« Senate hearings scheduled this afternnon for two of Prez Obama's USSC nominees | Main | "Federal Public Defense in an Age of Inquisition" »

May 8, 2013

After high-profile state murder conviction, Jodi Arias claims she wants death penalty over LWOP

As reported in this new USA Today article, "Jodi Arias, convicted of first-degree murder of her on-and-off lover, says she was surprised by the jury's verdict Wednesday and hopes for the death penalty over life in prison."  Here is more:

Arias, who choked back tears as the jury's decision was read, told KSAZ-TV in a courthouse interview after the verdict was announced that she was surprised the jury found her guilty of premeditation in the death of Alexander. "It was unexpected for me, yes, because there was no premeditation on my part," she said.

She said she would "prefer to die sooner than later" and that "death is the ultimate freedom." The Maricopa County sheriff's office said in a statement that Arias was being put on a suicide watch because of her interview comments.

The 12 jurors deliberated reached a verdict after deliberating less than three full days. The televised trial, which began Jan. 2, gained notoriety for its accounts of gore and sex....

Arias spoke to Fox affiliate KSAZ in an exclusive courtroom interview about 20 minutes after the verdict was read.  Arias was mostly calm and chose her words carefully during the 45-minute interview, appearing to hold back tears a few times, much as she did during the trial, according to the interview.

She said she hoped her sentence would be the death penalty. "The worst outcome for me would be natural life (in prison). I would much rather die sooner rather than later," she said.

Arias said she is healthy, doesn't smoke and that longevity runs in her family. That means she would expect to live in prison for a long time. "I said years ago I'd rather get death than life," she said. "I believe death is the ultimate freedom."

Arias added that she hopes the family of victim Travis Alexander can find peace now that the verdict has been rendered. She said she prayed for members of the jury every day and was shocked that they decided the killing was pre-meditated.  Arias said she could "see how it could look that way" but that "there was no premeditation on my part."...

Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery issued a statement after the verdict was read, saying, "We look forward to the next phase of the proceedings, where the state will present evidence to prove the murder was committed in an especially heinous, cruel, or depraved manner."...

Defense attorneys contended that Arias killed Alexander in June 2008 in an unplanned fit of rage as she reacted to what attorneys portrayed as his pattern of emotional and physical abuse.  It had cost Maricopa County taxpayers at least $1.7 million as of late April to defend Arias.

I have not followed this case closely until now, and it will be interesting to see if the capital sentencing proceedings in the days and weeks ahead garner as much attention as the trial did. It will also be interesting to see if Arias and/or her attorneys expressly request the sentencing jury to impose a death sentence.

Based on various press reports, I surmise that Arias appears to be a effective liar, and thus I cannot help but wonder if her desire for a death sentence is not really a desire to die sooner. A shrewd defendant in Arias' position would know that her case and appeals would be sure to get a lot more attention, from courts and abolitionist activists, if she were to be sentenced to death. If Arias gets an LWOP sentence, her life and crimes will likely be forgotten in a few years. But if she gets sentenced to death, we will likely be seeing her name in the papers during each round of legal appeals for decades to come.

May 8, 2013 at 10:44 PM | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference After high-profile state murder conviction, Jodi Arias claims she wants death penalty over LWOP:


Given all her other lies how can we possibly believe her on this point? Arias seems the sort who would continue telling lies even where the truth would better serve her interests.

Posted by: Soronel Haetir | May 9, 2013 12:39:46 AM

This is how much her sentencing desires, whatever they are, should count with us: _______.

Posted by: Bill Otis | May 9, 2013 8:28:24 AM

Is she out on bond? That seems unusual in a capital murder case. (Like Doug, I've paid this case little-to-no attention until now.)

If she's not out, then it seems even more unusual for her to be allowed a TV interview after the verdict. Very odd. (But somehow befitting the salacious manner in which our TV culture covers criminal justice.)

No doubt much energy and ink will be expended trying to figure out whether she's further trying to manipulate the system. Doug, your guess seems reasonable. But I find myself in very rare agreement with Bill: all such energy is wasted. A sentencing proceeding will be conducted before the jury, and the jury, without consideration to what she might or might not want, should impose whatever punishment they think appropriate based on the evidence and the law.

Posted by: Def. Atty. | May 9, 2013 12:03:55 PM

Saddam said they'd never take him alive, then handed over his gun. Will she promise not to appeal? Exactly.

May I suggest that the pattern is for the murderer not to care for lives of others,
but to reveal surprising concern for his/her own survival, when threatened.

E.g.: Richard Allen Davis, in addition to:
1. terrorising, kidnapping, murdering, and likely raping Polly Klaas;
2. falsely accusing the victim's Dad of being a child molester;
3, intimidating the victim's family & displaying both middle fingers to the Court...he
4. asked police if he could get life without parole, in return for revealing where he buried the body,
according to Brian Bianco, Jury Foreman.
--{Kidnapped, free to kill: The Polly Klass Murder}

Posted by: Adamakis | May 9, 2013 2:25:25 PM

Def. Atty.,

From what I recall she has been held for the last three years or so.

Posted by: Soronel Haetir | May 9, 2013 2:34:24 PM

I haven't followed the case closely, but I looked at that article, and I have two thoughts:

1. For $1.7 Million you get defense counsel that let their client do a TV interview at all, let alone "moments" after hearing a guilty verdict??

2. I wonder if HAC is the only aggravating factor involved here. If so, the prosecution could have a tough time in the next phase, as I am pretty sure the Ariz. S. Ct. "hacked" that notoriously broad/amorphous factor down a bit in a recent opinion, requiring more or less intentional torture, not just a generally grizzly murder (which, after all, most of them are).

Posted by: anon | May 9, 2013 5:46:22 PM

Can we the public do anything to keep her photo off of the news shows on tv or in the newspapers?

Posted by: liberty1st | May 12, 2013 4:12:43 PM

Well, we can try.

a) change the channel.
b) buy a different paper.

My success has been limited. Yours may vary. Good luck.

Posted by: Def. Atty. | May 13, 2013 11:19:59 AM

Post a comment

In the body of your email, please indicate if you are a professor, student, prosecutor, defense attorney, etc. so I can gain a sense of who is reading my blog. Thank you, DAB