Judge Stephens finally made some rulings- all of which I am unhappy with. She has eliminated live feeds which I used to base all my summaries on during the trial. She also said no to twitter during the trial so I can’t update that way either. The good news- she can’t fire Nurmi and the trial will stay in Phoenix. She has still not ruled on the re-trial of the penalty phase date. I’m guessing next year some time, if it even happens. Here’s a a link to the article: http://www.azcentral.com/community/mesa/free/20131115judge-bans-live-tv-coverage-jodi-arias-retrial.html
In court this morning judge Stephens once again pushed back the date to set a retrial for the penalty phase- it is now set for September 16th. Apparently the judge wants to read over the motions first. The motions are about getting the Twitter handles of the jurors and not allowing cameras in the courtroom. According to Jeffrey Gold, esq., the Twitter request may be allowed but to eliminate the cameras would “Be acknowledging error.” As usual we will have to wait and see.
(Thanks to Twitter- @jeffgoldesq and @WildAboutTrial for the info)
Today Andrea Sneiderman was convicted of 9 out of 13 charges including hindering the apprehension of a criminal and perjury. Sneiderman was initially charged with the murder of her husband, but those charges were dropped. Judge Adams will sentence her tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. She may serve anywhere from 1- 60 + years in prison.
Today Judge Stephens denied the motion to toss the Death Penalty in the Arias murder case. Remember the defense had a problem with the language ‘especially cruel?’ Well, it didn’t work. We are now waiting on the August 26th hearing to set a start date for the penalty phase of the trial. Arias has already been convicted of first degree murder in the brutal killing of Travis Alexander. That jury was unable to reach a verdict on her penalty. In the following link (article from Arizona paper) they mention the judge wants to begin the Penalty Phase in September. I hope she sticks to it!
Thanks to @WitchyTweets (on twitter) for the heads up and the link!
Today the judge in the Brett Seacat trial sentenced him to 31 years and 3 months for the murder of his wife, Vashti. Seacat had a few things to say:
He blamed Vashti’s father for her ‘suicide.’
“You are going to hell for what you have done in this case.” (To the judge).
“I will step aside and let you have your day, you purchased it with your soul.” (To judge).
The judge responded:
“You live in some bizarre alternate reality.”
“You didn’t even show remorse that Vashti is no longer n this earth.”
“I don’t intend to show any mercy; you didn’t show Vashti any mercy.”
When the house was burning down around her body (set by Brett) he did manage to get the two young boys (and himself) out alive.
Here is a play by play of what happened in court today via Twitter:
-In the courtroom at the Jodi Arias trial. Many of the usual faces are here in the spectator section. Media is rather thin. I see Tara Kelley and some other jurors in the gallery. Nurmi and Willmott just went back into chambers. Jodi Arias is not in the courtroom yet. Juan is here…Det. Flores just arrived. Just to remind everyone, this will not be live streamed and most of the hearing will be held in chambers and sealed. Jodi just came in wearing her gray prison striped outfit with salmon socks. Jodi Arias was just escorted back by the well armed sheriff’s deputies. She is in chambers now. These guys are scary looking.
@Chriswnews: Never seen a Jodi Arias escort like this. Arias walked to chambers her shackles making a racket. Arrives in chains surrounded by what appears to be an MCSO SWAT team.
@WildAboutTrial: Willmott just bolted out of chambers and smiled at Flores and Juan, she is getting something from her desk and heading back in. No sign of Travis’ family, just supporters.
@chriswnews: Was told Travis Alexander aunt the only family member expected in the gallery. Sis Samantha to attend via phone. Family civil attorney here.
@WildAboutTrial: Looks like other attorneys here for other trials. Nurmi, Willmott and Jodi Arias are still back in chambers. Flores and Juan continue to semi-reclinate and laugh while they chat. The courtroom is full of chatter. Flores and Juan were just summoned back into chambers. Everyone is coming out of chambers. Jodi Arias has full umbrella bangs and makes a clanking noise as she walks. She went to her room.
@maryellenabc15: Jodi Arias is walked back through court to her holding cell…she is shackled, handcuffed and in jail stripes. Jail SWAT is guarding her.
@WildAboutTrial: The armed sheriff seems to be clearing Jodi Arias’ table. She is brought out now and is sitting down. There are 4 fully armed sheriff deputies here to keep an eye on Jodi Arias. These are some serious deputies. Wow. Jodi Arias is sitting with the DP mitigation specialist whispering. Sheriffs haven’t left her side. Jodi Arias did not seem to have a smile on her face, looked rather tired. Attorneys are back. Judges Stephens is present and addressing the court now. Court is deferring the ruling on the motion to delay the trial until July 18. The hearing is over.
@tarakelley320: Seeing Jodi in shackles was totally worth being at the courthouse today!!!
The jury just came in and informed the court they could not reach a unanimous decision. The judge had suggestions to help (but not force) a verdict. She wants them to identify the areas of agreement and disagreement and follow the law. She also said that they could define the issue, fact or law they have an issue with and submit questions to help clarify. She then sent them back ti deliberate some more.
The judge called in the jury and read an instruction regarding Life In Prison, Then the sides argued the point- Willmott-Martinez-Willmott. There were no media allowed in, though later they got to see a video. From what I could gather Juan argued she could be paroled in 25 years and Willmott said if the jury was ‘merciful’ and gave her life that she would ‘never get out.’
The Maricopa Sheriff’s Office received an order from the Superior Court of Arizona and Judge Sherry Stephens that prohibits Arias from conducting any more interviews. When the order is lifted Arias may interview with any media parties via the Sheriff’s Office. (This is from Lisa Allen, the Director of Media Relations, Maricopa County).
Next- The Penalty Phase
Facts that make a crime worse or more serious by such circumstances as the facts of the crime, the defendant’s prior criminal record, etc. Some aggravating circumstances are very specific, e.g., the murder of more than one victim. Other aggravators are broad, e.g., the murder was committed in a heinous, cruel or atrocious manner.
Facts that do not justify or excuse an act or offense, but may reduce the degree of moral culpability, and thereby reduce the penalty. Examples include mental impairments, deprived background, etc.
Victim Impact Statements
Statements read into the record, or presented through testimony of witnesses, during sentencing to inform the jury of the financial, physical, and psychological impact of the crime on the victim and the victim’s family.
Then-The Sentencing Phase:
Jury Sentence Recommendations
The jury considers the aggravating and mitigating circumstances surrounding the crime and the defendant and returns with a recommended sentence. In a death penalty case, the jury chooses between a death sentence and a lesser sentence of life without parole, life, or a term of years.
After considering the jury recommendation, the court formally pronounces punishment on the defendant. In some states, the judge must follow the jury recommendation. In other states, a judge may sentence without a jury, or override a jury’s recommendation.
From: Michigan State University and Death Penalty Information Center, 2000 Stages in a Capital Case.