Jodi Arias Legal Question and Answer Thread *no discussion*

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AZlawyer

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^^^^K, this topic is confusing as hell :lol: I won't even try and figure it out, bc I don't think I will ever fully understand it, despite all the great questions and expert answers!

My question is this: I know that pre-trial (?) defense filed a motion to preclude the state from arguing lack of remorse during the penalty phase.

1) at the eleventh hour DT threw in the "lessor charge of MS," during closing. At that point wouldn't that "void" (sorry idk correct terminology) that notion since they basically abandoned the self defense claim which the motion was based on? Also

2) Given that the self defense defense was abandoned in favor of embracing the BPD diagnosis *eyeroll* during the penalty phase--and will likely figure heavily in the retrial phase--cant the state now bring up lack of remorse?

To me this would be very effective if possible...not only does it show how cold blooded JA really is, but it also IMO, helps to illustrate how insincere most of her allocation was, i.e., her story of her mom seeing the Alexander family and "understanding their pain," the fact that she never truly apologizes, as well as when asked "if she could do things differently," none of her responses convey a scenario where travis ISN'T DEAD!!!

Thank you :)

(1) The motion to preclude the state from arguing lack of remorse was not, I think, dependent on the self-defense argument. I believe it would be improper for the state to argue lack of remorse regardless of the defense, unless the defense argued remorse. For example, if the defense were "I didn't do it," I don't think the state could argue lack of remorse during the penalty phase. Also, the request for the manslaughter instruction was not an abandonment of the self-defense claim. That's why the self-defense instruction was still included. The two arguments were being made "in the alternative"--i.e., this was self-defense, and if you don't buy that, then it was manslaughter.

2) The self-defense argument was not abandoned at the penalty phase either, but there was no point in mentioning as it appears the jury did not buy it. If Jodi claims remorse, the state can argue lack of remorse. I don't suppose she will, though, because she still claims self-defense.

Good Morning and TIA for your help!

I'm trying to understand what evidence is allowed in this new sentencing trial. I'm confused by ALL the evidence presented in the guilt phase as opposed to evidence of the crime itself.

Is there a distinction and are there general rules that apply? I can't imagine any evidence pointing to either DV, the "fog" etc would be allowed since the previous jury rejected this in whole.

Perhaps you have a reference? Again, thanks very much.

:jail:

During the penalty phase, the jury is to consider any evidence relevant to the issue of what penalty to impose that was admitted during the guilt phase or aggravation phase. Therefore, anything relevant from those two phases that the parties want the new jury to consider will have to be re-presented. Relevant information would be evidence of cruelty (because the jury needs to balance this evidence against the mitigating evidence), and evidence relating to mitigation, which concerns the defendant's "character, propensity, history, record, or circumstances of the offense."

The (alleged) DV is DEFINITELY relevant, was relevant in the last penalty phase as well, and was argued by the defense as a mitigating factor. The jury did not necessarily reject the allegations of DV just because they found Jodi guilty of premeditated murder. DV is not an excuse for murder. It just makes it a little easier to prove self-defense. If the jury decided she was abused but still didn't act in self-defense, then the abuse can and should be considered as a mitigating factor in the penalty phase.

The "fog" might or might not be raised in the new penalty phase. The defense might, for example, argue that it would be unfair to put Jodi to death because the part of the crime that really qualified her for the death penalty is the part she doesn't remember. Similarly to the DV, there is no way to know whether the jury rejected the "fog" information. A verdict of guilt or cruelty tells you nothing about their opinion of the "fog."

bbm

Well then, can JM also bring in the "drawing by tracing" as proof she is NOT a talented artist but is, in fact, breaking copyright law by showing examples of her offending artwork - which, would in itself, show just one one more example of her countless lies? There have been various Internet "reports" that a couple of companies/magazines have issued a cease and desist order against JA due to her blatant copying. And if JM can use this kind of info, is there anyway to contact him to make sure he is aware of this?

Yes, JM could bring this up if she argues her artistic talent as a mitigating factor again. I'm sure the Alexander family is aware of the tracing/copyright issue, and they are in the best position to offer this information to JM.

Thanks for the reply. I don't why I'm so fixated on this point, as given the mistrial it is entirely moot, but there you have it.

CroakerQueen 123 has a youtube video with just this piece of the trial " jodi arias trial, deliberations part 1."

JSS reads the missing instruction relating to the life sentence. She explicitly states that there currently is no procedure in place to grant parole after 25 years.

JW makes statement to jury saying that if the jury shows mercy and votes life, the killer WILL (emphasis hers) die in prison because there is no parole.

JM rebuts, saying:

LWOP means natural life, but just because there is no procedure in place for parole now doesn't mean there won't be in the future. Giving LWOP guarantees she will never be released, but if the judge grants life with the possibility of parole JA will be "vested" in that procedure.

Two JM statements follow, with a difference in phrasing (JW objected to the 1st as a mistatement of the law, JSS overruled the objection, JW did not object to the 2nd).

Quote: (If vested in the procedure )JA will be "given the right to be eligible after 25 years."

Quote: ( She will be )"given the legal right to be considered after 25 years."

Neither statement says that she WOULD be eligible for a parole hearing in 25.

Sorry to be so persistent about this non-issue, but does any of the above change your opinion
about error?

Someone posted the exact transcript a page or two back, so I will rely on that. But are you drawing a distinction between having a legal right to be considered for release and being eligible for a parole hearing? Those are the same thing IMO.

I do think that JM MEANT to say that, if she were given 25-to-life , then she would be "vested," and THEN, IF AND ONLY IF PAROLE PROCEDURES WERE REINSTATED IN AZ, at THAT point she would, after 25 years, have a legal right to be considered for parole.

But what he seemed to say instead was that, if she were given 25-to-life, then she would be "vested" AND THEREFORE WOULD HAVE A LEGAL RIGHT TO BE CONSIDERED FOR RELEASE IN 25 YEARS, so the fact that there wasn't a procedure in place now didn't mean there wouldn't be one in the future, because Jodi would have a "legal right" to the procedure in the future.
 

AZlawyer

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AZL an appeal question. Forgive me if this has already been asked.

Seven Jurors checked both felony murder and premeditated murder. Is this an appeal issue given that these are two seemingly contradictory findings? Especially since JM argued that for felony murder, she killed him in the act of stealing his gun and argued for premeditated murder she stole the grandfather's gun and brought it to Arizona to kill him?

Thank you in advance.

No, it is not a problem. You can commit a murder in the process of a felony and also commit it with premeditation.

Good morning AZLawyer, I have a question. In the penalty phase, do the instructions indicate that weight is the determining factor regarding aggravating vs. mitigating factors? Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge and insights.

Well, the jurors are asked to weigh the factors (and for mitigation, not just what is argued by the defense but all mitigation evidence presented in any phase of the trial), but each juror can have a different opinion about how much weight of mitigating factors is required to be sufficient for leniency.
 

Jay

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AZlawyer, is there even going to be a retrial?

Isn't it in everybody's best interest at this time for the state to withdraw the death penalty and let the judge decide on life or LWOP?

By 'everybody' I mean the citizens of Arizona who will be paying for another six or eight weeks of court and lawyer expenses for what most likely will result in another non-death-penalty result. And the Alexander's who won't have to suffer through more of the same gruesome testimony. And the Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery who doesn't want to delay the next trial Martinez is supposed to be trying or strain his own budget further. Or if there is a death penalty, avoid the costs of the automatic appeal(s).

Any thoughts on the likelihood of the state dropping the death penalty?
 

LinTX

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OK, AZ Leg. site has updated the ARS, and I can now see they have removed the option of a life (vs natural life) sentence for 1st degree. I've been reading and reading, without realizing the state's website was not updated and thinking a life sentence (with possibility of release after 25 years) was still an option. It now reads:

13-751. Sentence of death or life imprisonment; aggravating and mitigating circumstances; definition
A. If the state has filed a notice of intent to seek the death penalty and the defendant is:
1. Convicted of first degree murder pursuant to section 13-1105, subsection A, paragraph 1 or 3 and was at least eighteen years of age at the time of the commission of the offense, the defendant shall be sentenced to death or imprisonment in the custody of the state department of corrections for natural life as determined and in accordance with the procedures provided in section 13-752. A defendant who is sentenced to natural life is not eligible for commutation, parole, work furlough, work release or release from confinement on any basis.

eta: But in JSS's jury instructions, she listed the possibility of life with possibility of release. I'm going to constantly confused, I think. Is she sentenced according to the law in effect at the time of offense, or at time of sentencing?
 

Hope4More

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:(
Sorry, AZL. I thought I deleted my post about life-25. I somehow managed to miss the full page of posts where you so admirably laid the issue to rest, and posted before I caught my mistake. Sorry!
 

Hope4More

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AZL .. you asked.........

But are you drawing a distinction between having a legal right to be considered for release and being eligible for a parole hearing? Those are the same thing IMO.

AZL... I deleted my post earlier and apologize above for taking up your time.

I do see a meaningful difference between the two. But, not seeing the difference is what makes you the insightful attorney and me the mascochistic layperson. :)
 

molly333

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More questions for appeal.

1) Is a non sequestered Jury ever successful on appeal?

2) Would witness tampering [via cyber and telephone threats] ever become an issue on appeal?

Thank you in advance!
 

zoozoo

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Juan's first statement was fine I think--the "possibility" of release in 25 years. Where I got concerned was after the "missed" jury instruction was read during deliberations and they had that mini-argument to the jury in which he said (can't remember the exact words) that 25-to-life would mean Jodi would have a right to a parole hearing in 25 years, even if currently AZ didn't have a procedure for that.

I think the jury should have been told (by the judge, not the lawyers) that Arizona has abolished parole but that, if it is reinstated at some future time, and if JA had been given a sentence of 25-to-life, then she would be eligible.


JM can make the argument to the jury. I would start by echoing the foreman's statement that it's almost impossible to believe when you look at her that she could have committed such an act. But she's admitted to committing the act, so apparently appearances are deceiving. Then I would segue into not allowing her appearance to influence the death penalty decision. I would point out to the jury the categories of things they can consider (defendant's character, propensities, etc. etc.)--nothing in there about attractiveness and poise.

Can JM also legally address the foreperson's comments that he believed she was abused verbally and emotionally? Presumably that belief perhaps in a juror's mind meant the extreme cruelty was as a result of "snapping" due to past abuse and therefore didn't support a vote for DP from him/her? IMO JM could perhaps more directly address the overkill and crazy crime scene. To me, the crime scene supports the theory that JA premeditated the murder but her plan to kill in the shower and leave no mess went haywire when Travis fought back. She panicked and just could NOT let him escape so she chased him and repeatedly stabbed him but when he got near the exit, she decided she had to slit his throat so he could not get out of that room. This explains the overkill and disorganized crime scene in a way that makes sense and supports DP as an alternative to some jurors perhaps blaming those things on a "snap" from past abuse. I kept wishing JM would make this point more explicitly.
 

AZlawyer

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AZlawyer, is there even going to be a retrial?

Isn't it in everybody's best interest at this time for the state to withdraw the death penalty and let the judge decide on life or LWOP?

By 'everybody' I mean the citizens of Arizona who will be paying for another six or eight weeks of court and lawyer expenses for what most likely will result in another non-death-penalty result. And the Alexander's who won't have to suffer through more of the same gruesome testimony. And the Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery who doesn't want to delay the next trial Martinez is supposed to be trying or strain his own budget further. Or if there is a death penalty, avoid the costs of the automatic appeal(s).

Any thoughts on the likelihood of the state dropping the death penalty?

Imposing the death penalty is always a huge strain on taxpayers and even, as you point out, on the victim's family, who will suffer through perhaps decades of appeals. Reasonable people can disagree on whether or not this strain is worth it.

In this case, with the family so strongly in favor of proceeding with the death penalty option, IMO the state will not drop that option.

OK, AZ Leg. site has updated the ARS, and I can now see they have removed the option of a life (vs natural life) sentence for 1st degree. I've been reading and reading, without realizing the state's website was not updated and thinking a life sentence (with possibility of release after 25 years) was still an option. It now reads:



eta: But in JSS's jury instructions, she listed the possibility of life with possibility of release. I'm going to constantly confused, I think. Is she sentenced according to the law in effect at the time of offense, or at time of sentencing?

She is being sentenced according to the law in effect at the time of the offense.

More questions for appeal.

1) Is a non sequestered Jury ever successful on appeal?

2) Would witness tampering [via cyber and telephone threats] ever become an issue on appeal?

Thank you in advance!

1. Yes, failure to sequester a jury can be a successful appeal issue. In this case, I don't think so, though.

2. Only if the prosecution or defense were somehow involved.

Can JM also legally address the foreperson's comments that he believed she was abused verbally and emotionally? Presumably that belief perhaps in a juror's mind meant the extreme cruelty was as a result of "snapping" due to past abuse and therefore didn't support a vote for DP from him/her? IMO JM could perhaps more directly address the overkill and crazy crime scene. To me, the crime scene supports the theory that JA premeditated the murder but her plan to kill in the shower and leave no mess went haywire when Travis fought back. She panicked and just could NOT let him escape so she chased him and repeatedly stabbed him but when he got near the exit, she decided she had to slit his throat so he could not get out of that room. This explains the overkill and disorganized crime scene in a way that makes sense and supports DP as an alternative to some jurors perhaps blaming those things on a "snap" from past abuse. I kept wishing JM would make this point more explicitly.

I agree--I think JM should argue this point very specifically. I also think he should focus more on WHY Travis made "abusive" statements to Jodi--i.e., what made HIM "snap"? Should Jodi get credit for being verbally abused as a mitigating factor if she triggered the "abuse" by, e.g., threatening to release a surreptitiously recorded sex tape to Travis's bishop, Mimi, the Hugheses, etc.?

He can't directly talk about the previous foreman's opinions, but I think he needs to figure out how to avoid another juror reaching that same conclusion.
 

Jay

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RE THIS:1. Yes, failure to sequester a jury can be a successful appeal issue. In this case, I don't think so, though.

It may not be an issue in the automatic appeal to the Arizona Supreme Court in the event of a death penalty verdict -- but no matter what the verdict I think there's a chance someone is going to want to appeal the trial, whatever the decision, up the appeals court chain, to make jury sequestration mandatory in death penalty cases in Arizona, as it is now in Florida.

I think there's evidence the jury may have been tainted by media exposure in this trial. Juror #6, the one removed for the DUI arrest, when interviewed on HLN was asked how he avoided talking about the trial, or learning about it from others, contrary to the judge's admonitions. His answer was interesting. He said a few times people at work asked him about questions, but he explained he wasn't allowed to discuss it; he also said if he turned on the TV and saw anything related to the trial he quickly changed the station.

But those comments suggest additional questions: when co-workers approached him did they say things like "Can you believe what that murdering sneaky lying ***** has been saying to you guys?" Or the TV commentator in the moments before he changed channels: "Jodi Arias' Mother Admits Daughter is Liar - news at 11."

With all the live coverage, the live tweets interpreting testimony and motives, the unending swell of internet outrage directed at the defense and all its witnesses, I think claims of inadvertent jury tampering would be considered on appeal.

Here's one case to contemplate for example:

http://caselaw.findlaw.com/fl-district-court-of-appeal/1217303.html
 

AZlawyer

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RE THIS:1. Yes, failure to sequester a jury can be a successful appeal issue. In this case, I don't think so, though.

It may not be an issue in the automatic appeal to the Arizona Supreme Court in the event of a death penalty verdict -- but no matter what the verdict I think there's a chance someone is going to want to appeal the trial, whatever the decision, up the appeals court chain, to make jury sequestration mandatory in death penalty cases in Arizona, as it is now in Florida.

I think there's evidence the jury may have been tainted by media exposure in this trial. Juror #6, the one removed for the DUI arrest, when interviewed on HLN was asked how he avoided talking about the trial, or learning about it from others, contrary to the judge's admonitions. His answer was interesting. He said a few times people at work asked him about questions, but he explained he wasn't allowed to discuss it; he also said if he turned on the TV and saw anything related to the trial he quickly changed the station.

But those comments suggest additional questions: when co-workers approached him did they say things like "Can you believe what that murdering sneaky lying ***** has been saying to you guys?" Or the TV commentator in the moments before he changed channels: "Jodi Arias' Mother Admits Daughter is Liar - news at 11."

With all the live coverage, the live tweets interpreting testimony and motives, the unending swell of internet outrage directed at the defense and all its witnesses, I think claims of inadvertent jury tampering would be considered on appeal.

Here's one case to contemplate for example:

http://caselaw.findlaw.com/fl-district-court-of-appeal/1217303.html

I know what you mean, and I wish the jury had been sequestered to minimize any issues. But IMO I don't think the AZ Supreme Court will overturn the verdict on that basis.
 

RR0004

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(1) The motion to preclude the state from arguing lack of remorse was not, I think, dependent on the self-defense argument. I believe it would be improper for the state to argue lack of remorse regardless of the defense, unless the defense argued remorse. For example, if the defense were "I didn't do it," I don't think the state could argue lack of remorse during the penalty phase. Also, the request for the manslaughter instruction was not an abandonment of the self-defense claim. That's why the self-defense instruction was still included. The two arguments were being made "in the alternative"--i.e., this was self-defense, and if you don't buy that, then it was manslaughter.

2) The self-defense argument was not abandoned at the penalty phase either, but there was no point in mentioning as it appears the jury did not buy it. If Jodi claims remorse, the state can argue lack of remorse. I don't suppose she will, though, because she still claims self-defense.



During the penalty phase, the jury is to consider any evidence relevant to the issue of what penalty to impose that was admitted during the guilt phase or aggravation phase. Therefore, anything relevant from those two phases that the parties want the new jury to consider will have to be re-presented. Relevant information would be evidence of cruelty (because the jury needs to balance this evidence against the mitigating evidence), and evidence relating to mitigation, which concerns the defendant's "character, propensity, history, record, or circumstances of the offense."

The (alleged) DV is DEFINITELY relevant, was relevant in the last penalty phase as well, and was argued by the defense as a mitigating factor. The jury did not necessarily reject the allegations of DV just because they found Jodi guilty of premeditated murder. DV is not an excuse for murder. It just makes it a little easier to prove self-defense. If the jury decided she was abused but still didn't act in self-defense, then the abuse can and should be considered as a mitigating factor in the penalty phase.

The "fog" might or might not be raised in the new penalty phase. The defense might, for example, argue that it would be unfair to put Jodi to death because the part of the crime that really qualified her for the death penalty is the part she doesn't remember. Similarly to the DV, there is no way to know whether the jury rejected the "fog" information. A verdict of guilt or cruelty tells you nothing about their opinion of the "fog."



Yes, JM could bring this up if she argues her artistic talent as a mitigating factor again. I'm sure the Alexander family is aware of the tracing/copyright issue, and they are in the best position to offer this information to JM.



Someone posted the exact transcript a page or two back, so I will rely on that. But are you drawing a distinction between having a legal right to be considered for release and being eligible for a parole hearing? Those are the same thing IMO.

I do think that JM MEANT to say that, if she were given 25-to-life , then she would be "vested," and THEN, IF AND ONLY IF PAROLE PROCEDURES WERE REINSTATED IN AZ, at THAT point she would, after 25 years, have a legal right to be considered for parole.

But what he seemed to say instead was that, if she were given 25-to-life, then she would be "vested" AND THEREFORE WOULD HAVE A LEGAL RIGHT TO BE CONSIDERED FOR RELEASE IN 25 YEARS, so the fact that there wasn't a procedure in place now didn't mean there wouldn't be one in the future, because Jodi would have a "legal right" to the procedure in the future.
Ok, so the whole time we've been discussing that the Judge could hand down a sentence of Life Without Parole or Life With the Possibility of Parole we know not of what we speak? lol
IOW, if the 2nd jury doesn't decide on a verdict, the Judge will just sentence her to LWOP?
 

AZlawyer

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Ok, so the whole time we've been discussing that the Judge could hand down a sentence of Life Without Parole or Life With the Possibility of Parole we know not of what we speak? lol
IOW, if the 2nd jury doesn't decide on a verdict, the Judge will just sentence her to LWOP?

No. She can sentence JA to life with no possibility of release for 25 years, but in Reality Land (where we happen to live), there is no possibility of release after the 25 years either, unless the AZ legislature changes the law.
 

Angelina Frost

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Thank you for all of your responses, AZ. It really helps calm things around here to have an explanation. :)

One more for you, when you have a moment-

Without insinuating that a juror was untruthful during voir dire re: the death penalty, is there anything you'd recommend JM ask prospective jurors to weed out a potential repeat seating of the foreman?
 

AZlawyer

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Thank you for all of your responses, AZ. It really helps calm things around here to have an explanation. :)

One more for you, when you have a moment-

Without insinuating that a juror was untruthful during voir dire re: the death penalty, is there anything you'd recommend JM ask prospective jurors to weed out a potential repeat seating of the foreman?

Maybe whether they would believe some words/phrases are abusive to say to a woman regardless of the provocation?
 

dcsmyth1

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Why is it 'un-reality land' to think that there's a significant chance that the legislature might re-instate the possibility of parole sometime in the next 20 years.

On an unrelated note, if someone gets LWOP, what happens if it becomes clear by new evidence that they were factually innocent? Is there an exception for that?
 

Jay

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Maybe whether they would believe some words/phrases are abusive to say to a woman regardless of the provocation?

Maybe he asked something like that last time --
Are there transcripts of the previous voir dire available?

The problem for Martinez will remain, however. Arias's main mitigation is abuse. That evidence comes in. Those 'abusive' tapes of Travis's voice and email transcripts are REAL. They can be heard and seen. That kind of evidence registers at a deeper emotional level then an expert witness stating they're miniscule in relation to the whole. When you see and hear the charged words Travis directed at Arias, it will be just as difficult to entirely rescue his reputation using the same evidence presented at the first trial - and as I understand it, that's all that will be available to the prosecutor.

Looks like it will be deja vu all over again.
 

AZlawyer

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Why is it 'un-reality land' to think that there's a significant chance that the legislature might re-instate the possibility of parole sometime in the next 20 years.

On an unrelated note, if someone gets LWOP, what happens if it becomes clear by new evidence that they were factually innocent? Is there an exception for that?

It is only "un-reality land" because of the political climate in AZ. Perhaps it will change one day, who knows.

The sentence would not change because of actual innocence, but there could be appeal-type proceedings to reverse the conviction.

Maybe he asked something like that last time --
Are there transcripts of the previous voir dire available?

The problem for Martinez will remain, however. Arias's main mitigation is abuse. That evidence comes in. Those 'abusive' tapes of Travis's voice and email transcripts are REAL. They can be heard and seen. That kind of evidence registers at a deeper emotional level then an expert witness stating they're miniscule in relation to the whole. When you see and hear the charged words Travis directed at Arias, it will be just as difficult to entirely rescue his reputation using the same evidence presented at the first trial - and as I understand it, that's all that will be available to the prosecutor.

Looks like it will be deja vu all over again.

I believe voir dire proceedings were sealed.

I agree re: the abuse evidence. The only thing that might help is compelling evidence that Travis "snapped" due to some really awful provocation by Jodi.
 

LinTX

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Well, my 'fog' on this issue is cleared up, thanks to AZlawyer and a conversation I had with someone in Releases at ADC. He said no one has reached the 25 year point since the Truth in Lending law was passed in 1994 - what happens after 25 years to this group wasn't addressed when that law was passed. Said they have judges and others calling them to ask about it, but all they can say is that it's a gray area at present and they're waiting to hear something from the top. The first inmate that it will apply to will be eligible in 2019 so the legislature will have to do something before then, but for now they're basically in limbo.

I would imagine there have been a fairly large group sentenced to 25 to life since 1994, so wouldn't they have to consider all years of offense dates/sentencing since then in the new statute? ADC already has several brackets of offense years to deal with now, so adding in this 25 year period would probably be handled in the same way? Interesting, IMO... and at least for me clarifies JM's comments a little better.

Also, now that the life option has been dropped with the 2012 statute, I wonder if that would influence a judge who might be considering between the two life options?
 

AZlawyer

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Well, my 'fog' on this issue is cleared up, thanks to AZlawyer and a conversation I had with someone in Releases at ADC. He said no one has reached the 25 year point since the Truth in Lending law was passed in 1994 - what happens after 25 years to this group wasn't addressed when that law was passed. Said they have judges and others calling them to ask about it, but all they can say is that it's a gray area at present and they're waiting to hear something from the top. The first inmate that it will apply to will be eligible in 2019 so the legislature will have to do something before then, but for now they're basically in limbo.

I would imagine there have been a fairly large group sentenced to 25 to life since 1994, so wouldn't they have to consider all years of offense dates/sentencing since then in the new statute? ADC already has several brackets of offense years to deal with now, so adding in this 25 year period would probably be handled in the same way? Interesting, IMO... and at least for me clarifies JM's comments a little better.

Also, now that the life option has been dropped with the 2012 statute, I wonder if that would influence a judge who might be considering between the two life options?

Yes, you see the problem. And JM seemed to be saying to the jury that the legislature would have to do something before the 25-to-lifers started coming up for parole. But my point is, if you read the statute, it does NOT grant any right to be considered for release after 25 years, so IMO the legislature does NOT need to do anything, and those people will just never get parole. It just prevents release (if any provision for release happens to exist) for at least 25 years.

Interesting point about the change in the statute. I do think that might be in the back of a judge's mind during sentencing now.
 
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