Judge Sherri Stephens banned live TV coverage of the penalty phase in the Jodi Arias trial. In May of 2013, Arias was convicted of the first degree murder of her one time boyfriend Travis Alexander. The entire trial was broadcast live on national TV making Jodi Arias the 2013 Casey Anthony. Judge Stephens does not want the same sensationalized attention thrust back on Arias as she waits to learn whether or not she will be sentenced to life in prison or be given the death penalty.
"The court expects there will be significantly less media coverage of the case during the retrial of the penalty phase," the judge wrote in her ruling which was published on Friday. Stephens also banned the use of all electronic devices inside the courtroom. This means reporters will not be able to give live updates during the sentencing as they had done when Arias was on trial. The judge denied the defense's request to have the sentencing moved out of its current Phoenix County.
The defense felt that by keeping the hearing in its current County would make it difficult to find a jury that was not biased against Arias. The judge felt moving the sentencing out of the metropolitan area was not necessary since she will be summoning 400 prospective jurors. "Jurors with preconceived notions about the appropriate sentence will be excused," Stephens wrote in her ruling. Stephens also denied the defense's request to sequester the jury for what is expected to be a two-month trial.
No retrial date has been set. In 2008 Arias killed Alexander after the pair spent the evening in his home having sex and taking exotic photos of one another. A few days later Alexander was found by friends in the shower stall of his own bathroom with over 20 stab wounds, a bullet to the head and a slash across his throat. Arias was the prime suspect from the beginning and after a series of lies began to unravel around her she was arrested.
Arias was found guilty of the murder of Travis Alexander but the same jury that convicted her could not decide if she deserved life or death. If the second jury cannot make a decision regarding life or death the death penalty will be taken off the table and it will be up to the judge to sentence Arias to life in prison or life with the possibility of release after 25 years. Arias admitted to killing Alexander but claimed she did so in self-defense. Friends of Alexander say Arias began to stalk him after their relationship ended.
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