Jurors in the Jodi Arias case asked 19 questions of the prosecution expert witness clinical psychologist Dr. Janeen DeMarte. The following questions from the jurors and Dr. DeMarte’s answers are presented.
1. How many forensic cases have you worked on?
DeMarte: I’ve been doing forensic cases for several years. If we are talking about cases that are specifically where an attorney has hired me or the court has hired me, I have been doing that since 2010 when I became licensed. I have been doing other forensically-related work, beginning in 2007.
2. How many times have you testified based on your evaluations?
DeMarte: While I’ve done several forensic evaluations I’ve only been asked to testify three times. This is my third time.
3. How many cases involved abuse?
DeMarte: If this is specific to forensic cases or in general several of my general evaluations, it’s commonly the case that abuse is involved whether it’s child abuse, sexual abuse or domestic violence. If it’s related to forensic cases, I’ll need a second to think.
4. Hypothetically if a person suffered PTSD because of a bear attack while hiking would you throw out their PDS test if they lied and said it was a tiger?
DeMarte: Yes, those would be different events. A lot of times what you see with PTSD is that there’s different triggering events that remind them of the trauma so I would expect that a bear and a tiger would look different, smell different, act different and the subsequent symptoms would be associated with those variables, with those differences among them so I would say that they are different and that I would.
5. Would the person be answering the questions [on the PDS] the same regardless of whether they called the animal a bear or tiger?
DeMarte: They would be answering it very different.
6. Do you believe absolutely that it is possible to remain purely unbiased in an evaluation once compassion creeps in?
DeMarte: I do think it’s possible to remain unbiased if you have some compassion and there are indicators that we have to look within ourselves and barriers that we have to have in front of us to suggest whether we are crossing the line. So crossing the line could be giving something to someone or maybe even being triggered by our own traumas, our own life experiences that could make us feel biased so I think it’s very possible to have compassion and not be biased but we have to make sure that we as professionals are really paying attention and watching that line.
7. What types of people are at risk at developing or having borderline personality disorder?
DeMarte: Unfortunately, anyone is at risk but what we see is a higher prevalence rate of borderline personality disorder in individuals who have been exposed to trauma and neglect throughout their lifetime. One of the important variables that is often talked about in the literature is this idea of being invalidated by family members and by parents. What invalidation means is that if the person, for example, let’s say a child is riding their bike and they fall and they hurt their knee and they are crying because their knee hurts, an example of an invalidation would be a parent saying “your knee doesn’t hurt you’re fine.” They are invalidating their emotions, they’re invalidating their experiences. When we see that happening frequently throughout their childhood that tends to increase the chances that they’ll develop borderline personality disorder.
8. In the interview Jodi gave where she stated “mark my words no jury would ever convict me” do you feel that is part of borderline personality disorder especially since she is smiling when she said it?
DeMarte: I think that is another example of self-esteem and it’s also example of that immaturity that I talked about before, making these immature statements that are often seen in people with borderline personality disorder. I do think that that’s consistent.
9. Wouldn’t taking the camera rather than leaving it show more organizational thinking capabilities?
DeMarte: I would say that they’re both an example organization just different type of organization with the goal being hide the evidence, take away information associated with the killing.
10. When asked by the defense about efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment you stated you had other examples for this category that did not involve Travis. Can you share these examples?
DeMarte: Throughout her diary she used that exact word fear of abandonment. Let me take that back-abandonment, I feel abandoned. She made that comment at least a couple times with other boyfriends. There was also indication in those relationships that they had cheated on her and that she continued to stay in that relationship and then subsequently befriended them and then become very close to them despite being treated in that kind of way. Those were some of the examples that were found in other relationships.
11. Do you think deleting pictures from the camera and then washing that camera is an attempt to remove or destroy evidence?
DeMarte: That’s the impression that it gives yes.
12. If you had not seen pictures proving that the evidence photos was recovered, given your knowledge of cameras would you have viewed this as an effective attempt to destroy evidence?
DeMarte: Of putting it-yes. My knowledge of cameras is that if you put it in water that it would be destroyed and that we wouldn’t expect the camera to continue to work and that the memory card would be destroyed but again my knowledge of cameras is probably that of the average person.
13. In your opinion is it normal for a person who is incarcerated to be depressed and have anxiety.
DeMarte: Yes, I have worked with many individuals who are incarcerated. Interestingly you don’t consistently see it in all of them but certainly it’s not something that’s outside of the scope of what we would expect to see in someone who has a significant change in environments, living at home and then all of a sudden being controlled in a jail setting. It’s a big difference and I would expect to see some changes.
14. Do you consider Jodi stabbing, shooting, and slitting Travis’s throat to be a traumatic event?
DeMarte: That’s certainly an event that could be considered traumatic. The variables that would be important for me to know is how she experienced the event. PTSD, traumatic events that are associated with PTSD, we look for the person’s response to it. Did they experience horror? Did they experience fear associated with the event? If there was this association of being terrified, fear, horror as a result of the event and there’s evidence that there was this horror, fear that continued after the event then yes I would consider it as a potential for the development of PTSD.
15. You said you administered the TSI to Jodi because Dr. Karp had done the same but you did not re-administer other tests that Dr. Karp or Dr. Samuels had given. Can you explain why?
DeMarte: Yes, the tests that I gave-I gave four different tests. One was again just to measure to make sure she had the right reading requisites for the self-report measures. The other tests, those are tests that are very commonly used in forensic settings and for good reason they provide us a lot of really good and important information. I made the decision to use those tests because I thought it would be very helpful. In terms of why I didn’t use the other tests I felt like the tests that I gave answered the questions that I needed and that it wasn’t necessary to administer those other tests and I made the decision to administer the TSI because they did want to look at continuity across evaluators.
16. Do you know what the differences are between the TSI-I versus the TSI-II?
DeMarte: Their slight differences in terms of scale scores. I have not used the TSI-II so I am not as familiar with it as I am with the TSI-I. And there’s updated norms also.
17. Regarding the PDS answer sheet, exhibit number 555, do you know whose handwriting is on the PDS answer sheet?
DeMarte: Objection sustained. No answer.
18. Do you see any issues with Dr. Samuels filling out the answer sheet and possibly summarizing the written answers on section 2?
DeMarte: Yes this is often given to the person to fill out themselves. The only time that can happen is if someone who doesn’t have the mobility to be able to do it themselves or isn’t able to see properly or there’s some sort of impairment there that would prevent them from doing it. I do see it as problematic that if Ms. Arias didn’t fill this out, this just isn’t in line with how it is typically administered and could potentially be suggestive of something else.
19. Does it cause any concern for you regarding the validity of the tests that the written answers appear to be answered by someone who is familiar with psychological verbiage and not in layman’s verbiage?
DeMarte: Yes that would be very concerning.