Posts tagged ‘domestic violence’

April 17, 2013

Jodi Arias Trial: Battle of the Experts

Juan Martinez called Dr. Janeen DeMarte to the stand to rebut the testimony of both Dr. Richard Samuels and Alyce LaViolette. In a relatively quick direct examination, Juan Martinez went over Dr. DeMarte’s qualifications as a psychologist as well as herexperience with domestic violence. Dr. DeMarte studied at Michigan State University, where she graduated in 2009. She also fulfilled an APA approved doctoral residency at Arizona State Hospital and is a licensed clinical psychologist. She currently operates a private practice in Phoenix, AZ.

Dr. DeMarte testimony hit on several areas including why she does not believe that Arias suffers from PTSD, giving direct examples that flew in the face of a true diagnosis, such as Arias attending Alexander’s memorial service, hanging out with mutual friends, sending his grandmother irises, and other actions that would require Arias to think of Alexander and the “trauma” associated with the killing. She also spoke of Arias’s immaturity, referencing her mug shot where she “smiled as though it were a high school photo” versus a booking photo of someone being charged with murder. Calling this behavior strange, Dr. DeMarte stated that Arias’s parents described her as “happy as hell” after visiting her. This behavior made Dr. DeMarte wonder if there was an intellectual deficit present, leading to Arias’s IQ test. (Arias scored 119.) Ultimately, based upon test results and other behaviors present, Dr. DeMarte diagnosed Jodi Arias with Borderline Personality Disorder.

 Click here to continue reading.

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April 10, 2013

Alyce in Juanderland

Alyce-LaViolette 2Click here to read complete article over at AllVoices.com

Excerpt:

LaViolette has struggled with answering the prosecutor’s questions since cross examination began last Thursday, not because the questions are particularly hard to answer, but because she has this unrelenting need to predict where Martinez is going with his line of questioning before she responds. Thus, their exchanges resemble the following:

Martinez: Is the sky blue?

LaViolette: ::leans forward and squints:: I am not sure what you mean by that.

Martinez: It’s a simple “yes” or “no” question.

LaViolette: ::furrows eyebrows:: I can’t answer that question “yes” or “no” Mr. Martinez.

Martinez: Well, when you look up at the sky, it appears as if it is blue, correct?

LaViolette: ::slow smile:: Well, I guess if you want me to say that the sky is blue, the sky is blue.

Martinez: I want to know what you think about the sky’s hue.

LaViolette: ::exasperated:: I don’t really know how you want me to answer this question, Mr. Martinez. I like to look at the big picture. Why is the sky blue? What causes it to appear blue to the naked eye? Is it really blue, because it looks almost black when the sun goes down, doesn’t it? Sometimes there are stars in the sky when it’s dark, but are they always there? What about on cloudy nights? Why can’t we see them when the sun is up? Then there is that whole thing about the reflection of light and the prism of colors and how the molecules break down and all of that hooha. I mean, I am not an expert on astronomy, Mr. Martinez, and there are many other factors that I would need to take into consideration before I can give you an answer.

Martinez: Are you done?

LaViolette: You need a timeout.

The above is only a slight exaggeration.

April 7, 2013

Why Travis Alexander being a …. Doesn’t Matter

For a while now, I have been wanting to write about why the fact that Travis Alexander wasn’t the perfect gentleman doesn’t matter and this blog post inspired me to go ahead and do it.

Exerpt:

I suppose prosecuting attorney Juan Martinez is planning to use domestic violence expert Alyce LaViolette’s remarks about “Snow White” and domestic violence as a way to call her a man-hating bitch in a desperate attempt to try and salvage his murder one case. It might also be he is going through the motions of a cross-examination knowing the murder one charge was lost a long time ago, with the introduction of the phone sex tape and text messages by the defense. What I cannot understand is why people can’t seem to believe that Jodi Arias was an abused woman. No, most abused women don’t kill their abusers, but one of the major reasons women are incarcerated for murder is because of domestic violence situations. ALL of the evidence in this trial points to domestic abuse. ALL of it. Does that mean Travis Alexander deserved to die in such a hideous manner? No, but his treatment of Jodi, confirmed through the documentary record, give us an understanding why she felt desperate enough to do what she did.

The thing that strikes me most about this post is just how much it reminds me of a time when a murdered or raped woman’s character was put on display in order to make the jury question the actions of the victim versus the actions of the culprit. What was she wearing? Was she sleeping around? Was she a bitch?  Maybe she deserved it. Remember the heat Bill O’Reilly took for suggesting that a young murder victim was partially to blame for being raped and murdered? (Interestingly enough, Alyce LaViolette spoke about this brand of victim-blame while on the stand. Perhaps victim-blaming/shaming is only wrong when it comes to women.)

There seems to be a mentality among a significant segment of the population that, if a victim isn’t all unicorns and sunshine or if they make wrong decisions (like jogging a wooded trail alone or leaving their bedroom window open), they deserved their fate. It doesn’t always manifest itself in the same way, however. For instance, people who feel that Travis Alexander had it coming may not be (and are probably not) the same people who agree that a young rape and murder victim played a part in her own demise; but, their mentality is very much the same in that they both hold the victims accountable in some way.

The individual who “penned” the blog post that sparked my own blog entry asked why people find it hard to believe that Arias was a survivor of abuse. I think the phrase she is looking for there is “no credibility.” Jodi Arias’s “credibility bank” is not only empty, but it’s overdrawn. This leaves us with examining independent evidence such as those emails and text messages. The problem with that is that people have different ways of reading things. When I read Alexander’s text messages, it comes across as someone who is reacting to another’s action. When he went off about her leaving an item behind, it comes across as a pattern that he is fed up with. He clearly finds her to be a manipulative individual. Also telling is that when LaViolette pointed to the way that Alexander spoke to other women, those interactions were mostly about his sexually flirtatious nature, which made the Mormon women he was talking to uncomfortable. None of it had to do with him calling them outside of their names or things like “sociopath.”

So the question is, would it have been best if Travis had just ignored Arias altogether? Yes, but just like LaViolette says that women stay involved in bad/abusive relationships for their own emotional reasons, the same thing can happen with men. Men DO stay in toxic relationships with abusive, obsessive, and jealous women all of the time. Men also do not tend to take women seriously when they are stalking them. In example, a recent episode of Dr. Phil featured a young woman who was seeking help due to her being obsessed with a guy she had broken up with. The guy in that case would also talk to and see her, even with knowing how obsessed she was. People don’t always make the best decisions.

While I feel like LaViolette’s testimony highlights gender inequalities that negatively impact men, that is not the primary reason I feel that Travis being a …. doesn’t matter. It’s because it doesn’t “undo” other facts in the case.

My original response to Susan’s blog entry:

Travis Alexander was not the perfect murder victim. He did have a load of problems – but so did Jodi Arias. This is evident from the fact that even her own parents weren’t shocked that she was being considered for the murder. Jodi was a strange person. Jodi had mental problems. Jodi flipped out on her mother. Jodi would hit her mother for no reason. Jodi treated her mother like crap. Jodi would be fine one minute and crying hysterically the next. Jodi was obsessed with Travis. Jodi climbed through Travis’s doggy door. Jodi was found hiding in Travis’s closet.

Jodi was 1000 miles away and did not have to go to AZ. She had full control over that action, but she went because she was obsessed with Travis and the only thing that would end that obsession was him no longer breathing. For all of this talk about Travis being afraid of losing Jodi, where was the evidence of him pursuing her? He was scheduled to visit her in CA, wasn’t he? Didn’t he cancel that? That isn’t the hallmark of a man who doesn’t want to let go. Talk to REAL female DV victims. The man always goes to the woman to get her back. Always. Nowhere in those texts does Travis ask Jodi back. To the contrary, he states that he’s glad to be moving on and had plans to go out of the country with another woman.

I also find it interesting that you say that “all of the evidence” points to domestic violence. Intriguing. What about a gun of the same caliber being “stolen” from Arias’s home days prior to Alexander being killed points to DV? What about not telling anyone she was heading to AZ sounds like DV? What about her making sure that there were no records of her in AZ sounds like DV? What about dying her hair on the trip down sounds like DV? What about borrowing and buying gas cans so that there are no records of her buying gas in AZ sounds like DV? What about anything she did to cover up the crime after the fact sounds like DV?

When her mother asked her if she was in AZ, Arias’s response was that she had gas receipts to prove that she wasn’t. How many people, who aren’t business owners or on business trips, care about saving gas receipts? Consider that she had a well traceable paper trail before and after her trip to AZ. She used credit cards everywhere else, and conveniently her phone is dead/off the entire time she is there. How does any of that EVIDENCE not sound like premeditation? If this were a man being accused of killing an ex-girlfriend, would you see this evidence as anything other than what it is?

Finally, her explanation of how the crime happened is entirely improbable. How she managed to take on a man 1 on 1 and only walk away with some small cuts (if you buy her story) and a bruised head that she has no evidence of, is remarkable when you consider the damage to Travis’s body. Not to mention that the ME’s findings state that Travis was shot last. She wants us to believe that she “came to” in the desert with her hands covered in blood and barefoot, when no blood was found on any doorknobs. She also wants us to believe that she had to stop for gas on the way out of the state, and since she didn’t use any credit cards, she had to pay cash. A barefoot woman covered in blood certainly would have stood out, don’t you think?

I have seen cases with far less evidence result in murder 1 convictions. If Arias gets anything less than that, it will be because she is a woman who killed a man, and not vice versa. Look at the Scott Peterson trial – case was entirely circumstantial, but it’s OK to use common sense when convicting men. With women, many people want a Point A to Point Z road map with every alphabet in between covered.

And that’s why Travis being a …. doesn’t matter.

April 5, 2013

Jodi Arias, Snow White, and Battered Women

Alyce-LaViolette 2The Jodi Arias Trial

This week, domestic violence expert Alyce LaViolette was back on the stand for the defense testifying as to why she believes that Jodi Arias and Travis Alexander were engaged in a domestically abusive relationship. LaViolette painted a picture of an almost virginal and naïve Arias who wrote lovingly about Alexander in her journals only to be rewarded with abusive verbal tirades, insidious psychological cruelty, and brutal physical violence. She labeled Jodi Arias a battered woman.

Much of this week’s testimony verged on redundant; with Jennifer Wilmott questioning LaViolette on the nature of the abuse she believes took place between Arias and Alexander. LaViolette testified about the physical abuse Arias allegedly suffered at the hands of Alexander, including the occasions Arias says Alexander broke her finger and choked her. She also went over several text messages and emails, stating that the language Alexander used towards Arias amounted to character assassination. LaViolette spoke of other women Travis was involved with and pointed to signs of his manipulative ploys and desire to control women. She stated that one of the women Alexander corresponded with was vulnerable because she was married. (Continue Reading)

April 2, 2013

The Psychology of Jodi: Madwoman or Abuse Survivor?

Jodi Arias smiles in her mugshot after being arrested for brutally murdering her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander.

Jodi Arias smiles in her mugshot after being arrested for brutally murdering her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander.

With taking the stand, Jodi Arias gave the world a rare glimpse into the mind of a suspected sociopath. Spending 18 days on the stand, Arias walked the jury through the details of her life with Travis Alexander, the man she is accused of murdering in cold, premeditated, blood.

During her time on the stand, Arias explained to the jury how she and Alexander first met, how she broke up with her boyfriend of four years after knowing Alexander for only a week, and divulged more details about anal sex than many people care to hear about outside of (and in) their own bedrooms. Arias spent weeks weaving a tale of a rocky and contentious relationship fueled by allegations of abuse, jealousy, forbidden sex, and the spiritual contradictions it all caused within their Mormon faith. The height of Arias’s testimony centered on her version of the events that unfolded on June 4th, 2008. Details became murky when she hit a mental “fog” that rendered her incapable of recalling anything other than shooting Alexander in the face. According to her, she has no memory of stabbing him 29 times and slashing his throat.

When it comes to someone like Jodi Arias, it is easy to throw around the word “sociopath.” She has shown little remorse for ending Alexander’s life, her affect is often blank and empty, her eyes are dark and cold, she is inappropriately vain and she has told so many self-serving lies that it is difficult to separate fact from fiction. But, is she a sociopath? Can an online checklist really give us a true and accurate depiction of the psychology of Jodi? (Click here to read entire article.)

April 1, 2013

Jodi Arias Trial: Expert Witnesses for the Defense

Jodi AriasJodi Arias Trial: Expert Witnesses for the Defense

As we enter the fourth month of the Jodi Arias trial, the nation could not be more riveted. Arias is accused of killing Travis Alexander on June 4th, 2008. The prosecution has maintained that Arias is guilty of premeditated murder and is seeking the death penalty. Arias is claiming self defense and that she had no choice but to brutally murder Travis that day, inflicting 29 stab wounds, slashing his throat from ear to ear, and shooting him once in the face.

For months now, spectators have been drawn into the World of Jodi where sex, lies and audiotape has been on full display. Most recently, the defense has put forth experts to try to explain away Arias’s odd behavior after the crime and why she has no complete memories of what took place during and directly after the murder. (continue reading)