As you probably know,  Jodi Arias’ jury was unable to come up with a unanimous vote on life or death.  The jury was split 8 to 4 for the death penalty.  Arizona law, as far as I can easily research, will only accept a unanimous jury ruling of life or death punishments.  Several of the jurists who were disbanded after being unable to unanimously decide on a sentence have discussed at length on media outlets telling why they couldn’t come up with a unanimous decision and just how difficult it was to manage in the jury room.  The problem that remains is a new jury must be picked and a very abridged version of the evidence and testimony.  It is highly doubtful that this brief version of the trial, as both sides do not call witnesses to the stand.  In Arizona, the finding of Arias in the verdict stage remains upheld and so does the intentionally cruel finding.  The only thing the next jury is going to have to decide on is if she should get the death penalty or life in prison with or without the option of parole.  On July 18th, the new jury will begin to be selected and it will be by their vote that Arias’ sentence is, but is that fair and can they be sure to get jurors who have never heard of Jodi Arias, Travis Alexander’s brutal murder at her hands, and the string of experts paraded to the stand to uphold the defense’s and prosecution’s proof of Arias’ alleged abuse.  That’s not the real question though that looms in anyone’s mind.  It is the delivery of the death penalty that has taken its toll on the jury, even though they were asked to sign a paper and prepare to vote for the death penalty.

All of this begs the question:  If you were on a jury, hearing the same amount of truth, expert testimony and a grueling 18 days long testimony of the perpetrator of the crime, and autopsy photos were put up on a large screen at a time in the trial where remembering the victim was important, would you be able to dole out the death penalty after all of that?  The testimony that took five months and five years to happen paraded the sexual lives of two people, listening and watching Jodi Arias lie on the stand, and after seeing her breakdown multiple times gave the four in the jury a sense that Jodi is a living, breathing, human woman who made the worst decision in her life and brutally murdered someone that she said she loved.  There was an enormous amount of evidence linking her to the crime, the fact that she admitted that she did it after telling two falsehoods to media outlets because she was defending herself are all a part of what those 12 people are going to decide is worthy of giving her a sentence that spares her life for prison or does not support her continuance and she gets sentenced to death.  There are three women on death row in Arizona one of whom was put there by prosecutor Juan Martinez.  If you were a juror, given the extensive parade of fact, fiction, and expert testimony, could you look into Jodi’s eyes and say: “This woman deserves the death penalty.  Could you do it?

There are things to take into consideration though.  First, Jodi did take the stand and tell her story which to a jury makes her human and personable to the extent that she made an terrible error and a fatal lapse of moralistic actions.  Remember, the jury that was hung did not hear the same things we heard about Jodi on every single news station and HLN.  We know more behind the scenes issues that the jury didn’t have access to.  Second, Jodi clearly has some issues that are psychotic in nature but that also is not enough to convince four jurors to give her the death penalty.  Finally, the jury was not sequestered and essentially had to follow that admonition the Judge Stephens relayed to them every day.  There are four people, who even upon signing an agreement that they could give the death penalty in the sentencing phase, chose not to do so.  The query now is, could you decide on death or life in prison with or without parole with a clear conscious?  I don’t believe that anyone knows really what they would do in such a circumstance unless they were actively in that place.  After watching every grueling day of the hearings, I am unsure I could give the death penalty.  I would not want to be responsible for the death of any one person, no matter how terrible the crime.  I also strongly believe that Jodi hasn’t ever learned that violence against another human being is wrong.  Jealousy is an evil, treacherous emotion that when unchecked can be horrifically manifest in ugly ways that are not productive.  I honestly also believe that Jodi has a serious mental illness that is characterized with a flat affect and an inability to properly grasp psychologically healthy relationships primarily because she has issues with acceptance of it.  Jodi was very good and hitting all of Travis Alexander’s buttons in order to create a unhealthy and unstable hold on him because she was the one who deflowered him and introduced him to sexual behavior that is not vanilla.  I would not be comfortable sending anyone to death, but I would have never made the jury cut because I couldn’t say that I would sentence her to death or life in prison with or without parole.  I also disagree with people who say she deserves what she gets primarily because I do not believe that incarceration helps anyone who may have a dangerous mental illness.  That illness needs to be treated and an adequate amount of therapy may make a change in her life, but as I have learned, violent offenders very rarely ever rehabilitate.  I think that is mostly because we don’t know enough about the brain and its inner workings to properly treat and rehabilitate violent offenders.

So on the 18th of July of 2013, Jodi Arias’ new jury will be constructed and the question of her sentence will become clear hopefully for her sake and the sake of the Alexander family who have suffered terribly waiting for this closure that they need to move on.  Forgiveness is not simple and it is a journey taken by the brave and courageous.

 

Advertisements