Jodi Arias Trial: Prosecutor Martinez Challenges LaViolette’s Credentials

Here’s the CV, let’s take a look. Alyce2

Ms. LaViolette lists 18 publications on her Curriculum Vitae (CV). Her book is listed twice since there was a second edition. A third edition of her book is scheduled for release April 23, 2013. If she counts the third edition of the book, she would then have 19 publications.

Peer Reviewed Publications

According to her CV, Ms. LaViolette lists four journal articles. Journal articles are typically peer reviewed. Were Ms. LaViolettes’ peer reviewed? Peer reviewed means that usually two to four reviewers, familiar with research in a particular area, carefully evaluate a manuscript, and decide whether or not it is acceptable for publication. Information about the reviewers and the review process, for these articles, could not be obtained. Let’s look at possible reasons why no information could be found.

Journal Article #1

LaViolette, A. (2009). Assessing intimate partner violence: A context sensitive aggression scale. Journal of Child Custody, 6, 219- 231.

In this article, Ms. LaViolette is listed as the only author. Currently, this article is not accessible in full text form. This typically means that it is not a widely read journal.  The journal is only published four times a year which is an unusually small number. The context of the article appears to deal with a continuum of aggression related to intimate partner violence. Ms. LaViolette is also on the editorial board of this journal, which might help to explain why it may have been published in the first place. There are many bigger and fully accepted journals that deal with this subject area. One would wonder why she did not attempt to have it published in one of the more prestigious journals or if she did submit it, why the editors rejected the article.

Journal Article #2

LaViolette, A. (2001) Batterers’ treatment: Observations from the trenches. Journal of Aggression, Maltreatment & Trauma, 5 (2), 45-56.

This article was simultaneously published in the book Domestic Violence Offenders: Current Interventions, Research and Implications for Policies and Standards by Robert A. Geffner and Alan Rosenbaum. It would appear to be a chapter or part of a chapter in that book.

This article was accessible via full text. It begins with Ms. LaViolette recounting her early work in domestic violence (DV) shelters, particularly the 1979 development of a women’s shelter program called Alternatives to Violence (ATV). ATV was designed to help battered wives and is based on the shelter philosophy of “male power and privilege” (p. 47). She then traces the evolution of DV programs, and provides case examples.

This article is descriptive in nature. It is basically the history of her early work experience, replete with anecdotes and plenty of interesting stories like the ones she relates in her testimony. She offers no causal data, no testable theoretical models. There is nothing of an experimental nature. There are no results that could be verified by a reviewer or a peer. There is no statistical analysis. It is basically unverifiable. It is a collection of her untested opinions and things she saw with her own eyes. Is she right? We’ll never know because there is nothing there to test.

This was similar to the criticism that Prosecutor Martinez expressed in his cross-examination of Ms. Laviolette. He said to her that her findings in the Jodi Arias case could not be scientifically tested and amounted to just her opinion.

Journal Article #3:

Ms. LaViolette co-authored an article in a journal called: Victimology: An International Journal, entitled: A classification of wife abusers on the BEM sex-role inventory.

This is listed as a journal article on her CV but it could only be found as a paper presented at a 1984 conference for family violence researchers in New Hampshire.

There is a major difference between an unpublished paper (presented at a conference) and a published paper. Many, many papers are presented at conferences. Few papers are published, and fewer still are published in credible, peer reviewed journals. Ms. LaViolette’s paper does not appear to have been published, though she lists it as such in her CV. She says it was published in the journal Victimology: An International Journal. I could find no evidence of the current existence of this journal.

There is a journal with a similar title called International Review of Victimology but I could not locate Ms. LaViolette’s aforementioned article in this journal. The universities from which I tried to gain access to the article do not index this journal which means again, it is mostly likely not widely read. She incorrectly lists this paper on her CV as a journal article when it is really appears to be only a conference paper.

Journal Article #4:

Ms. LaViolette co-authored a 1980 article entitled “Spouse abuse” in the Journal of Occupational Health Nursing.

I searched for this paper but could not locate a journal called Journal of Occupational Health Nursing. There is a journal with a related title called Occupational Health Nursing by it was not indexed by the universities which suggests that it either is not widely read or that the Journal of Occupational Health Nursing is no longer in existence. The article is listed as a citation in Google scholar so it does appear to be a real article but when I clicked on the link to read the abstract, the abstract was missing.

Ms. LaViolette’s Book

Ms. LaViolette co-authored a book: It Could Happen to Anyone: Why Battered Women Stay that was released in 1993, with a subsequent edition in 2000. A new release is expected on April 23, 2013. Sage Publications is listed as the publisher. It is most likely the case that Ms. LaViolette’s book was edited but not peer reviewed. Editing and peer review are very different. Editing involves reviewing a manuscript for grammatical and stylistic errors, whereas peer review involves the rigorous review of whether a manuscript is credible and scientifically valid.

Non-Peer Reviewed 

The remaining articles listed on her CV were published in magazines, brochures, booklets, newsletters, encyclopedias, or non-specified sources. These sources are not peer reviewed. The majority of her publications are of this sort.

Prosecutor Martinez, in his cross-examination, showed evidence that Ms. LaViolette’s CV contained mistakes or misstatements or perhaps worse. It is interesting to note that all of the “mistakes” that he has identified and all of the ones presented in this article, if left unidentified, result in Ms. LaViolette appearing to be more prestigious and more accomplished than if the “mistakes” went unnoticed.

Ms. LaViolette, has spoken of her grand theory of domestic violence. It has gone unchallenged. Perhaps she should have left it that way. She will no longer go unchallenged. Her new high visibility public profile, no longer allows for that. Prosecutor Martinez will challenge her grand theory. In that I have confidence.

I am reminded of a quote by Nietzsche. “The visionary lies to himself, the liar only to others.”

Read the rest of my Jodi Arias articles about the trial.

16 thoughts on “Jodi Arias Trial: Prosecutor Martinez Challenges LaViolette’s Credentials

  1. Re: Journal article #1 – The article is published. Here is a link that is accessible directly on the web, though I was easily able to locate it through my university library.

    Personally, I think that AVL’s writings are aimed at increasing her book sales. She isn’t a professor whose tenure depends on publishing so it does puzzle me why she would be expected to have journal publications, to say nothing of current ones. AVL is a second-wave radical feminist who is wedded to male-initiated IPV.

    That said, I do understand the vitriol aimed at her as a result of her giving what appears to be disingenuous testimony.

    • As a clinician, peer-reviewed publications wouldn’t be expected, nor common. But as an expert witness in a capital murder trial, expertise in the area of a standard that demonstrates she is not only knowledgeable but highly regarded by her peers is essential. As it stands, even if Ms. LaViolette had a Ph.D., her CV wouldn’t qualify her for tenure at the vast majority of universities. If she wouldn’t be considered sufficiently expert in her area to qualify for tenure, then she shouldn’t be testifying as an expert witness in such a serious case.

  2. Thank you for taking the time to so closely review and analyze Ms. LaV’s record. I was struck in her testimony by how befuddled she was when Martinez was asking her if her findings were verifiable. After asking him to repeat the question a couple of times and saying she didn’t understand it, she concluded that she wasn’t good on computers. That statement alone demonstrated an appalling lack of scientific understanding. And when she was talking about her knowledge of forensics (which she apparently gleans in part from CSI, as she indicated in her testimony), I wanted to scream at the computer screen, “Forensics is the application of SCIENCE to the law!”

    I’m very wary of the wholesale critiquing of LaViolette just because she’s testifying on behalf of the defendant, but this is exactly the type of critique that is necessary and reasonable. You are not slamming her personality and presuming her motives, as many do. Instead, you are examining her record and her qualifications to assess her credibility and expertise on a very serious case. The bottom line is, she has had about two years of grad school, has done no original research, and has a very dated and subjective view of a problem for which there is a wealth of objective data that ought to be considered before drawing such wholesale conclusions about domestic abuse. Yet sadly, I don’t doubt for a minute that she believes her theories are her findings.

  3. Another excellent article!

    Thank you for taking the time to try to track down ALV’s “peer-reviewed” journal articles.

    I’ve been deeply troubled by ALV’s testimony. She relies entirely on her subjective experiences in her practice; I don’t remember any of ALV’s testimony referring to research of any kind. I find ALV’s apparent lack of knowledge regarding research related to DV absolutely inexcusable. I must question ALV’s fitness as an expert witness and as a practioner who is currently working with clients.

    ALV has been excessively hostile towards Mr. Martinez. IMO, ALV is used to being treated as the “pioneering expert” in the field of DV. I suspect that AVL hasn’t had to defend her theories/professional opinions in a very long time. ALV appears to have a following based on her work from the ’80s rather than any work she has done in the past 10 years. ALV is used to being praised.

    I found it curious that ALV’s CV lists every conference, workshop and community event she has attended in her years as a practitioner. These are events and meetings that she has attended; she wasn’t presenting at these events. It is possible that I’m misreading her CV; ALV is a little vague in some parts of her CV.

    Frankly, I believe that ALV is quite narcissistic. On the last page of her CV, under “Honors/Awards”, ALV lists that she was “elected” to Phi Kappa Phi” in 1980. Seriously?! Joining an academic honors society is worthy of being listed on one’s CV?

    Mr. Martinez has effectively demonstrated that ALV’s professional qualifications and her abilities as a forensic evaluator are questionable. The jury knows that ALV is unqualified to be an expert witness. ALV has supported the State’s case rather than the defense’s case.

  4. I’m watching the trial live right now and I’m shocked at how hostile ALV appears toward JM. Couldn’t she be deemed a hostile witness? She’s flat out refusing to answer yes or no questions by saying “That’s not a yes or no question Mr. Martinez”. Even when he’s repeatedly asking “yes or no” and “please answer the question”.

    I know people are complaining as to how long this is dragging on but I think JM wants to dot every i and cross ever t. We all saw what happened with Casey Anthony!

  5. Can you advise us on where to write letters or petition to have Laviolette’s license revoked?? I shudder to think of the lives she has ruined with her anti-male bias in custody cases. Pure evil.

  6. Now that ALV is being questioned by the defense, she suddenly has the ability to answer yes or no. This is one DIRTY defense team…they’re only making Jodi even more despisable than she previously was.

  7. Another most interesting and revealing piece of research. Thank you.
    La Violette’s motives are of great concern, as are her findings which to say the least are highly questionable. – particularly that the accused has been a victim of domestic violence.
    After watching the accused’s ‘performances’ on 48 Hours Mystery, and in court, a conclusion that she has low self esteem is extraordinary.
    Her attempts to engage the prosecutor were ill-advised and further dented her credibility. If it was to be judged as a boxing match, by the time she was returned to the care of the defence, it was obvious she had suffered a TKO defeat.
    Apart from character assassinating the victim of this horrendous crime – for which they deserve total condemnation – it is difficult to resolve how either of the defence ‘expert’ witnesses has assisted the defence, and it is not difficult to conclude that the longer they were exposed in the witness box, the greater harm they did – not only to their own reputations, but to the interests of the accused.

  8. ALV was 100% bias with her testimony. She was determined to stick with defense at all cost and thus was hostile and unprofessional. The length that she will go in order to prove and support her opinion is alarming.

  9. I am deeply disturbed by the testimony provided by Ms. LaViolette.
    She spoke at length, and with seeming authority, about what Mr. Alexander said to others and what they said to him. She explained how Mr. Alexander felt, what his fears and regrets and even his expectations were. She described and interpreted his behavior, and gave extremely judgmental “evidence” of his ‘womanizing’ and his ‘cruelty’.
    I thought she was hired to evaluate Ms. Arias – yet where was any evidence relating to the effects of “domestic violence” on Jodi Arias??
    Did Jodi suffer from nightmares, or physical ailments related to stress? Was she unable to hold a job, eat properly, manage her life, house or job? Did she, like Nicole Simpson, take and hide photos of herself after violent incidents? Did she file a single police report or request an order of protection? Or any single thing that might prove she suffered such abuse as might provoke the extreme overkill of a “perpetrator”?
    I am also concerned that Ms. LaViolette does not seem to notice Jodi’s arrogant, almost gleeful attitude; adopting it instead for herself. The obvious disdain on her face as she described Mr. Alexander was really shocking, and her arrogant refusal to observe proper courtroom decorum was an appalling . Questioning and mocking the prosecutor? “Forgetting” her reading glasses and leaving her cell phone to ring from the gallery while she was on the witness stand? Really??? Her behavior has been an insult to the many women who have had to fight for the right to appear in a court of law seeking help for authentic domestic violence situations. If she wishes to be held up as an expert, shouldn’t she at least try to practice what she preaches?
    It has been heartbreaking to watch a female defense attorney and a woman with 30+ years in the DV field work in concert to destroy a man whose worst crimes were being lustful and naïve? If Ms.Laviolette truly cared about stopping abuse, how could she possibly sit up in front of the world and gleefully participate in such a public castration?
    Much has been said about the “cyber-bullying” Ms. LaViolette has supposedly experienced during this trial. I think it is simply the flip side of the ugly courtroom bullying which has elevated the perpetrator by putting the victim on trial.

  10. When I looked at ALV’s CV I noticed that she didn’t use correct citation format; i.e., she doesn’t list her co-author of the book (who is the one with a Ph.D.), she doesn’t list the papers she has presented properly, & it appeared to me that she was “padding” her CV to make it more impressive.

    There are very well known & widely respected female Ph.D.s working in the DV field, with published quantitative research. Qualitative research needs to triangulated, something quite a bit more than just an opinion. Which is all ALV has to offer. An opinion & blaming the victim.

    • Good point about triangulation, which refers to getting information from more than just one source. For example, even in a quantitative study, multiple researchers can be used to their findings can be compared for bias. Any such effort with LaViolette?

  11. Does ms Violette actually have any credentials? did she graduate from an accredited masters or phd program?does she have a license to practice, such as Lisw or lpcc? If not she wasted tax payers money.

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