Juan Martinez did it. He published a burn book about Jodi Arias and kicked his masterpiece tour in the hope of putting another brick in her wall of shame. It is called Conviction – The Untold story of putting Jodi Arias behind bars
I was fortunate to have a friend generous enough to lend me her iPad containing this eBook. Otherwise, I would not have spent any money for the pleasure of laying eyes on this Malleus Maleficarum written by the new and improved gentle prosecutor trying to pass his money-making essay as the untold story of the Jodi Arias’ conviction.
Do not be fooled by the title, the content of the book is a complete rehash of police interviews and trial testimony. The only untold details are so unimportant and unrelated that it does not bring anything to the table, unless you belong to the petty “I hate Jodi Club.” And even then, the few morsels thrown by Juan will not be enough to satiate your hunger for hatred or revenge.
What struck me more about the content of this book is what was glaringly absent from it and the glossing over of important evidence. It runs on empty and does not take an in depth look at the case or its prosecutor.
It is the very lazy account of a man who more or less confirms his tendencies towards narcissism, cruelty and simplistic reasoning, but would like the readers to believe that because he speaks in a softer voice and adopt a calm demeanor during interviews, his conduct in the courtroom was simply a persona created to uphold the law and get results.
I mustered the courage to listen to his interview with Nancy Grace. I know it would necessitate a dose of Gravol to be able to keep your stomach content when Nancy gives her notion of the truth, but I was frankly curious to know if they would come up with some interesting arguments, instead of the usual character assassination. For those not preoccupied with the law, due process and justice, it did not disappoint.
It turned out to be a very one sided interview. Poor Juan could hardly say a word. As usual, Nancy was bombshell excited, and focusing on useless details like the fact that we find out in Martinez’ book (and take the little children out of the room first) that Jodi bought a bikini after Travis’death. And recently, Jodi called a guard a bad word in prison, which became the point of entry for a sex tape live excerpt, nude photo and a slew of insults.
Juan had to remind her that he did not introduce the bikini at trial because it was irrelevant and after the fact. Showing her disregard for the rules, Nancy said that she would have thrown it in anyway, and let the jury decide.
The interview was a disaster. She managed to get Juan to say that he used a harsh tone at trial because he did not want to be led like a dog on a leash by Jodi during cross-examination, and he surely was not going to be her court Jester.
In pure Dumb & Dumber fashion, the next question should have been “So you were afraid of her, but why did you use that same angry tone with all the other defense witnesses?” And why did you yell at some of your own witnesses?”
But it was left to us the viewers to ask the real questions. And by the way, he became the Court Jester without any help from Arias.
To this day, prosecutor Martinez cannot admit that his tone and anger are counterproductive, and defends his harsh and confusing courtroom tactics as the only way to get to the truth. You would think that he would know by now that it does not work, and even if he gets notches on his belt, the concept of verity goes out the door in the process. Another notion that seems to evade him.
The proudest moment of his book is when he can finally tell everyone that he had figured out Arias’ game because of the gas cans. He kept it under wrap for 4 years waiting to pounce. I could not help seeing a little Jose Baez transpiring with his bloody gas can theory.
And that brings me to another interesting subject ignored in the book: The Constitution.
“In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.”
In his book, Juan simply says that Jodi remained in jail for five years so they would prepare for trial. Nothing about the right to a speedy trial or the fact that it gave the State an immeasurable advantage.
You can click here to read the story of Adam Picard whose first degree murder charges were stayed four years after the alleged incident occurred, due to lengthy delays in his criminal trial. And he is not the only one. The difference is that he lives in Canada and the Supreme Court had enough of these cases of complacency and tolerance of delay. By respecting the constitution, it will insure justice for both sides.
The Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution reads:
“Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.
When fixing the amount of bail for a particular defendant, the court takes into consideration several factors: (1) the seriousness of the offense; (2) the weight of evidence against the accused (3) the nature and extent of any ties, such as family or employment, that the accused has to the community where he or she will be prosecuted; (4) the accused’s ability to pay a given amount; and (5) the likelihood that the accused will flee the jurisdiction if released.”
It is mentioned briefly in the book that Arias’ bail was set at $2 million, which was beyond excessive considering that her ability to pay the given amount was non-existent and she was supposed to be considered innocent until proven guilty. And at the time, she was claiming her innocence. She had strong ties to the community through her family and no financial means allowing her to flee the jurisdiction.
But Juan had the gas can theory going and presumed her guilty from the beginning so he was A-OK with her not being released on bail.
Everlasting damage of pretrial detention
In the U.S., which has the largest pretrial detention population in the world, 20 percent of detainees eventually have their case dismissed or are acquitted, but that was not a concern for Maricopa at the time.
Being detained while awaiting trial can cause lasting damage to a detainee. The loss of liberty and security, and being cut off from friends and family can result in lasting psychological impact. Not to mention the dismal medical care they usually receive and often have to fight for, as well as the scarcity and poor quality of the prison food.
So when Juan talks about the Jodi Arias he met in the courtroom five years after the fact, he does not mention that she was the product of years of detention in a horrible County jail because she was indigent. The jury never met the girl in a relationship with Travis, they saw someone who had suffered 5 years of incarceration.
What obviously mattered to this prosecutor was winning and demeaning, especially if it was going to be a high profile case. After all, this is how he usually proceeds; screams, asks yes or no questions in rapid fire, accuses the person on the hot seat of having memory problems and of lying about the evidence. The Arias case was not this clown’s first rodeo.
When he talks about her changed appearance and grey hairs, it is because the fairly young woman who had an encounter of the third kind with her former beau did not exist anymore, and according to the Constitution, was treated unfairly.
It is a known fact that most inmates who have no vision problems when they are incarcerated, end up wearing glasses within one or two years because of poor lighting, nutrition and conditions.
So when he questions Arias’ conservative appearance with her natural hair color and glasses, I realize that a lot of legal professionals who judged him harshly were actually right; he is not a bright man at all.
He goes as far as criticizing the fact that she was wearing large pants, but declares subsequently that she was fitted with a leg brace, not to mention a stun belt, which makes him sound like an insensitive fool. Was she supposed to wear tights or a ball gown over this gear?
He went through a transformation himself in the middle of the trial when is mane went from salt and pepper to Jet black to look better on camera, and for his photo ops outside the courtroom.
Arias had no access to hair coloring or the glasses of her choice in jail. And she dressed casual conservative because it was a courtroom, and not a night at the PPL ball.
In the US, more than 15 states have people locked up and awaiting trial for five years or more. It seems that no government or private entity is monitoring trial wait times nationally, making it impossible to know how broadly defendants’ rights are being violated.
According to Alicia Bannon, a researcher at the Brennan Center for Justice, “If we don’t keep track of the data, we have no idea if we’re respecting citizens’ constitutional rights,”
New York does keep this data, but even monitoring trial wait times does little to limit the time accused wait for justice.
According to Bannon, good data collection is an essential part of ensuring the proper administration of justice.
“Part of investing in our courts should be investing in good data collection,” she says, “so that we’re able to set good benchmarks to see how different states are performing against each other.”
Money bonds are not effective
Even if the cops and the state tried to make Arias appear as a great danger to society and pretended that she had left dead bodies in the desert to justify keeping her in jail, did it serve a purpose to keep up locked up for five years?
Why would people who paid money for their freedom be less of a threat? Arias had no priors and by all accounts, did not have a violent bone in her body before Travis’ death. And please, I do not want to hear about her kicking a dog who had messed with dirty diapers in the yard or how she would play kick the can under the table with her mother.
But does the money-based bail bond system, and resulting pretrial detention, keep criminal threats off the streets and ensure that alleged felons show up for their assigned court dates? According to the research, the answer is a resounding no.
According to Mike Jones, a senior project associate for PJI in Colorado who has worked on criminal justice and pretrial issues for 10 years, “This concerned us as we knew the research indicated that financial bonds plays no role in predicting who will show up in court or commit new crimes while released, so we started looking at pretrial risk assessments based on validated research on predictors of pretrial behavior as an alternative jurisdictions could use to assist decision-makers in releasing offenders.”
“The fact is, money does not address public safety, but systems act as if it does,” Jones said.
At an International Drug Policy Reform Conference in Denver, Jones was part of a panel discussion titled, “How Money Bail Exploits the Poor and Makes the Bond Industry Rich.”
For-Profit Bail Bonds Industry
In Australia, Canada and England, it is a crime to write bail bonds for profit.
In the U.S., a century-old for-profit commercial bail bonding industry thrives around the cash-based bonds system.
Mind you, Jodi Arias was not even a candidate for bail bonds profit because her family was also indigent. But this is the kind of conversation I would like to read about, instead of the silly one about a defendant’s character.
Change of venue for high profile cases
The Supreme Court has ruled that proceedings may be transferred to a different location, at a defendant’s request, if local prejudices would prevent a fair trial. Courts may transfer a case at their discretion.
It obviously was not done in the Arias case that was as high profile as you can get. Not only that, but the jury was not sequestered because they have not done it for a long time and did not feel like doing so.
There you have it. This is how they roll in Maricopa County.
Juan made a concerted effort not to let in Black and Latinos during jury selection. He had his pick of a group of citizens who were already death penalty qualified so it is a bit like fishing in a barrel if you ask me.
If he had not asked for the death penalty, the jury pool might have been much less inclined to follow his lead.
Movies and books about trials
They make TV movies before or during trials, which is totally whacked and should be illegal, but when called on it, the producers invoke the First Amendment. Wow, how fast they forget the other Amendments but always retain the one about freedom of speech.
This is what Nurmi and Martinez hang their hat on: The First Amendment guarantees freedoms concerning religion, expression, assembly, and the right to petition.
Even if they were criticized by most ethical lawyers for doing so, they decided to write books about a case they participated in, even if the accused is appealing the verdict. Who cares, right? Click here to read one of several blogs written about the disgrace Kirk Nurmi brought to his profession. Even if he seems to be under the impression that he did not breach attorney/client privilege, I doubt that his deplorable actions will go unchallenged, even in seemingly lawless Arizona.
They now both criticize Arias for having a voice. If she writes anything on social media through a friend, the messengers are called minions and stupid followers and she is bashed for expressing herself.
She is not allowed to have any verbal altercation with a prison guard or talk about domestic violence through a Rap video, because according to them, the Constitutional amendments do not apply to her.
Sorry fellows, but she has rights.
Crime fiction author Anne Rule used to say that inmates had no right because they were in prison. Wrong, and she eventually paid the price for lying about an inmate in one of her books.
Sex, Lies, Videotape…and Gas Cans
Juan’s book is so full of dramatized details and his own interpretation of facts, that it does not sound like it was written by a legal professional.
It has the tone of Mean Girls’ gossip conversation.
Exactly the same tone we heard at trial from his hired gun Janeen DeMarte.
He accuses Jodi of being a bad waitress, and bases his opinion on a few bad remarks during a period when her life was unraveling, but ignores the glaring recommendations that prevailed throughout her career.
He keeps mentioning how she was a grammar Nazi. As if trying to better herself was a crime.
In spite of all the good things he heard from her former lovers, he goes for the word clingy or any negative he can find.
He exploits her tense relationship with her mother which should be considered normal considering the dysfunctional aspect of the family.
When he says that he hoped that Sandra Arias would not cry or make a scene in the courtroom like she did at the police station, it shows his true colors. It was fine for the Alexanders to wail and make faces but this mother had no right to be in pain. The Arias family was a class act in the courtroom
In the book, Juan criticizes Alyce Laviolette, but do not condemn her public lynching, and he barely mentions his own expert DeMarte who had zero experience in domestic violence and only a few years of practice under her belt.
He still disrespects Dr. Samuels and denies Arias was suffering from PTSD even if she showed all the telltale signs of this condition. But he accepts the Borderline diagnostic of his own expert not realizing that it would explain the behavior he criticized as immature.
What he describes as Arias’ weirdness or coldness during police interrogations and afterwards was explained in details at both trials by experts like Dr. Robert Geffner who testified for free and had enough experience to get rid all of Martinez’s lightweights in one fell swoop.
But Geffner spilled his glass of water and belched on the stand so he was disqualified by the peanut gallery.
Juan keeps hammering the fact that Jodi is a liar and has no credibility. What about his own credibility? In his book, he keeps alive the fantasy of the gunshot being last. Everyone knows Travis was shot first. Even the ones who despise the accused.
He presents allegations as facts. Nobody can prove she stole her grandfather’s gun. The police’s report mentions a footprint on the door that was damaged during the break in. Did they photograph it or compare it to Jodi’s footprint? If they did, we sure did not hear about it.
He still maintains that she changed her hair color to brown for her covert mission in spite of photos dated before her trip that clearly show her with brown hair, but with two blond streaks in the front. We all know that the car rental agent saw her driver’s licence with the photo of a blonde, so it would explain a lot. And who cares if she colored her whole mane brown?
Ryan Burns was told by Jodi she was becoming a brunette in their emails. Travis had seen her and she had announced it to a PPL friend called Julie Christopher who reported it on HLN.
It is the same ole stuff rehashed over and over again.
The letters allegedly written by Travis and presenting him in a bad light were no surprise because Nurmi had already spilled the beans. In fact, neither side could establish if the letters were authentic or not. The fact that Jodi wrote words on a small card that resembled the victim’s handwriting does not explain how she could have written entire pages and smuggled them without anyone noticing. It was not entered into evidence at trial and challenged or explained properly so I do not see the point of it all.
The stalking and tire slashing were revived in the book. Once again with no proof whatsoever.
The doggie door fantasy story came to life again and was once more presented as evidence. Just looking at the photo, you know she could have never squeezed in there, and she never had to anyway because the door was either unlocked or she could use the garage code. Plus, like many of his friends, she had an open invitation to la casa de Alexander.
Strangely enough, most of his arguments have the feel of a burn more than real evidence. It is like using a magnifying glass to burn a hole in your target with the help of the sun, instead of seeing the light and really analyzing and looking at what is really there.
Juan makes it sound like Arias or the other Estrella inmate that came forward about sending a message in a magazine are the only ones to have ever used that method to transmit a message on the outside. It is a popular method of communication in prison where there is no sense of privacy whatsoever. If the inmate who testified that she wrote the notes did not remember the exact names of the magazines or the pages where she scribbled something, it is because nobody would recall such details anyway. That was far from a Perry Mason moment. He did not debunk anything.
The gas cans do not constitute the ultimate proof. My sister who lives in Arizona has some in her trunk every time she drives long distances. Arias could have exchanged the kerosene can anytime at Walmart and the fact that they did not have the receipt is meaningless. This is Walmart we are speaking of and the store had moved. Who knows if they kept all returns?
You probably could exchange a dirty diaper at WM and they would take it back without fuss or paperwork.
The color of a rental car, a licence plate upside down, the uncharged phone and the cans are his entire case. Nothing new to offer. If the cans were filled in another state, it kind of blows the concept of using them only to avoid detection in AZ.
His gas calculations left a lot to be desired, and by the time he is through with his list, the portrait he tried to burn in people’s mind is one of vilification more than that of a crime.
The camera in the washer is the smoking gun, and proves she was involved in Travis’ death.
What he presents cuts both ways as far as premeditation is concerned. If you are very bright and you plan a covert operation, you are not, as a photographer, going to leave the camera behind even if the photos have been deleted.
He mentions in the book that Arias told them that some companies could retrieve the data. I do not know how he could present that as proof of premeditation if she tells them the photos can be retrieved.
I could not help but laugh even in the face of tragedy, when Juan said that he visited the crime scene hands his pockets, and looking at the room, saw a methodical killer. Are you kidding me?
It was a total mess.
Every scene he tries to present as planned and organized, we clearly see as frantic and chaotic. And once again, his theory of Travis in front of the mirror with Jodi stabbing him flies in the face of logic and the evidence.
If Arias had planned this murder, wouldn’t she have made sure to keep a solid alibi? Instead, she was frolicking with Travis and her plans with Burns were falling on the wayside.
How could she justify being that late and having that much mileage on the rental car if she had planned it so well?
She made calls from Arizona and she also called Gus Searcy to tell him Travis was dead. How is that for keeping up with her covert operation?
She did lie, but every human being stuck in a horrible situation tends to fabricate. So the fact that she eventually admitted her involvement should have provided her with a plea deal and some brownie points. How easy would it have been to pursue this charade without testifying at trial?
The woman finally fessed up and all she was offered was more grief. Not very conducive to telling the truth.
The fact that she could not shut up and did not preserve herself in any shape or form is proof that she was not a master manipulator, a monster or remotely persuasive. On the other hand, the mini court jester showed plenty of talent for manipulation.
Contrary to what Nurmi would have people believe, Arias’ legal team liked her and cared about what happened to her.
This is what her lawyer Victoria Washington had to say about Jodi.
The addiction and unhealthy attachment that some formed to the infamous Candy Crush is mind boggling. To this day, they have their ears peeled to the ground in case she says something or talks about the fajitas she ate.
And it seems that Juan is acting the same way. He could not let go and walk away. He had to write a tell all book to pat himself in the back to prove that he was right all along. He accuses Arias of never taking personal responsibility, which she constantly did during the process, but he cannot own up to any mistake or display any kind of self-reflection or humility. He caught the big fish and nothing that went wrong was his fault
He could not miss another opportunity to brag about his best hunting trophy, and even if he did not manage to get the death penalty, he sure tried so he would like to be perceived as your hero. So please give him a big round of applause until he retires and his history of prosecutorial misconduct catches up with him.
I would like to remind Martinez that two wrongs do not make a right and:
“It cannot be over-emphasized that the purpose of a criminal prosecution is not to obtain a conviction, it is to lay before a jury what the Crown considers to be credible evidence relevant to what is alleged to be a crime. Counsel have a duty to see that all available legal proof of the facts is presented: it should be done firmly and pressed to its legitimate strength but it must also be done fairly.
The role of prosecutor excludes any notion of winning or losing; his function is a matter of public duty than which in civil life there can be none charged with greater personal responsibility. It is to be efficiently performed with an ingrained sense of the dignity, the seriousness and the justness of judicial proceedings.”
I am hoping that the Appeal will uncover the truth, and nothing but the truth, because it sure sounds like none of the appointed legal representatives who have spoken so far, are very interested in that notion.
Until then, I hope that this work of semi-fiction will close the book on what constituted the Candy Crush Saga and that great pain and effort will be taken to abide by the law when it comes to the treatment and rehabilitation of inmates.
UPDATE: You can click here to read about Juan Martinez being suspended by the Arizona State bar.
As to be expected, Martinez is appealing his suspension. Click here to read the article.
Note: I will not post or answer hateful comments. The case has been discussed ad nauseam and I do not intend to argue Arias’ guilt or innocence. It is not about the victim’s rights, but about a book written about an inmate still fighting for her rights and being pummeled in the court of public opinion and by the state every step of the way.