Thursday, May 23, 2013

Jodi Arias trial: Only jury can sentence murderer to death

Only a jury can sentence convicted murderer Jodi Arias to death. On May 22, 2013, jurors deliberated during the penalty phase of the Jodi Arias case and told the judge they could not reach a unanimous decision. Jodi Arias faces the death penalty for the June 4, 2008, murder of her lover Travis Alexander. Judge Stephens ordered the jury to return to deliberations and see if they couldn't work
out their differences. They did not.
Jodi Arias talks to her attorney on May 22, 2013

On May 23, 2013, the jury will return at 1 p.m., ET, and it is still unknown whether they will return a death penalty verdict, choose to sentence the 32-year-old California native to life in prison with or without parole, or ultimately become hung and not offer any resolution that would bring the four-month trial to a close. In order for Jodi Arias to receive the death penalty, the jury's decision must be unanimous. If just one person votes against the death penalty, it will not be instituted.

If the jury cannot reach a unanimous decision, and becomes deadlocked, they will be released from the case and a new jury will be brought in. Since this jury has been with the trial since Jan. 2, 2013, and were the same group of eight men and five women who rendered the guilty verdict to begin with, starting the penalty phase over with a new jury could prove to be more time consuming than hoped for. Should a new jury be brought in to the picture, testimony would need to be revisited or resumed in order to bring them up to speed with the proceedings of the penalty phase. It is possible that live testimony would take place; Jodi Arias could even take the stand again.

There is also the possibility that a new jury could be selected, hear all the testimony, begin the deliberations process, and like the first jury, become deadlocked and unable to reach a unanimous decision. Should this happen, the decision would be handed to Judge Stephens; however, the death penalty would no longer be an option. In that case, Judge Stephens would determine whether Jodi Arias would be sentenced to life in prison or life with the possibility of parole in 25 years.

What do you think is the best sentence for Jodi Arias? Do you think she should be sentenced to life in prison or death?

For more information on Arizona laws regarding the sentencing of death, life or natural life, please visit Arizona Code 13-752.

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