- (Photo: Reuters/Charlie Leight)
As Jodi Arias' current trial appears to be winding down, another trial could be just beginning if a judge rules in favor of the defense's motion for a mistrial. The defense filed a motion for a mistrial yesterday, and the judge is expected to rule some time today.
"Statements Juror 5 made in front of her fellow jurors amounts to misconduct that inserted partiality in what is supposed to be an impartial body," read the statement by defense attorney Kirk Nurmi released by AZCentral.com.
Jurors are not to discuss the case with one another and are reminded of that every day before court begins. If Juror 5 did make such statements, it could effectively remove her from the jury and lead to a mistrial, in which case Arias would likely be held until an appeal was heard in court.
Nurmi argued that Juror 5 can no longer be impartial towards Arias and may have influenced her fellow jurors, making "her removal from the jury essential" to Arias' right to a fair trial. It's unclear exactly what was said, as the case has been sealed and will unlikely be revealed.
The defense has also asked for a mistrial after alleging that jurors saw lead prosecutor Juan Martinez outside the courthouse signing autographs and taking photographs with fans. His misconduct, reported the defense, also goes against Arias' rights to a speedy and fair trial.
Judge Sherry Stephens questioned each juror individually to hear what she or he saw or heard. It was during that time that Nurmi learned of Juror 5's alleged misconduct, leading him to file another claim for misconduct.
"During that hearing, information came out that Juror 5 had engaged in misconduct that affected more than one juror," Nurmi wrote in his motion.
Arias has been on trial since January, and it's likely that the case will soon go to a jury, which will then rule on whether Arias is guilty of first-degree murder. If she is found guilty, Arias could be sentenced to the death penalty. Her case has been incredibly popular to watch and is often compared to the sensationalism of the Casey Anthony trial.
Judge Stephens is to rule on the mistrial motion today.