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October 21, 2014

Arizona prosecutors getting started at second (costly) run at death sentence for Jodi Arias

A high-profile (and high-cost) capital case starts its next big phase as reported in this new AP article headlined "Opening statements expected in Jodi Arias sentencing retrial." Here are the basics:

Jurors in Phoenix will once again be asked to decide whether Jodi Arias should be executed for the gruesome murder of her former boyfriend. Lawyers are expected to make opening statements Tuesday at the sentencing retrial, more than a year after a jury found her guilty of killing Travis Alexander in June 2008. The first jury deadlocked on whether to sentence her to life imprisonment or death.

A new jury that was picked over the past several weeks will be sworn in as the former waitress tries to make another case that her life should be spared.  They won't consider whether or not she's guilty -- that's already been decided.  The retrial is expected to last into December....

Arias stabbed and slashed Alexander nearly 30 times, slit his throat so deeply she nearly decapitated him and shot him in the forehead.  She left his body in his shower where friends found him about five days later at his suburban Phoenix home.  She acknowledged she killed Alexander, but claimed it was self-defense after he attacked her.  Prosecutors said it was premeditated murder carried out in a jealous rage after the victim wanted to end their affair and planned a trip to Mexico with another woman.

Weeks after Arias was convicted, the jury failed to reach a unanimous decision on her punishment.  Her attorneys have since sought, unsuccessfully, to dismiss the death penalty as an option.  If another deadlock occurs, the death penalty would automatically be removed as an option, leaving a judge to sentence Arias to one of two options: life in prison or life in prison with the possibility of release after 25 years.

The sentencing retrial will be a mini-trial of sorts to get a fresh jury up to speed on the case.  Four hundred people were called as prospective jurors.  Many of them were cut after they said they either made up their minds about the case or knew too much to be impartial.  Some jurors cited their objection to the death penalty.

At her last trial, she testified for 18 days, describing for jurors an abusive childhood, cheating boyfriends, dead-end jobs, a shocking sexual relationship with Alexander, and her contention that he was physically abusive....

The costs of defending Arias have topped $2.5 million and will mount during a second penalty phase. Prosecutors have declined to provide their costs to try the case.

I am pleased this AP article ends with a discussion of the economic costs of this notable case. Because it is unlikely Arias will ever be executed even if she is sentenced to death, and because imposition of a death sentence will ensure years of state and federal appeals at taxpayer expense, I think prosecutors in this case are likely to do more harm to Arizona taxpayers than to Jodi Arias via this retrial. 

Some prior posts on the Arias case:

October 21, 2014 at 11:07 AM | Permalink


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From the utility closet.

The cost of the trial exceeds that of a human life. The prosecutor should aspire to greater subtlety, not to mention pity on the taxpayer. Getting into the paper is not that great. I have never met anyone who failed to regret doing so.

Accept LWOP, and put her in general population with others with LWOP. Her evil will really annoy another evil person, and one of them will be dispatched. The likely tool will be a shank, which should please the retributionists and symmetry seekers in the sick crowd of this blog.

Yes, you are all sickos believing in mind reading, future forecasting, and that standards of behavior should be set by a fictitious character. Why fictitious? To be objective, of course. Most of you are not even soft on crime. That would involve caring for a human being, however, evil, wouldn't it? No. You are soft on the rent, and care only about yourselves.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Oct 22, 2014 5:34:39 AM

Closure will not be accomplished if she is executed•

What if she were to die from a ruptured aneurysm ?

Posted by: Docile Jim Brady @Columbus, OH | Oct 22, 2014 8:05:25 AM

If Gabrielle Giffords/Mark Kelly's book "Enough," he (it's under both their names, but in his voice) notes their opposition to executing the shooter, Giffords changing her mind on the death penalty as a whole. The sentiment was shared by various others, including those whose family members were actually killed.

The clearly unhinged nature of the shooter probably had something to do with it. Still, "closure" didn't lead to support of the d.p. here though there was some disagreement. This leads me to wonder how to settle that. Poll? Anyway, it's probably wrong to say that closure will "not" be accomplished either. Probably depends on the person. True that to the degree the victim's (victims') family wants the person dead, for many natural causes or suicide would do the trick.

The cost thing is notable here but cost is but a factor.

Posted by: Joe | Oct 22, 2014 8:24:36 AM

resent the headline "prosecutors getting started...another costly run.How flippen ignorant!!
Did you have the set figures in at the time? i believe it was the DT that rang up that costly run!!! the Prosecutor 's cost was 128!!! DT was 3 MIL i hope she gets her due in PV.

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