Arizona Central reported on Nov. 20 that testimony in the Jodi Arias trial out of Phoenix, Arizona, this week centered around sex expert Dr. Fonseca and that there was nothing that wasn’t off the table for discussion. Testimony in the Jodi Arias trial became so steamy this week in fact, that not one but several reporters that were live tweeting from the courtroom were reporting on concerns over how to keep their tweets “decent” for their network, station, or news desk. Included in this week’s testimony were vivid examples and lurid emails of the sex life between Jodi Arias and her lover and murder victim Travis Alexander. Even discussions on what Jodi does or does not like to have “shaved” were entered into evidence in this week’s testimony by sex expert Dr. Miccio Fonseca, and that was what the reporters could tweet and still maintain some semblance of decency.
This week cross-examination of sex expert Dr. Fonseca by the prosecutor Juan Martinez began on Thursday and is expected to continue into next week according to Arizona Central. The job of Juan Martinez of course will be to do everything he can to diminish the credibility of this sex expert that has now been on the stand for two days. In a random observation of Dr. Fonseca’s testimony, not once in four days of testimony has Dr. Fonseca used the word “pedophile”, but the defense has put her on the stand in their efforts to prove that the victim in this case was in fact a pedophile.
There’s a saying used in Canada and elsewhere that comes to mind, “What does that have to do with the price of tea in China?” This figure of speech is very similar to many of the questions that are being asked right now bout this witness. She is an established expert on sexual deviancy, but what does that have to do with whether or not Jodi should serve life in prison, or get the death penalty?
We will soon find out, and in the meantime Juan Martinez will do whatever he can to diminish her credibility. We’ve learned a few things about that of our own.
Jodi Arias is currently undergoing the retrial of the sentencing phase of her trial where she has been found guilty of first degree murder for the brutal slaying of her lover Travis Alexander. The murder occurred in Mesa, Arizona, on June of 2008, and Jodi was convicted of first degree murder by a jury in 2013. That jury unanimously voted on her guilt and the level of cruelty she inflicted on the victim Travis Alexander.
In so doing, that jury made Jodi Arias death penalty eligible, but was unable to come to a unanimous decision on choosing life in prison, or the death penalty. A mistrial was called and a retrial ordered. That retrial is now underway in the Maricopa County Superior Court in Phoenix, Arizona, and is a retrial of the sentencing phase only.
The State has submitted their evidence in the retrial and has rested their case. The new jury has seen autopsy and crime scene photos, heard from the State’s Medical Examiner the good Dr. Horn. The jury has also listened to testimony from lead investigator in the case Detective Esteban Flores.
These are all normal things to see in a murder trial, and even in a sentencing phase. What many legal experts and seasoned crime reporters have been saying since the defense went up to bat however is, they’ve “never seen anything like it.” There is nothing but drama at every turn in this case, which is why so many people are still so riveted to it.
This week, the defense did not disappoint in serving up their daily dish of drama by putting sex expert Dr. Miccio Fonseca on the stand. The defense has put Dr. Fonseca on the stand in their efforts to have her establish a pattern of sexual deviancy in the relationship between Jodi Arias and Travis Alexander, but most specifically, on the part of Travis Alexander. It’s more colloquially known as the “dragging the victim through the mud” strategy.
It had been previously testified by Dr. Fonseca that January 2008 was a turning point for the relationship between Jodi Arias and Travis Alexander. It was revealed in court this week that Dr. Fonseca believes Jodi’s story that Travis Alexander was a pedophile, although Dr. Fonseca never used that word. She referred to that time period vaguely in court, suggesting enough so that the court would know what she meant, without her having to actually say the word according to USA Today.
Dr. Fonseca, who we have learned has been an expert clinician, researcher, and author on sex offenders and sexual deviancy for over 34 years however was not comfortable providing this testimony. This means, she actually specializes in sex offenders. She has not only written and published extensively on sex offenders, but she works with them, assesses them, and deals with them all day, every day.
During two and a half days of direct examination by Kirk Nurmi, she did not ever once call Travis Alexander a sex offender. She said a lot of things that made him look really bad, and made the relationship look toxic and dysfunctional. He’s dead with a gunshot wound to the head, a severed windpipe and 9 stab wounds on his back from when he tried to run away from his abuser. So we already know it was dysfunctional and toxic.
But that is not how Dr. Fonseca made it look. She made it look like he was a really bad guy because he had a few sexual proclivities he would rather not discuss at the Ward meeting for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. In fact, if you were to believe her perspective on this case, those 9 stab wounds, severed windpipe, gunshot wound, and 5 inch deep wound to the heart are little love bites from Jodi Arias.
Arizona Central reported after Thursday’s testimony that Dr. Fonseca believes the brutal slaying of Travis Alexander came from a place of love. She read emails and text messages where Travis called Jodi not just “evil” but a “solid form of evil” and a “whore.” She called Jodi the compliant one in the relationship, alluding that Jodi was an abuse victim that just excused Travis for all of his “bad boy” ways.
Dr. Fonseca testified that Travis had two lives, one with his secret lovers, and another with his public life, the Mormon life. What camp did Jodi fall in? According to Steve Krafft at Fox 10 he said,
“Travis didn’t see Jodi as a real person outside the bedroom.”
Dr. Fonseca also testified that Travis often criticized Jodi, and allegedly said she “looked cheap” once. During all of this testimony reporters were tweeting that Jodi and her defense team were seen giggling from the defense table. It seemed they were the only ones that found this testimony funny. One thing that came up about the manner in which Jodi allegedly handled this criticism was that Jodi said to Travis at one point,
“I may be a whore…but the one thing I am NOT is violent.”
To many, saying convicted murderer “Jodi Arias is not violent” is as credible as saying “Santa Claus is not jolly.” The jury also heard testimony from chat messages of Jodi’s that suggested she had lost her sex drive, and that Travis was her last partner. Many that know that Jodi paid a visit to another boyfriend named Ryan Burns, in Utah just hours after she had killed Travis Alexander, don’t buy that story either that Travis was her last.
Many reporters noted that the jury was not taking as many notes during this testimony as they had been earlier in the trial. Yes, even the jury is getting tired of this. By the time Juan Martinez got up to bat it did not take him long to begin establishing holes in her credibility.
That was very easy to do early on when she referred to Carl Arias as Jodi’s father in response to a question by Juan Martinez. The name of Jodi’s father is actually Bill Arias, Carl is her brother. In this line of questioning Juan Martinez effectively established that Dr. Fonseca is anything but an expert on Jodi Arias, or this case.
Jodi Arias trial watchers then saw many similarities between Dr. Fonseca and last year’s expert witness Alyce LaViolette. Alyce was put on the stand last year in an attempt to establish Jodi as a survivor of domestic violence. Juan Martinez decimated her in his cross-examination. CNN transcripts from last year’s trial reported Juan Martinez as regularly saying things to Alyce LaViolette like,
“You’re advocating on behalf of the defendant, and you’re only presenting things that benefit her.”
It is likely just a matter of time before Juan Martinez asks Dr. Fonseca the same questions. In his line of questioning this week however, he bickered with her over whether or not she could provide more than a “Yes” or “No” answer. She wanted to expand, he did not want her to expand, there were some testy moments in court over it, not unlike the testy moments between Juan and Alyce LaViolette from last year.
Juan Martinez attempted to erase any image of Jodi as the compliant good girl, in his cross examination of Dr. Fonseca. He had her testifying that Jodi was the type that went from one partner to the next in the same way that Dr. Fonseca alleged about Travis. We already know this, because Jodi left Travis’s home after killing him to go keep a date with Ryan Burns in Utah.
In his cross-examination Juan Martinez effectively demonstrated that Dr. Fonseca barely knew anything about the relationship between Travis and Jodi as a couple. She was unclear even when they actually became a couple. But she had no problem testifying to her opinions on everything in their sex life right down to when Jodi Arias liked to wear pig tails and whether or not she liked to be shaved.
This is where phrases like, “What does that have to do with the price of tea in China” come into play.
Not much has been said about Dr. Fonseca and her background. We have learned very little from a cursory glance around social media and elsewhere, however we have learned she has an extensive history working with or studying sex offenders. Her LinkedIn page says she studied at the “Professional School of Psychological Studies” between 1979 and 1982 and has been a clinical psychologist since 1980. It also says she provides psychological services to,
“Risk assessment of sexually abusive youth and/or adults (males and females), Expert witness testimony, case consultations and case supervision, trainings on risk assessment of sexually abusive individuals, research in the area of sexually abusive individuals.”
Interestingly enough, Dr. Fonseca has been put on the stand by the defense to paint a picture of Travis as a near sex offender, and of Jodi as an abused and compliant victim. Yet she has never referred to Jodi as a victim once, going by all reports available on her testimony.
There is one review on her website from Stephen Taylor, a Deputy D.A. out of San Joaquin, California, D.A.’S office that says,
“[Fonseca is] One of the very finest expert witnesses in sexually violent predator trials on the West Coast and beyond. I have had Dr. Fonseca on numerous jury trials and in depositions. She remains cool, calm, and resolute regardless of what kind of crazy you have to work with (opposing counsel, defendants, unpleasant subjects, whatever.) A pleasure to bring into any kind of case.”
One can’t help but wonder what “kind of crazy” Dr. Fonseca considers opposing counsel Juan Martinez to be, keeping in mind that this is a woman that claims to have a perspective of Jodi Arias as a compliant and submissive partner. But she does have this one glowing review. Even so, not everyone on the planet thinks she is all that credible.
A lawsuit against someone named Dr. Miccio Fonseca was filed in the United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit in 2002 about the very issue of her credibility. The lawsuit was Michael Huftile as the plaintiff vs. a Miccio-Fonseca as the defendant. In the lawsuit, Michael Huftile, an inmate at the time with the California Men’s Colony located in San Luis Obispo, California, was suing for damages related to declaratory relief.
The lawsuit alleges that Dr. Miccio Fonseca was sent to the Men’s Colony to evaluate Huftile and serve him with “Notice of Evaluation as a Sexually Violent Predator” and he allegedly refused to comply with the interview. In the lawsuit Huftile alleges that she told him he was court ordered to speak to her, and he still refused. She then allegedly wrote a report and testified against him at his trial.
He alleged in his lawsuit that she had no foundation for her testimony because she did not interview him, and thus did not know him well enough to make the conclusions which she was testifying to. He also accused her of accessing his confidential information without consent, of failing to follow proper interview protocols, of fabricating portions of the things in her report that she testified to, and of relying on old information in order to prepare a current report. In the end, the lawsuit was dismissed. However, not before the 9th Circuit reversed a dismissal on an injunction relief against her.
Is that what she is doing here? Testifying about a current situation based on old data? Is she also testifying to these things because she did not follow proper interview protocol? Because that is kind of what it looks like. Is she possibly fabricating information in order to make her testimony worth while? It apparently wouldn’t be the first time she has been accused of that.
We are told she has never interviewed Jodi Arias. We also know that she has made some very damaging statements about Travis Alexander’s best friends, Chris and Sky Hughes. We know she has never interviewed them either. All of the data that she is testifying to is in some cases, 7 years old.
The good Dr. Fonseca is self-described as a 34 year veteran of the industry of clinical sexual deviancy. She’s an expert on kinky sex, has had decades of experience on the matter. She’s not just a witness, she’s an author as well with at least 9 published articles in peer reviewed journals between 1996 and 2013. And yet, this is a woman who has not once said the word “pedophile” or “sex offender” on the stand in relation to Travis Alexander.
In fact, when testifying as an expert on Travis Alexander, even she claimed things got a little too awkward and uncomfortable and were difficult to testify to. Why is that? If she is an expert, and does nothing in her day but deal with sexual deviancy and sex offenders, why would she hesitate to call Travis Alexander that if she really believed it?
According to a deputy D.A. out of San Joaquin, she is an expert witness that “remains cool and calm…no matter what kind of crazy” she is asked to work with. But in this case, which is to many the craziest of them all, she had a difficult time testifying about sexual deviancy. Why is that? Why was it so difficult for her to call Travis a pedophile, if she really believes Jodi’s story?
One possibility is that she would hesitate if she believed he was not a pedophile, and did want to become guilty of perjury on the stand by calling him as much. Juan Martinez appears to be doing a very good job in poking as many holes in her testimony as possible. Of course, first chair for the defense Kirk Nurmi was on it with as many objections as possible, most of which were overruled according to Kelly over at the Really Big Mean Dog.
What relevance does all of this testimony have? It is very relevant, but at this point, it appears to be most relevant for the State. Presumably the defense called this expert in order to establish Travis Alexander in as poorly a light as possible.
And, since she has decades of experience publishing on sex offenders and working with sex offenders in the prison system, one would think that the word “sex offender” would be very easy for her to say. And yet, after days of testimony, Dr. Fonseca has not called Travis Alexander a sex offendor, not even once. Why could that be? Is it because she does not want to be accused of “fabricating” on the stand again?
Cross-examination of Dr. Fonseca by the State will resume in the Jodi Arias trial on Monday morning November 24 at 9:30. Comments from reporters inside the courtroom during her testimony can be seen in the slideshow along with an excerpt of the lawsuit filed against her in 2003. Watch here as Juan Martinez cross-examines last year’s witness Alyce LaViolette to get an idea of how Dr. Fonseca and Juan Martinez will get along next week.
What relevance do you find of this witness to the case with all of these days of testimony?