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Appeals Court Cites 'Overwhelming Evidence' In Upholding Jodi Arias' Murder Conviction

Jodi Arias' lawyers had argued news media coverage and an overly aggressive prosecutor had denied her a fair trial.

By Connor Mannion
The Jodi Arias Case, Explained

An Arizona court has rejected convicted murderer Jodi Arias' appeal, stating the woman was convicted of killing her ex-boyfriend based on "overwhelming evidence."

The three-member Arizona Court of Appeals on Tuesday unanimously upheld Arias’ first-degree murder conviction and life sentence for the killing of 30-year-old Travis Alexander in 2008, the Associated Press reported. Arias, 39, was found guilty in 2013 of first-degree premeditated murder of Alexander, who was discovered dead in his shower with dozens of stab wounds, a slit throat and a bullet in his head.

Prosecutors had said Arias planned the killing after Alexander broke up with her, while Arias has contended the killing was self-defense.

“We conclude that Arias was convicted based upon the overwhelming evidence of her guilt, not as a result of prosecutorial misconduct,” the court wrote in its ruling.

The Arizona Attorney General's Office and the Maricopa County Attorney's Office praised the decision.

“I am pleased with the court’s decision to affirm the conviction of someone who committed a brutal murder," County Attorney Allister Adel said in a statement to local newspaper The Arizona Republic.

However, the court also harshly condemned the conduct and "aggressive tone and combative, bullying behavior” of prosecutor Juan Martinez. Arias' attorneys had argued Martinez's conduct as well, as judicial failure to control news coverage of the case, had deprived Arias of a fair trial.

“[While] we strongly disapprove of his actions, we are compelled to follow the well-established principle that we do not ‘reverse convictions merely to punish a prosecutor’s misdeeds,'" the appeals court wrote.

"Arias is not entitled to a new trial because there is no reasonable likelihood that the misconduct affected the jury’s verdict," Judge Jennifer Campbell wrote in the opinion, according to The Arizona Republic. "The overwhelming evidence of Arias’ guilt, as reflected through her own admissions and as clearly set forth within the record, would not have permitted any reasonable juror to acquit her of the charged offense."

Arias was sentenced to life in prison in 2015 after a jury deadlocked twice on what her punishment for the murder conviction should be.

The Maricopa County Attorney’s Office moved to terminate Martinez this year after suspending him, but the dismissal has since been delayed pending an appeal, the AP reported.

Martinez was previously reprimanded by the county prosecutor’s office in 2018 for inappropriate and unprofessional conduct toward female law clerks. The prosecutor had multiple ethics complaints made against him for behavior during other criminal cases and has had at least seven bar complaints filed against him in the past four years, according to the Phoenix New Times

Martinez did not return a request for comment on the ruling, the AP said. He has previously denied all allegations of sexual harassment, according to the Arizona Republic.

One of Arias' lawyers declined to comment to the AP following the opinion.

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