There is plenty of drama to go around the Thanksgiving table for those that are interested in watching the antics play out in court in the Jodi Arias trial. Many topics could be up for discussion at this holiday’s festive feast, though some topics might be better left for the parlour after dinner. In the Jodi Arias trial there is no topic that is excused from analysis paralysis, and court watchers can pick their poison on what they wish to discuss any day of the week. There’s a topic open for those that want to discuss court testimony on Jodi’s groomed bathing suit parts, or, you could join the forces of supporters begging for “murder money,” or discuss with a band of folks some unproven allegations against the prosecutor, or, you could discuss the most recent dramatic event in the Jodi Arias trial. For those keeping score, Constitution 1, Jodi Arias defense team, zip. Fox News has reported on Nov. 26 that Judge Sherry Stephens, the judge presiding over retrial of the penalty phase of the Jodi Arias trial, has been served some humble pie for Thanksgiving after an Arizona Court of Appeals overturned her ruling that previously left the Constitution wincing. Meanwhile, CBS 5 has reported on what Jodi’s menu will be served for Thanksgiving dinner in the Maricopa County Jail.
34-year-old Jodi Arias is on trial for the murder of her lover Travis Alexander in Mesa, Arizona, in June of 2008. 30-year-old Travis was killed 3 times by Jodi Arias, first with a 5 inch deep wound to the heart. Then through near decapitation where he likely bled out, and also via a gunshot to the head.
In May 2013 Jodi was convicted of first degree murder with the element of cruelty that made her eligible for the death penalty. Her 2013 jury however was unable to come to a unanimous decision as far as life in prison, or the death penalty. A mistrial was called, and a retrial of the penalty phase of the Jodi Arias trial was put on the docket. This retrial is of the penalty phase only. Jodi is still a convicted felon, and is in jail awaiting her sentence only.
The retrial of this penalty phase has been in session since September of this year. We have previously reported on the issue that came before the Court of Appeals in the Jodi Arias trial while this was in session. Prosecution laid their case, then rested. Then of course, as soon as the defense was up to bat, the drama began.
It was drama from one witness that didn’t want to testify in front of the public. So, instead of honoring the Constitutional freedoms of open court to the public, Judge Sherry Stephens kicked out, basically the world, and permitted the witness to testify in a sealed hearing. A lot of people were shocked by that. After the ruling this week, Laurie Roberts from Arizona Central wrote,
“In all my years of watching trials, I had never before seen a judge lock the public out of a trial – certainly not at the demand of the person on trial. Until now, that is.”
This was not a decision that Judge Stephens made quietly, as it ultimately ended up in the Court of Appeals. Fox News has reported yesterday that the Arizona Court of Appeals has overturned Judge Stephen’s ruling. Thus this witness is being forced to testify with the public present.
And of course since the information is no longer sealed, we also know the identity of the individual witness that created all of this drama. It was none other than Jodi Arias herself. Nobody was surprised. The ruling by the Court of Appeals reads,
“It is further ordered that the court grants relief by vacating the Superior Court’s order of October 30, closing the courtroom to the public and press during any testimony by Jodi Arias.”
This ruling was seen as a victory by anybody that likes the First Amendment, and the Constitutional protections of an open court in the United States of America. It seems the defense are the only ones that are a little bitter about this, but that is nothing unusual either. After this week in court the defense has seen many blows to the credibility of their expert witness who knows very little about Jodi Arias. This recent ruling was just one more blow to their case that is being perceived by many as, weakening by the day.
Even so, the weirdness and secrecy around this case is not expected to end on this one ruling. The defense has been secretive about absolutely everything since day one, and it is getting to a noticeable point for the taxpayers of Arizona who are fed up. Arizona Republic wrote on the subject,
“That’s [the ruling] a victory for Arizonans, though it may not seem like it to those whose ears bleed – mine included – whenever the name Arias is uttered…..That any part of the testimony that influences that decision is offered in secret is not only troubling, it’s downright scary…..Perhaps now that this particular secret is out, Judge Stephens will explain to us why justice required a convicted murderer needed privacy to plead her case?”
So that will no longer happen. Also likely is the notion that Judge Stephens will be a little more careful on the notion of secrecy moving forward. In this ruling, Thanksgiving week ended on a good note for those that support the Constitution, or the prosecution.
In other Jodi Arias news we have learned that the video that was recently launched by the parents of Jodi Arias, Bill and Sandy Arias is back up and running after being removed from YouTube after violations of Terms and Service. That video can be shown here. If you are watching the video with the expectation of hearing from the people that love Jodi the most talk about how great she is and how much they miss her, you will not see that on this video.
On this video you will hear her parents say exactly where they will want you to send your big bags of money for Jodi’s appeal fund, and you will hear that quite a lot. You will also hear them say that they love Jodi. If that is the portion of the “appeal” video you are most eagerly anticipating, fast forward to section 1:26 on the 1 minute and 57 second video which is where you will find the 1 second where they say that once.
Everything else included on the video is nothing other than explicit instructions on exactly where her parents want people to send “murder money.” “Murder money” is a term coined by author Kelly at the Really Big Mean Dog School of Law column. Kelly has been researching and writing about this case on an almost daily basis and perceives this “appellate fund” in the same way that many outraged members of the public do.
We previously reported on the video of Bill and Sandy Arias, but in the same timeframe that went to print, it was removed from YouTube for violations. The owners of that video, a group known as “Jodi Arias is Innocent”, are also not so coincidentally the people that will be responsible for hanging on to those big bags of “murder money” for Jodi Arias until she needs them. Incidentally, according to tweets seen out of the Jodi Arias camp this week, they still hold hope that she is going to come home for Christmas.
And yes, this begs the question, many, actually. Why is this group, the only group that Jodi’s own parents want you to support, still collecting big bags of “murder money” if they are so convinced that Jodi is going to be freed by Christmas? If there isn’t going to be an appeal, and they are so confident in Jodi’s wrongful conviction, is the family, or the people running “Jodi Arias is Innocent” using the big bags of “murder money” for their own personal gain?
You can see tweets in the slideshow that show Arias and some supporters proudly announcing how soon she will be free. But this group and Jodi’s family are still collecting “murder money.” We do need to say that the family has been very vocal as well about being accused of using the “murder money” for personal gain.
We have found a Facebook message from Aunt Sue herself in the slideshow on that matter to show her side of the story. And no you are not seeing things. Aunt Sue is the twin sister to Sandy Arias in the video shown here. You will also see a tweet in the slideshow of Jodi’s Aunt Sue driving a new car that someone is claiming was allegedly purchased with the aforementioned big bags of cash.
We also know that one of the people that work behind the scenes at Jodi Arias is Innocent is a guy named Ben. Most people following the Jodi Arias show know exactly who Ben is. Only few are clear on his exact role in the case of Jodi Arias.
Is he a king pen of her financial empire? Is he a middle man for the higher ups? Or is he just a boyfriend running errands and assisting in third party phone calls and leaked recordings from the Maricopa County Jail? We do not know for sure.
We do know Jodi does not want anybody to think that Ben may be getting anywhere near those big bags of murder money. Ben is in his 30’s and we have not been able to find a college degree in his name. We do not have an employment record in his name.
We have been able to find arrest records in his name. We have also seen a letter written by Jodi Arias herself, in her handwriting, on the only kind of jail issued lined paper she is allowed to write on. This letter was written from jail this year to one of her supporters, on the very subject of Ben. On the matter of Ben Ernst, Jodi writes,
“The only reason I told you that Ben drives a new custom ordered BMW and owns a home with no mortgage was to illustrate that he doesn’t need the comparative pennies generated from art sales.”
A more full version of that letter can be viewed in the slideshow as well. We have been told that Ben Ernst has been a visitor to Jodi Arias in jail, and have even managed correspondence with the Maricopa County Jail on the very subject. Will Ben Ernst be visiting Jodi Arias in jail tonight to help her celebrate Thanksgiving?
If so, CBS 5 reports today that her Thanksgiving dinner is “on the cheap” at a rate of only 55 cents per inmate in the Maricopa County Jail. That’s right, after spending almost $3 million dollars on the Jodi Arias trial, this year’s Thanksgiving menu reflects a much tighter budget for this inmate and all of her friends.
CBS 5 reports that on the menu for Maricopa County Jail for Thanksgiving is a 12 ounce Turkey soy casserole at 24 cents a pop, 1 cup of fresh mashed potatoes at 11 cents a pop, 1 cup of glazed carrots at 6 cents a pop, 4 ounces of fresh fruit at 8 cents, and margarine with a roll at a combined 6 cents per inmate. This brings the cost of this dinner to 55 cents per inmate. Some foods were donated to the jail for this special meal, and so the meal will also include donated cranberry sauce and 1 cup of donated brownie parfait.
That’s a 3 course meal for 55 cents! One can only imagine the quality. Maybe by the time certain expensive trials are over in the State of Arizona the jail will splurge at 75 cents on Thanksgiving next year. If the supporters have their way, which is about as likely as Arizona actually freezing over, maybe even the splurge could come by Christmas.
But yes it seems, judging by the Twittersphere, Jodiverse is strenuously supporting the notion that Jodi will be free soon. One tweet right from Jodi’s own page says,
“With State’s misconduct revealed and Jodi’s truth proven, #jodiarias now has more credibility than Juan & Flores COMBINED.”
We don’t know what this tweeter thinks Jodi’s “truth” is. But we do know that nothing has been proven as far as defense allegations against Juan Martinez. The person tweeting on Jodi’s behalf also tweeted,
“In light of Juan’s pervasive #presecutorialmisconduct, it’s unbelievable that #jodiarias trial is even allowed to continue today.”
That individual tweeting obviously has forgotten that Jodi Arias is a convicted felon, that nothing has been presented to date to change that, and that no prosecutorial misconduct against Juan Martinez has been proven to date. So, knowing all of those facts, it actually is quite believable that the Jodi Arias trial is continuing. It’s not so unbelievable that supporters would say that though.
This is a camp that categorically and historically pin allegations on people without anything to show for it. The Alexander family would probably have a lot of anecdotal evidence for almost anyone on that topic. Even so, while Jodi may not be entitled to most of what she thinks she is entitled to, Jodi is entitled to supporters. Here is what one of her supporters tweeted today for the Thanksgiving holiday,
“Happy merry Christmas Jodi. We don’t care who you killed, we love you anyways.”
Meanwhile, supporters of the family of the victim Travis Alexander have been tweeting love and support for the Alexanders all across social media, all day long, as they celebrate another Thanksgiving without their beloved brother Travis. One read,
“This Thanksgiving I am thankful #JusticeforTRavis is near #JodiArias games almost over New Year Jodi locked up in Perryville #Forgotten”
Despite the disbelief coming from the Jodi Arias camp, testimony in the Jodi Arias trial will continue in Phoenix, Arizona, in Maricopa County Superior Court Dec.2. The next big question with this week’s ruling of course is, will Jodi Arias still take the stand now that her testimony is not permitted to be private? If so, surely, the drama in this trial has only just begun.
How did you react to the news that the Court of Appeals overturned Judge Stephens ruling? Do you think Jodi Arias will appear on the stand next week?