With a defense attorney like Kirk Nurmi, who needs a prosecutor like Juan Martinez?
“To fully get a visual of what Ms. Arias did to my brain, you would have to find some fecal matter, throw it into the pan, add a chopped up dead rat and scramble the whole mess up. Once completely cooked, this concoction would then approximate the effect that Ms. Arias had on my brain.”
This is an excerpt from the book Jodi Arias’ defense (and I use the term loosely) attorney wrote, possibly on the back of toilet paper, after he was released from a case he did not win or even remotely tried with professionalism, competence or common sense.
I would imagine that this pathetic attempt at redeeming his image or boost his legal career, might eventually cost him more than he bargained for.
I do not know what is in the water in Arizona, but the prosecutor working the same case is also publishing a book, probably available during the Holidays and so handy to offer as the gift that keeps on giving for those eager to spew hatred.
The difference being that the prosecutor is supported by a big publishing company and the defense attorney had to handle his own publishing. It is a story of David and Goliath, and even if the little guy defeated the big fat giant, the only losers had to be Lady Justice standing by looking revulsed, and of course the defendant, Ms. Arias, who was stuck between these two malefactors after the death of her lover.
One was supposed to defend her because the other one wanted to kill her. Even if their goals were legitimately opposed, it is now difficult to differentiate between the two. And the fact that they are both writing a book to disgrace Arias even if an appeal is underway is beyond unethical, not to say mind blowing.
How is it even possible or allowed? It is a blatant attempt at throwing the book at justice.
Are they so afraid that the decision might not stand on appeal that they are desperately trying to sink her case? They are like the Arizona mafia making sure they leave only dead bodies in their wake. They both struck out so now they are back for a homerun and want to make sure the defendant is sunk, but with blocks of cement this time; and what better way to do this than through public opinion and with added details they could not inject in the trial.
Passing the bar
Becoming an attorney is no easy feat and it requires dedication and countless hours spent studying, especially if you are not of superior intelligence, but just average Joes like Nurmi and Martinez.
It is not sufficient to pass the exam to become an attorney. Bar examiners also assess the character and fitness of applicants for a law license. They seek background information because law is a public profession and once licensed, attorneys have the power to inflict substantial harm to their vulnerable client if they so desire.
Many fail the bar exam several times and Nurmi was one of the numerous students to encounter this roadblock. But he persevered because, according to his book, he had a passion for the law and wanted to become a public defender.
Martinez also succeeded in his quest to become a lawman in spite of his humble origins, and managed to become the first in his Mexican family to have reached this level of education.
They both frequented average institutions and eventually found their way to Arizona to fulfill their legal ambition. Martinez as a prosecutor and Nurmi as a public defender. They had never faced each other in a courtroom but their mutual experience in capital cases was the link that eventually brought them together.
The lawyer’s oath and office
Justice Miller of the Supreme Court described the lawyer’s office in these terms ‘’the lawyer in this country is one of the administrators of justice. The judge who presides in the court is another, with more authority of position, and, perhaps, in some respects, a more burdensome one.
The court, and the clerk, and the marshal, the sheriff, the jury, the lawyer, all constitute ministers of justice; and a lawyer who consciously undertakes to thwart justice is unfit for the position, as much as the judge who accepts a bribe, or knowingly decides a case against the law and the right; and it should be understood that they are subjected, to their clients; but this is not the first duty, as is generally supposed. Their first duty is the administration of justice, and their duty to their client is subordinate to that.’’
What happened in Arizona? You have sheriff Arpaio ruling as a tyrant and the prosecutor and defense attorney of a high profile case with an appeal underway deciding to write a book about it with the authorization of the DA’s office. Will the presiding judge, Sherry Stephens, dance the Can Can during Juan Martinez book tour?
And what to say about jurors from this particular case, partying with the victim’s family? There are no words.
Instead of raising the bar in Arizona, this small cluster of legal beagles decided to limbo under the bar, go over the bar, to the bar or through the bar. But whatever they did has nothing to do with their first duty which should have been the administration of justice.
Their fixation on lowering the bar when it comes to the Jodi Arias case is troubling and seems to stem from egotistic pursuits.
Trapped with Ms. Arias
To say that this book is a mess would be an understatement. It is lacking in every aspect possible; poorly written, inconsistent, illogical, unprofessional.
In this lowly effort, Kirk Nurmi seems to be bent on revenge. He was poorly perceived during this high profile trial and is desperately seeking approbation from his critics. His narrative is crippled by striking contradictions. He is against the death penalty but if Arias screams at her own mother over the phone to give her money for Doritos, and talks to supporters while sitting alone in a shitty jail, it becomes offensive enough to wish death upon her.
Beggars can’t be choosers and it also goes for her choice of attorney.
I would like to see him in jail with no money in his commissary account, fed only two meals a day and with no one to talk to. I have the feeling this ogre would roar. The telephone or video conferencing often becomes the only lifeline of inmates.
At trial, his defense was that his mentally disturbed client was abused and acted in self-defense in the death of Travis Alexander. He also tried to explain during his closing argument that the covert operation and premeditation presented by the state did not hold water.
In his book, he cannot go against his own defense theory without paying the piper, so he says in a roundabout way that she kind of deserved to die but because of observations he made while spying on her jail conversations. He tries to run with the hare and hunt with the hounds.
I doubt that his phone will ring off the hook to request his legal representation after this one. Who will trust him now?
One cannot help but wonder what could have triggered this vindictiveness against Arias. The fact that he allegedly heard his wife being called a blonde skinny bitch by Sandra Arias during an exchange with her daughter probably did not help matters. The details he heard had absolutely nothing to do with the case and were never used by the prosecution; which emphasizes the fact that they were totally irrelevant.
I still cannot get over the fact that he sat for hours on end, like a Peeping Tom and a word voyeur, enraptured by all his client’s private conversations that he is now using to vilify her. He is threading through the shoals and sandbars; between a breach of confidentiality and what he can use without being reprimanded by the bar association. Good luck with that!
I have rarely read such illogical hogwash coming from an attorney and the cruel tone used against Arias persists throughout the book. A lawyer must remain objective and detached and should not want to hurt his client in any way.
He says Arias was flirtatious with him during their early encounters and later considered him as her boyfriend. Consequently, she did not mind if he saw her naked photos but threw a fit because he wanted to make them public during trial.
I know he says he is no psychologist, but a cauliflower would have more reasoning power. Is there a female on the planet who could believe that Arias tried to flirt with Nurmi? On the contrary, she probably tried to make him feel at ease because of his physical shortcomings. I wonder if in his next installment, we will learn that his co-chair and the judge made a move on him.
But for the sake of argument, let’s say she did, and it was because of the patterns he suspected came from abuse. Reporting it so negatively would absolutely forfeit his supposedly concern over her well-being because there would be absolutely no motivation to publish his suspicions except to do harm.
And if he does not understand the horror felt by a woman whose genitals and quasi pornographic pictures are about to be exposed to the world, he has no compassion or common sense whatsoever.
Arias did not see him as her boyfriend, but she thought of him as her lawyer. Of course, he could see her photos and every aspect of the case. Why would she have felt outraged by it? She did not have a choice anyway. He was supposed to be her ally until he decided to go into private practice and quit on her.
He does not seem to comprehend why a client whose life is on the line would be upset if her lawyer walked out in the middle of the case because he wants to go in private practice and does not give a damn about her. And especially because he cannot take the heat and would prefer to join the mob.
The concept of incarceration also seems to evade him completely. When a young woman lives in a jail cell in Arizona, she is bound to be needy, eager to have human contact and someone to work on her case diligently. If her life is threatened by the state, she wants the undivided attention of her lawyer. Duh.
It is abhorrent to read the echo of his constant whining about doing his job: he even worked once on the weekend to meet Arias’ mother and he did not like her or her attitude.
She was supposedly not grateful enough for his half-ass effort to represent her daughter. A mother whose daughter is on trial with the death penalty on the table will certainly not qualify as a great candidate for the Nurmi Fan Club.
But, jeez, he had to work on the weekend so get lost Sandra Arias because you were no mother of the year and you live in Yreka. Nurmi expressed his disdain for Yreka and exposed the vacuous feeling emanating from the Arias family home where he did not feel very welcome. And darn, Jodi’s mom had to go to work. How inconvenient for him. It was not a lack of interest for her daughter, but the need to earn a living.
Did he expect Happy Days at la casa de los Cunningham? The Arias family has been devastated in more ways than one and they did not roll out the red carpet for him. Was it so hard to understand that he was not their savior or hero, but the public defender of the last resort dragging his feet since day one?
And by the way folks, he did not like Jodi’s cat either or being asked if he petted the little feline.
The man could not comprehend that her cat might have been one of the few anchors left in her life and very precious to her. Funny how he keeps floating the idea that Jodi was cruel to animals as a child, but he despises her bloody cat and will not bother with it.
He sounds like Martinez during a sidebar, trying to squeeze in that Arias would hold her cat a little too tight. These two are so desperate that it borders on SNL.
I also took exception to his comments about the Arias family not caring about Jodi, including her sister and brothers. Did it ever occur to him that they had no intention of confiding in him because they did not trust his actions? By all accounts, her siblings adore her.
Instead of a mea culpa, his book is a mea innocentia. You would expect a narrative of the case point by point with explanations as to why it went wrong; lack of expert testimony about the crime scene, blood spatter, no gun expert and how the prosecutor’s intimidation of the domestic violence witness and the psychologist worked against him. His client’s testimony being way too long. The role of the media that turned his client into a monster and made his work an uphill battle. Or how he was too repetitive and kept bringing up the bloody sex tape ad nauseam.
He is defending himself and not Arias. He is attacking her and keeps delivering low blows to show the legion of Jodi haters that he did not mean to represent her, but was forced to do so. He cannot really do it without sabotaging the entire defense he presented and risk being disbarred so he picks her apart in several other ways that are totally irrelevant to the case and conveniently not verifiable.
At trial, he deplored Travis’ abusive language towards Jodi and used it as a mitigating factor, but he now uses terms like ‘dead rat’ and ‘feces’ in reference to his client. He is desperately trying to redeem himself by joining the bullies who kicked his client when she was down. I cannot imagine that this will not be included in the record on appeal.
It turns out that Kirk Nurmi hates Estrella Jail. News flash, all the inmates hate that horrible dungeon, but it is his job to visit his client every week in a capital case.
He did not like to go to Mesa or Yreka either. In fact, he did not like to do his job at all. Digging to find evidence or witnesses to support his client’s case was a real burden.
Are we to forget that Nurmi was paid $2.5 million for defending Arias?
And talking to her was also a burden. Strangely, when other people enjoy talking to Arias, he deducts that she has the quality of a cult leader. It is not because she is nice or generous, it is because she hypnotizes them.
I wonder what Darryl Brewer saw in her. Could it be that she worked hard and was very nice to his son? Or was she a cult leader who happened to pay a huge share of the mortgage? And what about Matt? Did they remain friends after he cheated on her because she had a hold on him? She could not make him faithful with her special power? This woman never had a free ride in her life. She always worked hard to earn her keep.
Even Travis Alexander said that Arias was a much nicer person than he was. So Nurmi trying to demonize his client to get brownie points after the fact sounds terribly like sour grapes.
Jennifer Willmott liked her client and basically saved her from the death penalty. Nurmi did not do much for his client, except destabilize her case, obsess on the sex tape and pick his nose on camera.
The only strong cross-examination of witnesses came from Willmott. When during closing argument, he said that he did not like Arias, the jury could only hear the message loud and clear. It pretty well nullified his defense.
You do not have to like your client to put up a good defense, but in such a high profile case, 9 days out of 10 was an overkill. Once again, he was trying to run with the hare and hunt with the hounds and it should constitute pretty interesting material for appeal.
The ‘I do not like my client’ tactic has been used successfully in other cases, but always with the intent to win over the jury to your side. Never with the ‘I’m stuck defending this client, but don’t hate me for it cause I hate her too’ tactic.
He improved during the second trial, and grew some hair and legal balls, but it was too late in the game. And who came up with porngate? It was Jodi Arias herself. In the short time that she represented herself, she managed to dig up that information.
She had tried to get Nurmi to inquire about the porn on the computer and he never did. And he is now blaming her for wanting him to do his job.
Nurmi is convinced that Jodi Arias was sexually abused as a child. On what basis? He keeps repeating that he is not a psychologist, and it is pretty obvious by now that he lacks common sense. She obviously was neglected, and they mentioned some abuse at trial, but he should have kept this new theory to himself, especially without any evidence to support his allegations.
If he believed Jodi had mental problems and was the victim of sexual abuse, he should have shown compassion instead of intolerance. You do not write a burn book about your client when her appeal is underway or join the ranks of the army of cynics eager to burn her at the stake. It is called catering to hate.
Even if Yreka was too lowly for the great Jabba and he accuses Jodi’s mother of not being there for her daughter, she sat in the court room every day of the trial, in spite of her financial difficulties. Arias testified that their relationship was complicated.
Who is he to bash her family publicly when he damaged her more than they ever could? The woman was totally devastated by this tragedy and her husband could not attend the trial most of the time because he is afflicted with serious health problems.
I am still intrigued by the fact that only one juror saw that at the time of the tragedy, Arias was in the throes of depression and it was well documented in her journals. It saved Jodi’s life.
Arias’s father when he spoke to Flores on tape, said that his daughter was very upset and suffering from shifting moods since a couple of years. She would call crying and scream at her mother and call back a short time later and be very nice and apologetic. It happened to be the exact period of time she spent with Travis in Mesa. It is not difficult to tie her troubles to this situation.
Nurmi knew about her condition and the fact that she was lodged in one of the worst jails in America, and for a time, in a cell for 23 hours a day. You would think that it would have explained, at least partly, the behavior he keeps questioning and criticizing.
He hated setting foot there but his client was not supposed to be affected by her incarceration? She stayed in jail 5 years awaiting her trial because she was indigent. If she had money, she could have been out on bail. And he did not know why she was emotional or gathering help from supporters and her family?
There is comic relief in the book. It is not all sour grapes. When Nurmi talks about Arias growing pot on the roof of her family home as the result of abuse, I could not help but laugh and recall how Jodi’s friend said that it was one dried up plant in a Tupperware container. No big deal. Her parents totally overreacted to that event by calling the cops on their daughter, even if according to Nurmi, they did not care about their kids.
It is not psychology 101, it is Nurmi 000. The man often lacks judgment and it was clearly on display at trial. He never knew when to stop and usually ended up beating a dead horse. He had a knack for diluting the impact of a revealing statement by repeating it too many times.
There are moments in the book when he appears to feign compassion or sadness, especially for Travis Alexander and his family or to describe some troubling scenes in prison, but it falls flat. He is not selling it with great conviction.
I now seriously doubt his initial passion for being a public defender. He is no Gideon’s army. He is a lone ego driven attorney who decided to put his own interests ahead of the administration of justice and his client.
Real public defenders handle hundreds of cases and he ended up with one, but managed to turn it into the Shining.
I have worked with many lawyers through the years and not once have I heard one of them complain this way. And I never encountered a case where both sides of a coin become one in order to milk a tragedy.
Nurmi should stick to writing diet books and growing his hair.
Juan Martinez will try to administer the last blow to Arias in his future best-seller book, but the Damocles sword might be hanging over his own head right now because of the complaints that will be filed against him in Arizona. His long dark history is nipping at his heels.
Click here for a recap of Juan’s accomplishments and the complaint being filed by attorney Robert McWhirter to the State Bar of Arizona. According to Mel McDonald, a onetime judge and United States Attorney for the district of Arizona who now works as a criminal defense attorney, “Juan is a victory-at-any-cost prosecutor driven by his own ego,” “He lies easily and he always overreaches, always plays to the mob mentality.”
For the record, I do not see this prosecutor as a great legal mind, but mostly as a shrewd man working in a much too lenient County.
He would have been relegated to the ranks of average lawyer if he played by the rules or resided in a legally civilized state. His victories are mostly based on grandstanding and shady practices supported by an anemic jury pool.
Martinez is holding on to his new found fame and the only way to do it is through osmosis. The kind of adulation he is craving is intricately tied to Jodi Arias and without his better half, he will go back to the land of oblivion. Who will ask him for an autograph if he moves on to another case?
These two Abbott and Costello make us wonder ‘Who’s on first?’
Their greed and ego has made them push the legal envelope and walk a very fine line. If they keep it up, they might provide Arias a get out of jail card. So until they wake up and smell due process, she’s on first.
Click here for a legal opinion on Nurmi being a disgrace to his profession for writing a book about his client.
Click here to read the 12 reasons to worry about our criminal justice system by Judge Alex Kozinski, a prominent appellate judge in the US.
UPDATE: The chickens came home to roost. Click here to read about Nurmi’s 4 year suspension for writing a burn book about his client.
UPDATE: Click here to read about Nurmi being disbarred after objections to a 4 year suspension. Will it open the door to the publication of part II and III of his trilogy?
You can read Arias’ attorney full statement here.