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The Law Blogger is a law-related blog that informs and discusses current matters of legal interest to readers of The Oakland Press and to consumers of legal services in the community. We hope readers will  find it entertaining but also informative. The Law Blogger does not, however, impart legal advice, as only attorneys are licensed to provide legal counsel.
For more information email: info@clarkstonlegal.com

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Mormon Murder Case Submitted to Jury

After 4-months of proofs, the capital murder case against Jodi Arias has [finally] been submitted to the jury for deliberation and a verdict.  Although the murder of Travis Alexander occurred in 2008, the jury was not empaneled until January 2, 2013.

In an interesting preliminary decision, the presiding judge elected not to sequester the jury.  This means that, although they were provided with a daily admonishment not to discuss the case with anyone outside the courthouse, jurors were left to their own devices when faced with the saturation-media coverage of this trial.

We here at the Law Blogger have posted on the topic of social media and the jury pool, and the problems presented by jurors that seek information about their case outside the courtroom.  In such high-profile cases, the jurors realize they are a part of our lurid true-crime history. 

These folks thus become high-profile jurors.  Many hire attorneys or agents after the trial to discuss lucrative media appearances; even book deals. 

Being in the profession of defending the accused, we wonder over here at the Law Blogger how many of the jurors assigned to this case have succumbed to the temptation of tuning into the media coverage of their case.  How many jurors have Googled some of the witnesses, particularly the experts, that testified in this case?

If any such forays come to light [and let's not forget that every Internet user's keystroke is recorded] this defendant will have at least one good appellate issue.  In our opinion, Judge Sherry Stephens should have sequestered this jury or at least obtained their known IP addresses, and she should have concluded the trial in February, not May.

Such cases give our media-rich culture the opportunity to marinate in the art of lawyering.  Some camps favor the prosecutor; others relish the art of defending the accused.

One thing is for sure -these high profile murder trials cement our collective national fixation with sex, religion and violence.  Not that each of us are latent dysfunctional bi-polar borderline personality stalkers.  Yet, as a nation, we just love the spectacle of the public trial; especially a capital murder trial.  Such trials have taken the place of a public execution in the town square.

Even with an inevitable jury conviction of some degree of homicide, unfortunately Ms. Arias will be with us for decades.  We here at this blog can already see the appeals beginning to form...

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