Jodi Arias Retrial Postponed Amid Appeal, Dispute Over Witness

Jodi Arias’ sentencing retrial was scheduled to resume on Monday — following a break for the holidays. However, before the proceedings could begin, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Sherry Stephens called a recess. The judge eventually sent the jury home as the court is awaiting a decision from the Arizona Supreme Court.

Arias’ defense team petitioned the Supreme Court in objection to an earlier decision by the Court of Appeals. The appeals court previously determined that the retrial shall be open to the media. They further ordered the court to release transcripts of prior testimony, which was given behind closed doors.

As reported by USA Today, Arias’ defense team argued that their client’s “right to due process and a fair trial outweigh the media’s First Amendment right to access.”

Prosecutor Juan Martinez also requested to add a new witness, who reportedly examined a laptop belonging to Travis Alexander. As reported by Huffington Post, Arias’ attorneys have accused officials of destroying incriminating files, which were saved on Alexander’s computer. They further argued that the files would have proved their client’s claims of abuse.

Jodi Arias is in the penalty phase of her trial for the 2008 stabbing death of Travis Alexander. Although she admitted killing her former lover, Arias maintains she was the victim of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse.

Prosecutors argued that Arias was never abused. Instead, they contend the defendant planned Alexander’s murder in a fit of jealous rage.

On May 8, 2013, Jodi Arias was found guilty of first-degree murder. As the defendant was facing capital punishment, prosecutors were tasked with convincing the jury that the crime was “cruel, heinous, or depraved.”

During the aggravation phase, prosecutors presented evidence that the victim was stabbed up to 29 times. In addition to the stab wounds, Alexander’s throat was slashed and he suffered a gunshot to the head.

It took the jury fewer than three hours to determine the crime was indeed “cruel, heinous, or depraved.” Therefore, Jodi Arias was eligible for the death penalty.

Throughout the initial penalty phase, Arias’ defense team argued that she suffers from mental illness. They further argued that Arias was the victim of heinous abuse.

On May 23, 2013, the jury announced that they were unable to reach a unanimous decision. As a result the judge declared a mistrial and the jury was dismissed.

Although Jodi Arias’ sentencing retrial began in 2014, there have been numerous delays. On day 21, Judge Sherry Stephens postponed the retrial until Thursday, when the court will discuss releasing the transcripts to the media.

[Image via AZ Central]