Via www.nbcnews.com (no author listed) September 10, 2014
Jodi Arias Doesn’t Want to Represent Herself, After All
Jodi Arias no longer wants to represent herself as she fights for her life in the upcoming second penalty phase in her murder case, according to a motion filed in the Maricopa County Superior Court on Wednesday.
Arias, 34, who was convicted last year of murdering her ex boyfriend in 2008, asked an Arizona judge last month to let her serve as her own attorney during the new penalty phase of her case. Judge Sherry Stephens granted Arias’ motion, after conflicts arose with one of her lawyers over trial strategy.
According to the two-page motion filed by her court-appointed attorneys, Arias stated she would like to relinquish her right to serve as her own attorney “effective immediately upon filing.”
If Stephens grants the motion, Kirk Nurmi and Jennifer Willmott will again serve as her lawyers.
The retrial is set for Sept. 29. Arias was convicted of killing Travis Alexander in May 2013 but the jury was not able to reach a unanimous decision on her sentence. Under Arizona law, prosecutors can try again with a new jury to secure a death sentence, but if that panel fails to agree on the punishment, the death penalty would be removed as an option. Stephens would then decide whether Arias spends life in prison.
During the five-month trial, Arias admitted on the stand that she killed Alexander in his home but claimed it was in self-defense and the result of an abusive relationship. Arias stabbed Alexander 29 times, including slitting his throat, and shot him once in the head. Prosecutors argued that Arias premeditated the murder because Alexander broke up with her.
This places the attorneys who, as mentioned in my previous posts, were appointed to represent her in a precarious position. This also once again sets them up for ineffective assistance of counsel claims after they have had previous issues and conflicts of interest, including issues on how to handle the case and defense strategies, as reported by the media. My advice, once again, even an attorney should never represent themselves in a case; there are several reasons for this…if you have never been to law school, your capital murder trial is not the time to learn the law.
If Arias is given the death penalty, she will further blame it on her lawyers. This case has turned into a circus and I agree with the judge for not allowing this case to be televised for the duration of the proceedings.