Jodi Arias Legal Question and Answer Thread *no discussion*

Discussion in 'Travis Alexander Trial - The State vs. Jodi Arias' started by nursebeeme, Jan 30, 2013.

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  1. minor4th

    minor4th Verified Attorney

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    I don't think the defense experts would necessarily be privy to the defense strategy, and I'm not even sure the defense had decided whether or not Jodi would testify. That is a decision that can be made as the trial progresses.

    In any event, the experts testified about what Jodi told them - so I'm sure they would not assume that Jodi's testimony would contradict what she had told the experts. That's not the experts' fault - it's Jodi's fault.
     
  2. minor4th

    minor4th Verified Attorney

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    AZ, I think in this case, all witnesses were subpoenaed -- even paid experts. The judge even mentioned to ALV that she was under subpoena. In my jurisdiction, in a criminal trial, all witnesses are always subpoenaed whether they are friendly witnesses or not, paid or not, and to fail to subpoena a witness would be a huge error on the part of the attorney because if a witness fails to show up for any reason - like they are in a car accident on the way to the courthouse, then they are **** out of luck if there's no subpoena on file.

    Witnesses are sworn at the beginning of trial and excluded from the courtroom and instructed not to discuss the case with other witnesses. I don't think it's typical for there to be a standing order for all witnesses to avoid all media coverage of the case. I've never seen that before --I think the reason it's an issue in this case is because the trial is televised and a witness could literally watch every word of testimony before they testify.
     
  3. Nhic

    Nhic New Member

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    What is the difference between a judge and a commissioner? TIA:seeya:
     
  4. minor4th

    minor4th Verified Attorney

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    General comments to keep in mind while watching this trial:

    1. Perjury -- Witnesses lie and exaggerate on the stand ALL THE TIME, literally in every single trial there is a witness who lies or exaggerates on the stand. Witnesses also make mistakes about the facts they testify about, and sometimes their memory is faulty and they may not remember something accurately. None of those things is perjury, and even if a witness is outright lying -- it is extremely rare for someone to be charged with perjury because most of the time the witness can explain a discrepancy in their testimony due to memory issues or misspeaking, etc.

    Perjury is a crime only when the witness knowingly lies under oath and it can be proven by comparing it to a previous written or recorded statement. And usually it has to be a lie that is material to the case on an important issue. Think Mark Furman.

    2. Courtroom behavior -- Each judge is responsible for the rules of decorum in their own court. Some judges do not allow any food or drink or gum, other judges allow it. If the judge allows it, it is not disrespectful to the court to eat, drink, or chew gum.

    Some judges require that attorneys keep their knees and feet off counsel table, and other judges dont require it. If the judge doesn't require it, it's not disrespectful to have your knee resting on counsel table (although as a practical matter, it looks bad and unprofessional).

    Some judges and courts require electronics to be surrendered before entering a court room. Some require that all electronics be turned off. Some only require that they be silenced and even allow internet and email use in the courtroom. Whatever the particular rules are, the attorneys are generally allowed to have their phones, ipads, laptops on.

    Some judge allow people in the gallery to take notes, others don't.

    This particular judge apparently has pretty lax rules about court room decorum. That does not mean she does not have control of her courtroom or that she is not respected. it simply means she doesn't care about those things and does not feel like the administration of justice is compromised by people eating, drinking, chewing gum, etc in the gallery.

    3. Control of the witnesses/attorneys -- I've seen so many comments and questions about how a witness can be allowed to testify the way they are or how can an attorney be allowed to ask certain questions or ask to approach so many times or how can Jodi be allowed to smile at jurors or send notes to her mother, etc. The simple answer is that whether something is allowed or not there is no way to prevent it from happening in advance -- the only way to deal with it is if someone complains and gets a ruling after the fact.

    The judge can only rule on things that are brought to her attention within the legal process and what she observes with her own eyes. She removed someone from the courtroom for sleeping the other day - that is something she saw herself and corrected it. If a witness is answering inappropriately, the opposing lawyer has the opportunity to make his objections and get a ruling or instruction from the judge. If that doesn't correct the problem, there's an opportunity for the lawyer to object again and get another ruling and instruction.

    It would take something really egregious for a judge to hold a witness in contempt -- rudeness, interrupting, going beyond the scope of the question is not going to do it. Contempt is an extreme remedy that is reserved for behavior that cannot be cured by any other means. A judge is not going to hold a lawyer in contempt because he or she asks to approach every thirty seconds or even because he or she goes beyond the bounds of a pre-trial ruling because these things can all be solved in other ways. The last thing the judge would want to do is hold a lawyer in contempt in front of the jury or even admonish the lawyers too strongly in front of the jury because it could be prejudicial and cause a mistrial or be grounds for appeal.

    I do not believe this judge has no control over her courtroom - in fact, the opposite. What many see as a circus atmosphere is due to the defense attorneys acting in a squirrelly or sneaky way, and Juan is just not a prosecutor who makes a lot of objections or makes a big deal out of everything that he possibly could. Most prosecutors do not object a lot -- and most defense lawyers do not act as squirrelly as the ones in this case.

    The judge's primary job in this case is to make sure that Jodi Arias gets a fair trial. Anything and everything else is secondary.
     
  5. garthmax

    garthmax New Member

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    If Jodi's new journal entries mentions anything contradictory IE. I told ALV I shot TA in the closet and these new entries are allowed would she have been subpoenaed to testify to clarify the mistake.
     
  6. AZlawyer

    AZlawyer Verified Attorney

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    I agree about subpoenaing even "friendly" witnesses, but I don't much see the point in subpoenaing an expert. Even if you force the expert to come to court, they don't have to testify for you (unlike a fact witness).

    I've never seen a standing order to subpoenaed witnesses to avoid trial coverage either. I think the judge is taking extra precautions in this case due to the live gavel-to-gavel coverage.

    In AZ, commissioners can't handle all the same types of cases as judges. They handle more routine matters.

    No.

    THANK YOU!!!! :blowkiss:
     
  7. bsk

    bsk New Member

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    I have several questions, starting with one addressed here. I've heard the THs say the importance of ALV to the DT is to get some instruction to the jury about using the viewpoint of a person who suffered from DV. Can you explain more or less what that means? For example, what if the jury feels ALV did not prove DV or that her testimony is so tainted that they just discard all of it? That DV instruction must be conditional on believing there WAS DV right?

    I saw an earlier comment about "heat of passion" = manslaughter. I thought the idea in general, breaking it into 3 broad categories, was:
    * Murder 1 = premeditated
    * Murder 2 = intentional but not premeditated
    * Manslaughter = unintentional
    If that's the case, heat of passion could be Murder 2 or manslaughter couldn't it? What else could be murder 2?

    Related to that, has there been any evidence presented that would fall under murder 2? If not, then does it have to be included as a lesser offense in the jury instructions or can the judge skip over it (not that she would)? I'd think KN wants it in as a compromise the jury might take while JM would want it all or nothing to avoid that possibility. If she's going to be out in a few years under Murder 2, the jury might as well find her NG or guilty of manslaughter it seems to me.

    Lastly, it drives me crazy how the DT (esp JW) comments on every objection. IANAL obviously, but isn't that highly disrespectful to the judge? It seems to me it's saying, "You're too stupid to rule on the objection on your own, so let me help you out." That makes me crazy more than the speaking objections do. Is it normal for a judge to put up with this from either side?

    Thanks much in advance.
     
  8. MeeBee

    MeeBee Active Member

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    So the judge told ALV to be back Tuesday because she is under subpoena and still has testimony to give. Beth K said it sounds like this will happen in front of the jury. But the judge never said that and it sounds like LV is done. What is your opinions? Does this sound like something else?

    Also, is the fact that the DT hasnt rested yet indicative of them having another witness or are they waiting for these hearings to be done before they do? I keep hearing they have Grace Wong still but she's testifying in the hearing so...I'm confused lol, and really ready for rebuttal. TIA!!!!
     
  9. bsk

    bsk New Member

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    You may have answered my first question above in a comment earlier this evening, so let me twist it a little bit so I can be sure I understand. Is the whole idea of getting DV in that it can be used to help explain 'overkill', or merely that it can help back up the self defense claim?

    I did think of one more I wanted to add. It seems JM's objections are all the same tone. Usually his speaking objections are limited to adding an explanation that helps the DT fix the issue, like pointing out a certain word that makes the question improper. That makes it easy for the DT to reword the question in many cases.

    JW is the opposite. Many times her objections are almost shrill as opposed to 'normal' objections. Does this tend to telegraph to the jury when she is more shrill or loud that they should perk up, because something REALLY damaging is on the way? And does it also risk having the jury hold it against JA to some extent even if the objection is sustained? "Ooh there's some really bad stuff she managed to hide from us." Obviously jurors are NOT supposed to think like that, but they ARE human beings.

    KN seems to be somewhere between the two. Sometimes he gets a little whiny in his speaking objections, e.g. "Asked and answered about three times already." But he doesn't seem to telegraph his like JW does hers.
     
  10. Birdsong

    Birdsong New Member

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    Probably not doing this right, BUT IF she said on the stand "It is NOT legal for me to speak with family members"
    question: Couldn't this cause her problems because she DID approach and speak with Travis' sister last week? So now the witness has admitted she knew it was illegal and yet she did it!
     
  11. jayarohh

    jayarohh New Member

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    *respectfully snipped for length*

    This was brilliant. Thank you so much. Why aren't we watching you on a broadcast network?
     
  12. slanda

    slanda Verified Victim's Advocate

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    Maybe we are ;)
     
  13. AZlawyer

    AZlawyer Verified Attorney

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    She said it was not legal for her to call and interview them. That's true. It wouldn't ALWAYS be illegal for her to SPEAK with them--it would depend on what she said and why she said it.
     
  14. AZlawyer

    AZlawyer Verified Attorney

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    Yes, the importance of the DV testimony is to get an instruction that, if the jury finds that she has suffered DV at the hands of Travis, her decision to use deadly force must be judged from the standpoint of a reasonable person who has suffered those acts.

    The jury can definitely reject the evidence of DV--if they do, they will not use that instruction.
    ------------------------------------

    AZ second-degree murder includes recklessly engaging in conduct creating a grave risk of death under circumstances manifesting extreme indifference to human life. Suppose the jury believes Jodi that the gunshot was first, and that she had no intention of shooting Travis but only intended to point the gun at him...not knowing whether or not it was loaded...and with her finger apparently on the trigger...and then the gun "went off"? The ME said that the gunshot alone would have ended his life, so I think the judge could give a 2nd-degree instruction based on Jodi's story. 2nd degree murder followed by crazy excessive overkill.

    I think Beth was jumping to conclusions. To me it sounds like something else, and maybe something not in front of the jury.

    Grace Wong will not be testifying in the defense case--she'll be testifying in a mistrial hearing, which is interrupting the defense case.

    I'm not sure, in the chaos of the end of the session Friday, whether the defense just forgot to rest (which would be no big deal as they could just do it Monday) or they still have other witnesses. There's no way to tell for sure.

    Also, I'm not 100% sure that ALV was really finished with her testimony. I remember the judge read that one "stray" jury question at the end--did she ever ask JM or JW if they had any follow-up on that? :waitasec:

    The DV issue goes straight to the self-defense claim. Self-defense is easier to prove if the defendant is a DV victim, because sometimes a reasonable DV victim "overreacts" due to his/her knowledge that the aggressor is more dangerous than she/he might appear in that moment to a person who hasn't seen what she/he does. Here's the thing, though...Jodi never said that she thought he was going to kill her and so she shot him. She said she thought he was mad and so she pointed a gun at him that she thought was unloaded in hopes of making him "stop"--and then she accidentally shot him, AFTER which he got really mad and she thought he was going to kill her, and then she went into a fog and has no recollection of deciding anything else. I'm totally confused on how this is self-defense, with or without the DV argument.

    I agree that JW is objecting in a way that suggests to the jury that she is desperate to hide damaging information. Asking to approach the bench too often has the same effect. In fact, I think this is one reason that JM doesn't object to every little thing. He wants to appear more open than the defense (and also wants to appear more able to handle the witnesses without help from the judge).
     
  15. Dcstew

    Dcstew New Member

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    AL tried to justify JA kicking and hitting her mother as teenage behavior, I won't go on about how I feel about that. Recently I moved to FL but I'm from MI and there she would of been guilty of DV. In Michigan the 3rd DV charge automatically becomes a felony stalking charge. How do AZ laws compare to this?
     
  16. simlyme

    simlyme member since 04/2009

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  17. minor4th

    minor4th Verified Attorney

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    Some day ... :D
     
  18. Bernina

    Bernina Well-Known Member

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    I've been searching the A.R.S.and the Web for the protocol for the release to the public of the Prosecution's Rebuttal witnesses...and I'm not finding anything. I "hear" things from different sites, but don't put much credence to it because rebuttal witnesses can be continually added as the defense refers, in testimony, to individuals or they "open the door" to previously inadmissible testimony from "possible" witnesses. Mr. Martinez put in his 15th Supplemental witness list in about 2 weeks ago.
    1. When does the Prosecution release it's final list of rebuttal witnesses to the defense?
    2. When is it available to the public?
    3. Does the defense have an opportunity to object to any of the witnesses?
    No, I don't believe everything I read on the internet :noooo:

    :desert:
     
  19. 4Jacy

    4Jacy New Member

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    :welcome4:
     
  20. minor4th

    minor4th Verified Attorney

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    If it's filed in the case, it's part of the public court file and anyone can get a copy of it fromt he clerk. Sometimes attorneys in a criminal case exchange witness lists without filing them and simply file a notice of complying with the deadline requirements for exchanging and supplementing witness lists.

    I have no idea how it's done in Arizona or whether the lists have been filed in the case.
     
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