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Jodi Arias’s experience underlines: It only takes one juror holdout to hang a jury

Mar 06, 2015 Jodi Arias’s experience underlines: It only takes one juror holdout to hang a jury

All it takes is one holdout to hang a jury — at least in jurisdictions where jury unanimity is mandated — and that is how Jodi Arias avoided death row.

When you listen to the audio of some of Ms. Arias’s sentencing jury members, you will see how much the cards were against Ms. Arias to avoid being sent to death row, save for the alternate juror who was ultimately seated as a regular juror and was the holdout against the death penalty.

We aptly learn at the Trial Lawyers College about the importance of using feelings as part of our advocacy. That is both because lawyers need to tap into their full feelings and beings to advocate for our clients and tell their stories, and because most humans are motivated by feelings, as underlined by this audio of jurors talking about how miserable they feel for victim Travis Alexander over the sentencing mistrial, and about overcoming teachings against capital punishment from some of their religious faiths to vote to send Ms. Arias to be killed by the state of Arizona’s executioner.

One of the jurors in the audio talks about jurors not getting sleep the past week while sequestered from their families. Sleep deprivation fuels poor decisions, which is but one reason to abolish the death penalty.

Ms. Arias will be sentenced in a few weeks. Arizona law prohibits a new death penalty retrial after two hung juries. How much will Ms. Arias’s judge be influenced by the strongly weighted 11-1 vote for death — and the jurors’ post-mistrial public comments — in deciding whether to make Ms. Arias’s mandatory life sentence parolable or not? How much are Ms. Arias’s jurors trying to influence the judge’s sentencing decision?

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