Judge Sherry Stevens ruled against Jodi Arias’ defense motion to “vacate the jury’s finding the aggravating factor that the murder of Mr. Alexander was especially cruel…”
Jodi’s lawyers argued that the definition of “especially cruel,” as applied to murder, is unconstitutionally vague and therefore “legally meaningless.”
It is their belief that jurors, with no legal experience, can’t properly determine what makes one killing more cruel or heinous than another.
They also argued that it violated the separation of powers doctrine.
Jodi Arias will return to court August 26, 2013 for a hearing. Barring any deals between the prosecution and defense teams, Judge Sherry Stevens will set a new sentencing trial date for September 2013.
A new jury will need to be impaneled for the sentencing trial. If that jury is unable to reach to a unanimous decision, the death penalty will no longer be an option for sentencing. Judge Sherry Stevens, at that point, would sentence Jodi Arias to either life behind bars or she’d would be eligible for release after 25 years.
The state is still prepared to seek the death penalty but would consider an alternative resolution after consulting the Alexander family. Since the Alexander family has expressed their desire for the death penalty, it is all but certain that another “mini” trial will take place.
Jodi Arias was convicted of the premeditated murder of Travis Alexander on May 8, 2013 and is awaiting the second penalty phase in jail.