We now know why Jodi Arias has been working so hard and for so long to keep her October 2014 discussion with Judge in chambers a big fat secret. Arizona Family reported Feb. 20 that the release of a transcript between Jodi Arias and the judge in the “robing room” occurred yesterday. In that release secrets held by convicted killer Jodi Arias were revealed. But, as USA Today also reported Feb. 20, the biggest secret released yesterday isn’t what many think it is. One of the secrets released yesterday suggests that the reason the Jodi Arias trial led to a Constitutional stink at Arizona’s Higher Court of Appeals is because Jodi is afraid. It seems that the killer has a long list of people that don’t like her, and she has proof. But even that isn’t her biggest secret of them all.
Jodi Arias has been working to keep this transcript a big fat secret since the meeting in Judge Sherry Stephens’s robing room occurred in Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix, Arizona, Oct. 30, 2014. The way the killer manipulated that information into the press suggested that she held a big, dark secret that could only be discussed in a private consultation with the judge. This is how special that Jodi Arias thinks she is.
Since all of these antics occurred regarding this meeting, a “secret” witness, and a trial that looked like it was being conducted in “secret”, Judge Sherry Stephens has gotten a bit of a bad rap. She’s been nailed by just about everyone in the international audience watching this trial for prolonging this trial and allowing all of this secrecy to go on. Most notably she has been nailed by Arizona taxpayers for allowing a killer’s manipulations to wind up costing them over $3 million dollars in defense costs alone.
The prosecution has yet to reveal their costs, and are not required to do so until a verdict has been reached. It’s expected to be in the ballpark of the defense costs. This means we are now talking about a death penalty trial that, when all is said and done, may wind up costing the State of Arizona double digits in the millions. Arizona is not happy with this and a lot of the blame has been put on the judge.
When she trampled on the Constitution for the convicted killer in her attempts to show good faith to the defendant in the name of a fair trial, Judge Sherry Stephens lost many more points and fans. After the release of yesterday’s transcripts however, a side to Judge Sherry Stephens was seen that many have been waiting for. This occurred when transcripts showed Judge Stephens acknowledges the “manipulations” that happen anytime the convicted killer enters a room.
It is now a public record that even Judge Stephens feels manipulated by the killer. This is the real reason Jodi didn’t want this information out there, and the real secret she was trying to hide for as long as she could. Some may take comfort in the fact that Jodi has slept with this information for the past four months.
For some, it will take more than that for Judge Stephens to save face with this trial that is still going for a crime that occurred in Mesa, Arizona, in 2008. For others, it is a start. It is a start at a peek inside the mind of the Judge who has had to stare this ugly case in the face every day for many, many years.
Jodi Arias is on trial for the 2008 murder of her 30-year-old lover Travis Alexander. In early June of 2008 she took a road trip from Yreka, California, to Mesa, Arizona, and made sure her tracks were covered enough to take her off the grid. By nightfall June 4, 2008, Travis Alexander would be dead with multiple stab wounds, a 5 inch deep wound to the heart, a 6 inch wound to the throat that would sever his wind pipe and nearly decapitate him, and a gunshot to the head.
Jodi’s DNA was found at the scene in the forensic evidence that chronicled the story of the brutal slaying of Travis Alexander. No other DNA other than the victim’s would be found in the blood evidence that could connect anyone else of this savage crime. At that point alone the prosecution had enough evidence that would later convince a jury to convict her of first degree murder with the aggravating factor of cruelty. This would make Jodi Arias eligible for the death penalty.
But that wasn’t the only evidence the State had against Jodi Arias. Found at the crime scene was a camera with an SD card that contained 19 images that were taken during the killing. The foot of Jodi Arias was in one of those photos, beside the bleeding head of Travis Alexander. It would be those facts that would lead the 2013 jury to convict the killer for this crime.
During the guilt phase and aggravating factors phase of the 2013 trial the jury unanimously believed that Jodi was a cruel and cold blooded killer who built a web of secrecy when premeditating and executing this crime. What this jury could not come to a unanimous decision on, was sentencing. Life in prison, or the death penalty for Jodi Arias?
With a deadlocked jury, a mistrial was called in 2013 on the sentencing phase only. We are now in the sentencing phase of this trial, almost 7 years after this crime. This means the family of Travis Alexander has been waiting for justice for this killing for nearly 7 very long and unbearable years.
The Death Penalty Information Center tells us that most death penalty lawyers bill approximately 40 hours on average from start to finish of the sentencing phase. The Jodi Arias trial will certainly skew those averages in a future report. That’s because the convicted killer is doing everything she can to delay the inevitable. Because she doesn’t have evidence and the truth on her side, her delays are executed through manipulation tactics.
We’ve previously reported on many of them. We’ve also reported on experts such as former CIA agents and former FBI agents who identify the many levels of deception and manipulation found in even one sentence this convicted killer speaks. And now we are hearing it from the trial judge herself.
Jodi will claim that her manipulations are being managed to ensure she has a fair trial. The only problem is that with every secret she tries to cover, with every lie that she tells, and with every manipulation stunt that she pulls, there is a family being victimized all over again. And now we know, this has not gone unnoticed by the judge. That’s the latest secret in the Jodi Arias trial.
One of the manipulations in this case involved the Constitutional rights of the public. This particular manipulation showed a defense that was not worried about stooping too low to win a case. Why not stomp all over the civil liberties of the free world, when one has already stooped to calling the victim a pedophile? There is no bar they will not cross in their attempts to win.
The Constitutional matter arose when the State rested their case before the rebuttal stage, and the defense was up to bat. In most trials, when either the State or the defense goes up they begin calling witnesses. That’s how judges and juries get their evidence. The Constitution says that is supposed to happen in open court and also that the press are allowed to talk about it. That is the law.
But Jodi Arias thinks she’s special. As it would come to light, she was the first witness called by the defense. But, she would only testify under certain conditions. Those conditions were that everybody had to leave the room, all of the cameras needed to be turned off, and it would have to happen in secret.
No, that’s not normal for a convicted killer to start calling the shots. It’s not normal for a killer to get to choose whose Constitutional rights matter most. It is barely even legal. In fact it’s not, as the Higher Court of Appeals would later determine. But until that point, Jodi found a way to manipulate the process to get her own way.
And she was successful. One of the elements of that entire manipulation strategy involved a meeting with the judge in her chambers. That meeting occurred October 30, 2014. Of course that meeting was in secret and the public has been very curious for a very long time about what happened in a secret meeting that involved what was supposed to be open court.
That meeting was recorded but until yesterday the transcripts from that meeting had been under seal. Until yesterday Jodi had been winning at keeping those under wrap for as long as possible. The public was led to believe that the reason she wanted this all to happen was a big, dark secret. Turns out, the reasons Jodi cited for stomping all over the Constitutional rights of the taxpayers footing her defense bill were that she was afraid and has a long list of people that don’t like her.
Portions of the transcripts can be seen in the slideshow. Full versions can be viewed at the Juror 13 blog and the Gold Patrol According to the transcripts, Judge Stephens begins the meeting asking,
“Are we here to seal the proceedings or just to turn off the cameras?”
Defense counsel Jennifer Willmott responded, “both.” In the legal world you need reasons for little matters like stomping all over the Constitution, so Judge Stephens asked the defense to provide. Jennifer Willmott said,
“The reason for that, Judge, is she feels this will affect her testimony negatively if the public is here and if the cameras are on; that it will basically affect her testimony the way she testifies and her ability to think and answer questions.”
Juan’s first point during this conference was that they are definitely asking you to clear the courtroom, and I don’t believe they have “met the criteria to seal.”
Jennifer Willmott then went on to describe the real reason Jodi didn’t want to testify in front of people. That is basically that she is scared.
“The reason for that, Judge, is she feels it will affect her ability to testify, nervousness factor, looking out into the crowd…..it affects her ability to think and the ability for her to say things she truly means versus what people have said and threatened her.”
Judge Sherry Stephens is obligated to ensure that Jodi is safe. She has fulfilled this obligation by keeping her locked up in a cell where nobody, not even hate mail, can hurt her. The judge responded speaking to the effect of, ‘If there’s someone threatening her let me know who it is and we will have them escorted out, simple.’
Jennifer Willmott began backpedaling a little bit and said, well, not exactly one person, “nobody specific” but we still think it should happen. Nurmi then jumped in and rephrased everything in a more legal way hoping that would maybe stick. He also tried, as he always does, to make Jodi’s mental health relevant in the matter.
“We know she has been diagnosed with PTSD and we also know she has been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder. If her psychological makeup is such that she cannot fully actualize her mitigation, then I think we have problems under Skipper versus South Carolina.”
Nurmi really likes to emphasize as often as he can how mentally ill his client is, so this is not a new strategy from Nurmi. He is putting it on record wherever he can to show just how crazy he thinks she is. This is so that if the death penalty comes down, he has created many records arguing she is too mentally ill to be executed.
Unfortunately for Nurmi that argument will never fly, at least not for avoiding the death penalty. That is because Jodi is fit enough to stand trial. She would need to be deemed incompetent in order for mental illness to have any role on whether or not she is executed.
Juan Martinez, prosecutor for the State, was not too thrilled in his response. His response, as usual, sounded a lot like, “Well, it sounds like she’s scared and that’s what this boils down to and it’s just not enough to stomp all over the Constitution.” What he actually said was,
“Yes. It appears that the reasons given to you for sealing the courtroom from the public is that the Defendant is nervous…there is nothing in any case law – that I’m aware of – that indicates that the defendant has such a right or witness has such a right to testify in sealed proceedings just because they are nervous.”
Juan cited a case involving a gang that was the only case he could think of where such a circumstance existed. He cautioned the Judge against sealing this testimony. He said,
“There’s no case that I can think of off the top of my head where the proceedings were sealed was in Tucson and involved some gang members….the import that I took from that case is that there has to be a compelling reason to deny the public the right to be there. It is not an issue of the media here. It is an issue of the public.”
Jennifer Willmott jumped in to say it’s not just about nerves. She said many times in this meeting this is about Jodi not being able to say what she wants to say. Jennifer used the word remorse and mitigating factors.
That’s interesting because when Jodi’s secret testimony was released, neither remorse nor mitigating factors were found beyond “the wooden spoon made me do it” defense. Judge Stephens responded saying four things need to happen for me to close proceedings. She said,
“The parties seeking to close a hearing must advance an overriding interest that is likely to be prejudice if the proceeding is not closed….I do find that the Defendant is indicating she will feel intimidated.”
The second factor is that the judge must find the closure “must be no broader than necessary to protect that interest.” She said she finds that the family of Travis Alexander will be permitted to remain, as will Jodi’s. She also said,
“I don’t believe it is appropriate to completely close this proceeding.”
She offered the public and the press and overflow room but even that was not enough. She also said,
“The third factor is the trial Court has considered reasonable alternatives to closing the proceedings, which I feel I have just done with regard to the proposal I made regarding how we should handle the presence of the public and the media in the courtroom, and the trial court must make findings to support the closure; and I believe I have done that here in this hearing.”
At that point Willmott said well then, be prepared to find out that Jodi will refuse to testify. This of course Jennifer knew full well would lead to a hubballoo, because Jodi has the right to testify on her own behalf at her own trial. Now Jennifer is twisting Judge Stephens’ arm by saying, ‘If you don’t do what we say, she will have no choice but to not testify, which isn’t fair as you well know because she’s withdrawing out of fear and not voluntarily.’
It was at this point that Judge Stephens realized this was not going to be ended easily. Or well. She moved the meeting into her robing room and all of the officials were brought in.
Detective Flores, Maria de la Rosa, the lawyers, court staff and a deputy filed in. Jodi made an attempt to express the seriousness of the death threats that have been coming to her for years by mail. The Judge wasn’t really buying it. She said, ‘well, you’re in custody so your safety isn’t really a concern, and you can always choose to not read the death threats that come your way.’
The defense presented as many examples as they could. According to the transcripts, at one point there was a crazy person on the loose that tried to visit both the Maricopa County Jail and the media outlet the Arizona Republic. This was the “evidence” that Nurmi and Willmott were using to try and get the judge to seal everything.
Judge then asked for closing arguments on the matter at which point Nurmi began reminding her again of all of Jodi’s mental illnesses. Juan’s argument showed his irritation.
“What they have set out for you is a prospective concern of something that may happen in the future. They haven’t pointed to anything specifically that they can use to buttress the argument.”
Juan also pointed out, clearly the Maricopa County Sheriff’s office is doing their job if a threat happened at the jail and nothing happened to Jodi.
“Additionally there is this issue about what the media is going to say, and somehow it is the media’s fault that – they are the ones that are stirring the pot and because of them, bad things may in the future happen to the defendant….from our perspective first of all they haven’t met the threshold because it is something prospective…Additionally from an estoppel point of view, it just seems that you can’t have it one way and then want it the other way also. What the Court has proposed in terms of a solution, I think, is appropriate.”
Nurmi was then given a chance to argue, at which point he spent several pages reminding the judge, again, of how mentally ill Jodi is. Nurmi said,
“Again I think the State is trying to apply logic to the feelings of, again, a woman they know is mentally ill as their own expert diagnosed her….if she feels intimidated…that to me is sufficient.”
Jodi Arias herself then got to put her two cents into this argument. She then made a little slip up in her attempt to speak eloquently to the judge. Juan caught it though. In explaining why she wants to trample the Constitution of the taxpayers paying for her defense she said,
“It is not about who is sitting in the courtroom. It is about the knowledge that there are people privy to my testimony. Mr. Martinez said it is that I would be less nervous if we cleared the courtroom. It is more about knowing, in my mind as I’m trying to answer these questions that there are people who are privy to what I’m saying and should I answer one way or another because of these threats – so that was not accurate. It is not about who is sitting in the courtroom.”
That was Jodi Arias, convicted killer, telling a judge that there were certain conditions under which she could tell certain stories. It’s a slippery slope for her, obviously, and it’s almost amazing that she doesn’t realize how quickly she digs her own grave. Jodi’s best chance at any life at all is first another deadlocked jury, and second, a lenient judge. But that’s only if she is lucky enough to deadlock another jury.
If the jury is deadlocked again, the sentence will go to Judge Sherry Stephens. She will then need to take all of the last 7 years into account to determine if Jodi Arias gets life in prison with no parole, or life in prison with the possibility of parole. And in this meeting, Jodi told her to her face, that there were certain conditions under which she could be truthful.
Juan caught it, and we would later learn that Judge Stephens was the next victim to feel manipulated by Jodi Arias. Juan responded to this quickly by saying,
“Is the defendant indicating that she is going to be untruthful on the witness stand depending on the composition of the courtroom? That causes me concern because the truth is whatever it is irrespective of who is in the courtroom and I believe that’s what the defendant is indicating; that depending on the composition, she would change her answers.”
Jodi tried to backpedal saying she would “always be truthful.” But she also acknowledged that the truth does kind of cramp her style a bit. According to the transcripts she said,
“I will always be truthful. It is about am I able to express the truth in the way that I need to express it or will that be cramped because of the pressure that I’m feeling because of the threats that I have received.”
A lunch break was held and upon return Juan argued that if the judge cowed to their wishes it was a “bad precedent.” Nurmi countered by saying but it’s not, it’s not. Nurmi said it’s already starting, and already started on the lunch beak when,
“Tweets about Miss Arias trying to manipulate the media and that sort of thing within minutes, and I think this just sticks with the idea of her feelings, that’s all I can speak to.”
The judge put some very interesting statements on record. She said,
“Well I acknowledge that I believe this is a manipulative tactic; and I have concerns about the genuine reason for the request to close the proceedings; however, my concern is that if I don’t close the proceedings, the Defendant will be precluded from testifying or will refuse, and I’m not sure that under these circumstances an Appellate Court will find that it is a voluntary waiver of her right to present mitigation. So I’m going to close the proceedings.”
Translation, ‘Oh yeah, I see the manipulation that is going on here, and it is being very cleverly disguised with words that show this is NOT a voluntary withdrawal from testifying so there’s nothing I can do at this point but close the proceedings.’ This shows a new side to this judge.
Her further comments show that she did not take this decision lightly. According to the transcripts it does appear that Judge Stephens hands were tied on the matter. The tone of her text also almost implies she wished that she could rule any other way. Her final words on the matter were,
“That [defendant’s] interest will be prejudiced if the courtroom is not closed. The court has considered and suggested other alternatives to closing the courtroom; however, the witness has refused to participate unless the courtroom is closed during his or her testimony……I’m aware of the First Amendment implications. This was not an easy decision.”
This was to many the most enlightening information out of these transcripts. It does appear that the State and the judge are more on the same page that many have thought up until now. The Jodi supporters are being very quiet about this release for obvious reasons. They don’t really want to brag about the fact that Jodi’s own trial judge has put it on record that she acknowledges Jodi’s manipulative tactics.
It’s also interesting to see on record that the State acknowledges how Jodi and the defense team blame the media for everything that bad that happens to Jodi Arias. It was not the media that butchered Travis Alexander. And it was actually Jodi who courted the media when she did. Not only did she court the media but she lied to the media through and through.
And it came back to bite her big time. Now the whole world knows what a liar and a manipulator she is. And, instead of trying to do something, like show remorse and tell the truth, to overcome that reputation, she keeps the games going.
With every day that passes more and more of Jodi’s secrets come out, her ever shrinking support base loses more hope, and her ship seems to sink a little more. You can see the anger and fear coming out in full force across social media, on support blogs, and even in our own zoomdune.comment section. One Jodi Arias supporter recently told us they can’t wait to see faces when Jodi Arias walks out of jail a free woman.
Most rational people know that is never going to happen. This is especially true if she keeps up the pace of her lies. But her supporters just want you to forget all of that. One supporter has a very loud voice over this over at a popular killer supporter site. That site is the site with the words “Jodi Arias” and “Innocent” in the same name. One of the loudest supporters there is someone by the name “Justus Forusall.”
This individual was pretty angry after events transpired in court this week. That individual offered a bird’s eye view into the defense’s perspective of trial so far with this comment. They said,
“The whole prosecution was based on ‘she’s a liar so don’t believe anything she says, even under oath, and even if it makes a hundred times more sense then our bizarre stories. And certainly don’t ask us to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt that what she says happened could not have happened the way she says it did. And he beat that BS into that jurors’ head until the repetition hypnotized the them into thinking it was their own idea and conclusion.
If you look at the trial as a whole, the only thing he proved beyond a reasonable doubt is that she lied for two years. He proved absolutely nothing else. And you can also see it by talking to the haters. No matter what you try to talk to them about, they invariable come back to ‘she’s a liar’ as their last refuge from having to actually think.”
That might be because this case is a slam dunk and one does not actually have to think too far when looking at the evidence against Jodi Arias. We are told that Justus Forusall is actually in the courtroom quite a bit. So Justus Forusall certainly would have been around for the times when the State did in fact prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Jodi Arias was at the scene, and the only one at the scene, on the night that Travis Alexander was brutally murdered.
But what is interesting about this statement from this Jodi supporter is that Justus Forusall does not deny that Jodi has been lying for years. It seems that their biggest beef is that people keep talking about it. Maybe Justus Forusall, if that person ever gets a chance to talk to Jodi, should mention that maybe when Jodi stops lying and manipulating people, people will stop talking about Jodi’s lies and manipulations.
We also noticed some comments from Justus Forusall on this website that confirm Juan Martinez’s points that the Jodi Arias team blames the media for everything. Justus Forusall has been known to say “F U!” to the media whenever they tweet the truth. Those and other comments from this Jodi supporter can be seen in the slideshow.
Justus Forusall has also compared the media to the Nazi regime. In one comment that person said,
“….I am looking at the way our news media is being dismantled, a very very serious issue. I was just watching a program on the Nazi regime and saw there how the sheeple were so easily led to the slaughter through biased journalism. And it’s truly frightening just how many of today’s sheeple are reading and believing this bull$%&*.”
Isn’t that nice? A Jodi supporter who is alleged to be working very closely with the defense table is comparing the media to the Nazis. This after the defense team tried to conduct meetings and testimony in secret. It’s very interesting to see some hints that suggest when it comes to lies and manipulation from the defense, she is on top of it.
And Judge Stephens and the prosecutor are not the only ones. Watch the video here where Carl R. ToersBijns, former deputy warden for New Mexico and the Arizona Department of Corrections uses Jodi Arias as an example of a manipulator in a training manual for law enforcement officers. There may be people alive that think Jodi Arias will walk free out of jail one day and soon.
But the people that matter, the Judge in this case, the prosecutor in this case, and many high ranking law enforcement officials, see her as a manipulator and are bound to bring justice for the victims. What was the biggest surprise for you with this secret testimony?