Jodi Arias Trial Update: Mysterious Settlement Conference Scheduled for October 24
Sep 25, 2013 05:51 PM EDT
Maricopa County Superior Court records show that a settlement conference between convicted murderer Jodi Arias and prosecutors is scheduled for Oct. 24 and may be a sign that neither side wants to go through with a retrial of the sentencing phase of the trial, according to the Arizona Republic.
Arias was convicted of murdering her former lover Travis Alexander in May. While a jury was able to decide that the killing was brutal enough to warrant consideration for the death penalty they could not reach a decision. Arizona law allows the state to attempt to secure a death penalty through a retrial; the conviction cannot be overturned in such a trial.
If the retrial were to take place both the prosecution and the defense would be able to lay out their case before a jury much like they did during the trial. Once the jury has seen all of the pieces of evidence they would be able to make a ruling on whether or not Arias deserves to receive the death penalty.
It has been thought that there is a possibility that Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery will decide against a retrial in order to save the Alexander family the pain of having to relive the trial for a second time.
In the settlement conference it is possible that the two sides could come to an agreement to forgo the retrial. If they decide to do so the state will drop their intent to seek the death penalty and the decision on a sentence will be handed to Judge Sherry Stephens. Stephens would then have the choice of giving Arias a sentence of life in prison with no possibility of parole or life in prison with the possibility of parole after 25 years, according to the Arizona Republic.
Neither side seems to have much leverage to force the other to make a decision one way or the other. The state could offer to drop their bid for the death penalty if Arias were to drop all of her appeals; this would be a bad move for Arias since she will actually have a better chance at appeal if she were to get the death penalty. Arias and her defense could offer to accept life in prison in order to avoid another costly trial that would more than likely cause another media circus, according to the Arizona Republic.