The Final Countdown (penalty retrial)

Excellent account of the first day of closing arguments.

Spotlight on law

Fact-based reporting by

Amanda Chen & Rob Roman

These are the dramatic closing arguments from the second penalty phase re-trial. We cobbled this together from various tweeters concentrating on Jen from the Trial Diaries. There are a few opinions and observations we give at the end. Kirk Nurmi’s 2nd final argument will be a separate article.

Okay, we’re gonna jump ahead to Monday and Tuesday’s action in the courtroom, the closing arguments. We’ll have to get back to the surrebuttal later.


It started out on Monday morning. Angela and Sandy Arias, Jodi’s sister and mom, were in their usual seats. The lawyers and the Judge just got up and disappeared into the Judge’s chambers. The Alexander family is getting seated on the other side. There are no witnesses waiting and the lawyers all have jury instructions in their hands. Jen Wood knows there’s something unusual going on.

The lawyers eventually…

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Jodi’s choice not to testify in open court

Extract from ja meeting in chambers :

Well, I acknowledge that I believe this is a manipulative tactic; and I have concerns about the genuine reason for the request to close the proceeedings: however my concern is that if I don’t close the proceedings , the Defendant will be precluded from testifying


or will refuse: and I’m not sure that under these circumstances an Appellate Court will find that it is a voluntary waiver of her right to present mitigation. So I’m going to close the proceedings. So you are aware, I will read a statement indicating my reasons.

The defendant has an overriding and compelling interest in presenting mitigation evidence from this witness, [Jodi] and that interest will be prejudiced if the courtroom is not closed so that the witness will testify. The closure of the courtroom for the testimony of this witness is no broader than necessary to protect the Defendant’s interest in providing mitigation evidence for the penalty phase jury.

The Court has considered and suggested other alternatives to closing the courtroom: however the witness has refused to participate unless the courtroom is closed during his or her testimony.

A Major Cause of Wrongful Convictions …….. POLITICS !?

I could not agree more. The cult of personality should be anathema to justice, and having elected prosecutors ( and judges ) is inviting that. In the UK, we have an attorney general who supervises the crown prosecution service. The attorney general answers to parliament, and his is not a political position.

Wrongful Convictions Blog

[Editor’s note: this piece has been very difficult to write.  I’ve been working on it for months, and have deliberated about publishing it at all; I think because the objective it advocates is so daunting.  But I do think it goes to the heart of so much that is wrong with the justice system. I do not have hard data to support my position, and I doubt such data will ever exist, but I do have decades of study and careful observation.  I only report what I observe. Please read it, and just think about it.]

This article will be both editorial and somewhat philosophical, at least to the extent that it expresses conclusions on my part, so please bear with me. But it does address an issue that I believe is one of the key flaws in the justice system – and one that seems to be universally overlooked…

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Building the UK’s First Femicide Census: Profiles of Women Killed by Men

Very interesting and sensible project.

Karen Ingala Smith

Femicide Census Logo

As far as I know, already this year, 10 UK women have been killed by men, they range between 25 and 67-years-old, the men who allegedly killed them between 27 and 75.  10 more women to add to the 126 killed in 2012, the 144 killed in 2013 and the 150 killed in 2014.  Between 2012 and 2014,  I counted and shared the names of 410 women. And now the count for 2015 begins.

Three years after starting I started recording the names of UK women killed by men, it’s with a mixture of pride, deep sadness when I think of women whose lives have been taken by men and feminist anger at the continued onslaught of male violence against women, that I’m looking forward to the launch of the Femicide Census:  Profiles of Women Killed by Men at a conference in London on 12th February.

The conference will bringing…

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Good and bad

Some days I get a little depressed when I see so many injustices and feel so powerless. I need to have more faith when I am weak. There are many good people in the world, and a few very bad people. It’s truly odd how people sometimes can confuse the two. Bad people do not come from nowhere, they have a history. But people fail to understand this.

Letter to Jodi

Dear Jodi,

I haven’t written in a while. I was prompted to write by the publication of Michael Morton’s book “Getting Life: An Innocent Man’s 25-year Journey From Prison To Peace”. He was exonerated in October 2011. Morton’s book, “Getting Life” recounts the prosecutorial injustices committed against him, and also reflects on the strength and courage it took to sustain him in prison all those years.

Short quote:

There wasn’t a prison in Texas I couldn’t escape.

After close to two decades in maximum security, I knew all the tricks. Just minutes after I entered my cell, I’d vanish. Without a sound, without suspicion, without a sign that gave away my plan – I would be on the other side of the world before anyone noticed I was gone.

I disappeared into different countries and centuries, other lives and faraway places. By keeping my nose in a book or a magazine or an unfinished novel of my own, I read my way out of prison every day. It did more than keep me amused. It kept me sane – and safe.
It was the only freedom I had.

I was an insatiable reader, always seeking writers and stories that expanded and explained my claustrophobic world.

End Quote

If you ever want to read a particular book, please tell me somehow, and I will be happy to buy a copy and have it sent to you.

I was also glad to hear this morning Maria has sent a “cease and desist” letter to Christine Beswick, who defamed her in the “Examiner”.

There has been some good news. Hannah Overton has been freed on bail. Debra Milke’s case was dismissed by the AZ Court of Appeals (the State has appealed that). Marissa Alexander is free.

The wrongly convicted group I started (2,374 members) now has 50 featured cases, and 7 adopted cases. I also have a much longer case list. There are many, many wrongful convictions. I have recent information that Shawna Forde, on AZ death row, is innocent.

The main page I made for you is just short of 500 “Likes”, we have a team of admins/editors who watch it, and post new articles daily.

I particularly liked that Kirk Nurmi called DeMarte a “part-time Dr Death”.

I cannot express my feelings for that woman, but they are not good!

Keep reading, and keep your spirits up. I will keep doing my utmost to help you.

George Barwood

Sent using

Perjury Prosecution for Lying Prosecutors?

Wrongful Convictions Blog

I am not an attorney, but in my layman’s, non-legal opinion this is potentially (and I say only potentially) huge.

The US Ninth Circuit has advocated criminal perjury prosecution for a prosecutor who lied to the court.  See our previous post about lying federal prosecutors here – in this case, the offending prosecutor got off with just a stern rebuke by the judge, which is sadly typical.

The Ninth Circuit has “recommended” perjury prosecution for a prosecutor who lied about benefits offered to a jailhouse snitch for his testimony.  Incentivizing testimony from snitches is nothing new.  It happens routinely.  But think about this.  If a defense attorney offered benefits to a witness for their testimony, it would be bribery, and the attorney could be prosecuted.  If a prosecutor offers benefits to a witness (snitch), it’s called “cooperation.”  What’s wrong with this picture?!

Now, here’s the “catch” about the…

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