Convicted murderer Jodi Arias is getting another chance to tell her story during her upcoming sentencing retrial, and this time she'll be representing herself.
An Arizona judge agreed on Monday to allow Arias to represent herself in a retrial that could end with Arias facing the death penalty. Reuters reports that Judge Sherry Stephens advised Arias against taking over for her current attorneys, who will now "act as advisory counsels."
Can Arias really represent herself at her retrial?
Facing the Death Penalty
Jodi Arias was found guilty of murdering her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander, in May 2013, and that jury verdict will not be changed in the coming retrial. What is up for grabs is the type of sentence which Arias will receive for her first-degree murder conviction. The last time jurors were called upon to answer this question, they were unable to reach a unanimous verdict.
This mistrial at the sentencing level led to the upcoming retrial, but only on the issue of sentencing. Not that the issue of sentencing is trivial at all; Arizona is one of a few states which exercises the death penalty for first degree murder convicts. And while there are some benefits to representing yourself in court, Arias may have her work cut out for her.
What Will Arias Be Doing?
Since the court has obliged Arias' request to have her attorneys take a backseat at the retrial, it will be up to Arias herself to present a case for mercy to the jury. Arias certainly had plenty to say in her defense during the guilt/innocence portion of her original trial, spending weeks on the witness stand.
Instead of trying to convince a jury of her innocence or proper use of self-defense, Arias will need to convince a jury that mitigating factors support the imposition of a prison sentence, not the death penalty. Jurors can consider both aggravating and mitigating factors when deciding to impose either life in prison or death, including the heinous nature of the crime and Arias' family history.
She may be able to accomplish this by calling character witnesses as well as potentially taking the stand herself.
If the jury fails to reach a unanimous verdict this time, Arias will be automatically sentenced to either life with or without parole by the judge.
- Murderer Jodi Arias to get the spotlight all to herself (The Arizona Republic)
- What Is a Retrial? When Can You Get One? (FindLaw's Blotter)
- Jodi Arias Trial: 5 Facts About Closing Arguments (FindLaw's Blotter)
- Jodi Arias: Jury Instructions Key to Her Fate (FindLaw's Blotter)