Jodi Arias Trial Update Today: Death Penalty Hearing Postponed Until Oct. 4; Death Penalty Is Sexist; Prosecutor Lands Another Hung Jury
By Staff Writer | September 22, 2013 02:40 PM EDT
Jodi Arias Trial Update Today: Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Sherry Stephens judge set a new hearing date for Oct. 4. Jodi Arias' attorneys have requested that the second Jodi Arias jury sequestered. The Jodi Arias judge was also expected to rule on Jodi Arias’ lawyers’ motions relating to media coverage and to decide whether to give lawyers access to the prospective Jodi Arias jurors' Twitter accounts.
Jodi Arias attorneys requested that potential jurors turn over information about their Twitter accounts. A new report says a Jodi Arias death penalty decision is unlikely when you factor in that the United States only put 13 women to death in the last 40 years. The next hearing date is now delayed until Friday, Oct. 4.
Jodi Arias prosecutor Juan Martinez recently had another hung jury in the trial of former policeman Richard Chrisman ended in another hung jury.
On May 8, 2013 Jodi Arias was convicted killing her ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander in an “especially cruel” manner, which carries a possible death sentence. Jodi Arias’ lawyers want the court to set aside the earlier determination that Travis Alexander’s killing was done in an "especially cruel" manner. This was the aggravating factor that the State of Arizona required for the prosecution to pursue the death penalty. Earlier this month, Judge Sherry Stephens denied the motion. The death penalty is still an option.
If the jurors in the penalty phase retrial cannot decide unanimously decision, Jodi Arias will be automatically sentenced to life in prison. Only a jury can hand down the death penalty in Arizona. In the event of an automatic life sentence, Judge Sherry Stephens will decide whether Jodi Arias will become eligible for parole after 25 years.
Jodi Arias was last in court on August 26, but the hearing lasted only a few minutes. At the August 26 hearing the judge moved Arias' death penalty hearing to September 16. Now the trial has been postponed again until October 4.
Some people feel that the death penalty is a deterrent to crime, others believe the state should not have the power to put people to death.
Despite the brutality with which Arias killed Alexander, Jodi Arias probably won’t get the death sentence. Richard Dieter, the executive director of the Death Penalty Information Center, told Business Insider, "There is just less enforcement of the death penalty at almost every stage for females.”
A Wall Street Journal analysis of crime data found that, between 2000 and 2010, women committed less than 10% of all murders in the United States, but a recent report by the NAACP found that women defendants only make up 2% of death row. Death Penalty Information Center executive director Richard Dieter told Business Insider that even fewer women actually get executed. He said "There's just less enforcement of the death penalty at almost every stage for females."
The studies found that fewer women get capital punishment because of the nature of the crime and how juries view women in general. Law professor Victor Streib told the LA Times the death penalty is often used for killers who also commit other felonies like robbery or rape. When most women commit murder it involves involve people they're related to. On June 8, 2008, Jodi Arias stabbed Travis Alexander 27 times, shot him in the face and slashed his throat from ear to ear so violently she almost took his head off.
Doeter said women commit about 10% of murders but were responsible for the murders of 35% of intimate partners crimes between 1980 and 2008. Most juries see these as crimes of passion arising rather that will not be repeated, one-time offenses. Men don’t get the same benefit of the doubt due to the high rate of domestic violence against women. Jodi Arias admitted she killed Travis Alexander, but said she acted in self-defense because he was given to bouts of rage. Prosecutors said the killing was premeditated and fueled by jealous rage after Alexander said he wanted to break up with Jodi Arias and go to Mexico with another woman.
However, most states consider killing a child an aggravating factor and state prosecutors will seek the death penalty. On June 16, 2008, Casey Anthony killed her child, Caylee Anthony. Casey Anthony's lawyer, Jose Baez suggested Casey Anthony had been sexually abused by her father, George. The prosecution painted this as a trick to to make Casey Anthony more sympathetic.
Dieter told Business Insider that the jury in the Smith case was "asked to see if this person has any redeeming qualities. And they often see their own mother or wife or grandmother, not someone who will continue to be a threat to society. Jurors just see women differently than men."
In the event that Jodi Arias is sentenced to be put to death by lethal injection, she will be strapped to a table in the death chamber and then injected with pentobarbital.
Dahlia Lithwick has written in Slate that most women won’t try for gender parity when it comes to the death penalty. A 2013 Gallup poll found that only 59% of women favor the death penalty compared to 67% of men.
Dieter said "For equality's sake, you think that women would want the death penalty pursued more often. But of course, they don't."
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