Jodi Arias Legal Question and Answer Thread *no discussion*

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nursebeeme

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Do you have a legal question for our verified attorneys? Post them here for an answer. This is a *no discussion/ question and answer thread*
 

nursebeeme

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reminder: the questions can only be answered by our verified attorneys.. not by posters. Our verified attorneys posting on this case are:

Gitana1
Minor4th
Mormon Attorney
Azlawyer
 

nursebeeme

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I will go first:

What to make of the testimony of Gus? What is going on with this?

Do you think the PA will move to impeach his entire testimony?
 

nursebeeme

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so these forged letters (thrown out pre trial) are now coming up with CH.. can they be re introduced????

what is the foundation that they can even be discussed in an evidentiary hearing if they were thrown out? Can they somehow be brought in a back door to open testimony from a defense expert?
 

chakti

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How is the DA going to get in this phone call from Travis without putting Jodi on the stand ?
 

gitana1

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I will go first:

What to make of the testimony of Gus? What is going on with this?

Do you think the PA will move to impeach his entire testimony?

I think Gus wanted to insert himself into the case. I think he is a bit off. he was angry that he wasn't viewed as important enough by the prosecution to merit return phone calls. So, he is punishing them.

I think he got caught in a lie, because no one was in the car with him. I think the judge knows it. He is entitled to counsel and could have a valid claim to assert the fifth because if he perjured himself, he doesn't want to answer.

I think he impeached himself by his conduct.
 

gitana1

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so these forged letters (thrown out pre trial) are now coming up with CH.. can they be re introduced????

what is the foundation that they can even be discussed in an evidentiary hearing if they were thrown out? Can they somehow be brought in a back door to open testimony from a defense expert?

They can be brought up in a hearing that is separate form the trial and they can be brought up for impeachment purposes, rather than as evidence of something Travis wrote. Some people feel it was backdoor attempt to get the letters discussed publicly so that a juror may get wind of them.

But, the ruling stands and they will not be introduced at trial unless the prosecution does something during the actual trial that allows for their introduction, like questions that open the door. I do not believe Martinez will make such a mistake.

How is the DA going to get in this phone call from Travis without putting Jodi on the stand ?

What phone call?
 

nursebeeme

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Jodi s mother tried to take these letters to the national enquirer. What do you make of this in terms of a non sequestered jury.

Also will Abes self proclaimed interviews and watching coverage be a detriment?


What are are you're thoughts on the trial so far?

Sorry for auto correct
 

chakti

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They can be brought up in a hearing that is separate form the trial and they can be brought up for impeachment purposes, rather than as evidence of something Travis wrote. Some people feel it was backdoor attempt to get the letters discussed publicly so that a juror may get wind of them.

But, the ruling stands and they will not be introduced at trial unless the prosecution does something during the actual trial that allows for their introduction, like questions that open the door. I do not believe Martinez will make such a mistake.



What phone call?
DT claims there is a phone sex call recorded by Jodi of Travis and her having phone sex where he says she climaxies like a 12 year old girl.

How the heck could they get that in ?
 

minor4th

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I will go first:

What to make of the testimony of Gus? What is going on with this?

Do you think the PA will move to impeach his entire testimony?

I don't think Gus will matter one way or the other, and I doubt the prosecutor has spent much time worrying about him.
 

minor4th

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Jodi s mother tried to take these letters to the national enquirer. What do you make of this in terms of a non sequestered jury.

Also will Abes self proclaimed interviews and watching coverage be a detriment?


What are are you're thoughts on the trial so far?

Sorry for auto correct

I hope and believe that the jury is taking their admonitions very seriously, so I do not expect this to reach their awareness at all. I am not a big fan of sequestered juries in general, and I do think jurors typically take their responsibilities seriously. I think the fact that one of the jurors reported that a journalist had approached him/her speaks to the integrity of the jury and the seriousness with which they take their role in this death penalty case.

I don't think Abe will be called as a witness in the trial, and he was honest about his viewing media coverage before his testimony at the hearing. I do not think it will be a detriment -- he wasn't cautioned to avoid media coverage, and I don't think there was any indication that his testimony was influenced by what he saw on TV.
 

minor4th

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so these forged letters (thrown out pre trial) are now coming up with CH.. can they be re introduced????

what is the foundation that they can even be discussed in an evidentiary hearing if they were thrown out? Can they somehow be brought in a back door to open testimony from a defense expert?

I think gitana already answered this, but I'll throw in my two cents ...no they will not come in, and they will not be introduced as evidence or even mentioned during the trial itself. They are not coming in -- they have already been ruled to be excluded.

Just because they were excluded for trial purposes does not mean that a desperate defense attorney can't mention them out of context to get back at a witness who called him a snake and liar. Nurmi mentioning them in front of the judge had no affect on anything -- the judge already knows all about the letters and the expert's conclusions about their reliability. Nurmi would not have attempted such a stunt in the presence of the jury because he would have been immediately and sternly reprimanded in front of the jury who he's trying to win over.
 

here_now12

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This thread is a great idea. I posted a similar question in the regular trial thread yesterday, but I guess it got lost in the masses of posts. So here goes, I hope the questions don't sound stupid, but I'm German and still struggling to familiarize myself with the American court system. So here goes a bit of a more general inquiry:

First of all, to clarify something I'm not 100% clear on: The defence does not have to prove their claim of self-defense, right?
The way I understand it, the prosecution has to prove their claim that it was a premeditated murder beyond reasonable doubt, but that's not the same for the defense. Of course they have to present a somewhat credible case of self-defence that the jury could believe, but they don't have to prove it the same way the prosecution has to prove their claim of premeditation. Am I getting this right?

The second question is really about the possible outcomes of this trial. I'm actually a little confused by the distinctions between 1st degree murder, 2nd degree murder, and felony murder, all of which I've heard mentioned in these threads before. We don't really have that distinction here, I think, so I'm not exactly sure how that would affect the outcome of this trial.
Is JA accused of 1st degree murder (that would simply be my assumption since this is a death penalty trial)? If so, what would happen if the jury decides on not guilty on that charge? Could she in that case be convicted of a lesser charge? Would she walk free automatically with a 'not guilty' verdict?

If someone could outline the distinctions between these murder charges and the possible outcomes for me (in relation to this trial, not in great theoretical detail, I could not ask that of anyone ;)), that would be extremely helpful for me. Thanks in advance.
 

minor4th

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This thread is a great idea. I posted a similar question in the regular trial thread yesterday, but I guess it got lost in the masses of posts. So here goes, I hope the questions don't sound stupid, but I'm German and still struggling to familiarize myself with the American court system. So here goes a bit of a more general inquiry:

First of all, to clarify something I'm not 100% clear on: The defence does not have to prove their claim of self-defense, right?
The way I understand it, the prosecution has to prove their claim that it was a premeditated murder beyond reasonable doubt, but that's not the same for the defense. Of course they have to present a somewhat credible case of self-defence that the jury could believe, but they don't have to prove it the same way the prosecution has to prove their claim of premeditation. Am I getting this right?

The second question is really about the possible outcomes of this trial. I'm actually a little confused by the distinctions between 1st degree murder, 2nd degree murder, and felony murder, all of which I've heard mentioned in these threads before. We don't really have that distinction here, I think, so I'm not exactly sure how that would affect the outcome of this trial.
Is JA accused of 1st degree murder (that would simply be my assumption since this is a death penalty trial)? If so, what would happen if the jury decides on not guilty on that charge? Could she in that case be convicted of a lesser charge? Would she walk free automatically with a 'not guilty' verdict?

If someone could outline the distinctions between these murder charges and the possible outcomes for me (in relation to this trial, not in great theoretical detail, I could not ask that of anyone ;)), that would be extremely helpful for me. Thanks in advance.

Good morning, here_now :)

I will try to answer some of your questions, although keep in mind I am not an Arizona lawyer so I won't know all of the nuances of that particular state's laws.

The defence does not have to prove their claim of self-defense, right? The way I understand it, the prosecution has to prove their claim that it was a premeditated murder beyond reasonable doubt, but that's not the same for the defense.

For first degree murder, the State does have to prove premeditated murder beyond a reasonable doubt. Jodi has already admitted committing the act of killing Travis. The State now has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it was a premeditated act for the first degree murder charge.

Self defense is what's called a "justification defense," and Jodi does not have to prove self defense -- she simply has to provide some evidence of self defense in order to maintain that defense. The state has to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that she did not act in self defense. As a practical matter, proving premeditation beyond a reasonable doubt will prove also that she did not act in self defense.

I'm actually a little confused by the distinctions between 1st degree murder, 2nd degree murder, and felony murder

First degree murder is premeditated murder. That is the State's primary charge against Jodi.

The State has brought an alternative charge of felony murder. Felony murder in a nutshell is when a person is killed during the commission of certain felony offenses, even if the killing was not premeditated or was not the primary motive of the crime. In this case, the state has alleged that Jodi killed Travis during her commission of burglary and assault. Felony murder usually carries the same penalties as first degree murder (premeditated murder). Jodi can be sentenced to death for felony murder or first degree murder, and the jurors do not have to unanimously agree that it was felony murder, nor do they have to unanimously agree that it was premeditated murder. If 5 jurors believe the state proved felony murder, and 7 believe the state proved first degree murder -- she will still be convicted of murder and can potentially be sentenced to death.

Second degree murder is what's called a "lesser-included offense" of first degree murder. Second degree murder is usually a murder that was intentional but was committed in the heat of passion or in response to some kind of emotional provocation and without premeditation. In some states, lesser included offenses are automatically included for the jury's consideration, and in other states the prosecution has to specifically plead the lesser included offenses.

I do not know how Arizona does it, but I believe I heard Nurmi say in one of the hearings that the state had not charged the lesser included offenses. That leads me to believe that the jury will not have the option to consider anything other than first degree murder and felony murder. If she is found not guilty on both of those charges, it is my understanding that she will be acquitted because the jury will not have the option of sentencing her to second degree murder or even assault. <--- That is what I believe based solely on what I've heard in the various hearings, but like I said, I am not an Arizona lawyer and have not researched this point so I could be mistaken.
 

3trees

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I wanted to ask about juror's questions.
1) Is it the norm for the judge to discuss these questions with the trial attorneys before asking them?
2) Legally can a judge not share these questions with the attorneys and proceed with process using their power of judgement alone?
 

minor4th

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I wanted to ask about juror's questions.
1) Is it the norm for the judge to discuss these questions with the trial attorneys before asking them?
2) Legally can a judge not share these questions with the attorneys and proceed with process using their power of judgement alone?

Just from what I have observed in this trial, the judge can determine whether to read the questions without consulting with the attorneys -- she would make a determination about whether they are proper questions. If there is an issue of them asking something that would be inadmissible or that delves into a subject that has been ruled excluded or might somehow be subject to an objection, I think she gives the attorneys the opportunity to make their objections for the record.
 

JurysOut

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I'm a little late on this one..but why was Chris Hughes permitted to repeat things his wife, Skye, told him?

It seemed very strange to me, especially since it happened over and over again.

Sorry if this has already been covered.
 

Laceybug

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I have a couple of questions...

IF the prosecution receives new evidence in this case.. can he (if the judge allows it) come off of the rest and continue?

I see where they are listening to something in the judges chambers. Would it be just the attorneys and judge present listening or would Jodi be allowed in there to listen to it as well?

I hope I get this answer before court resumes. Thanks in advance!!
 

3trees

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Can the bishops in which both JA & TA spoke to be called and compelled to testify or would this be considered hearsay and or privileged?
 

kscornfed

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i asked gitana this but didn't get an answer so here goes.

can you explain how the DA thinks that if the gunshot was first, it makes this murder not cruel? they seem to think it's very important and i don't get why it matters.

we know TA had defensive wounds---although IMO, he didn't have many and he had none on his arms---so i'm thinking he was definitely not 100% at the time he was being stabbed. (i'm a gunshot first person in this case.) i just don't know why it matters when it comes to deciding the cruelty of the crime.

also, could it be that the ME is sticking the 'gunshot last' for this reason? that the DA WANTS that wound to have been first?
 
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