This blog is some observations about Kirk Nurmi’s performance as a lawyer for Jodi Arias, in light of some of the information he discloses about the pre-trial preparations in the first of three books about the case.
Although being a self-published book, presumably written without the aid of a professional editor, the first thing to say is I found the book to be very readable and engaging. Kirk explains his view of the law, the case and his feelings about Jodi Arias with great clarity. For anyone interested in the case, I would say this book is a “must-buy”.
I would also say this is a very honest book. It pulls no punches in making it very clear that Nurmi, before the trial began, did not like Jodi Arias and did not wish to represent her at trial.
There is a lot of fascinating information in the book, much of it new. For example we learn that the first domestic violence expert could not testify due to illness.
I have no criticism of the analysis Nurmi makes about the relationship between Jodi and Travis Alexander. I also agree with his assessment of the State’s professional witnesses. He observes that DeMarte was inexperienced, Flores was evasive, and suggests Dr Horn’s change of theory was suspicious. In addition Melendez was not a true expert, only having minimal training in the operation of Encase.
Now to some criticisms. I have to say Nurmi shows a lack of empathy. Of course an attorney must maintain some distance from his client, but by his own account he had a very poor relationship with both Jodi and her mother. He indicates he was unable to communicate effectively with Jodi at meetings, failing to adapt to any shortcomings she had.
He also jumps to early conclusions. For example he deduces from Jodi’s booking photo that she is mentally ill. According to my sources, the truth of the matter is that when the photo was taken, it was suggested to Jodi that she looked miserable, and so she smiled for the camera.
More seriously, he seems to assume that Jodi and not Travis was the aggressor in the fight that happened on June 4, 2008. I believe this mistaken belief meant that he did not closely examine the evidence at the scene to determine if it could be used to argue that Travis was in fact the aggressor.
He also failed to anticipate that the case would hinge on Jodi’s testimony concerning the gas cans, and failed to obtain evidence that would corroborate her testimony.
Ultimately I believe these failures contributed to Jodi’s wrongful conviction, but on the positive side, I also believe that the State’s case is utterly false, and Jodi should and will win a new trial.
I look forward to parts two and three.
See also Raising the bar – but certainly not in Arizona by Lise LaSalle.