As I sit here writing this I am chanting “GO CNN, GO CNN, GO CNN!” Not only because I love the group over there and at HLN but also because I want the same result – live coverage of all aspects of State v. Jodi Arias. I woke up early today in order to brave traffic and get down to the courtroom so I could see and hear today’s oral argument in State v. Jodi Arias and update all those interested. As I was putting on my make-up I had a nagging feeling that I, along with many others, would be disappointed in today’s proceedings so I looked up the case on the Maricopa County Superior Court’s website. Sure enough, there it was, an order from Judge Stephens closing the proceedings to the public. FIGURES – UG! Well, on the bright side of things, at least I checked before the long commute!
Let me backup for a minute and fill you in. From last December to May 2013 you could not turn on a TV or a local radio station and not hear about the State v. Jodi Arias trial. Daily updates and accounts of what happened inside and outside the courtroom were a plenty. In fact, social media took those accounts to an entirely new level with the numerous tweets and posts that were put out there by trial watchers and analysts, myself included.
Judge Stephens and the parties agreed to allow cameras into the courtroom during the State v. Jodi Arias trial that started in December and lasted until the end of May 2013. At the beginning there were no issues regarding those cameras yet as time passed issues started surfacing. As I have said before, the notoriety that resulted from having the cameras in the courtroom was something I believe the parties did not, and could not have, anticipated. Put simply, it threw them all for a loop, the Judge included.
Since the Jury came back with a hung verdict on whether Jodi Arias should receive life or death the Judge has slowly started closing the courtroom and the proceedings to the public. In other words, she has been conducting the hearings behind closed doors in her chambers and then briefly putting things on the record in the public courtroom. This has resulted in thousands of disappointed trial watchers and media types. This culminated in CNN filing a request for live coverage yesterday.
I am glad that CNN filed the request and am surprised the Court is in fact allowing CNN to argue the request without first allowing the parties to respond and allowing other media outlets to join in the argument. I really should slap my forehead and tell myself not to be surprised by anything that happens in this case though.
What is the take-away here? The Judge is trying very hard to keep this trial out of the media in order to prevent tainting the future jury pool and CNN is not having it. I do not think CNN will prevail or change the Judge’s mind because it has no dog in this fight, it is not a party, it’s life is not on the line and its family member was not murdered. The Judge has the power to withdraw her order allowing the cameras or revise it. In fact, I think that is exactly where she is headed.