Monthly Archives: April 2013

State to call another witness?

As you may know by now the defense wants their last witness, Dr. Robert Geffner, to rebut the testimony of Dr. Demarte regarding Borderline Personality Disorder. Now it has been confirmed that the defense wants Dr. Geffner to also rebut Dr. Horn, the ME’s testimony about the shot to the head. Just now I got a tweet from Jeff Gold, esq. about the state’s 17th supplemental witness list. They want Dr. Jill Hayes, PhD to rebut Dr. Geffner. This is really getting interesting!

Here’s a link to a bio of Dr. Jill Hayes:

http://hayespsychology.com/about/

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Dr. Robert Geffner, University President…

Dr. Robert Geffner is the President of  Alliant International University’s Institute on Violence, Abuse and Trauma. Sounds impressive…until you read the reviews of this establishment from students:

 

Some excerpts:

  1. From “gradaiu”:  “It’s difficult to write a review… I’m in the computer lab and the computers are about 7 years old. Most of the Professors are too busy to give you the time of day. A lot of the Professors are graduates of the school who couldn’t get a job anywhere else. Most of the classes are in portables. …going here…it’s $40,000 a year. Students aren’t here to learn they are here to pay tuition. I went into my program with an open heart and an eagerness for my subject and this school could have cared less.”
  2. Bette (Who re-located from Texas to San Diego): “I have never been more miserable in my life. It’s overpriced and the faculty and staff only seem concerned about $ and getting their names out there.”
  3. AiuScrewU:  The professors literally do not have any impressive backgrounds, unless you are sincerely interested in over-diagnosis, and criminal justice- if you believe sick criminals can be completely rehabilitated and can live in your neighborhood free of government pressure, then this is the place for you. Alliant Int. University is officially a scam…”
  4. Unhappy @Alliant: “I don’t know whether I am more annoyed at choosing this university over others, or at the marketing dept for putting up false reviews.”
  5. Valerie Christine:  (She wrote an extremely interesting long version of complaints you may want to check out.) “For your own sake AVOID this school…do what it takes to get into a REAL school.”

I looked at over 62 reviews. There are several good reviews, but the majority are scathing. Check it out for yourself at:

 

http://www.collegetimes.tv/alliant-international-university-san-diego/#reviews

What’s Wrong With Dr. Geffner?

Though Dr. Geffner has some pretty hefty credentials he also has some serious issues having been impeached in some court cases. Check it out:

1.  His background is impressive, he is the Founder and President of the Family Violence and Sexual Assault Institute in San Diego, California. He has been a researcher and consultant for 28 years and has presented over 450 key note speeches.

2.  Now the bad news- for him: (This info is from a comment made by ‘Nancy B’ on the ‘My Crime Time’ blog). Regarding the Case of Cyndie O’Rourke v. James O’Rourke the court found Dr. Geffner to be nothing more than a ‘hired gun’ for the Mother in this case. This was a divorce/custody case where the Father prevailed. Apparently the MMPI test found ‘maladaptive personality traits’ in the Mother and Dr. Geffner challenged the use of the MMPI test and even went on to recommend that the Mother file ethics complaints against the other mental health professionals in the case.He felt he was the expert and the others were out of their expertise.  (Nancy B. shares a link for info. on the ‘My Crime Time’ blog). This indicates to me he will most likely imply the MMPI test is not valid in this case and Dr. Demarte doesn’t have the credentials that he does and her opinion is therefore inadequate.

3.  Dr. Geffner testified that he no longer treats patients but devotes all his time to consulting work related to his specialty. He has been an expert witness in a number of cases in different jurisdictions. Though he has testified in a great number of cases he stated that he did not remember very much about the facts of those cases.

4. In a Texas case; Clark v. Collins, 956 F.2d 68 (5th Circuit 1992) the court found that Dr. Geffner’s affidavit lacked credibility, in part because it was based on hearsay information supplied by the defendant’s attorney with no independent verification. (Sound like any defense attorneys we know who believe everything their client says?)

5. The court also excluded the Dr.’s testimony in Hawaii v. French, 129 P.3d 581 (Hawaii 2006) involving allegations of child sexual abuse.

6. In State v. Supulvado, 655 So.2d 623 (La. App. 1995) the court limited most of his testimony as he relied mostly on the information supplied by the defendant and he testified about effects of brain damage on emotional functioning though he is not a medical doctor.

7. So I dug a little more and found this:

Strickland v. Washington, 466 U.S. 668, 687, 104 S.Ct. 2052, 2064, 80 L.Ed.2d 674 (1984). “[C]ounsel is strongly presumed to have rendered adequate assistance and made all significant decisions in the exercise of reasonable professional judgment. Id. at 690, 104 S.Ct. at 2066.

22 The state trial court found that Dr. Geffner’s affidavit lacked credibility for three reasons: (1) the evaluation, which makes conclusions as to Clark’s conduct in 1987, was conducted five years later, in 1992; (2) Dr. Geffner did not review the court records or a transcript of the trial testimony; and (3) Dr. Geffner relied upon records from Clark’s childhood in Pennsylvania, with no records since 1976, and upon hearsay information supplied by Clark’s attorneys, with no independent verification of the information, and interviews with Clark. The state court further found that, even if credible, Dr. Geffner’s affidavit does not support a conclusion that Clark was either incompetent or insane at the time of the murders, or that he did not act deliberately within the meaning of the first special issue.

8. Oh, and did I mention he was an editor for Alyce LaViolette?

Should be a field day for Mr. Martinez!

Arias Trial 4/25

Rebuttal- Martinez

  1. Dr. Horn, the Medical Examiner is up. If the gunshot was first it would have been immediately incapacitating. Travis could have gone a step or two and then lost consciousness in seconds. JM shows many of the autopsy pics including the throat slash. The Dr. says after the shot there would be no holding onto someone, no attempt to defend, no grabbing at the knife or raising of his hands (his hands have defensive wounds), no crawling away, no walking to the sink, and no walking down the hallway.
  2. Willmott establishes the Dr. has done over 6000 autopsies, many gun shot wounds. A 25 caliber gun is not that powerful, the bullet didn’t exit as it was stopped by bone. Also he was shot from a few feet away- so even less force. She gets him to say it wasn’t immediately fatal- but was immediately incapacitating. A shot to the face can make you bleed through the nose. She tries to get the Dr. to say he told Detective Flores that the bullet would not have been immediately incapacitating. He doesn’t recall saying that. She points out he did say something to that effect in testimony- he admits he did but immediately corrected in the very next statement. Willmott tries to get him to say there was no injury to the brain and he says that you can’t see it because of decomp but that it is ‘simple geometry’ the path the bullet took. The knife wound to the vena cava is from below- Willmott points out- so from someone shorter.

 

Jury Questions: (paraphrased)

1.  If shot and bleeding from the nose and mouth wouldn’t there be blood on the bathroom floor?    Yes.

2.  Could you be mistaken that Travis could still ambulate (after the shot)?   No.

3.  Is there any way Travis could have still moved well?     If the bullet had not passed through his brain.

4.  How do you know he was still alive when his throat was cut?    The amount of hemorrhage requires a beating heart.

5.  How many cases have you had with a 25 caliber gun?   At least 100-200.

 

Martinez:

1.  If the bullet was the first wound would it be immediately incapacitating?   Yes.

2.  Is there any situation where a bullet goes through the frontal lobe and you are ambulatory for several minutes?    Only if you were already walking and took a step or two.

3.  If you are shot and already on the ground could you get up and walk around?   No.

 

Willmott:

1.  If still alive when the knife wound was made there would be quite a bit of blood in the hallway?   Yes, an injury of some kind happened there.

2.  The gunshot went from right downwards to the cheek?   It could be deflected.

3.  With the neck wound within seconds he would not be able to hold up his head?   Yes.

4.  After the neck wound he would have been lying flat?  Depends on where they are (he gives example of if in a chair they might stay up).

 

***According to Chris Stark on Twitter the judge has excused juror #8.  He is described as the ‘Dad’ type with a goatee who took lots of notes. Jurors are asked to be back on Wednesday, May 1 at 9.  We expect the Defense surrebuttal witness Dr. Robert Geffner that day. He is an editor for Alyce DeLaviolette and works in domestic violence. Vinnie Politan just tweeted they brought a bomb sniffing dog in today! 

Arias trial 4/24

  1. The hearings this morning were closed. The defense has made motions to keep out several prosecution witnesses. My previous post (on mixedbagblog.wordpress.com) has this info.
  2. The judge goes over the schedule: Tomorrow starts at 9:30 and goes for ‘a little while.’ The next court day will be Wednesday, May 1 starting at 9 and going ‘until we finish.’ Final jury instructions will be Thursday, May 2 and closing arguments will be Thursday and Friday. The case will then go to the jury.  (Arizona juries do not deliberate over the weekend.)
  3. JM starts by playing the DVD where JA is in Travis’ lap. This time it’s the longer version- you can see her sit up. There is no sound.
  4. Robert Brown- Mesa Computer Forensics detective. There are 3 photos of JA with dark brown hair shown from her helio phone dated June 3, 2008. JM also shows a previous picture with her blonde hair- I saw no date. The Walmart receipt was after these photos. Nurmi questions the time of the photos- Brown says the phone records where it is taken at the time taken.
  5. Det. Flores is up. He brings in many photos of Travis’s shelving from the closet (where the gun supposedly was). He set these up in March 2013. The shelf is 7 feet tall. He proves the shelves were ‘floating’ on 4 pins. One exhibit (which the live feed didn’t show) describes his hand pushing the shelf down. JM asks if there was any nudity in the “Harder Faster Stronger” video- Flores says: “No.” Nurmi asks if he measured every shelf. (He didn’t – he actually says: “There was no need” and Nurmi says: “Did I ask you if there was a need?”) He asks Flores about JA’s high IQ (?) then he says over and over  while pointing out different shelves- ‘JA didn’t say the gun was here?’ Flores: “No.”
  6. Nurmi asks Flores if the Hughes said Travis was ‘addicted to Jodi’ –JM objects. (Sustained). Nurmi asks if Flores said in his interview with 48hrs that ‘something provoked Ms. Arias at the end’ –JM objects and there is a recess. Nurmi asks if he investigated how the shelf would react to weight as it is resting on dividers- Flores: “No, I did not.”

 

Jury Questions and Answers: (paraphrased)

1.  Any record of a gun owned by Travis?    No.

2.  Any significance to measuring every shelf?    No.

3.  Any shoes out of place when you arrived on the scene?   Nothing appeared out of place.

4.  Did Travis’ roommates ever own a gun?    No, they did not.

5.  What’s the width of the end shelf unit where the gun was?     Shelves were 36-38” long, 16” deep and ¾” wide.

6.  Jodi said she helped Travis put things in the attic- did you find anything?    No.

7.  Was the attic capable of storing boxes?    There are just beams…maybe if light.

8.  Can you tell was anything ever stored in the attic?    No.

9.  Where’s the entrance to the attic?    Closet. 

10.  Jodi’s weight, height, shoe size?    Don’t know shoe, height 5’5”-5’6”, weight 115-120.

11.  Are the pins round the entire length?    Yes.

12. Were there any signs of a gun at Travis’ house?    None whatsoever.

13.  Any empty boxes/containers in Travis’ closet for gun?    No.

14.  If JA stood with arms straight up did you measure how tall to her fingertips?   No I did not.

 

No follow up by Martinez.

Nurmi goes over:

  1. Arizona doesn’t require guns to be registered.
  2. Shelves free float and go back in place.
  3. The attic has more than just the entrance in Travis’ closet.
  4. He asks Flores if someone told him there was nothing stored in the attic. Flores- ‘yes.’ Nurmi then says something like: ‘you know because someone told you…just like Dr. Horn.’ (He is referencing that Flores misunderstood the Dr. when he said that the gunshot was last).

 

  1. JA’s grandma, the one she was living with at the time of the killing is in court today.

Court is in recess until tomorrow at 9:30.

 

Defense motions

Apparently the defense is trying to stop the prosecution from calling their remaining rebuttal witnesses. The remaining witnesses are:

1. Suzie Dittman, regarding JA’s bank accounts.

2. Detective Robert Brown -I believe to retrieve photos from JA’s camera proving she was a blond right before the murder. (So she did dye her hair to be less recognizable).

3. Dr. Kevin Horn, the medical examiner. Apparently to remind the shot was last.

4. Detective Flores- the main detective on this case who sits beside JM in court. He may come in to prove the shelf JA said she stepped on to get the gun could not have supported JA’s weight.

I am waiting (impatiently) as they announced the hearing would be live-streamed at 11, then that was cancelled, and now according to ‘Wild About Trial” they may show it ?!!

Arias Trial 4/23

State-rebuttal

  1. JM calls Jacob Mefford, a friend and co-worker of Travis’. Jacob confirms that Travis was affectionate with Jodi in public on several occasions. They show a short clip of Travis talking with JA lying on his lap. There is no sound. JA begins to cry in court. Next is a picture of JA in a robe with Travis kissing her on the back of her head.
  2. Nurmi is up – he implies Jacob didn’t see them that often. Jacob did not know they were having sex.
  3. JM calls Amanda Webb, IT specialist from Walmart. They go through a list of cash registers and determine there were no gas cans returned June 3.
  4. Nurmi has no questions for this witness.
  5. A juror asks about a possible way to have a ‘dummy skew’ (item #) and Amanda says Walmart must have the skew # that goes with that item. JM asks if there was no skew- Amanda says they could go get the exact item and use that skew #. Nurmi has no questions.
  6. JM calls Chelsea Young, Tesoro IT manager. She confirms there were 3 separate purchases for gas (1. For 10.67 gals. 2. For 5 gals. 3. For 9.58 gals.) from JA June 6th in Salt Lake City. Nurmi asks if you can pay cash inside and have no record of the transaction- she says: “Yes.” JM points out that JA used credit inside for Gas (he actually specifies: “No potato chips.”)
  7. JM calls Deanna Reid, long-term girlfriend of Travis. They met in 1998 and began dating in 2000. She went on a 1 1/2 year mission and towards the end they broke up as he wanted to date others. JM points out he did not go behind her back but wrote her a letter. When she returned they dated again for a few more years. She believed Travis to be a virgin. She confirms several times that Travis never raised his voice, swore or put his hands on her in a violent manner. She also never saw pictures of boys or girls and never saw any toys in his bedroom. When they finally broke (she wanted marriage; he wasn’t ready) up they both cried-no screaming or fighting. They remained friends until his death and she now has his dog ‘Napoleon’.

 

Afternoon Session:

  1. Nurmi goes over the same relationship info JM went over. He tries to establish that she wanted marriage and was heartbroken about the breakup- she says she was not. Travis was not ready. He mentions Travis dated a woman named Linda Ballard (sp) when they were split the first time. Nurmi: “He never yelled or hit you?” Deanna- ‘that’s right.’
  2. Nurmi establishes they did have a sexual relationship. Deanna makes it clear they had been dating a long time and were only human and knew it was wrong.  They both told their respective Bishops and never had sex after that.
  3. She reads a text from Travis to the Hughes about Travis doing something ‘unpardonable’ to her. She interprets that as him not getting married to her and her then having less prospects because of her age.
  4. Nurmi gets in a bunch of the nasty things Travis did with JA- write a letter to another guy to get rid of him, wear a maid’s uniform, call a slut, whore, ejaculate on face…Deanna and Travis did none of those things. Nurmi makes the comment: “It must have been a different relationship than with Ms. Arias.”
  5. Nurmi asks about Travis’ upbringing. She says it was rough. He gets in they were drug addicts and Travis was neglected. Deanna says there were some good times with the Mom, and Travis was proud of his Dad for getting clean.
  6. **When asked if Mom or Dad were physically abusive to Travis Deanna says: “No.”
  7. Nurmis asks if Travis thought her being a teacher was ‘stupid.’ She says no- he was very supportive. Nurmi mentions Travis said this to Lisa, he says something to the effect of  ‘Two different relationships I guess.’
  8. JM points out their relationship was not based on sex and they both told the Bishops everything. Travis didn’t call her names. Deanna does not know the nature of JA and Travis’ relationship- like who initiated the sex acts like JA wanting him to ejaculate on her face. He also did not lie to her about marriage. When the relationship was over Travis never attempted to see her and ask her for sex. Deanna says: “He was always a gentleman.”
  9. Juror questions- they want to know about the Law of Chastity and how it is taught. Deanna says it is widely known and taught in classes. JM asks if there is any ‘wiggle room’ with sex and she says ‘no.’ Nurmi then asks if taking a picture of a penis is a violation- she says she doesn’t know, but in her opinion it is. He then asks about close up pictures of a women’s vagina being a violation- Deanna says yes, then Nurmi asks the same question re- a woman’s anus and she says ‘yes.’

10. Michael Melendez the computer forensic expert is up. JM asks him if he went over everything – he says ‘yes.’ JM asks if there were tons of pics of women’s breasts- there were none. He asks about women’s lower regions (pics) there were none. No adult sites or images of children were found. Nurmi says there was more than 1 computer seized as well as CD’s, flashdrives etc. This laptop was in Travis’ office and registered to Deanna. He talks about cookies the expert prefers to look at the history.  Nurmi mentions the titles of some of the you tube videos looked at: ‘Drunk, Def, Punk,’ ‘Daft Hands.’ There was access to the computer at 4:24 pm on June 4th. JM mentions the ‘Harder, Faster, Stronger’ video and asks if he would have noted in his report if there were any nudity. He says ‘yes.’ The last access on June 4th could have been Travis or JA.

11. A juror asks if there was any electronics seized with porn, naked women or children’s photos on it. There was not any on any items related to Travis.

12. A juror asks if not all of the pics on the camera were deleted. That is correct. They specify the ones deleted (like after the killing) and ask what were left. There were more than 90 photos left.

Court begins at 1:30 tomorrow.