Judge denies Arias motion for change of venue, jurors' Twitter names
PHOENIX (CBS5) -
Judge Sherry Stephens has ruled the sentencing phase retrial of convicted murderer Jodi Arias will stay in Phoenix.
Stephens denies for the second time a motion by defense attorneys to move the case because of intense publicity.
Stephens ruled both times that Arias has failed to meet the burden of proving media coverage would inhibit her ability to get an impartial jury and fair trial.
Stephens on Dec. 4 denied a motion to have jurors provide their Twitter account names.
Attorneys Kirk Nurmi and Jennifer Willmott on Aug. 31 requested on Arias' behalf the names so they would be assured jurors in the sentencing retrial of Arias would not communicate about the case to the outside world.
The Maricopa County Superior Court judge, however, in her ruling did not restrict attorneys from asking prospective jurors about their use of social media
Prosecuting attorney Juan Martinez argued that disclosure would be an invasion of juror privacy.
Stephens said in her ruling:
"The court can find no legal authority supporting an order that all jurors provide their Twitter account information to the court. Access to social media and a particular juror's frequent use of social media may be appropriate topics for jury selections. The parties may include questions in the jury questionnaire regarding use of social media and whether a juror is willing to cease or limit accessing social media during the trial. This information may assist the parties in discovering concerns about prospective jurors.
"There is no lawful basis for the court or parties to investigate or monitor jurors absent a credible allegation that juror misconduct has occurred. If a juror is inclined to violate the court's admonition (provided orally during court proceedings and in writing in the preliminary Jury instructions given to each juror), there are numerous ways such a violation could occur. Requiring jurors to provide Twitter account information would not limit or reduce in any meaningful way the possibility that a juror will be exposed to extraneous information about the case or assist in preventing or proving a violation of the court's admonition. Further, informing jurors they are required to provide information about their social media accounts may result in a prospective juror refusing to participate as a juror on the case because he or she deem such a requirement to be a violation of his or her privacy rights.
"The court will not presume juror misconduct will occur. The court will not require all jurors to provide their social media account information to the court."
Stephens has banned live television coverage of Arias' sentencing phase retrial as prosecutors again seek the death penalty.
Arias was convicted of killing her former lover, Travis Alexander.
The first jury couldn't agree on a sentence of life behind bars, or the death penalty.
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