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Friday, April 12, 2013

Why Isn't Jodi Arias Cuffed in Court? (I'm inside her courtroom)

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Excellent question this morning from twitter follower @Tracecowgirl. Is Jodi Arias cuffed? If not, why not? 
Jodi Arias is not cuffed nor shackled inside this courtroom. Makes it look like she could just jump up and race through the 20 feet that separates her from me and grab this laptop right out of my hands, doesn't it? 
@CamilleKimball tweets from inside the Jodi Arias courtroom
Or at least grab her petite defense attorney Jennifer Wilmott and hold her hostage, right?
The issue of how much security to put on a defendant while appearing with civilians in trial is different for each one. Some, the Hannibal Lecter type, have to be tightly secured to the point of mummy swaddling. Actually, I personally have never seen that level of security on a real defendant. I suppose it happens somewhere. 
Defense attorneys have argued to courts that forcing a defendant to appear in front of juries wearing their jail garb fundamentally denies them Due Process by making them appear guilty.  The sight of shackles and jail uniforms may even strike fear into jurors, making them not judge the case with an open mind.  
Therefore many defense attorneys fight for the right to have their clients appear in street wear with as subtle security measures as possible.  Jodi is able to wear street clothes to this trial. 
Many have asked about the clothes that she wears. First of all, she does not have a wardrobe in our famous Maricopa County Jail. There's a massive store of black and white striped jumpsuits and two-pieces. They are unisex. They are all laundered at the same place. A couple times a week inmates are given a fresh one. It may have been worn the day before by a man or a woman, doesn't matter, it's all the same jail laundry. 
To dress out for court, Jodi needs someone to bring her clothes. Since Jodi's mother is here every day, I suspect she is the one providing the wardrobe daily. According to Maricopa County Courthouse custom, Miss Wilmott would probably be the one to see to it that these outfits were handed over to Jodi. It could be Mr. Nurmi, too, but I'm guessing Miss Wilmott.
Jodi would have been taken out of her jail cell around 4 in the morning to go through all the steps to get transported  here to the courthouse. She would have been cuffed and shackled during the transportation. There are cells built into the courthouse for inmates appearing before a judge. Somewhere in the process, Jodi would have been provided the clothes and been allowed to change into them under Jail Staff supervision. 
Before she put on her demure blouses and black slacks, though, she would be fitted with an electric security shock belt around her waist. And on one of her legs, a brace would be placed that is designed to hinder her mobility. The uniformed guard who you may sometimes see on camera can activate the shock belt if Jodi becomes a threat inside the courtroom. If the shock belt failed, she couldn't get very far  very fast because of the brace buckling up on her leg. 
Jodi is so slim that it is difficult to spot these safety features under her clothes. The blouses and pants she wears are usually loose. On women inmates who have heftier figures than Jodi it is often easier to spot the bulky security belt under the clothes. Even so, I can definitely see Jodi's belt at times.
Some inmates do not have families who can bring them clothes for the day. And I don't know for sure that Mrs. Arias is doing so. In the absence of a friend on the outside providing clothes, there is a charity closet for the inmates who have won the right to "dress out" in court. 
I hope this helps you understand Jodi's fashion and security issues as she physically appears in court.  And thanks so much to @Tracecowgirl for the question! 



  1. Replies
    1. Yeah, real mature response to a well written, informative article. :P

  2. "Defense attorneys have argued to courts that forcing a defendant to appear in front of juries wearing their jail garb fundamentally denies them Due Process by making them appear guilty."

    Fair point, but she has been proven guilty, and still no cuffs or prison clothes.

    1. Her attorneys must have argued for the right for her to continue to wear them during mitigation and penalty phase. It is not unusual. I recall Marjorie Orbin being dressed out in civvies for her allocution statement as well. The American justice system is stacked in favor of the defendant on purpose. I suppose delivering an allocution statement in prison stripes would serve to de-humanize the defendant at least somewhat. Allocution is about the opposite, reminding the jury that it's a real person whose fate they are deciding so I can see how defense attorneys would be sticklers in advocating for street clothes. Thanks for the comment, rocamore

  3. I watched almost all of The Jodi Arias Trial on TV. I don't know why, but I was interested in this and The O.J. Simpson trial more than any other one. I was interested in the Jodi Arias trial 2nd to The O.J. Simpson Trial. I think this trial was going to be a loss from the very beginning. She admitted that she did it from the very beginning. She also lied the first 2 times about it. The jury heard this. When a jury hears this, they won't believe anything that person says. I don't want to remain anonymous. My name is Steven Lantz. I do not own my own computer. I am doing this comment on a library's computer. I do not have an E-Mail address. If you would like to send me back a comment about this, you would have to write me a letter. My address is 1601 West 5th St., Brooklyn, N.Y. 11223.