Jodi Arias – Sidebar Cat Squeeze

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AZCentral.com sidebars:

Introduction by Reporters

Mark: They were the arguments that most court observers never were able to hear, arguments often times heated between Judge Sherry Stephens and the attorneys. Sidebars that had a big impact on the Jodi Arias trial revealed now, because we and our reporting partners at the Arizona Republic fought to uncover them. Chris Williams has covered the killer romance trial nearly every day for months. He joins us with this exclusive new information, Chris.

Chris: Mark, these are just some of the dvds we pushed to get you. They contain video and audio from the in-court camera system, something not available during the trial, and now under seal again while we await Jodi Arias’ retrial, the punishment phase. What this video reveals may surprise even some who closely watched the case. Nurmi’s voice: Can we approach your honor? Stephens voice: You may. Sidebar conferences in the Jodi Arias trial were held in hushed tones, with the blare of white noise filling the rest of the courtroom. The only people who knew what was going on in front of the bench were the judge, attorneys and court reporter. Only now are we hearing just how far prosecutor, Juan Martinez, wanted to dive into cross examination with defence expert witness, Alyce LaViolette, at one point asking permission to introduce what he claims was evidence of animal torture at the hands of Jodi Arias.

Martinez: 558 talks about torturing pets. The defendant tortured her cat, and I want to get into that. And it’s in her notes, and it’s something that she knows about.
Chris: In fact, a juror wondered as much. This question I uncovered in court files shows an anonymous juror turned in a question that the judge did not read in court: “What pets did you have as a child? Did you ever intentionally hurt a pet or animal?”
Martinez: My argument is going to be is that if anybody is the abuser it is her, and as for ..that’s where I’m headed.
Chris: Judge Stephens asked the bulldog prosecutor for Ms. LaViolette’s report.
Stephens: However, Mr. Martinez, I did read the notes and it says that she poked at the cat and she slapped the dog. But I don’t know that that rises to a level of torturing a pet, which is what is listed on the … under terrorism, it says ‘torturing’ pets.
Martinez: But she also squeezed the cat out of anger. Um … she also squeezed the cat very tight … too tight, out of anger.
Chris: Despite that repeated push, Judge Stephens did not buy Juan Martinez’s argument, and that information went no further at trial, Mark.

Tape 1 Torturing of Pets

Martinez: 558 talks about torturing pets. The defendant tortured her cat, and I want to get into that. And it’s in her notes, and it’s something that she knows about and if this is the chart that they’re going to be using, …I’ve already established that the family of origin issue is involved, also the stalking, I think I have established that, .. and now top, established this sexual humiliation, I don’t have to establish that there’s any physical contact and she says you don’t have to meet all of these. My argument is going to be is that if anybody is the abuser it is her, and as for ..that’s where I’m headed. And just …
Stephens: Let me, let me, let me have some more information about the notes. What does it say about
Martinez: Let me go get it. Let me …
Stephens: Okay.
Willmott: May I see the notes, Judge?
Stephens: Yes.
Stephens: However, Mr. Martinez, I did read the notes and it says that she poked at the cat and she slapped the dog. But I don’t know that that rises to a level of torturing a pet, which is what is listed on the … under terrorism, it says ‘torturing pets’.
Martinez: But she also squeezed the cat out of anger. Um … she also squeezed the cat very tight … too tight, out of anger.
Stephens: To me that’s a fine line to torture and I think, under 403 that, the prejudicial fact of that testimony far outweighs the probative value in this circumstance, so I’m going to sustain the objection.”

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