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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

James Ray Sentencing Coming Up

ADD: This is a very popular post (thanks, Google!), but please click on my name at the top to get the most current posts or click on the tags to get up to date on James Ray. Glad to have you here!

Lotta people are wondering when James Ray, the motivational guru made famous by "The Secret" and Oprah, will be sentenced.

The trial, taking place in historic Camp Verde, Arizona, goes through several phases. This is why they say the "wheels of justice" chug slowly.

Currently the case is in its "aggravation phase." Then it will go into the "mitigation phase."
The probation department will prepare a "pre-sentence" report. Only after all this is done will we get to the sentencing.

The judge makes up the dates as he goes along. In this case, it's Judge Warren Darrow. First, he has to consider the various schedules of the jurors. They would have been asked to submit calendars and the judge knows when one of them has a wedding, doctor's appt. or other personal matter to attend to.

Second, Darrow has to make sure the lawyers are on board. They do have other cases, professional commitments (speeches and seminars), and the occasional personal matter the judge will defer to.

The defendant? Well, he's usually available, barring medical situations and actual emergencies.

So....the answer to your question is, they make it up as they go along. Sentencing date will be announced as more of these pieces fall into place. Most likely a few more weeks before we know if it's probation, a little jail or a lotta jail.

Hope this helps!

ADD: Sentencing date has now been set. See this post.
SECOND ADD: Sentencing date has now been vacated. See this post.


  1. You are fab! So jury gets released when? Omg I feel for them...
    Will we have to hear from defense anymore?
    Will JAR be in custody during these phases?

  2. Thanks so much for stopping by. :)

    James Ray is NOT in custody at this time and possibly may never be. As his attorney, Tom Kelly, argued, it's possible his sentence might be probation in which case taking him into custody would be an injustice to him.

    If he is ever taken back into custody, it won't be until a few moments after the judge pronounces sentence, which will be some weeks from now.

    What usually happens is the judge makes a little speech giving insight into how he reached his decision then he pronounces sentence. There's a tiny bit of fuss for a moment or two, then the jail folks come forward with the cuffs and soon he's gone.

    Yes, the defense continues to play a role. When it gets to mitigation (the opposite of aggravation), it is their show entirely.

  3. I am premature waiting for handcuffs! Will go back to work, allow the process.
    The attorneys for Ray are over the top and frankly disrespectful to everyone! The judge has allowed it from the beginning, was hoping it would NOT continue after verdict. I guess I was wrong, more of the same is expected!
    I do think JAR will get some jail time. Maybe not what everyone wants but he will not walk with probation only! No way!

  4. Finally figured out how to post a comment here, without a google account: Anonymous. I've wanted to comment on pretty much everything you've written about the James Ray trial, and also to express my gratitude and appreciation for your coverage.

    I, like you, wish that JAR would speak to the jury and the family members of his victims about WHY he chose to not check in on any of them while they were in hospital. Of course, there *is* no excuse, but I'd like to hear him address this anyway. Novel idea if he just spoke that truth even – that there is no excuse. From what I've seen though, the guy doesn't have one iota of integrity.

  5. I'm so glad you figured it out! Welcome!

    Yeah, fro $10,000 bucks, I hope not to be left a Jane Doe while my loved ones have no idea what's going on. Isn't that what priests, rabbis, holy men and, oh, I'm thinking even SAMURAIS do, come to hospital beds and help gather families?

    One can argue about which laws apply to this case, but it's bad business (his lawyers emphasize it was all just bidness) AND bad spiritual leadership to abandon customers/followers in the hospital. Period.

    My guess is once everything went south, he panicked and fled to figure out what to do. Or, he called a lawyer from Sedona and was advised to flee before he could harm his own "case" any further.

    But if he had shepherded his flock properly, there might be a smidge--just a smidge--less anger against him today.

  6. Thanks for your thoughts, Anon#1. That's interesting. I've wondered how this would play, whether people would feel, as the defense has argued, that the state went too far in pushing liability. Us reporters in the back row of the courtroom also love to analyze the lawyers. We thought Mr. Li was shooting himself in the foot from time to time. I think Mr. Kelly may have done so, too. Although they are both sharp and have carved out some clever legal ground, their bedside manner (unfortunate pun from previous comment!) may have some gaps in it.

  7. I spent many frantic hours looking to find my wife.

    James Ray International would not help me.

  8. Anon #3, I can't imagine how awful that was and I am so sorry.

    Are you saying that you called JRI and the actively refused to help? I wonder what excuse they gave at that time?

    If you would like to email me privately, I would be interested to talk to you further. My email address is in the back of my book, WHAT SHE ALWAYS WANTED, or you can message me on Facebook.

  9. Years ago after The Secret came out, my friend was really interested in James Ray's material. I myself was big into the whole Law of Attraction idea, and although I found Ray a little bit phony, I did read his website because she was so keen on his stuff.

    The reason this tragedy has caught MY attention, is because had I been a person who was interested in James Ray, and also someone of enough financial means to attend one of his seminars, I could EASILY have been one of those people in the sweat lodge, determined not to disappoint him or myself, figuring that this guy knew what he was doing. I could have easily been one of those baked to death, or at least nearly so.

    THAT is why he needs jail time. He blatantly ignored the welfare of his clients, took advantage of their trust, he even had prior warning at one of his previous seminars, and still kept going.

    If he does not get the maximum time in jail, I will really be shaking my head at the system in the U.S., especially after the Casey Anthony verdict.

  10. Thanks for sharing your experiences, that's very interesting. I am so glad neither of you were hurt. It is key, what you say, about preventing more tragedies. The family and friends of Kirby Brown are starting an effort to promote standards of professionalism and self regulation in the self-help industry. They also have a good list of questions for potential patrons to use when evaluating a speakers products and services. The organization is called SEEK SAFELY http://seeksafely.org/Home.html

  11. I followed this case while it was on In Session and then found info I could on the internet. I pray he does time. If not it will be an injustice indeed!!
    I felt the Judge was horrible keeping his court room in line. The Defence was walking all over him. It was a disgrace. I loved watching Ms. Polk the Prosecutor hammer away at each person to show how arrogant James Ray was and how he did absolutely NOTHING while people were in distress. He is a lame and pathetic excuse for a human being.
    He better not get probation!
    Jane from Illinois

  12. Jane, Sheila Polk has done an amazing job going up against a platoon lawyers who each undoubtedly earn ten times what she does.

    It was frustrating when the James Ray trial disappeared from InSession, wasn't it? I'm trying to fill the gap in my own little way. So glad you found me, Jane. I will be up there for the sentencing and will post more sweat lodge trial material over the next couple of weeks.

  13. I'm no fan of In Session or any of their commentators (except Jean Casarez). Cannot stand Nancy Grace! That being said, JAR is now a convicted felon, and I think the jury has made a case for aggravating circumstances...hope Judge Darrow sentences the ego-filled and narcissistic Mr. Ray to prison time, because he deserves it! Loved Shela Polk, and just had to clench my teeth every time Truc Do questioned a witness!

    ..............., Correct?
    ..............., Correct?
    ..............., Correct?

    The "Correct" was always ten decibels higher than the question! Sooooo irritating!! Li and Kelly are just bullies. Love Sheila Polk!

    Camille, thank you for staying on top of this. I have a question....will this same defense team file an appeal WHEN James Ray is sentenced to prison time? Will JAR declare bankruptcy and be declared indigent? (Anyone notice that the JRI website is frantically trying to sell useless and overstocked books and tapes?)

    Thanks for all your work, Camille, and I will be following YOUR website on July 25 instead of the over-touted and chest-thumping In Session. Here's to prison time for JAR!!

  14. What a great message, thanks! As to your questions, first I have to say the July 25 sentencing date has been vacated, due to a motion by the defense this week. And I will post more about the lawyers in this case soon. The short answer for now is the defense is still trying to get a whole new trial, in which case the defense team would remain the same, assuming JAR could still afford them and still has faith in them.

  15. too bad this didn't happen in Texas--
    the sentencing phase generally begins immediately after the guilt or innocence phase verdict comes down-- there may be a 3-4 wk wait for a pre-sentencing report if the defendant asks for the judge to decide pinishment--but if they choose the jury to set sentencing--it begins immediately--and the defendant generally remains in custody until that phase is over--since they have been convicted--
    but we don't wait for months---ridiculous!!!

  16. Funny how everybody places attention on JAR and not on the Lodge itself. That lodge was built and used previously by the property owner.There were other alleged incidences at that lodge. Not to say He wasn't totally out to lunch in his methods and ways, but he may just be the unwitting idiot,. A dipstick, who, had a different material been used to construct the lodge, would not be in this position, and his clients alive today and better off for the experience.
    They used non-breathable tarps !
    If that ignorance is any indication for all we know the same clowns that built the enclosure also spilled some nasty chemicals on those fire rocks? Or what if the rocks them selves were gassing off some noxious gasses into that lodge that couldnt let the air exchange? Getting hung up on Ray may not solve it. Negligence from others may have been the fuel on Ray's stupid , but possible innocent ass headedness.

  17. I have known the James A. Ray family since James was a young boy. He was shy and quiet until he was a grown man, got into bodybuilding, and then on a mission to find his purpose in life. I believe he remained shy, but truly wanted to help his followers as he was helped himself, through self-help books,etc. I have never seen him to be cruel or insensitive, only trying to find which way to turn when the trajic ACCIDENT happened in Sedona.His whole family are some of the most caring and giving people I have ever known.I am a Senior Citizen,and try not to judge too harshly until I have walked in another's shoes

  18. To Anonymous comment of August 18, 2011 -- I attended one of James Ray's week-ends and I witnessed him being a bully to a woman definitely in need of comfort -- and in front of the entire group. My arrogant sensor went off more than once. I've taken a lot of seminars through the years, and he was more distant and pushy on selling his wares than anyone I can remember. We are all wise not to judge others, but you never seeing him cruel or insensitve does not jive with what I experienced.

  19. Today Ray will face the judge again. This time in Prescott, AZ at the old courthouse. It will be interesting to hear the many letters that past participants wrote about their own experiences. The prosecution has many emails listed as evidence for this phase. It is frustrating to read anything about Ray, especially how he preached for others to "take responsibility" yet he fails too completely. I also hope he will serve jail time. If he only gets probation it will be a huge slap in the face for the victim's families. It will send the message that you can be a false prophet in America and it's fine to rob people of their personal freedoms without paying any price. He is is a fraud and a phony. I find it most interesting that Ray became a guru after he got involved in weight training. There was steroids, HGH, syringes found in his hotel room. The effects of such DRUGS is illusions of grandeur, paranoia, aggressive behavior, and more. He was whacked out and leading people to their own demise. It would be a service if the judge ruled that a condition to his sentence is that he can no longer lead groups. No more followers, find a new career. We shall see what happens next. Thanks for allowing me a place to vent my frustrations about Ray.
    PS Isn't it odd that he has the same name as the man who shot Martin Luther King, Jr. (but different middle names)?

  20. @anon Sep 19, Well, he didn't face the judge again yet. The drama over his sentencing seems never ending. It's becoming hard to avoid the conclusion that the goal is to string this out for as long as possible.

    Kimberly, that's exactly why I write these posts. Every state does things differently and I try to provide enlightenment here on the quirks of Arizona jurisprudence. I think a basic rule of thumb is the more lawyers you have, the slower things go, period. And in this case, Mr. Ray has quite a regiment of lawyers.