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Okabe & Haushalter Blog

Jodie Arias Sentencing Mistrial

Okabe & Haushalter May 27, 2013 Murder/Manslaughter

The jurors never seemed to have much difficulty coming to conclusions. In the first- degree murder trial for Jodi Arias, it took 15 hours for jurors to declare her guilty and just under three hours to declare that she was eligible for the death penalty. When it came to sentencing her, jurors deliberated for about three days before declaring that they could not decide. The Jodi Arias case was declared a mistrial.

The jury was hung. While they had agreed there was enough evidence to convict Arias of the crime, and they agreed that she was eligible to be sentenced to death, they simply could not come to an agreement on life imprisonment versus death. After months of listening to witness testimony and viewing often gruesome evidence, the prosecution was left feeling frustrated knowing that they would have to present their case all over again to a new jury.

This is not the only option, however. Prosecutors could choose to remove the death penalty as a sentencing option. By doing so, the judge would then be the one to decide whether Arias gets life imprisonment or 25 years with the possibility of parole. There would be no need to choose a new jury.

Choosing a new jury in a case heavily saturated by the media is difficult. Just about everyone in Arizona and throughout the United States for that matter has an opinion about Arias and the infamous trial. Finding an unbiased jury could take some time. Either way, Arias will remain guilty of first-degree murder; it is the sentencing that is undecided at this point. Arias will remain in custody until a decision is made.

Five years ago, Jodi Arias murdered her ex-boyfriend in a jealous rage after learning that he was about to leave on a trip to Cancun with another woman. She claimed that she only acted in self-defense. In December of last year, her case was heard in Maricopa County Superior Court. This May, jury indecision over many factors pertaining to her case led to a mistrial.

One juror spoke out, stating that one reason for their indecision was the prosecutor’s treatment of Arias while she was on the stand…for 18 days. Some believed that the prosecution mentally and verbally abused her. This mental and verbal abuse was not enough to free her of charges that she stabbed her ex-boyfriend nearly 30 times and shot him in the head, but it was enough to cast some doubt on the appropriateness of the death penalty. Should this case go to the retrial, the date is set for July 18th.