Jodi Arias: Hell Hath No Fury

Arias lawyers wanted to withdraw but were denied

Kirk Nurmi May 1, 2013. Photo / AP  - The Arizona Republic Mark Henle, Pool bannerPHOENIX (AP) – Attorneys for Jodi Arias asked to step down from the case after their client was convicted of first-degree murder, but a judge denied the request, according to court minutes obtained Thursday.

Details about the motion were sealed, but legal experts said Arias complicated efforts for her defense when she gave an interview to Fox affiliate KSAZ minutes after her conviction last week saying she preferred death over life in prison.

“I believe death is the ultimate freedom, and I’d rather have my freedom as soon as I can get it,” Arias said.

Arias will return to court Thursday for the final phase of her trial as the same jury that convicted her weighs whether the former waitress should be sentenced to life in prison or death.

Her attorneys must convince jurors she shouldn’t be executed. But during a closed-door meeting with the judge on Tuesday, Kirk Nurmi and Jennifer Willmott sought permission to withdraw from the case, the minutes state.

Los Angeles-area criminal defense lawyer Mark Geragos said Arias’ attorneys have a conflict of interest with their efforts to keep their client off death row and Arias’ assertion that she’d rather die for her crime.

“It’s not highly unusual,” he said. “There are cases where defendants make decisions that they’re better off on death row, but that puts the lawyer in a conflicted position. You’ve got a duty as a lawyer to bring the conflict of interest to the courts and disclose it.”

Added Phoenix criminal defense lawyer Julio Laboy: “It would be something I would do in my major felony cases if I found that a client was actually working against me and not working with her defense.”

Arias cannot choose the death penalty. It’s up to the jury to recommend a sentence.

On Wednesday, the panel took less than three hours to determine that Arias should be eligible for death in the killing of her one-time lover after prosecutors proved the murder was especially cruel and heinous.

Arias, 32, acknowledged killing Travis Alexander on June 4, 2008, at his suburban Phoenix home after a day of sex. She initially denied any involvement then later blamed the attack on masked intruders. Two years after her arrest, she settled on self-defense.

On Thursday, the penalty phase of her trial begins. Prosecutors will call Alexander’s family and others to testify in an effort to convince the panel that Arias should face the ultimate punishment.

Arias’ defense lawyers will have her family members testify, and likely others who have known her over the years, in an attempt to gain sympathy from jurors to save her life. It’s not yet known if Arias will testify.

Arias showed no emotion Wednesday after the jury returned a decision that was widely expected given the violent nature of the killing. She slashed Alexander’s throat, stabbed him in the heart and shot him in the forehead.

The victim suffered nearly 30 knife wounds in what prosecutors described as an attack fueled by jealous rage after Alexander wanted to end his affair with Arias and prepared to take a trip to Mexico with another woman.


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Source: AP

Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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Patricia Nelson says:


Joe F says:

This defense team really had NO IDEA what they were getting themselves into. Now… they see what Travis was dealing with, 1st hand. Pretty sad when a defendant can scare their defense team off the trial. This women (Jodi) is “Twilight Zone” Crazy.

Safia says:

Of course they wanted to quit her! Her alleged mitigating factors for life are:

1. Her age (27 at the time she murdered Travis)
2. Lack of any prior criminal record
3. She draws stuff
4. She’s a good friend (quite ironic when remembering the infamous, “I would never hurt my dear friend, Travis Alexander” quote)
5. Her “troubled” childhood (0_o)
6. She tried to ‘improve’ herself at some point in time (HWhat? I do not understand this one at all)

I guess when all you have is hay, you have to hold onto the straws. ;-)

Patricia Nelson says:


Patricia Nelson says:


maureen says:

It’s hard to defend someone when they don’t listen to you and won’t take your advise. She’s even lied to them. They can’t help her if she isn’t honest with them. Nurmi is an experienced attorney and I like him. It’s hard to listen to him when he talks but he is a good attorney. He knows his stuff and has been around awhile. He knows they aren’t helping her if she does what she wants and they know it’s the wrong thing to do. Like the interview with Fox news after she was convicted of 1st degree murder. They advised her it wasn’t a good idea to do the interview but she wouldn’t listen to them and did it anyway. They probably didn’t want her to testify, she didn’t have to, Casey Anthony didn’t and 1st degree was on the table there too. Casey walked because the jury didn’t have to listen to her lies and didn’t believe her.

Gina says:

Another delay today? Oh what a big surprise.. Jodi is milking this case and playing the jury like a tune. Wilmot and Nurmi have been excellent Defense Attorney’s. There’s only so much you can do if your client is a controlling psycho and obviously guilty….That said, if I ever needed a great Defense Attorney, it would be Wilmot.

Judy says:

Her lawyers knew she committed pre meditated murder they stayed in for the $$$$ I’m sure there practice wouldn’t gave brought in that kind of guaranteed money.

Randolph Knackstedt says:

From what I understand, Kirk Nurmi NEVER wanted to take the case. I’m not sure about Jennifer Willmott.

People criticize the defenses tactics, but it’s their job to get their client off the hook, or minimize the blow. They didn’t have much to work with and they had to use whichever tactic they could to try to sway the jury … that’s what they’re getting paid to do.

Safia says:

Thank you for your sensible comment! People are so quick to demonize defense lawyers. Do they believe that defending someone legally means you condone their actions? Yet, it is the defense attorneys who keep the law in check for everyone!
I was wondering where you heard Nurmi did not want to be on this case? That does make perfect sense since Arias is not quite his usual clientele.
She certainly didn’t give her defense much to work with at all! I can’t imagine the frustration to attempt a murder one defense with a client who won’t even tell the truth. I suppose that’s something Jose Baez could relate to.
And, I was also wondering if you knew how many attorneys she has gone through since her indictment or where to find more info regarding that?
Somebody had mentioned 11 but did not cite any source on that.

ELaine C says:

Lastly, I noticed she wasn’t as warm and cuddly with JW yesterday. Their interactions appeared only professional. No smiling, joking, pats of comfort from her attorney (s). Cant be best friends with clients even if your intention is to humanize them to the jury. It was taken too far and came off as mis-chievious and disrespectful. nuff said.

ELaine C says:

Her attorneys asked for a withdrawal because it is obvious her efforts to run the show is “killing” her case for defense. Now her attorneys can blame her for the failure instead of having the integrity to admit they didnt do so well themselves. It is sad because she still does not get it. Her arrogance and ego are too defiant to admit she was wrong. The five most important words:”I admit I am wrong.” Her own family continue to support her delusion of drama. What else could her attorney’s have done? Not made the victim the bad guy!! Instead focus on her emotional and mental states – not through the eyes of victimhood. I think she would have had a better chance but now it’s over – either way she should not have been allowed to control her defense – she withdrew as her own attorney long time ago.

Lois says:

I think that this is the only thing they could of done to help Jodi get an appeal for her conviction.

Debbie says:

Can you blame them???


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