Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Jodi Arias Nude Crime Scene Photos Streamed Live to the Public Through "Technical" Error

by Jeff Kimble, PI, posted Jaunary 15, 2012

In case you missed it, at around 3:00 p.m. Arizona time, January 14, 2013, Judge Sherry Stephens called for the afternoon break in the Jodi Arias murder trial, which has been streaming  “live” online, four days a week, to anyone who cares to watch. Defense attorney Kirk Nurmi asked that he be allowed to address the issue of a possible mistrial during the break, alleging that the county attorney’s office and/or the Mesa Police withheld evidence from the defense way back in 2008. Long and short of it, Judge Stephens basically said she’d take it under advisement.
You can’t blame Nurmi for trying. Nor can you blame him for the flabbergasted expression he had when Juan Martinez (for the State) made a thinly veiled comment accusing Nurmi of being a racist. Yes, this really happened: Martinez blurted out “perhaps all Hispanic names sound the same to you…” or something to that effect.
A minute or two after Nurmi and Martinez stopped jousting and Judge Stephens announced the official break for everyone in the courtroom, everyone live-streaming at home got a jury’s-eye-view of both victim and defendant (Travis Alexander and Jodi Arias) bare-assed and going at it; triple X, close-ups, flamboyantly care-free, doing it like they do on the Discovery Channel. These were the same lurid photos shown to the jury earlier in the trial.
For those of us at home (or at the office, where I was) we neither expect to see these kinds of photos on court T.V. nor should we see them, out of simple respect for the victim, the family of the victim, the family of the defendant, and all parties affected by the crime.
My understanding of how this could happen—and I could be wrong about technical specifics here, so bear with me—is that there is a centralized “Court TV” system set-up (I've heard it may be "In Session" of Tru-TV) for circus trials like this, located somewhere in the bowels of the courthouse. It’s likely a little room with four or five T.V. monitors and two or three video technicians choosing which-camera-to-show-when to us folks on the outside. In other words, someone in that room is punching the buttons that determine what we do see and what we don’t see at the trial, essentially refashioning the courtroom drama by editing out all the gratuitous sex and horrific bloated bodies that might disturb our vicarious "CSI" experience—more or less.
But, god-forbid, if something foul does creep through a crack in the shiny armor of decorum, it would still likely flash across our screens for only a second or two, right up until the folks in the little room realize their error, spit coffee, and quickly press the right button—assuming they’re paying attention.
What I witnessed yesterday afternoon, however, was not that at all. Whoever was in the little room during the afternoon break didn’t simply press the wrong button. What happened was inappropriate at best, depraved at worst.
The close-ups of Jodi Arias’ private parts, as well as those of Travis Alexander, were accidently fed to the live stream during a break in the trial, not during the trial itself. And the procession of photos displayed to the public were a replay of digital video taken from the camera positioned over the PowerPoint projector used by the attorneys to display photographic evidence to the jury. The offending material fed to the live stream was recorded from earlier direct examination during the trial.

Specifically, this footage was a close-up replay of prosecuting attorney Juan Martinez’s hands shuffling through the 8x10 prints processed from the digital camera found at the scene of the crime, and somebody in the little control room at the courthouse was watching it again. In fact, they deliberately fast-forwarded at one point past Travis’ nude shots and paused on Jodi Arias’. I checked with an associate who was also following the trial online and they witnessed the same thing.

This was not an innocent technical error. Someone was watching a digital recording of those photos on a television or computer monitor, fast-forwarding, rewinding, reviewing, stopping on the highly explicit stuff, until they likely had an “oh shit” moment, realized they were still streaming live—and then cut the live feed. Take my word for it as a private investigator who deals with video evidence all the time: this was not an innocent review for the sake of the trial by anyone who had any business doing so, i.e. the opposing counsels. Someone was deliberately focusing on the pornographic shots via the scan button on a video recorder, and it wasn't in the interests of Justice.
Working in the court system requires—no, demands—a high level of respect, care, and professionalism, especially in the handling of evidence and when dealing with the vulnerabilities of innocent victims and their families. To “get-off” on sexually explicit crime scene photos in a public forum while in the employ of the county—come on. I think we can do better than that.  
I called a reporter I know at a local news station. She got my story on the assignment desk but the higher-ups apparently didn’t think it made for good copy. I even tried calling Kirk Nurmi, not that he could do anything about it. What’s he going to do? Ask Judge Stephens for a mistrial due to perverts in our midst? Dealing with the stresses and long hours of a capital case, he hasn't got the time or energy for these kinds of shenanigans anyway. 
In spite of the fact that someone in the courthouse fast-forwarded to the “naughty bits” of a nationally scrutinized trial and then accidentally broadcast their lechery to the public, this can have no influence on the outcome of this trial. Not now. Too late for that.  Besides, at the rate society's going with reality T.V., in ten years we’ll probably show it all anyway; the whole trial, all the evidence, no matter how graphic, even the execution, live at six (dead at six?)—and my puritanical rant today will appear childish in retrospect.
But the future of Court T.V. still doesn’t excuse the obvious in the present; that live court trials—by their intrinsic sordidness—captivate the worse angels of our nature. That said, or in spite of that, if we are going to pretend we are good citizens, that justice is blind, and that the only evil in the courthouse today is Jodi Arias, can we all please act like it—at least until we scurry like the rats that we are, back home to the privacy of our own bedrooms?