Defamatory, prejudicial and malicious claims about a murder victim should not be permitted by a defendant if clearly unsubstantiated and not directly related to a defense; particularly if the defendant has been proven to have made false statements previously.
Claims of a highly prejudicial nature should only be allowed if: a) substantiated by corroborating evidence and/or b) directly related to a defense; not as a means to tarnish the image of the victim in the eyes of the jury in an effort to sway their opinion.
In the case of Arizona vs. Jodi Arias, the defendant has made countless unsubstantiated claims, including a highly prejudicial and malicious claim that Alexander viewed child pornography on January 21, 2008, five (5) months prior to his murder. This should never have been allowed for the following reasons:
1. The police searched Alexander's entire home, computer, cell phone and vehicle. No evidence of any such material was found. There were no other witnesses to any such behavior, or even suspected behavior, other than the accused.
2. The alleged incident supposedly occurred on January 21, 2008, nearly five (5) months before Arias killed Alexander. It was completely unrelated to Arias' self defense claim. She fabricated this event in order to tarnish the victim in the eyes of the jury.
3. Arias has repeatedly lied to police, family, colleagues and friends regarding the murder of Travis Alexander. This has been proven and Arias has confessed to lying to "everyone". Given the circumstances, such a heinous claim against the victim should have only been allowed if supported by some form of corroborating evidence.
In addition, evidence of the accused's character is usually inadmissible because of the bias it could create, yet claims against a victim's character is allowed - even without a shred of evidence. The right to a fair trial should apply to the victim as well as the defendant. Biased and fabricated claims against a victim is not fair.
- Attorney General of the United States
- Victims' Rights Ombudsman, Executive Office for United States Attorneys
Marie A. O'Rourke
U.S. Department of Justice
950 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20530-0001
Stop allowing unsubstantiated claims of a malicious or prejudicial nature against a murder victim by the accused, as the victim is no longer able to defend these claims, when it is apparent that the claims are only being made to tarnish the victim in the eyes of the jury and particularly if the defendant has been proven to have made false statements previously.
Defamatory claims about a murder victim should not be permitted without some form of corroborating evidence and should only be allowed if substantiated and directly related to a defense, not as a means to turn the jury against the victim in an attempt to unfairly manipulate the outcome of a trial.
In addition, slander should apply to murder victims and if the claims can not be proven and are allowed in a trial, it should be a basis for a civil lawsuit by the victim's family.
slander n. oral defamation, in which someone tells one or more persons an untruth about another which untruth will harm the reputation of the person defamed. Slander is a civil wrong (tort) and can be the basis for a lawsuit (and should apply to a murder victim's family as well). Some statements such as an untrue accusation of having committed a crime or heinous act are treated as slander since the harm and malice are obvious. This should apply to murder victims as well - particularly during a trial - and if violated, it should be the basis for a civil lawsuit by the victim's family.
Currently, our system grants more rights to murderers than their victims and this needs to be amended.
Evidence of the accused's character is usually inadmissible because of the bias it could create, yet claims against a victim's character is allowed - even without a shred of evidence. The right to a fair trial should apply to the victim as well as the defendant.
We need TRAVIS ALEXANDER'S LAW to stop this from happening to future victims and their grieving families.
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