Wednesday, April 17, 2013
The Jodi Arias Trial Stress Me Out!
Why am I watching this trial day after day when it stresses me out? I have no idea. The woman is clearly guilty. She shot Travis, her ex-boyfriend, twice in the head and stabbed him 29 times, claiming self-defense. How she managed to get her hands on a gun and knife has yet to be ascertained. I’ve blogged the details of the case before, but now I want to talk about the witnesses that are driving me up a wall.
First, there were days of testimony from psychologist, Dr. Samuels, who gets paid $250 per hour. He spent untold hours with Jodi Arias, performing his “evaluation” in addition to numerous tests. His conclusion? She has post traumatic shock syndrome from killing Travis in self-defense. Now, he came up with all kinds of ways to use the information he obtained from his interviews and tests to make Jodi “fit” the criteria for post traumatic stress. He was even so careless (at $250 an hour) to leave a few criteria out of his report and then “fudge” them back in during his testimony on the witness stand. He called those “typos,” I call them careless omissions of material information. I wasn’t buying what he was selling. First of all even though the guy has years upon years of experience as a psychologist, his primary focus has been as a sex therapist. Jodi is not in need of a sex therapist. I still don’t understand why a sex therapist is testifying and evaluating Jodi Arias? Maybe I missed something? Maybe he was the only psychologist who would concoct an evaluation to help her defense? In any case, the post traumatic shock diagnosis is important because it is being used to explain the four to five house “blackout” period she had that began at the point she did all the stabbing. Apparently, the memory stops encoding information when you are going through a trauma…just more mumbo jumbo I am not buying in this case.
The second defense expert is Alyce Laviolette. She is another psychologist who is an expert in battered women. She is there to suggest that in her evaluation of Jodi, she feels Jodi is a battered woman subject to abuse by Travis. This testimony is to bolster her claim of self defense, which no one is buying. Her testimony went on for days. She interview Jodi for many, many hours, as did Samuels, far more than more people are interviewed for evaluations. What I found disturbing about her testimony is that she drew conclusions and claimed to know the operation of Jodi’s mind, and poor Travis’ mind, just from the written word from journals and texts and emails. She turned minor incidents into controlling behavior to make a case for Jodi. I could barely stand to listen to her drone on and on ad nauseam. Her testimony was purely subjective to me. You can tell the jurors weren’t happy either because they had tons of questions for both Alyce and Samuels, to clarify points and question their conclusions.
All the while, at least two to three weeks of testimony from these experts, Jodi sits in the courtroom drawing in her book, with a smug look on her face, She laughs and chats with her attorney. She hasn’t a care in the world besides selling her artwork online AND sending out tweets on Twitter via a third party, who opened up an account in her name, so she could make comments about the trial and prosecutor. The judge has a gag order on everyone in the case, including Jodi, because she is a witness and testified, but once again Jodi must consider herself above the law. The judge says it’s up to the sheriff’s office to monitor her tweets. Oh well. The defense rests.
Yesterday the prosecution brings on one expert witness, Dr. Janeen DeMarte, a psychologist. She is there to rebut the testimony of the defense witnesses. Already, from the start, she is far more interesting to listen to. Thank God. She talks about maintaining objectivity in performing evaluations and that it could be compromised when an evaluator spends an extraordinarily long time in the process, as did Alyce and Dr. Samuels. She says the typical time would be anywhere from an hour to four hours and maybe up to twelve, not the forty-four hours they say they spent talking to Jodi. She disagrees with the diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder, saying Jodi’s behavior doesn’t indicate she was suffering from that at all. Instead, Dr. DeMarte says she would diagnosis Jodi with Borderline Personality Disorder. She also testified that the story Jodi told her varied greatly from the one she told Dr. Samuels and had a lot less memory of the events, even though Dr. DeMarte interviewed her AFTER she was interviewed by Dr. Samuels. So her memory was decreasing over time, not increasing, as in normal cases of trauma. I just think Jodi was being more open with the experts trying to help her case and withholding information from the prosecution’s expert. What does that show? She is still lying, manipulating and calculating. However, the prosecution witness has access to the reports written by Alyce and Samuels to compare with her own. During cross examination, the defense tried to show that Dr. DeMarte is young and has little professional experience compared to their witnesses and tried to devalue her testimony with the jurors. However, Dr. DeMarte came across as very credible, articulate and did not hesitate to answer any questions directed at her, unlike Alyce and Samuels. I think the jurors appreciated her testimony and no questions were placed in the basket for her to clarify anything she said.
I’ll be interested to see what else Dr. DeMarte has to say today, after a good night’s sleep. I hope she has some snappy comebacks for that defense attorney, who happens to be very young herself. Does that make her an inexperienced attorney and less competent? I wish she would ask her that, just for the hell of it!