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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Jodi Arias Hung Jury #TrialMoments

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Many people have called a certain piece of video to my attention. They have seen it on CNN, InSession, all the major networks and anywhere video of the final moments of the Jodi Arias trial are shown. I've embedded one example of it below. It occurs at 3:07 within the ABC report on three of the jurors speaking out.

In the foreground of the video at 3:07 are the tearful faces of Samantha Alexander, Hilary Wilcox and  Tanisha Sorenson, all sisters of Travis Alexander. The jury verdict form has just been read out and the news that we had a hung jury is just sinking in.

The person in the background craning her neck and bobbing like a flamingo as the camera slowly pans the defeated and sorrowful sisters is me.

Did I know the camera was on me? Not even the slightest clue.

You may well wonder how that could be.

Let me tell you what the set up is like inside the courtroom and it will become easy to understand. There is one standard television camera mounted on a tall tripod in the center of the very last row of the gallery. This is a court-mandated position. Dennis, the cameraman, is never free to roam about trying different angles. The position is fixed and if he tried to move it, court would have stopped, he would have been ejected and it's not unlikely all the cameras would have been thrown out as well.

I can't say for sure since I am inside the courtroom not watching on TV but I doubt you ever see this camera. You do see the fruits of its labor: straight on shots of the witness on the stand, the judge, wide shots of the overall action.

At the very opposite end of the courtroom are smaller more discreet video cameras mounted on the wall. There is no cameraman standing at them. They are remotely operated by an unseen crew who are not actually in the courtroom.

During the trial I have often tweeted about the "little room behind me," which was referring to the conference room where witnesses waited to be called or the Alexander family used for privacy in their grief and for conferences with prosecutor Juan Martinez. But I haven't mentioned the other little room behind the media section. This one is accessible by a door in the vestibule leading to the courtroom. Inside this room are collected the technical staff of the television team. They have monitors and controls in there. The cameras these guys operate are the ones pointed to the west, the ones that give you closeups of Jodi's face and of her family, of the attorneys facing the witness and of the Alexander family in the gallery.

Sometimes these cameras also capture the rest of us in the gallery. There is no red light flashing on the camera that's live, there is no whir of gears, no swiveling lens to alert us. Courts don't like such things. Cameras must be unobtrusive or most judges won't allow them. Even if you knew some subtle clue to watch for carefully, you would never notice it or you'd miss all the action of the trial itself.

People have asked what I was trying to see with my stretching and weaving. The answer is Jodi herself. There was an object obstructing my view of her and I was trying to get a better look by looking over the top of it, then I tried for an angle around the side of it. I could definitely see Jodi, I just couldn't see that much of her. A large chunk of her head was blocked from view by the object. If you pause the video at this point, behind me you can see Beth Karas of InSession and Grace Wong and Jean Casarez as well. To my right (your left) is Selin Darkalstanian and just to my left you can see the bowed head of Alexis Weed. We are all clumped together because this was the designated media section and we were not allowed to sit anywhere else.

What I'd like to point out to you now is the figure sitting directly in front of me. The camera angle tends to confuse these spatial relationships, but directly in front of me you can see a blue shoulder. The figure is hunched over, hands covering the face, brown hair falling forward to hide the rest. Moments before, this person (who I took particular note of as I sat) was sitting straight-backed as she always did, her quiet dignity always impressive. But when the news of the hung jury sunk in, in a sort of 2 second delay due to the convoluted language of the jury form, I saw the slow-motion rolling of the shoulders in front of me into a silent sob, the shoulders of Deanna Reid.

For me, this video preserves what I could not see no matter what kind of craning I did and that is what the front of what that sob looked like. It touches me very much, her sad elegance, and deep sense of privacy even in the most pubic of settings.

During the trial I sometimes used a hashtag #TrialMoments for little things I noticed. The announcement of the hung jury was a very big moment, it was real news. But it contained many small moments within it. The slow rolling of the blue-clad shoulders in front of me is one I will never forget.

Please leave your comments below. Most of you are wonderful and insightful. Venting is fine, but violent language will be removed.


  1. Ms. Kimball,

    There has been a big spike in the online gossip about Mr. Martinez's personal life. The story is that Treena Kay is his firlfriend and that his wife died of cancer 3 years ago. I have no idea whether any of that is true, but some of the posts I've seen cite your blog as a source. I know how concerned you are for his privacy so I thought you would want to know.

    A fan of your's and Juan's

    1. I have never mentioned that or any name. Nor have I mentioned a word about any alleged past marriages of his. Wherever you see this gossip, I hope you will speak out and say I never said any of those things. Thanks.

    2. I have done so once already, and will continue to do so.

      Take care.

  2. I adore Deanna! She was on Dr. Drew and, the word that comes to mind when I see her, and I've heard so many others use is Lovely...her demeanor, her poise, her beautiful brown eyes. When she got off the stand, I think the world collectively sighed and said "Why didn't Travis marry you!".

    About the gossip above, I recall an article about Juan having a very long standing relationship with a very successful woman and you were very respectful of their privacy. So sad that people start gossip like that!

    Love your blog Camille and your book about Marjorie Orben is my list to buy very soon, I remember seeing a show on ID channel about her.

  3. Hi Camille....first of all I want to say I LOVE reading your blog and hearing your insights! Second, thank you for accepting my FB friends request. Third, LOVED "What She Always Wanted"....great book!!

    What bothers me the most of what I'm reading on some of these blogs (and FB pages) is people trying to figure out who Mr. Martinez's girlfriend is. Have we forgotten what this trial is REALLY about? A young man who was BRUTALLY murdered by a evil woman and a family that was left behind.

    Now don't get me wrong.....Is Mr. Martinez a very intelligent, respectful, passionate and handsome man? Absolutely.....one of a handful of men I'd consider absolutely gorgeous. BUT.....could we please leave his private life private? I don' remember seeing anywhere on any of these blogs Ms. Kimball giving out a name. Gossip hurts and gossip destroys. It needs to STOP.

    I'm sorry if this post upset anyone, but I've seen first hand how many "fans" can get out of line and take it too far. I'm friends with some well known actors and musicians and I've seen how their lives have been turned upside down by "fans"...NOT that I'm saying it's going to happen to him....I'm just saying let's admire him from afar and wish him success in all areas of his life and, most importantly, continue to lift up this family in prayers and thoughts. :) Michelle Mowry

  4. Thank you, Michelle. Yes, I want very much for them to be able to retain their privacy. I have NOT MENTIONED ANY NAMES. I gave the info of his romantic status not to titilate, but to answer a common question on a now-public figure so people could RELAX and stop thinking if they bought a plane ticket they might get a date. WHO the lady is is no one's business. I do wish people would stop speculating. If you love Juan, please do not cause him harm. Invading the privacy of someone dear to him is HARMING him.

    Please feel free to cut and paste that message anywhere you think it needs to be heard. Thanks, Michelle and everyone.

  5. I would also like to add, guessing WRONGLY causes harm to the ladies who get pulled into it, too. Please don't let your enthusiasm get ahead of your kind hearts. Do not make life worse for the good guys.

  6. Iam no expert,yet,i immediately sensed something was amiss when the jurors so quickly contacted the judge & the nature of the question said to me that there was something more going on behind the scenes that they seemed to be saying one or more of them wanted to call it quits and let the judge decide ...i feel like there was unfair control and manipulation perhaps thru that biased foreman, what could have been done differently to prevent this or investigate it at the time they were deliberating because now obviously we have found out thru all the jurors interviews that the foreman caused them to hang..how come this is not further investigated , why is one person on the jury allowed to act this way and no one in the judicial system is going to follow up on this so changes can be made for improvement in future case deliberations??? i dont understand the judge not sensing as those of us who know so much less than her about law, not immediately sensing there was a big problem and why she could not investigate it then instead of sending them back and then allowing them to be hung? i do not get it at all....thankyou for any insight you can give.