Signatures Needed for Judicial Review 10-25-2014

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Signatures Needed for Judicial Review 10-25-2014

Post by Calypso on Sat Oct 25, 2014 3:46 am

Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct

AZ Commission on Judicial Conduct
1501 West Washington Street, Suite 229
Phoenix, AZ 85007

Request for Judicial Review of Judge Sherry Stephens
Case No. CR2008031021 – The State of AZ vs. Jodi Ann Arias

Dear Commission:

As a member of the public, I wish to submit the following concerns about Judge Stephens’ performance in the Jodi Arias trial (Case number: CR2008031021). I send this, in hopes that the Commission can review some of the noted concerns.

Please note the following dates in the case:

June 4, 2008:
Travis Victor Alexander was murdered in his home.
He was stabbed 29 times.
He was shot in the head once and he was also nearly decapitated.

July 15, 2008:
Jodi Arias was arrested.

January 2, 2013:
The trial finally got underway.
That’s 4+ years (or 1,673 days) since his death.
The defendant was allowed to testify for 18 of those days.

May 8, 2013:
The jury found Arias was guilty of first-degree murder.
Five jurors found her guilty of premeditated murder, zero found her guilty of felony murder, and seven found her guilty of both premeditated and felony murder.

May 16, 2013:
Judge Stephens gave the jury the case for sentencing.

May 23, 2013:
The trial started on January 2, 2013. The case was given to the jury for sentencing on May 16, 2013. That’s 4+ months (Or 132 days). Yet, Judge Stephens dismissed the jury as dead-locked (as to sentencing) after just 3 days and for a total of only 13+ hours of jury deliberation, with no charge from the Judge even requesting the jury, at least once, to try to break the deadlock. The jury’s final count was eight for the death penalty, and four for life-without-parole.

October 21, 2014
The retrial of the Penalty Phase of this case finally got underway. More than 17+ months (or 517 days) elapsed, since the Judge dismissed the initial jury, back on May 23, 2013. And it has been more than 6+ years (or 2,331 days) since Mr. Alexander’s murder.

Please understand that my comments come as one who has interned and then worked for a Prosecutor’s office during my career, as a certified trial paralegal, in the NJ judicial system.

Listing only a few areas of immediate concern:

1) By far, one of the biggest areas of concern is a Defense Motion made on February 13, 2014, as follows:
02/13/2014 MIL - Motion In Limine - Party (001) 02/13/2014

In trial minutes dated October 21, 2014, at the bottom of page 2, it is noted that Judge Stephens granted the Defense Motion To Preclude Evidence That The Defendant Lacks Remorse:
IT IS ORDERED granting the motions in limine re smuggling contraband, changing counsel and threats against trial participants and lacking remorse.

Members of the Commission: As you well know, remorse or lack thereof, is an integral and central element in assessing a defendant’s penalty. Withholding from this jury, any and all evidence pertaining to the defendant’s obvious lack of remorse, is tantamount to instructing the jury outright *not* to impose the death penalty in this case. The defendant’s remorselessness is integral in deciding the penalty. The jury may decide, even given evidence of her remorselessness, to spare her life. But, disallowing the State, barring the State, from presenting evidence that the defendant herself, has put into play in this case, is not giving this jury the complete or truthful picture of this defendant’s conduct and demeanor. Leaving that evidence out is outright omission of relevant and important information. The jury should have this information and then be allowed to decide. The defendant’s sentencing in AZ should not come about at the sole discretion of a Judge, when there is a jury already seated, present and ready to deliberate upon the facts. And as one who should act as a steward of Justice, a Judge should allow the jury the opportunity to do their job, rather than hinder or impede their ability to reach a sentencing verdict, by omitting or disallowing relevant and pertinent evidence.

2) AZ’s Bill of Rights for victims, states that the Alexander family is entitled: To be treated with fairness, respect, and dignity, and to be free from intimidation, harassment, or abuse, throughout the criminal justice process and to a speedy trial or disposition and prompt and final conclusion of the case after the conviction and sentence.

3) The defendant has harassed and abused the family, and Judge Stephens has allowed, the following:

i. The defendant sells drawings online (

ii. The defendant has given numerous interviews from behind bars and immediately following the guilty verdict.
These are just 2 of them: *and*

iii. The defendant runs a twitter account by proxy. ( or @JodiAnnArias)
Under the AZ Bill of Rights for Victims, how is the defendant allowed to give interviews or tweet by proxy?

iv. The defendant collects funds (by proxy) from the public, through the sale of her drawings. The defendant also solicits funds (by proxy) from the public, for her defense. These activities are illegal, aren’t they? i.e. Can a defendant solicit funds, when the defense is being funded by the taxpayers of AZ? The defendant has done all of this brazenly, publicly and repeatedly. I have no connection to any parties in this case. And yet, I was able, through simple internet searches, find all of the information listed below:

[[Edit ]]

It is my understanding that Judge Stephens has the power to impose gag orders on the defendant and, indeed, any relevant parties (like the defendant’s family), if it is deemed appropriate and necessary. And Judge Stephens has issued several admonitions to the current sitting jury, and has greatly curtailed media access. But, to date, Judge Stephens has not once instructed the defendant to refrain from tweeting (by proxy) or giving interviews or posting (by proxy) items for sale, that the defendant has drawn.

As a member of the public with something of a legal background, this has been a very troubling case to watch:

The Alexander family suffered a terrible loss the day their brother was murdered. And so viciously.

Then, his memory was assailed, in death, with unfounded and unproven accusations of domestic violence and sexual deviance during the trial. While unpopular, the legal reasons for allowing a defendant’s pursuit of virtually any defense, can at least be explained.

Since his death, the family continues to be assaulted (by the defendant) through drawings, interviews, tweets and solicitations for money.

And most recently, the constant delays and certain rulings (as granted by the Court) add more insult to already grievous injury.

It has been difficult to write this letter. I was taught the utmost respect and belief in our legal system. Professionally, I maintain that belief in my work. Personally, it has become increasingly difficult to manage. There are literally thousands of people watching this case unfold. As a paralegal with an interest in this case, I get personal opinion-related questions about this case all the time. I answer to the best of my ability and with the understanding that as someone who is not a first–person participant, I am not privy to many of the legal goings-on of this case. It is clear by the tone and kinds of questions that I receive that the vast majority of the public feels that the legal system has become yet another casualty in this case.

On behalf of all who are concerned about the course this case has taken, I respectfully bring all of this to the Commission’s attention at this time, and with some urgency, as the Penalty Phase is currently underway. It is my hope that these matters, in particular and especially in regards to the October 21, 2014 Ruling on the Defense’s Motion To Preclude, can be reviewed and reconsidered by the Court, in time to allow this jury to properly deliberate on all of the relevant facts of the case and not just some. (Also provided for your review, this link contains a rolling count of members of the public that share my concern about the issues presented in this letter:

The defendant’s murder of their brother was a vicious blow to the Alexander family. Her actions since (the drawings, interviews, tweets and solicitations) are another to the family and to the legal system. Judge Stephens’ permissiveness in allowing all of these things to occur and continue, unchecked, could be the biggest legal transgression yet.

Please don’t let it be.


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