Arias’ counsel cites the actions of prosecutor, Juan Martinez, as well as the actions of Judge Sherry Stephens to have succeeded in damaging Jodi’s right to a fair trial. They claim that Martinez acted inappropriately during the trial by unethically questioning witnesses, ignoring Judge Stephens’ rulings on the evidence, and attempting to maximize media coverage for his own personal gain. The attorneys have accused Judge Stephens of allowing an increase in the level of news coverage by failing to regulate the privileges of journalists during the trial, and refraining from holding those journalists accountable when breaking trial coverage procedures. Arias’ appellate brief claims that the high level of news coverage allowed participants of the trial, as well as the public, to form biased opinions towards her during the case.
Arias, who is now 37-years-old, has been behind bars for the past decade. In 2008, she was arrested after evidence directly tied her to the crime scene of Travis Alexander’s murder. Alexander was savagely killed by being stabbed 29 times with a knife, shot once in the head, and having his throat slit from ear to ear. At the time of Travis’ death, he and Jodi were no longer in a relationship. Law enforcement officials have stated that Jodi and Travis engaged in sex on the day of his death, but that Jodi went into a jealous rage after he made it clear that he had no plans to date her again and was instead seeing other women. Arias has changed her story 3 times since her arrest. She first stated that she was not present at the home, however, her fingerprints were later matched to the crime scene. She then stated that she was present at Travis’ place when a man and woman wearing masks entered the home and killed him, before threatening to kill her if she ever went to police. By the time of her trial in 2013, Jodi changed her story for the last time, claiming that Travis began to physically abuse her after a sexual encounter, and that she killed him in self-defense, but has no memory of how she killed him.
Arias was convicted unanimously in 2013 of first degree murder, but during the 2014 penalty phase of the trial, the case resulted in a hung jury. Arias was then granted a second penalty trial in 2015, which also resulted in a hung jury, requiring Judge Stephens to decide her sentence, which was life in prison.
The Arizona Attorney General’s Office has until January 4, 2019 to make a decision on the appeal.
Check back later for updates on Jodi Arias!