Friday, March 06, 2015

1455 Jodi Nef-Arias

All that’s left is the sentencing.  Maybe.

Jodi Arias was convicted of murder.  She killed her boyfriend Travis Alexander by stabbing him 29 times, slitting his throat back to the spine and shooting him.

She hid or destroyed evidence. And she lied and lied and lied and when caught she changed her story practically every day.

“I wasn’t there.”
Yes she was.

“Well, okay, I WAS there, but I didn’t do it.  There was this man and woman in ninja suits…”
Nope.

“Well, Okay, I did it. But it was self defense.”
No it wasn’t.

“Well Okay, I did it but Travis abused me.”
No he didn’t.

“Well, okay, he didn’t.  But I had a terrible childhood.”
The trial went on for months.  And months. And months.  The jury pronounced her guilty. But it couldn’t come up with a sentence, deadlocked and was dismissed.

So the murder conviction stood but they convened a second jury for the sentencing phase. Its job was to decide whether she’s executed or just spends the rest of her years in jail.  A unanimous vote was required.

The second jury deadlocked.  The vote was 11-1 in favor of death.  Jurors started deliberating last Thursday, February 26th. During all those hours since, the vote count never changed. Seven days later they threatened the judge with a mutiny unless she declared a mistrial. So she did.

Now it’s up to the judge, but the death penalty is off the table.  It’s either going to be life or life without parole.

Let’s be clear. The victim, Travis Alexander, was a huckster and on the sleazy side.  But he still was a human being and a little bit of fakery and a little bit of smarm does not rate a death sentence, especially not one as vile and violent as his murder.

So if all goes as scheduled, we’ll be free of Jodi-rama as of sentencing day, April 13th.  But nothing in this case has gone as scheduled.

It’s had more breaks than Humpty Dumpty.  It’s had more postponements than a baseball season in the monsoon season.  It’s had more delays than the Long Island Railroad.

Testimony was longer than the combined novels of Proust and Dostoevsky and more operatic than Die Meistersinger.

The judge was a clunker.  The prosecutor was a master showman but didn’t need to be.  The defense was inept… state hires who were paid millions.

Television coverage was so over the top that even Nancy “Everyone is guilty and I’m obnoxious” Grace was worn to a nub. At one point she was so tired she actually let a guest on her program finish a sentence.

Had the jury come up with the death penalty, the saga would continue for another 20 years. Mandatory appeals, and the microscopic inspection of every syllable in those novels and every note in that opera.

“Free Jodi” and “Spare Jodi” movements would spring up. The appeals for reversal or clemency would reach the Supreme Court and the Governor of Arizona.

Free US, Spare US. Put her in jail and leave her there.  It’s cheaper and less trouble in the long run.

Shrapnel:

--The New York City Schools will now close on two Muslim holidays.  Fine. If they’re going to close on anyone’s -- which maybe they shouldn’t --  they should close on everyone’s.

I’m Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you’re welcome to them. ®
Please address comments to wesrichards@gmail.com

© WJR 2015

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