trial seems like a circus to me but I didn’t know if that was normal or not. I’m glad to hear it is not. The judge seems like an intimidated push over.
Mr.Volkov, Thank you for your voice of reason,I agree with every word you said this case is out of control and I do not understand why the court is allowing the defense to call another witness when they have rested there case. I feel they are hoping for the jury to mess up enough that there will not be enough for a verdict.When there is a confession there should be a speedy trial.
Yes, I feel that it is premeditated murder. The driving 90 miles away to rent a car, getting hair dyed before arriving in Arizona, changing from a red conspicuous car to a toned down color, 3 gas cans, stealing a 25 caliber gun a couple of weeks ahead of time, arranging alibies, and after the murder leaving messages to a dead Travis. The judge is doing her best but went overboard on allowing the defense one more “expert” witness. I think that was just catering to them a bit too much.
I believe with all my heart in soul that she is guilty as charged. I think that she flipped out and killed him.
I agree with your comments about the judge and the defense.
I was especially disappointed with the judge. I think she never had the appropriate control and was as you put it simply in over her head.
Regarding the defense I have often noticed that they nitpick without seeming to have an agenda. I think they are hoping that a thousand tiny cuts will add up, but I think they are wrong.
I do not agree about the gas cans however. I feel that he dwelled on that point considerably. To me the most pivotal moment was when Martinez demonstrated that the third purchase was for gas and asked if she would be surprised that no gas can would be returned.
The moment those happened, I felt the case had reached an irreversible turning point for two reasons – first because of the cans themselves and also because she had lied directly to the jury.
Then when he brought in the Walmart and Tesoro witnesses he nailed the coffin shut using the gas cans again.
I will find it interesting after the verdict which elements of the testimony the jurors found the most decisive.
I think a person with a logical mind, or a legal mind, will be most impacted by the gas cans.
But I suspect for other people it would be something else, something less to do with the evidence and more to do with something personal or emotional.
I agree with your entire observation, starting with your assessment of Judge Stephens who has demonstrated that she is out of her depth in this trial. She has lost total control and allows herself to be manipulated by the whims of the defense.
I hope and pray u r correct in ur prediction. As u can understand I am a bit wary considering the out come of so many infamous trials but ur thoughts and opinions on this particular trial make alot of sense and I totally agree with u about the judge in this case. I have been saying the same thing for some time now. She has no control over the trial, she is so passive and its clear she’s out of her element. She borders on looking bias towards the defendant and for that reason alone she has no business presiding over this case. I feel there is no true justice for what Arias did to Travis and his family.. even if put to death, it doesnt change the facts.
Convicted of first degree murder is hardly a prediction. I’d say it’s a given. However, where it would become SLIGHTLY more complicated is in a prediction of life w/o parole, or the DP.
Which is it?
Brilliant summary :-). Didn’t she deliberately turn off her phone while in AZ too? Why, if she was afraid of being alone/ lost in the dessert? In addition to the DA’s fogged question to Dr. DeMarte, here’s another thoughtless question:
“So, you are assuming that the bullet hit Mr. Alexander’s brain?”, with a smug look, Ms. Willmot reprimanded Dr. Horn who presented the autopsy analysis.
Looking insulted, Dr. Horn confidently replied, “NO! It’s a given fact! It’s basic geometry, by the way of how the bullet entered his head.” … !?!
(It’s comical to me because my 13 yr. old son is taking Cambridge Geometry in Gr. 8 now. )
You are so right.Where did they get this stupid judge? Meanwhile these defense lawyers are being paid for every day they appear and to do what defend someone who is mentally not right.Who cares what her diagnosis is.She is not right in the head.Why did they not allow her weird behavior to be shown.Predjudicial? Why that is who she is.That is her behavior.When juries are not able to see certain things they can reach the wrong decision.Hope they are not stupid and convict this very dangerous person.Can you imagine her back in society?
From a layperson’s point of view here, I 100% agree with you regarding the judge. When Dr. Geffner was answering jury questions yesterday, JM had to object so many times because the Dr. was going on and on and on about things that were not relevant to the question. I couldn’t understand why the judge wasn’t reminding him just to answer the question. When ALV asked JM if he was “angry” with her, JM had to ask the judge to admonish the witness…should he really have had to ask? If the judge had maintained control over the courtroom I don’t think all these objections would have come up and slowed the process down.
I am SO hoping your prediction is correct! I also believe Jodi Arias is a very dangerous woman, I believe that if she had gotten away with killing Travis, she most definitely would have killed again…hence, the gun and knives in her car while she had plans to go on an “all guy” camping trip.
If she “flipped out and killed him”, that means she is not guilty of first degree (premeditated) murder.
Totally agree. This evil woman should NEVER get a second chance. Something went down between her and Travis and we will never know exactly what caused Travis to text her “that she was the worst thing that ever happened to him” Maybe she had told him that she had secretly taped their sex conversation and would use it against him. Then maybe she convinced him to let her into his house under the promise to bring the tape and destroy it while she visited. Then Travis probably fell victim to the free one last time sex opportunity….and that was exactly where she wanted him (under her spell) In my views Jodi slaughtered this poor man 4 times
1) by the multiple stab wounds *over kill 2) by the slit throat *can’t think of anything worse than that 3) by the bullet to the head and 4) by trashing his reputation after his murder and seemingly enjoying every dirty detail. Even the death penalty offers Jodi an opportunity to die with dignity – where as Travis was butchered and this poor man…was crawling for his life while she continued to hack him up. Please pray that this jury has the strength to give this man his reputation back.
Thank You for an excellent article. I respect Judge Stevens but agree that she was no consistent in the courtroom. As a lay person its hard to know what the judicial standards should be. One question I have in the article is what more Mr Martinez could have done with the gas cans?
Could you please comment? Thx!
I wonder sometimes…do all the many male participants in the HLN mock juries realize that they do not actually get a crack at her for siding in her favor…then again, they just might.
I totally agree. This trial was a zoo and she allowed the defense way too much. They should have put a judge with a little more experience to run a proper trial. This would have been done a long time ago.