The Arizona jury reached its verdict on Wednesday that Jodi Arias was guilty of first degree murder. Here are some tactics of the defense that I never understood.
First, why would any defense lawyer let Arias talk to the press? A defendant has a Fifth Amendment right not to testify and not to make statements that might incriminate herself. While the prosecution has to disclose its case, the defense never has to reveal what the defendant might testify to at trial. Why show the other side your cards? This case is a case in point. Jodi Arias was a loose cannon. She offered contradictory explanations of events. First, she said that masked intruders came in and killed her boyfriend. Then, she said that she did it but did it in self-defense. Even when a defendant is innocent, it is a good idea not to make pretrial statements about the case. The prosecution will get transcripts, and videos, and pick apart every last word have said about the incident prior to trial, in order to make you look like you are a liar. When it comes to defendants giving interviews and gabbing with the press prior to trial, less is more; as most lawyers would say: don’t do it! Of course, lawyers can only advise their clients. Perhaps Jodi Arias’s lawyers advised Jodi Arias to keep her mouth shut but she didn’t listen.
Second, why the makeover into vulnerable school girl/librarian? I get it. The defense team wanted her to appear modest. They didn’t want her to seem like a player or a slut. But in making over her appearance, they made Jodi Arias seem less authentic. Jurors saw numerous photos and videos of Jodi Arias dating prior to trial. They could see that this new persona was a ruse, and that made her – and her story – less believable.