All the media talking heads, many of them lawyers, have taken their cue from the Jodi Arias jury’s verdict of “guilty” to begin describing her as a “convicted murder(ess)”.
Unless things are different in Arizona than they are just about anywhere else in the country, this is….not true.
The conviction occurs upon the judgment, and indeed in most places in a criminal case the final judgment is called a judgment of conviction. The judgment of conviction can be based upon a “verdict” by a jury or a judge, or upon a plea of guilty by a defendant. And here is the key: the judgment of conviction must include the sentence. Thus, there is no “conviction” until the sentence.
In the Jodi Arias case we do not yet have a sentence, and so although there has been a verdict of guilty there is no judgment of conviction, and so she is not as of this writing a convicted murderess.
This may seem like a distinction without a difference, but like many things in the law it’s true that it doesn’t matter – until it does. And there have been cases where the distinction becomes important.
So, you know, lawyers should be careful how they speak lest they mislead the public. Not intentionally, of course. No lawyer would ever do that.