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Appeals Court Slams Jodi Arias Prosecutor

But she's still guilty of murder, Arizona court says
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 25, 2020 3:26 AM CDT

(Newser) – The Arizona Court of Appeals on Tuesday upheld Jodi Arias’ first-degree murder conviction and life prison sentence in the 2008 killing of her former boyfriend. Arias' lawyers had argued that a prosecutor's misconduct and a judge's failure to control news coverage during the case deprived her of the right to a fair trial. But the three-member appeals court, in a 29-page opinion, unanimously concluded that prosecutor Juan Martinez's conduct in the case didn't outweigh Arias’ guilt, the AP reports. "We conclude that Arias was convicted based upon the overwhelming evidence of her guilt, not as a result of prosecutorial misconduct," the ruling said. However, it noted "an egregious case of misconduct by a highly-experienced prosecutor" who “improperly engaged in self-promoting conduct.”

The panel condemned Martinez's “argumentative phrasing of questions" to defense witnesses, adding that his "aggressive tone and combative, bullying behavior" were recurring issues in the trial and Arias' attorneys moved for a mistrial six times. "We strongly disapprove of his actions, we are compelled to follow the well-established principle that we do not 'reverse convictions merely to punish a prosecutor’s misdeeds,'" the court said. Arias was convicted of killing ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander at his home in the Phoenix suburb of Mesa. Prosecutors have said Arias violently attacked Alexander in a jealous rage. Arias has acknowledged killing Alexander but claimed she acted in self-defense. He was stabbed nearly 30 times, had his throat slit, and was shot in the head.

(Read more Jodi Arias stories.)

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