Do you plan on going boating this summer? Do you plan on having a party on a boat this summer? Do you plan on having alcohol on the boat or drinking it while on the boat? Sounds like a fun time if you ask me so I want to give you some tips to make sure you have a fantastic and safe time.
Judge Stephens issued her order regarding whether cameras will be allowed in the courtroom during the retrial of the penalty phase in State v. Jodi Arias. I am happy to report that yes, cameras will be allowed! However, no coverage can be aired until AFTER the jury returns the verdict. It is not the result I wanted but it is the result that will serve both the purposes of a fair trial for Arias and giving the public what they want. You will undoubtedly continue to hear me give you updates on TV and on News Talk 92.3 KTAR during the retrial, so no worries there!
Here is the order:
I have been adding a lot of video blog and written blog entries over on KTAR.com to go along with my radio show, The Agenda. Please navigate over there and take a look!
Listen to The Agenda on Sunday nights from 6-8 pm PST on News Talk 92.3 KTAR, on KTAR.com or get the KTAR app.
The jury has been deliberating for 3 days in the State v. Marissa Devault death penalty trial. The jury can convict her of First Degree Murder, Second Degree Murder (heat of passion) or it could acquit her – although I find that unlikely. Here is a video that contains a quick update to keep you in the loop and to give you some information on the judge.
Today I was in the courtroom for the opening statements in the State v. Marissa Devault case. This is a death penalty case in Maricopa County. The State is alleging Devault murdered her husband by attacking him, while he slept, in the head with a hammer. She did this for the money she would receive from two life insurance policies, one that was older and a very new one. You see, prior to the murder she had a relationship with a man who loaned her almost $300,000.00 and she needed to repay him. That is what the State is alleging is Devault’s motive for killing her husband.
The openings did not blow me away with brilliance; however, each attorney did a good job of laying out the basics of their arguments. Opening statements are supposed to be an outline of what the evidence will show so I did not expect them to be anything more than that. I have inserted a short account of what happened in the statements and my thoughts on them above.
Stay tuned for updates and you can also follow me on Twitter @MonicaLindstrom or listen to me on Mac and Gaydos on News Talk 92.3 KTAR weekdays 3-7 or on The Agenda (my show with Joe Huizenga) on Sundays at 6pm on KTAR.
At this time last year our Country started the downward spiral of obsession with the State v. Jodi Arias trial. The last part of the story will begin on March 17 with the jury selection for the re-trial of the penalty phase. Another trial that just recently started that will fill the gap, or perhaps steal the thunder, is State v. Marissa Devault. Jury selection started this week in Maricopa County Superior Court in front of Judge Roland Steinle.
Marissa Devault is on trial for the brutal murder of her husband, Dale Harrell, 5 years ago in January 2009. She was 31 years old at the time. She is charged with first degree murder and is facing the death penalty. No, Juan Martinez is not prosecuting this case; same office though. Devault is claiming self-defense due to the physical and sexual abuse inflicted upon her, sound familiar?
You might think that self defense would be a strong defense, especially if he was attacking or abusing her. That is where the problem is. He was asleep in his bed in Gilbert, Arizona at the time Devault took a hammer to his skull. He suffered multiple skull fractures and died approximately one month later due to complications from the injuries.
Initially Devault claimed her husband attacked her while she was sleeping and choked her out. She followed that up with the claim that when she regained consciousness she saw another man (who happened to live in their house) beating him with the hammer. Investigators claimed the physical evidence did not support Devault’s claims and that it showed she was the one that swung the hammer. After hearing this Devault confessed to the murder claiming she was in a rage due to the continued abuse she suffered at Harrell’s hands. Again, sound familiar? Maybe not the facts themselves but the changing of the story once the evidence doesn’t support the first claim.
The prosecution is expected to present evidence that Devault was dating another man for approximately 2 years prior to the murder. Now comes in the possibility that she tried to hire a hit man! Sounds like a Hollywood movie but unfortunately, it happened right here in Maricopa County. It gets worse, this other man allegedly had a lot of child pornography on his computer but was given immunity to testify against Devault. Where is the loyalty?
I anticipate many trial watchers will stay tuned to this trial to see what happens. Opening statements are anticipated the first week of February. I will keep you updated on State v. Devault here and/or on Mac and Gaydos (News Talk 92.3 FM KTAR) on weekdays between 3-7pm or on my show, The Agenda, that I co-host with Joe Huizenga, Sunday nights 6-8 pm on KTAR.
Yesterday Mac and Gaydos and I had a discussion on News Talk 92.3 KTAR about a thought provoking and emotional issue. Was a mother doing the right thing by “cyber shaming” her daughter or was it cyberbullying itself? Here are my thoughts on the issue and here is the discussion with Mac and Gaydos that was had on air.
If you are planning to celebrate the end of 2013 and the beginning of 2014 you are obviously aware of the consequences of drinking too much (a hangover) of driving drunk (a DUI conviction) and of kissing the wrong person (use your imagination here.) Yet there are two other consequence of celebrating New Year’s Eve that you may not be aware of, prison and a wrongful death lawsuit. You can cheer, dance, raise a glass and even kiss your honey but you must be a responsible host and you cannot shoot a gun into the air.
Addressing the first unknown consequence, prison. Arizona enacted Shannon’s Law in 2000 which means it is illegal to fire a gun into the air. (See A.R.S. 13-3107) If you do so you can be charged with a class 6 dangerous felony and you WILL go to prison for somewhere between 1.5 years to 3 years, with NO possibility of probation. Law enforcement, including the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office, take this law very seriously and there is often no compromise.
You may believe that there is no harm shooting into the air but tell that to Shannon Smith’s parents who had to bury their 14 year old daughter who was hit by a stray bullet in June of 1999. Remember, bullets that go up must come down. Law enforcement has the ability to track when a firearm is shot on New Year’s Eve and its a safe bet they will use it this year. Here is some good advice, leave your guns locked up on New Year’s Eve. If you have your gun out you may be more inclined to use it, especially when your judgement is compromised by alcohol and drugs.
The second consequence that you may not have thought about is the liability that comes with hosting a party. Imagine you are having some friends over to celebrate the end of 2013 and you are serving food and alcoholic drinks. Further imagine that four hours later, after enjoying the food and cocktails your guest drives off and hits and injures or kills another person. You could face both criminal and civil consequences. Yes, you could face prison time and a lifetime of paying a debt that will never go away.
At one extreme you could be charged criminally with Negligent Homicide, a class 4 felony, and face several years in prison. At the other end you could be sued for Wrongful Death by the family of a person killed by your guest and have to pay financially for a debt that will never end. You may say “this wouldn’t happen to me, my friends would never throw me under the bus.” Newsflash, it wouldn’t be your friends pushing for the consequences, it would be law enforcement and the survivors.
The same goes whether the victim is injured or killed. You could be charged as an accomplice to a criminal offense and sued for any and all injuries and property damage. Note two things, if your guest just causes property damage you can be on the hook for that and you can still be charged civilly for harm even if there are no criminal charges.
Here is my advice, offer your guests to stay at your home for the night. Or, if that is not viable, set up a driver service for the evening. At a minimum I recommend educating your guests on the use of Uber and write the number for several taxi companies on the door of your house. Lastly, watch your guests and take care of them, be a good and responsible host.
Have fun, celebrate, and be merry; AND protect your guests and yourself. Be smart and think ahead so that 2014 will be wonderful and spent with friends/family and not spent in prison and the courtroom.
A full fledged court case – this is initiated in a courthouse by filing a complaint and paying a fee. The case is then assigned to a judge and follows a course of pleadings, discovery, depositions, interrogatories, requests for production, hearings and eventually a trial. All during this you will be paying your lawyer's fees and any costs associated with the representation. A civil case can last years. The average in my experience for your run of the mill two party case in Superior Court (meaning its over $10,000) is 2.5 years from filing of the complaint until a full and complete resolution.
An arbitration – An arbitration is essentially the same thing as a full fledged court case except that you have a private “judge” and you pay that judge. You might have a panel of judges but that is not typical for your run of the mill civil case. For example, I bet you have heard of the American Arbitration Association, AAA for short. The AAA is a business, it is not connected to any particular court. As such, you have to pay for it. You will have to pay a lump sum to hire the arbitrator and then may have to pay hourly for the arbitrator's time. Think of it as having another person you have to pay “fees” to. The last case I was involved in the parties had to pay upwards of $3,000.00 to the arbitrator to get the case started.
Originally arbitrations were a way to avoid the time it took for a lawsuit in the court system. Things could be done quicker and a resolution could be had in a fraction of the time. That would be great if it was still true. However, the parties often want all the same discovery and want to file the same motions as in a trial. As such, the time period is not shortened by much AND you have to pay the arbitrator.
Now let's talk about mediation. Mediation is a process where the parties meet with a neutral third party to create a solution. In mediation the parties have the opportunity to control their own destiny. They can suggest resolutions and work towards a goal instead of fighting. The mediator is not a “judge.” It is not the mediator's way or the highway. The mediator works with both sides in developing a solution instead of “telling” them what the solution will be. Mediation takes far less time than a court case or an arbitration and costs a lot less. I like to say there are no actual losers since the parties work towards a solution and there is no one strong-arming them.
When looking at the three options, a court case, an arbitration and a mediation, only mediation gives the parties the power to contribute to the resolution and to feel like they were in fact, empowered. In the other two it is a judge, a stranger, who decides the parties' future.
For illustrative purposes, let us say mediation is attempted and for whatever reason it is not successful. The options of arbitration and a court case are still there. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain by trying mediation. Caveat, in mediation you will not receive everything you want. Mediation is not a determination of who is right and who is wrong. It is a meeting of the minds to resolve the matter and go on with your lives. To get complete and start living without this monkey on your back.
So, next time you are signing a contract, or have an issue that may be headed towards litigation, give mediation a try a first. It could save your sanity and your money.
Please visit RockOnMommies for my uber-useful blog on the easy way to plan a Disneyland vacation and the all important question of whether and where to rent a stroller for it! While you are there browse around the rest of the site for tips, laughs and fun!