Jodi Arias' Sentencing Retrial Begins With Jury Selection
Jodi Arias is approaching the final phase of her murder trial, but like many trials, this ultimate step will begin with jury selection.
Arias had a 12-person jury for her last trial -- a jury which was unable to reach a verdict with respect to her punishment. The woman convicted of murdering Travis Alexander will now participate in picking a second jury, one that will only deliberate on how Arias may be punished.
Will it be difficult to pick a jury for someone who's already been found guilty?
Finding Unbiased Jurors
Jury selection for a case as dire as Arias' requires both defense and prosecution lawyers to figure out which jurors are more likely to lean their way when it comes to a verdict. That task is difficult enough when there are 12 jurors, let alone when the defendant has already been convicted for the crime for which she was accused.
You may recall at George Zimmerman's trial, one defense attorney joked during opening arguments that the jury was likely chosen because they had no idea who George Zimmerman was -- despite it being an incredibly publicized case. While this was definitely poor form for a murder trial, there is a ring of truth to it. Arias' defense team will be hard-pressed to find jurors who haven't heard of their client or who are not biased against her.
The Arizona Republic reports that about 300 potential jurors will begin the selection process by filling out questionnaires about their availability and ability to potentially sentence someone to death. Those potential jurors will then be sorted, and a select few will return for more direct questioning during voir dire. Eventually, the court will seat at least 12 jurors to serve on the jury for Arias' punishment retrial.
Little Left to Decide
Although the task of a jury in any capital murder case is monumental, much of the hard work has already been done. The prior jury already agreed unanimously that Arias was guilty of murder and that the exceedingly heinous nature of the killing qualified her for the death penalty. What remains to be decided is whether Arias should receive a prison sentence or the death penalty.
This new jury may hear much of the same evidence that the prior jury did, and just like last time, Arias won't be representing herself (though a judge said she could back in August).
Jodi Arias' sentencing retrial is expected to last well into December.