So, passers by might have noticed an unusually large number of comments to my last post.
I post about a lot of things, but of course since this is mostly a legal blog, or “blawg”, cases with notoriety often receive attention. Two years ago the world was abuzz with the Casey Anthony case, and I certainly did a lot of posting on that. It took up a lot of time and I figured I probably wouldn’t go down that road again with another case.
So I hadn’t paid much attention to the latest in this line, the Jodi Arias case. But lots of people were paying attention and it was the usual one sided news coverage and so on.
The people who came over here to comment discussed a lot of the details of the case and it appears that there were very strong evidence supported arguments that maybe Jodi Arias – who is now convicted of first degree murder – didn’t kill her boyfriend Travis Alexander at all, and that some other or others might have while she was present, and wound up not killing her as well. This in fact was the story she originally told, but apparently no one believed her and by the time of the trial her lawyers were arguing self defense, taking the position that she did kill Travis Alexander.
Now, from a defense lawyer’s perspective, it’s very difficult to envision a scenario where you would opt for a self defense argument if you had a good argument that someone else “did it”. One reason might be the judge. Judges, who want to convict the defendant as much as the prosecutor, know how damaging to those prospects it can be if the defense offers another culprit when there is some good evidence to support it, so they will often refuse to allow any evidence of any other perpetrator to be admitted, under the rationale that it’s the defendant on trial, not someone else.
That’s completely illegitimate of course, but it often happens.
In any case, this blog’s format makes it difficult to keep track of comments to one post when there are so many, so here’s another post where people can comment and won’t have to scroll through hundreds of other comments to find the one they’re responding to.
Might post more on this later.
Update: Actually I’ve been unfair to her lawyers. The problem is the death penalty. If you go with the third-party-did-it scenario, well then if the jury goes with it you get an acquittal. But if they don’t they can only convict on the top count and they sentence your client to death. But if you go with self defense and put her up there so they get to know her, you can ask for lesser convictions that don’t involve the death penalty and there’s evidence to support that.
That’s a legitimate strategy under the circumstances. Sheesh. What a lousy game.
Update 2: I guess I should have seen this coming. As if the government didn’t have enough advantages when prosecuting people, now there’s a move afoot to pass “Travis Alexander’s Law” to prevent criminal defendants from “trashing” murder victims. Ugh.