Latest notes from Jodi Arias trial


Below is from an FNC colleague:

The Jodi Arias murder trial is set to resume at 12:30p eastern time with defense expert witness Alyce LaViolette back on the stand today, discussing domestic abuse. For more about the actual trial portion, see the bottom of this.


But first, the defense motion for mistrial…

It’s likely we could have some sort of evidentiary hearing before the jury comes in today. Arias defense lawyers filed a motion for mistrial, alleging juror misconduct. In the motion, Arias’ defense team asked that if its motion for mistrial is denied, that Juror 5, a woman, be dismissed for making statements that could influence other jurors.


For context, this isn’t the first time the Arias defense team has filed a motion for mistrial. But this one does seem more interesting than times past.


This stems from last Thursday, when defense attorney Craig Nurmi called for a brief evidentiary hearing after learning of TV reports about prosecutor Juan Martinez signing autographs and posing for pictures outside the courthouse. After the trial Thursday, each juror was polled individually on this matter during closed proceedings. The defense says it learned of the juror misconduct during this closed hearing. (No word on what they found out about what jurors saw of Martinez outside the courthouse.)


In its motion, the Arias defense team alleged that Juror 5 made statements in front of other jurors that amount to “misconduct that inserted partiality in what is supposed to be an impartial body.”


“During that hearing information came out that Juror 5 had engaged in misconduct that affected more than one juror,” the defense wrote. What the statements are isn’t clear, but presumably they’re not favorable to the defendant. The defense asked the court to refer to the transcripts of that closed hearing in order to make its determination.


“Given the evidence that came forward on March 28, 2013, it is beyond legitimate dispute that Juror 5 is not fair and impartial making her unfit to continue as a juror,” the defense wrote in its filing. “…it is even more obvious that Juror 5 is neither fair or impartial at this point in time making her removal from the jury essential to ensure the rights due Ms. Arias pursuant to the authorities mentioned above.”


There are a total of 18 jurors. 7 women, 11 men. 6 of the jurors will become alternates. So there would still be plenty of jurors to keep hearing the case, assuming one was dismissed. And not knowing the content of what Juror 5 said, it’s difficult to say if the judge will take this motion seriously. Past attempts at prosectuorial misconduct & mistrials have been denied.



What we expect in the trial/testimony today…

Alyce LaViolette takes the stand for her 3rd day of testimony, still under direct examination by defense attorney Jennifer Willmott. She is expected to be the last defense witness. The next phase would be prosecution rebuttals. (Martinez will call at least 2 more witnesses during this phase.)


On Thursday, the defense ended by going over some emails between Travis Alexander and his close friends and married couple, Chris & Sky Hughes. These emails have not been allowed into evidence, but the judge is allowing them to be discussed during her testimony. LaViolette has seen the emails and says the Hughes discussed Alexander’s treatment of women and suggested that he needed counseling.


It’s worth noting that both the Hughes are very much pro-Alexander in this trial. They have not testified in the actual trial, but Mr. Hughes did testify in an evidentiary hearing earlier this year. He was very confrontational with defense attorney Craig Nurmi in that hearing and he claimed that Arias killed Alexander “in cold blood.”


The Hughes also gave an interview to 48 Hours in which they were very critical of Arias and her time with Travis Alexander. In that interview, they said they both cautioned Alexander about Arias. They said they didn’t want Alexander to bring Arias around their kids.


So in cross-examination, prosecutor Juan Martinez will have a lot to discuss about these emails and the Hughes relationship with Alexander and Arias.


We’re just now starting to hear LaViolette discuss Alexander by name. She mostly laid a foundation for her testimony in the first 2 days, talking about different types of domestic abuse and how women respond to it.