Trial watchers that have been glued to the television and news reporting screens since the verdict that convicted Jodi Arias of first degree murder have been waiting with breath that is baited for this grueling trial to come to an end. The two most recent updates in the Jodi Arias trial include a motion granted for investigators to revisit the crime scene according to HLN Aug. 30. Additionally, we have learned that Jodi Arias is also experiencing some of the wrinkles that occur when choosing to self-represent, as prosecutor Juan Martinez has filed motions on Aug. 29 for Jodi Arias to be sanctioned.
The family members and loved ones of the victim that Jodi Arias murdered, Travis Alexander, are perhaps the ones that are wishing most for a speedy and just resolution to the trial that seems to never end. In the May 2013 conclusion of the Jodi Arias trial, Jodi Arias was convicted of first degree murder with an element of aggravated cruelty that made her eligible for the death penalty after stabbing Travis Alexander over 25 times, slitting his throat and almost decapitating him, and then shooting him in the head. The May 2013 jury was unanimous in a guilty verdict during the guilt phase, however they became deadlocked when it came to deciding whether Jodi should receive life or the death penalty for the brutal slaying of Travis Alexander.
A retrial of the sentencing phase was set, and Jodi Arias has been using every stall tactic and delay she can find to avoid the inevitable, her sentencing. Now, one year later, the wheels of justice are about to turn again with the latest stunt by Jodi Arias being that she has chosen to self-represent. With jury selection expected to begin on September 29, updates are occurring weekly in preparation of the retrial of the sentencing phase of the Jodi Arias trial.
For the average trial watcher, it is very easy to get confused about what stage of the process Jodi Arias is at when it comes to facing sentencing for the brutal slaying of Travis Alexander. With so many delays and stall tactics on the court dockets, it almost looks like the entire trial is going to get repeated. This is not the case, and it seems almost as though even Jodi Arias is confused by this.
The phase that is about to begin in the Jodi Arias trial is merely a retrial of the sentencing phase. However with Jodi Arias choosing to self-represent in her defense, the steps she is taking in that preparation give the impression that she thinks this is an all new opportunity to explore whether or not she is innocent in this case. Indeed she is not.
Jodi Arias is a convicted felon, who is currently serving time for first degree murder while she awaits sentencing to determine just how long she will serve. Her sentence will be either life in prison with no parole, life in prison with a possibility of parole, or the death penalty. Either way, as soon as this trial is over she is heading over to Perryville State Prison to ride out the remainder of her life.
The retrial of the sentencing phase in the Jodi Arias trial is a retrial to determine just that, how long will her sentence be? It is not a new investigation, a new trial, or a new determination of her innocence or guilt. Jodi Arias is a convicted felon, and has been found guilty of first degree murder with the required elements that make her eligible for the death penalty. This will not change.
Even so, it appears that Jodi Arias has taken this retrial as a new opportunity to try and save herself, and is taking every chance she can get to treat this trial as a new chance to portray what she believes is her innocence. The latest stunt following her motion to self represent includes the hiring of a private investigator to re-investigate abuse allegations, as previously reported by the Toronto Relationships Examiner.
The next step in Jodi's preparation includes a revisit to the crime scene, according to HLN Aug. 30. This is a very disturbing turn of events for many, because Jodi's innocence is no longer in question. Why would a revisit to the crime scene help her in her efforts to avoid the death penalty?
This remains to be seen, and this latest development in the case is a development that disturbs Arizona residents, the family and loved ones of the victim Travis Alexander, and also the people that are currently living in the home where Jodi Arias killed Travis Alexander.
HLN reports that a Maricopa County Superior Court minute order filed last week has requested the courts to grant an investigator for Jodi Arias access back into this home. The minute order shows that this motion was granted, and that prosecutor Juan Martinez is to allow this investigator access into Travis's former home "no later than this week."
The former home of Travis Alexander is seen in the video footage here, where a trial watcher and citizen documented the neighborhood of Travis Alexander just two days after the first degree murder conviction of Jodi Arias. Along the street are seen blue ribbons tied to trees, with blue being known as Travis's favorite color, and often seen on wristbands and lapel ribbons by Travis Alexander supporters.
As is plainly seen in the video, the presence of blue ribbons on almost every tree illustrates that even five years later, the entire neighborhood formerly loved by Travis Alexander clearly supports the man whose murder has been the subject of this trial. The home, located on East Queensborough, is located inside a beuatiful subdivision in Mesa, Arizona.
Along with the blue ribbons decking almost every yard, one neighbor even has a sign on the front lawn reading, "Justice for Travis."
This is the same neighborhood that after six long years will be subjected to the same scrutiny experienced then, as the preparations for the retrial of the sentencing phase for Jodi Arias ensues. This round of scrutiny that involves a private investigator entering the former home of Travis Alexander is not expected to last past this week, according to the minutes of the motion entered in the Maricopa County Superior Courts.
Even so, that this motion was even granted is something that Mesa, Arizona, residents, and supporters of Travis Alexander and his family simply do not understand, or even approve of. Nancy Bowen a resident of the state recently shared her thoughts on this with Arizona Family, thoughts that many in the area seem to concur with. She said,
"I think it's ridiculous. Why carry this on any further than you need to? There's people living in that home."
Arizona Family reports there are some neighbors who believe this may be an optimistic turn of events for those seeking expeditious closure in this case.
How does the family that is now living in this home feel? Probably violated. If the same family lives there now, that spoke with CNN last year about this case, this is a family with children that has experienced privacy intrusion almost since they moved in.
After the death of Travis Alexander, his home that was previously valued at $250,000 went into foreclosure. One year after his murder, the family that lives in it now purchased it in foreclosure for approximately $200,000. The owner of the home who does not wish to disclose her identity for obvious reasons told CNN last year,
"It's a very loving home, it's got a…a very sweet spirit in it."
She also discussed the state of the home when they first looked at it before agreeing to put in an offer. She said things were missing, like faucets, showers, even carpet. Crime scene photos taken immediately after the murder, and prior to the sale of the home, reveal that sections had been removed from the home for forensic analysis.
One such section was a sizable section of carpet outside the master bedroom closet where Juan Martinez believes Travis Alexander bled out after having been stabbed multiple times. This section is noted in crime scene and floor plan diagrams entered as evidence in the trial as a standard floor plan, with a large red circle noting the pool of blood Travis Alexander left as a result of Jodi Arias's brutal stabbing. Another section, almost directly across from or adjacent to this section is a section of the wall where drywall had to be removed. In this section a bloody handprint that placed Jodi Arias at the scene was removed for forensic analysis.
The new owner of the home stated to CNN last year these details were evident when they took their first viewing. The evidence that a crime had been committed was clear, but the new owners to be had no idea what had really happened in that home until much later. Initially she said,
"We thought the home had been vandalized."
Even with so much missing from the home, the new owners put in an offer and have moved their family into the home. The new owners assured CNN that everything is new, it looks nothing like it did when the home of Travis Alexander was being documented as a crime scene.
"Everything is new in the home. The shower is new, the carpet is new, everything is new."
She also told CNN what it is like to live in a home that has become one of the most famous crime scenes in America.
"We've had people pull in our driveway and stop and park and get their cell phones out and take pictures of the house."
The family had hoped, like the family of Travis Alexander, that peace would come last year with sentencing. Instead, Jodi Arias has created victims of yet another family, by having them wait through the duress of being subjected to this privacy violation over, and over again. Does it bother her?
Absolutely, says the new homeowner. She has children who live in the home, and she wants this entire situation to be over as soon as possible so that they too can go on with their lives. These statements were made over one year ago when the sentencing of Jodi Arias during the Jodi Arias trial was in sight.
This family is just one of the many families then that has become another victim of Jodi Arias. Will their own violations and suffering be complete by the end of 2014? Time will tell. In the meantime, the new owner of the former home of Travis Alexander makes her position on the case clear to CNN,
"I very much love Travis, I love Juan Martinez, and I love Detective Flores. I am hoping that once this trial is over, this can kind of become our home, instead of Jodi Arias' home or Travis Alexander's."
And, as most trial watchers familiar with Jodi Arias stunts know, this is not the only update or even the latest stunt on the Jodi Arias trial. Those expecting Jodi Arias to try to be able to get away with as much as she can, should take comfort in the fact that Prosecutor for the State of Arizona, Juan Martinez is keeping a very close eye on Jodi as her own lawyer and isn't afraid to file motions for sanctions against her if she slips up.
As of Friday Aug. 29, he's already proven he is on the ball, and has already filed his first motion to sanction Jodi Arias. It appears from the motion filed with the Maricopa County courts on the afternoon of Aug. 29 that Juan Martinez is having problems getting required information from Jodi Arias.
Jodi Arias has not only not submitted her list of witnesses and their contact information as she is required to do, but by the looks of it, she is refusing to do so. In a motion filed to sanction Jodi Arias, Juan Martinez says that not only has he not been given the information she is legally obligated to provide, but that she is refusing to do so.
The State asserts in their motion,
"The State of Arizona by the undersigned Deputy County Attorney, requests that the court order defendant to disclose the address of witnesses she intends to call for trial as required by Rule 15.2 © (1), Ariz. R. Crim. Pro. On August 20, 2014, the court ordered defendant to provide the State with a mechanism allowing the State to contact witnesses noticed by the defendant, whether it be a telephone number or address. Advisory counsel Jennifer Willmott refused to provide any of the required information and instead indicated that the issue would have to be addressed directly with the defendant in court."
A full copy of the motion for sanctions can be seen in the slideshow. The motion for sanction further requests that the court order the immediate disclosure of this information, or, alternatively, requests that the court preclude these witnesses from testifying at trial if the information is not forthcoming from the Jodi Arias team prior to trial.
Jodi Arias is expected to appear in court September 2 to answer to these allegations. Whether or not she will be sanctioned, or lose the opportunity to have these witnesses testify, remains to be seen.
In the legal arena, motions for sanctions are made for a variety of reasons, in both civil and criminal matters, when court rules and procedures are not accurately followed. When court rules and procedures are not followed, the court can even consider this misconduct. The party that objects to the behavior or action files the motion, and if the court agrees, a sanction will apply.
Although rules will vary state by state, in most court matters, civil or criminal, whether one is suing someone for $50 or facing the death penalty, the handing over of witness information is always required. This is a fairly straightforward court rule for most Americans. Why would Jodi not hand over this information?
Is this just another example of how special Jodi thinks she is? It appears that Juan Martinez is on it.
According to US Legal,
"Sanctions are a financial or other penalties imposed by a judge on a party or attorney for violation of a court rule, for receiving a special waiver of a rule, or as a fine for contempt of court. The sanction may be paid to the court or to the opposing party to compensate the other side for inconvenience or extra legal work."
Whether or not the State is seeking monetary penalties from Jodi Arias at this time remains to be seen. In the motion to sanction Jodi Arias, the State asks that if she is not compelled to provide the information requested, that her witnesses not be allowed to testify. Depending on the strength of her witnesses, this could likely hurt her case, it would likely be bad news for her if she lost the chance to have those witnesses testify. Clearly she believes they are important enough to hide their identities, having them struck from the list of witnesses then would likely be a blow for her.
It would of course be in Jodi's best interest to supply the information, but to many this is being seen as just another one of her games. America knows that Jodi loves the spotlight. Many have speculated since she was granted the opportunity to self-represent that cameras would soon be allowed back in the courtroom. A source has told the Toronto Relationships Examiner that motions of that nature are in the works which is also a surprising, but not so surprising, turn of events in the Jodi Arias trial.
This rumor however has been swirling since Judge Sherry Stephens ruled that cameras would not be allowed. Now that Jodi has been granted the access to be the star of her own show, what do you think the likelihood of that happening is?
It may be a very short retrial of the sentencing phase of the Jodi Arias trial if she is not permitted to show her witnesses. The sooner she provides that information, and complies with all of the same rules and protocols that everyone else in America has to comply with, the sooner this case can continue, and close, in as speedy a manner as possible for Travis Alexander and his loved ones.
Do you think the Jodi Arias team should have access to the former home of Travis Alexander again? Why or why not? Do you think Jodi Arias is in over her head with self-representing? What is the deal with her secrecy around her own witnesses? What do you think the chances are that we will see a new ruling on cameras in the courtroom in the very near future?