Jodi Arias Verdict and Trial Summary
After a long and winding legal road, a judge sentenced convicted killer Jodi Arias to life in prison without the possibility of parole. While the verdict itself felt like mere formality, the trial was anything but.
The case, in which Arias was accused of stabbing and shooting her boyfriend to death in 2008, garnered international infamy. And after she was convicted, her sentencing took on a legal life of its own. Now that the case has drawn to a close, here's a timeline of important events that led to the verdict:
Criminal Trial, Guilt Phase
- March 2013: In an odd twist of Arizona criminal law, jurors are allowed to question witnesses, and jurors in the Arias case submit over 100 questions to the alleged murderer.
- April 2013: After the prosecution rested its case, a juror is excused from the proceedings, the third to be sent home. Officials did not release the reason for the dismissal.
- May 2013: Jodi Arias' own attorney admits that he doesn't even like his own client during his closing arguments. (This is not kosher, legally speaking, and the judge tells the jury to disregard the statement.)
- May 2013: The jury receives extensive instructions as it begins its deliberations process.
- May 2013: The jury unanimously finds Arias guilty of both premeditated and first degree felony murder. The jury then moves on to decide her sentence.
Capital Punishment Trial, Sentence Phase
- May 2013: More than 13 hours of deliberation was not enough for the jury to come to a unanimous decision on whether Arias should get the death penalty or life in prison. In most states, this kind of deadlock would take execution off the table, but Arizona allows for a new jury to be sworn in to hear the sentencing arguments again.
- August 2014: The judge rules that Arias may represent herself during the sentencing phase.
- March 2014: A new jury is selected for sentencing retrial.
- November 2014: The retrial resumes after a two-week delay while both sides argue about whether the media could be excluded from the courtroom during witness testimony.
- January 2015: Transcripts of Arias's undisclosed testimony during the sentencing phase are released to the media.
- March 2015: A second jury fails to come to a unanimous sentencing verdict, meaning that Arias will not get the death penalty and will be sentenced to life in prison. It will be up to the judge whether Arias will be eligible for parole.
- April 2015: Judge Sherry Stephens decides Arias will not be eligible for parole and will serve the rest of her life in prison.
Thus ends nearly seven years of courtroom and tabloid drama.
- Jodi Arias Verdict: How Would You Have Handled the Case? (FindLaw's Strategist)
- What Are the Stages of a Death Penalty Case? (FindLaw Blotter)
- What Is a Retrial? When Can You Get One? (FindLaw Blotter)
- Boston Bomber Found Guilty of All Charges; Death Penalty? (FindLaw Blotter)
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