|Jodi Arias and Travis Alexander in better times.|
Phoenix, AZ—The trial of Jodi Arias was an entertainment driven spectacle. It was a lot of things, but a fair trial it was not. The defense lawyers were not up to the task and failed miserably. I suspect that a lot of the sidebar rulings of Judge Stephens contributed to this enormous judicial fiasco.
Arias lost confidence in her lawyers but had no way to fire them and bring in new ones. She felt no options but to attempt to take charge. Had she better lawyers I doubt she would have lost confidence. Arias was smart enough to see they could not cut the mustard.
As a criminal investigator I specialize in self-defense cases. The use of deadly force is based on the reasonable man standard. Here Arias says she was abused and afraid but seems to have too little evidence to back up that claim.
Arias lied to police about the circumstances of Travis Alexander’s death. Most Americans can’t even tell the truth about why they were late for work let alone admit killing someone. There was nothing extraordinary about the lies of a frightened and confused Arias told.
Most Americans don’t have a clue about their absolute right to use deadly force in self-defense. Those that must resort to this kind of act, nearly always go into a panic. They unnecessarily lie, cheat and steal to cover up a justifiable event. These untrained and ignorant people later try to convince cops, prosecutors and juries of the necessity for the killing and it almost always falls on deaf ears.
Obviously had Arias simply refused to talk to the cops and asked for a lawyer she’d never have been charged! Arias was nothing more than a dumb, panic driven kid that may well have been covering up a justifiable event.
Remember there was no witness to the killing. We must assume that the disparity of force between Arias and Alexander was more than sufficient to justify the use of deadly weapons.
With Arias there was yet another significant issue, her mental health. Was she paranoid? Was her paranoia a temporary thing brought on by PTSD? When you take a combination of abuse, fear, a violent altercation and PTSD the reasonable man standard may change. What really counts is what was in Arias’ mind at the time of the killing. Frankly we are not clairvoyant!
The claim of Arias of justifiable self-defense has not been fully explored by this trial. The mental state of Arias may have placed her situation where she was convinced that she had no other options. PTSD pushing Arias over the edge may have influenced her mental state. Arias’ memory gaps seem contrived but traumatic events do cause those things to happen. The jury could only guess the truth here and Arias was an exposed liar and juries hate liars.
In any event the burden of proof was somehow shifted in this flawed trial. Arias was actually and unlawfully required to prove that her actions were justified! In the end Arias could not meet that burden. The state was not forced to prove that Alexander did not attack Arias. Proving a negative is always impossible. Nobody could succeed in proving what happened sans independent witnesses.
The Arias jury should have been sequestered away from the media circus and the Internet. The trial was nothing short of a legal lynching. Arias far too easily took control of her defense away from her overwhelmed lawyers. Judge Stephens should have intervened if for no other reasons over the questionable mental health issues plaguing Arias.
A new trial is in order sans the TV cameras, circus and a want to be celebrity prosecutor. This time the jury must be protected from the influences of the true crime TV celebrities and the courthouse lynch mob.
I think I could help Arias if there was funding. I’d want full control to pick her new defense lawyer and for that lawyer to engage new experts. I have two venerable and gifted lawyers in mind for the task and would love to work with them on a retrial. They both are no strangers to death penalty cases.
Jodi Arias deserves a new trial at the minimum. Calling her trial a circus was actually polite. That trial was un-American, unfair and disgraceful.
We have felt bad for the members of the Alexander family for their sad loss. We have treated them with full dignity and respect. On the other hand we have left the family and friends of Arias in the dirt and mud. That too was very wrong.