Foster: What’s America’s obsession with the Jodi Arias case? - Ahwatukee Foothills News: Opinion

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Foster: What’s America’s obsession with the Jodi Arias case?

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Brian Foster

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Posted: Monday, June 3, 2013 12:01 pm

As some of you may know I have been covering the Jodi Arias murder trial as a legal expert for FOX 10 and other national TV stations. I’ve probably done over 65 TV appearances as a legal expert on the case. This case has turned out to be the biggest case of 2013 and maybe as big as the O.J. Simpson case.

I often get asked why so many people in America and internationally are following the Jodi Arias trial? Is it because of the horrific way the victim was killed, the fact that she is attractive, all the sex acts being described in detail in the court room, the fact that the victim and the killer were both Mormon or the element of alleged domestic violence?

The answer is all of the above. America has an insatiable thirst for the Jodi Arias Kool-Aid. I’m certainly not complaining about it since it gets my name out almost daily as a legal expert on criminal and civil disputes.

Regardless, there is a media frenzy. The case has been going on almost five months and the court room has been packed with about 30 local and national media professionals from CNN, FOX News, Nancy Grace, Inside Edition, etc. Front and center in covering the trial has been fellow Ahwatukee resident Troy Hayden with Fox 10. He is the one who secured exclusive interviews with Jodi Arias before and right after the guilty verdict. The trial is being broadcast live for all to watch on their computers. You cannot turn on your TV or radio without hearing about the case, eventually. Is this an indictment on society? I think not. This case has social value. It is giving voice to the right to the constitutional right to a fair — and in this case very lengthy — trial no matter how others may feel about the claims made. The taxpayers will spend about $2 million providing Arias with her legal defense. It is allowing a woman to talk about alleged domestic abuse and its impact. Though many question whether Arias’s “claim” of domestic abuse may cause other women to not report domestic abuse since many believe she has fabricated her many stories to “save her bacon.”

The case is also shedding light on the ongoing debate about whether the death penalty is cruel and in humane. Arias could become only the third female in Arizona to get the death penalty. The jury unanimously found Arias guilty of premeditated first-degree murder. That same jury, however, could not reach a unanimous verdict on life in prison or death by legal injection. This has only happened five times in Arizona. The judge dismissed the jury that had heard the case for five months and will re-seat a new 12-member jury in July if the state does not offer Arias life in prison before then, which I do not think it will. The new jury will then hear evidence and decide on life or death for Arias.

Stay tuned for the biggest trial of 2013.

• Brian Foster is a 20-year Ahwatukee resident and senior partner at Snell & Wilmer L.L.P. in Phoenix. Reach him at (602) 382-6242 or

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