Jodi Arias Trial Update: Convicted Murderer To Represent Herself In September Penalty Phase

Jodi Arias
Arias pictured during her murder trial in 2013. Now the convicted murder, who received her GED in jail, has relinquished her right represent herself at the second penalty phase trail set to occur in on September 29th. Reuters

The Jodi Arias trial continues and not without it’s normal fair share of drama. On Monday, a judge ruled that Jodi Arias, a convicted murdered can represent herself legally in the forthcoming and final penalty phase of her trial, which has been ongoing since 2008. The September penalty phase trail will determine whether or not jurors vote for the death penalty against Arias for the murder of her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander.

Despite the murder occurring in 2008, Arias, 34, was convicted of first-degree murder on May 8, 2013, but jurors could not reach a decision on her sentence, mainly due to the looming death penalty. According to Arizona law, while the initial jury could not come to a decision, prosecutors now have the opportunity to hold a second penalty phase with a new jury in an effort to secure the death penalty. However, Arias’ conviction of first-degree murder remains unchanged.

According to the Associated Press, Arias has clashed with her defense lawyers through this long process, even attempting to fire them previously. This combative relationship most likely prompted Arias to ask Judge Sherry Stephens to allow her to represent herself in the second penalty phase set for Sept. 8. Despite allowing Arias to act as her own lawyer, Judge Stephens warned Arias, "I do not believe it is in your best interest ... I strongly urge you to reconsider."

Now with the second penalty case set for only four weeks away, Arias who received her GED in jail will take on the enormous task of arguing the death penalty. Though representing herself, Arias team of defense lawyers will remain involved in the trial as advisory council.

"It's actually probably a good idea to represent herself," said San Francisco-area defense attorney Daniel Horowitz. "She looks like a vicious psychopath with a ridiculous defense." However, Horowitz did state that regardless of the vicious nature of the crime, death penalty cases are difficult to get the jury to agree on. "If she can get just one juror to bond with her on some level, even if they hate her, they're getting to know her, and it's harder to kill someone you know," he said.

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Donovan Longo

Donovan Longo, staff reporter, joined the Latin Times team in February 2013 and has quickly become our resident pop culture expert. As a native New Yorker and Fordham University alumni, Donovan has always had her finger on the cultural pulse and is here to get you in the know.  As a follower of Donovan’s writing you will undoubtedly win a game of thrones, survive a zombie apocalypse, fall in love with a vampire and outsmart the CIA.