A hearing was held for Jodi Arias to determine when her case will resume. Jodi Arias was convicted of premeditated murder but the jury was unable to reach a verdict on a sentence.
Today’s hearing lasted only three minutes. Judge Sherry Stevens said she “hopes” that the trial will resume in September. For now, she set a new status conference for August 26, 2013.
Courtroom reports indicate that both sides met in closed chambers before the official hearing making it difficult to know why the judge did not have a more definitive answer about when the sentencing phrase of the trial will begin.
There was no decision on the motion to vacate the aggravator, which determines if Jodi Arias is eligible to receive the death penalty.
In essence, we still don’t know when the sentencing trial will begin.
Courtroom observers noted that Jodi has gained weight and was wearing her hair in a bun. She was dressed in prison stripes and surrounded by armed guards.
Richard Chrisman, Juan Martinez’s Next High-Profile Case
It’s possible that the repeated delays are related to another upcoming high-profile trial set to begin at the end of July. Juan Martinez will be prosecuting ex-Phoenix police officer Richard Chrisman. Judge Sherry Stevens will be presiding. Mr. Chrisman is accused of shooting an unarmed man and his dog in 2010. He has been charged with murder and animal cruelty.
The key prosecution witness in the Chrisman trial is Officer Sergio Virgillo. Officer Virgillo witnessed the shooting. Virgillo was standing right next to Daniel Rodriguez, the victim, when the two were “grabbing each other.” Officer Virgillo said he looked away after Mr. Chrisman pulled his gun and fired. Officer Virgillo stated that neither he nor Mr. Chrisman were in any danger and that lethal force was not required.
Mr. Chrisman’s attorney called Officer Virgillo’s version of events a “fairytale.”
Prosecutor Martinez will likely highlight a well-documented 2005 incident in which Mr. Chrisman planted drugs on a mentally ill homeless woman. Though Mr. Chrisman said it was a prank, he was suspended for one day by the Phoenix Police Department.
Mr. Chrisman is also on the Brady List, a database of police officers who have “questionable integrity.” Many of the officers listed on the Brady List happen to be from Maricopa County.
News reports have indicated that Mr. Chrisman’s trial has been continued for a total of nine times.
It appears that continuances are not uncommon in Judge Sherry Stevens’ courtroom.