Sentencing and beyond- JA General Discussion #9

Discussion in 'Travis Alexander Trial - The State vs. Jodi Arias' started by Coldpizza, Aug 30, 2016.

  1. AZlawyer

    AZlawyer Verified Attorney

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    This is a tough one. There are a combination of factors going on here IMO. First, lawyers "in the trenches" were less shocked by JM's behavior than appellate judges, who are used to extraordinarily polite and courteous attorney behavior, with none of the messiness and emotion of a jury trial (particularly a criminal trial) (particular a murder trial) (particularly a murder trial with nationwide press attention). Second, the State Bar is very forgiving of almost anything except stealing a client's money (and BTW I haven't gone back to check what the result of the ethics complaint against him regarding the Arias trial was). Third, the appellate judges were presented with all the little statements and behaviors that made me cringe over the course of many many weeks in a condensed format--when it's presented that way, it feels like an unrelenting chain of unprofessional and defiant behavior by JM instead of like intermittent bursts of overzealousness. Fourth, last I heard JM was on paid administrative leave from MCAO. It may be that he faced internal discipline even WHILE getting raises etc.--often in government work these things are handled on two separate "tracks."
     
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  2. Tricia

    Tricia Owner Websleuths.com Staff Member Administrator Moderator

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  3. Hope4More

    Hope4More Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the reply and your insights. I'll post a longer response tomorrow, but for tonight, one fwiw: JM was just fired by MCAO, for reasons having nothing to do with his trial conduct or record.
     
  4. salberg7

    salberg7 Well-Known Member

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    Yay! I am elated! She gets to stay where she belongs. Self defense my bumpkins!
    So pleased with the denial. Can’t wait to see what the killer’s fan club has to say .
    Overwhelming evidence for sure. She is dangerous and needs to stay locked up. The COA made the correct decision.
    As far as Juan, he was effective and passionate in his prosecution. And all this JW BS was in the retrial anyway.
    Hallelujah!
     
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  5. nyvictoria

    nyvictoria Well-Known Member

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    Best news I’ve read in a long while! Thanks to Arizona COA for looking at the all of the evidence and ruling appropriately. Thanks @Hope4More for keeping us well-informed and @AZlawyer for your insight on the way to justice. Thanks to all the posters who contributed, keeping me interested long after the felonious murderer’s trials were over. I hope the Alexander family and everyone who knew and loved Travis will rest easier knowing Arias will never again roam free.
     
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  6. Hope4More

    Hope4More Well-Known Member

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    About those bar complaints against JM. A few were dismissed and faded away; two principal complaints remain before various Bar committees/counsel.

    This (as usual) long post gives a chronology of those 2 complaints. Complaint 1, (regular typeface), the Bar's appeal of, is currently under advisement by the AZ SC. Formal disciplinary hearings on Complaint 2 were scheduled to take place next month (April).

    Complaint 1 was the first significant complaint filed against JM after the trial, and remains the only complaint related to allegations of prosecutorial misconduct by JM at trial.

    Complaint 2, filed by Karen Clark Esq. on behalf of Arias, was a hodgepodge of allegations that, simplified, accuse JM's of having sexual relationships with trial bloggers to gain publicity, and that he provided one blogger in particular with sealed and/or confidential trial information, including the identity of juror 17, the holdout juror of the penalty retrial).

    IMO, the Specially Concurring opinion by COA Justice Jones was aimed in no small part directly at those currently considering the Bar complaints against JM.


    From Jones’ opinion:

    I write separately to further elaborate upon a matter that cannot, in my mind, be left underemphasized or simply passed over: that is the persistent, pervasive, inappropriate and unprofessional conduct of the State’s attorney, Juan Martinez.

    (….) Yet, here we are, confronted with a prosecutor whose repeated misconduct toward the superior court, other attorneys, principals, and witnesses in a criminal case was not only abhorrent to the rules of professional conduct — and clearly unnecessary to obtain a conviction — but broadcast over and over again, hour after hour each day, throughout a sixty-seven-day trial and the non-stop hours of nationwide media coverage that followed.

    The prosecutor’s behavior throughout this trial was a clear abuse of his ethical duties, its scope and extent now exposed and quantified through the filing of this opinion. With that, our prior supreme court decisions direct us to simply report the wayward prosecutor to the State Bar for possible sanctions.

    The Court does so; nevertheless, I am left dissatisfied by the serious questions raised by the prosecutor’s misconduct, which has previously been raised with the State Bar yet remains unanswered for.


    While I am comforted by the fact that the jury, presented with the evidence and properly instructed, was able to see past the sickening, childish conduct of the State’s attorney, perform their duties as sworn, and apply their common sense and understanding to the task at hand, this is no substitute for the professional responsibility each lawyer must exercise when appearing in any Arizona court.

    With the issue of the propriety of Arias’ conviction now having been put to rest, and the conduct of the prosecutor having been reported, I am hopeful that the viability and enforceability of our Rules of Professional Conduct will be reasserted and legitimized such that we, Arizona’s attorneys, judges, and courts, can be back about the business of pursuing justice in the manner Arizonans have a right to expect.

    ------------------------------
    Bar Complaints. etc. chronology.


    December 2015. Complaint 1 filed by Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice, an association of nearly 500 defense attorneys. Complaint listed allegations of unethical behavior by JM over a 10-year span.

    The State Bar whittled it down to allegations from five capital-murder cases Martinez tried, those of:

    Cicero Beemon, in which Martinez compared the actions of Beemon’s Jewish defense attorney to those of Adolf Hitler.

    Cory Morris, a serial killer who murdered five prostitutes, in which Martinez asked jurors how they would like to be strangled by the defendant.

    Michael Gallardo, in which Martinez was told not to repeat that the father of the victim could never again call his son, but did so anyway; it famously prompted discussion in the Arizona Supreme Court of “the conduct of the prosecutor.”

    Shawn Lynch, in which Martinez again asked jurors to imagine themselves being murdered by the defendant, specifically having their throats slit. Lynch’s death sentence was thrown out by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2016.

    Jodi Arias, for telling defense attorney Jennifer Willmott during a sidebar at the judge’s bench that if he were married to Willmott he would “F--king want to kill myself.” He later told Willmott she should go back to law school.

    Link: Juan Martinez, prosecutor in Jodi Arias case, cleared in State Bar ethics case
    ----------------------------

    September 2016. The Bar’s Probable Cause Committee rules that JM has violated 3 ethic rules:

    +engaged in unprofessional conduct;

    +used means that have no substantial purpose other than to embarrass, delay, or burden any other person, or using methods of obtaining evidence that violate the legal rights of such a person by, among other things, improperly attacking the defendant;

    +engaged in professional misconduct that is prejudicial to the administration of justice.

    JM was admonished and ordered to be put on probation for one year. The order of admonition did not refer to specific cases Martinez prosecuted. (The link below includes the Bar’s official statement).

    “The State Bar said that the admonition was issued "for inappropriate statements made by Mr. Martinez during various trials or other legal proceedings. In some instances, these statements were found to be unprofessional or otherwise improper by the Arizona Supreme Court but did not require a reversal of the underlying criminal cases."

    Bar admonishes Arias prosecutor Juan Martinez

    ----------------------------------

    October 2016. JM appealed the Bar’s ruling and requested a full hearing before the Disciplinary Committee.

    ((February 2017. Karen Clark, attorney for Arias, files Bar Complaint #2.))

    October 2017. Complaint #1 dismissed. (From the AZ Republic, a glimpse into the hearing):

    The Bar was represented by attorney Craig Henley; JM, by Scott Rhodes, known as one of the best attorney-discipline defense attorneys in Arizona.

    Henley brought defense attorneys for Beemon, Lynch and Arias to the stand, but his questions to them were riddled by objections from Rhodes, and Presiding Disciplinary Judge William O’Neill held them to "yes" and "no" answers.

    Former U.S. Attorney for Arizona Paul Charlton also testified for the Bar as an expert witness. Charlton denounced Martinez’s behavior as “unethical and inappropriate” and, upon cross-examination by Rhodes, admitted that he uses Martinez as an example of how not to act in the law school classes he teaches.

    Rhodes called a single witness, former Arizona Chief Supreme Court Justice Thomas Zlaket, who dismissed Martinez’s aggressive courtroom behavior as typical of competitive lawyers.

    Though other witnesses were held to short answers, Zlaket took the opportunity to wax nostalgic, saying Martinez was sorry for his mistakes.

    “I’ve done the same, and every trial lawyer I’ve known has too, and I’ve known the best,” Zlaket said.

    Rhodes then rested his case.

    O’Neill and two disciplinary panelists left the hearing room for less than a minute.

    Then they re-entered, and O’Neill announced that they had dismissed the complaint.

    -------------------------------------

    Dec 2017. The Bar files an appeal with the AZSC. (Complaint 1).

    Jan 2018. The AZSC orders the Disciplinary Committee to produce a finding of the facts and law upon which they based their dismissal.

    ((Jan 2018. The Bar dismisses Complaint 2 filed by Karen Clark.))

    ((February 2018. Clark appeals the dismissal of Bar Charge #2, asserting that the Bar had abused it's discretion by not forwarding the complaint to the Probable Cause Committee.)

    ((March 2018. Complaint #2 reinstated by Bar's Probable Cause Committee. At some point in the next few months Clark adds on another slew of charges, all of which relate to alleged sexual harassment by JM, of both MCAO and Superior Court employees. ))


    Sept. 2018. The Committee’s findings (#1) are filed as a Supplemental.

    March 2019. JM’s reply brief filed; all briefs from Bar and JM now completed.

    ((March 2019. The Probable Cause Committee issues formal charges against JM relating to Complaint #2: divulging confidential information, being untruthful to Bar investigators, and sexual harassment of MCAO employees and of a Superior Court court reporter.))

    April 2019. Amicus curiae briefs in support of the Bar’s appeal of the dismissal of complaint #1 are filed by the AZ ACLU, the AZLU, AZ attorneys for Criminal Justice, and the AZ Justice Project.

    ((August 2019. The Bar dismisses charges of Complaint #2 relating to alleged sexual harassment by JM of MCAO employees. The allegation of harassment by JM of a court reporter remains. ))

    ((September 2019. Karen Clark files yet another complaint against JM, her second attempt to have JM sanctioned by the Bar for publishing his book. She also files a complaint against Bill Montgomery, for inadequate supervision of JM, and for permitting JM to write his book. Montgomery is seated on the AZ Supreme Court a few days after Clark filed her complaint against him. The Bar delegated the book related/supervisory charges against JM and Montgomery to a AZ SC Special Counsel, who, to the best of my knowledge, still has the complaints under consideration. ))

    September 2019. JM reassigned to Auto Theft division at MCAO.

    October 30, 2019. The AZSC takes the Bar’s appeal (complaint #1) under advisement, having received all briefs and JM’s disciplinary record.

    February 7, 2020. JM placed on administrative leave by MCAO.

    February 21, 2020. JM fired from MCAO. The dismissal letter notes his exceptional service/ record at trial, but asserts that JM did not take his discipline by Montgomery seriously enough (citing the fact that JM appealed his performance review and salary back in 2018 (!!) as evidence of this. The letter also says that MCAO can't be expected to arrange to keep JM far enough away from MCAO employees who fear (no evidence it happened) that JM might retaliate against them for their complaints of sexual harassment.

    March 2, 2020. JM filed appeal of his dismissal from MCAO (civil service protections).
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2020
  7. Hope4More

    Hope4More Well-Known Member

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    To anyone who made it through the above chronology :) :

    It probably goes without saying that the fact the COA just referred charges about JM's conduct to the Bar that are essentially the same as those in Complaint #1 does not bode well for JM, given that the Bar's appeal of Complaint #1's dismissal (and the one year probation discipline) is still pending before the AZ Supreme Court.

    I'm beginning to think JM will be lucky if he escapes with any discipline short of a suspension of his law license.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2020
  8. geevee

    geevee Well-Known Stickie

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    Agree, I expect it may be worse though, given the tone of CoA.

    Thanks so much for all your hard work with this Hope, most of us would have a very difficult time understanding it all without you.

    P.S. Thank goodness her appeal was denied - how much longer before she can file for a PCR hearing in front of JSS?
     
  9. Hope4More

    Hope4More Well-Known Member

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    About the COA's smackdown of JM. Pearl clutching at it's finest, IMO. And in error on several counts, again IMO, especially in their assessment that JM didn't have legitimate grounds for challenging Dr. Samuels' objectivity/bias. Sometimes giving a book IS plainly inappropriate, as DeMarte explained, plainly and convincingly.

    And as she also explained, plainly and convincing, there is never a good reason for a forensic examiner to fill out and hand score a psych evaluation on notebook paper, and separate from the test.

    Aside from pointlessly wading in those weeds. JM's attorney issued a statement about the COA's ruling. In it he pointed out something AZL alluded to, and what I still question.

    Fact is, IMO the COA did some flagrant backflipping on the matter of JM's misconduct and JSS.

    They acknowledge that the court (JSS) did repeatedly admonish JM for his "aggressiveness," but then assert that her admonitions were "insufficient to curtail his unprofessional conduct."

    Then, that the court as gatekeeper is responsible for "maintaining proper decorum in the courtroom, and ensuring counsel abides by appropriate standards of professionalism/rules of professional conduct."

    And, that the court has tools to encourage compliance, including sanctions, contempt, and finally, declaring a mistrial.

    JSS as trial judge is by law both entitled and obligated to exercise judicial discretion. And, as trial judge, that discretion includes interpretating and ruling upon what did and did not constitute prosecutorial misconduct by JM.

    As JM's attorney points out, JSS declined (repeatedly, given Nurmi's endless motions for mistrial based precisely upon allegations of prosecutorial misconduct) to sanction JM, or hold him in contempt, or to declare a mistrial.

    The COA did NOT rule that JSS had abused her discretion in denying any one of or all Nurmi's motions alleging misconduct. In fact, JSS laid out in great detail her reasoning why she denied each and every motion relating to misconduct.

    JSS surely knew what tools were available to her, btw, as if you will recall, she threated to report NURMI to the Bar for misconduct.

    So how does that work, really, that the COA can make a finding of egregious and pervasive misconduct by JM, without ruling that JSS abused her discretion? Repeatedly?
    ----
    As for a potential PCR. She has 30 days from the date of the COA's denial of her appeal to begin the process, or from the date the AZ Supreme Court declines to hear her appeal (;)) of the COA's ruling, should she decide to go tilting at that windmill.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2020
  10. geevee

    geevee Well-Known Stickie

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    That was the other one I couldn't remember (appealing the CoA decision) lol. I wonder if she has any pennies left after shelling out to KC to afford either of the next two attempts. I will very much look forward to JSS' smack down if and when that hearing happens.

    Yeah, they came down awfully hard on JM considering not finding JSS at fault for allowing all of the 'misconduct'. And as AZL pointed out, these instances were spread out over many weeks, it's not like he was bouncing a camera off the floor daily or telling Willmott how glad he was not to be married to her at every side bar.

    And funnily, it was never mentioned that he treated his own witnesses with much of the same brusque attitude.
     
  11. salberg7

    salberg7 Well-Known Member

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    I’m curious if anyone knows who pays for future appeals. I know the state paid for this denied appeal. Is the state of Arizona also supposed to pay for PCR? I thought subsequent appeals are paid for by the killer.
     
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  12. Midnight Rambler

    Midnight Rambler Ten Bears

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    The PCR is the first and only opportunity to argue ineffective counsel and/or new exonerating evidence that wasn't & couldn't have been known at trial.

    Fewer than 5% of PCR requests are granted, in part because these requests go to the very same trial judge who oversaw the trial in which the requesting defendant was convicted.
     
  13. DidIAskYou

    DidIAskYou New Member

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    In case no one else answers your question, I’ll give this answer, which may or may not be right. On the justice4jodi site where they’re seeking donations for legal expenses, they say the public defender will represent Jodi through the PCR stage. Then anything after that, like federal habeas corpus relief, is up to Jodi and her donors.
     
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  14. casesensitive

    casesensitive Well-Known Member

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    rsbm

    So true, I remember being surprised when he treated his expert psychologist (Janeen DeMarte) in a brusque manner. I thought wow, he's even like that with his own witnesses. Of course judge JSS witnessed this, and it could likely have led to her statement, in response to another defense complaint, "That's just his style".

    At the time, I didn't realize how often JM was breaking rules, while Nurmi constantly popped up and down like a toilet seat screaming "Objection". I remember him storming up to the judge without asking "May I approach?" I think JSS was well aware of the bad behavior on both sides and decided to level the playing field to keep the trial going. jmo
     
  15. lonetraveler

    lonetraveler Crime Addict

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    Thank you so much for this enlightening post. Truth and facts will always be like a breath of fresh air. I believe, as you do, that this entire circus was a case of retaliation and sour grapes.
     
  16. nyvictoria

    nyvictoria Well-Known Member

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    Has anyone been over to the JAII site to see their reaction to the appeal news? I took a look earlier and didn’t see any mention. I was very surprised. I thought they’d be going berserk.

    @Hope4More was kind enough to provide me with a link to the blog that has the story behind Rose & Wood. It’s a thorough and well-documented analysis of the falling out between the two. I thought I’d share it for anyone who might be interested.

    Stay healthy everyone!

    Jodi Arias Trial Truth: The Ethics Complaint: Is the Kool Aid Jodi Arias Flavored?
     
  17. Midnight Rambler

    Midnight Rambler Ten Bears

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    The JAII has been eerily quiet. Seems like the site has been slowly declining in activity over the past few months unless they are huddled in the secret room suffering in silence.
     
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  18. Midnight Rambler

    Midnight Rambler Ten Bears

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    Jodi's ******** account isn't making great strides either. At least it wasn't the last time I looked.
     
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  19. salberg7

    salberg7 Well-Known Member

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    Since as stated here 5% of convicted felons are granted PCR, I am thinking due to the first appeal being denied plus the fact the PCR would be heard by Judge Stephens it’s not likely the killer will get any relief.
    I’m over the Juan issue. He made his bed, he needs to lie in it. Whether it’s revenge from defense attorneys in his past or more current cases, he needs to own it, as what basically “got” him in the end was his bad decisions and lack of boundaries with women in his workplace. It’s not like there was only 1 complaint from a woman, it was several. You reap what you sow.
    He did his job; got bad people convicted, but appeared to show no common sense in what he continued to do over the years. This last issue when he chose to text with an ex-juror who sent him a picture of her breasts was pretty despicable to me. He should have retired after the Arias case. He wouldn’t have been fired or have to appeal his dismissal as he is currently doing. He wouldn’t have lost his retirement benefits (which IMO he is fighting for) but it looks like his ego got the better of him.
     
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  20. Midnight Rambler

    Midnight Rambler Ten Bears

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    It is NOT the purpose of a state post-conviction relief statute or rule:

    • To provide a substitute for direct appeal, or

    • To provide a second appeal. Thus, allegations of trial error involving constitutional violations are not able to be judicially heard in a motion for post-conviction relief without a showing of exceptional circumstances for not raising the constitutional grounds on direct appeal.

    • To provide an alternative method of reviewing mere errors in the conduct of the trial, or an opportunity for a belated Petition for rehearing.

    NOTE: A person unable to pay costs of this post-conviction relief proceeding and to obtain the services of an attorney should:

    1) indicate financial hardship and request counsel in Question 8 of the NOTICE form, and 2) execute the Affidavit of Indigency on the last page of the NOTICE form.

    READ ME: Consulting a lawyer before filing documents with the court may help prevent unexpected results. A list of lawyers you may hire to advise you on handling your own case or to perform specific tasks, can be found at the Maricopa County Superior Court Law Library Resource Center.
     

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