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Monica Lindstrom

Updated Apr 27, 2015 - 8:38 pm

Legally Speaking: Jodi Arias’ request to keep her testimony secret is denied

The Supreme Court of Arizona denied Jodi Arias’ request for stay on Thursday.

In late October 2014, Judge Sherry Stephens ordered the public and the media be removed from the courtroom for the testimony of a secret witness, who was later determined to be Arias.

Media outlets filed a special action with the Arizona Court of Appeals requesting it reverse Judge Stephens, claiming her actions violated the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The Arizona Court of Appeals agreed with the media and ordered that it was improper to remove the public and the media from the courtroom. It further ordered the transcript of Arias’ testimony to be released.

When Judge Stephens failed to release the transcript, the media filed a motion requesting the transcript be released. A hearing was scheduled earlier this week to address the motion. At that hearing, it was discovered Kirk Nurmi, lead defense attorney for Arias, filed a petition that morning for review and a request to stay the Court of Appeals order to the Arizona Supreme Court. As such, Judge Stephens continued the hearing to Thursday.

David Bodney, the attorney for the media outlets, argued that the Court of Appeals order stands and that no stay had been granted by the Arizona Supreme Court, and, as such, the transcript should be released. Bodney argued the defense has had ample time to file an appeal of the order and an objection to the motion for release of the transcript but either had not done so or waited until the last minute.

He also disclosed to the court that he had filed his response to the request for the stay on Wednesday.

With this information, Judge Stephens deferred ruling on the motion and stated she wanted to give the Supreme Court more time to decide the issue of the stay. She did confirm that the transcript of Arias’
testimony is ready to be released once she is ordered to do so, if ordered to do so.

This afternoon the Supreme Court of Arizona tweeted out that it was denying the stay and that briefs on the underlying issue are due Jan. 16.

Ironic that, in a case where the media and social media has been blamed for everything, the Supreme Court chose to tweet out its decision before the hard copy actually came out. After I tweeted this out, the Supreme Court responded to me.

@AZCourts I’m glad you did — efficiency hasn’t been a priority in this trial, or so it seems.

As such, the public and the media appreciate your chosen method of communication!

Trial is scheduled to resume on Monday.


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