( Taken from http://jodiariasisinnocent.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/Jodi-Arias-Court-Docs-1.pdf )
Filed : 7/23/2010 10:56:56 AM


On July 9, 2008, defendant Jodi Arias was indicted on one count of first degree premeditated murder, or in the
alternative, felony murder, for an offense that occurred on or about June 4, 2008. The victim was Travis Alexander, with whom
defendant had a relationship. On November 6, 2008, the State filed its amended notice of intent to seek the death penalty and
aggravating factors.

On June 1, 2010, defendant disclosed to the State copies of ten handwritten letters purportedly written by Mr. Alexander
during the period from November 27, 2006, to May 27, 2008. On June 10, 2010, the State filed a motion to preclude the letters,
arguing that they were hearsay not covered by any exception and were not relevant evidence in this case.

On June 18, 2010, the State made an oral motion for disclosure of the original handwritten letters. Defense counsel
indicated that Ms. Arias had received copies of the letters electronically from a third person. This court ordered additional briefing on that issue.

On June 22, defendant filed a Notice of Defenses, noticing that she intended to assert justification defenses under A.R.S. §§ 13-405 and 13-415. Defendant had previously attributed the
crime to intruders. She now argues that all of the letters must be admitted to support her domestic violence defense. However, the letters remain hearsay and remain irrelevant, regardless of
defendant’s change in defense strategy.

Defendant argues that the letters are relevant to her claim of self-defense and that she was a victim of previous “sexual
and physical abuse” by Mr. Alexander. The specific letters defendant cites mention sexual acts and fantasies, the victim’s
feelings for defendant, and the victim’s dissatisfaction with some of his own behavior. They do not contain any corroborated
acts of “abuse.” The fact that defendant now apparently regrets certain acts that she consensually engaged in with Mr. Alexander
does not elevate those acts to abuse or domestic violence. Admitting the letters into evidence would primarily have the
effect of tainting the victim’s character with his alleged sexual proclivities or fantasies, which did not justify his
murder. The State did not and does not concede that the letters would be relevant to a self-defense strategy.

Defendant argues that Rule 404, Ariz.R.Evid., does not bar the letters, because they show her state of mind and her
awareness of prior acts of violence. She cites State v. Fish, 222 Ariz. 109, 121, 213 P.3d 258, 270 (App. 2009). But Fish did
not involve the admissibility of hearsay. “At trial, Defendant argued he was acting in self-defense when he shot the Victim.
Although Defendant did not testify at trial, his wife and daughter testified, as did numerous character witnesses who
offered general opinions as to the Victim's and the dogs' propensity for aggression and violence.” Id. at 113, 213 P.3d
at 262. Likewise, in State v. Connor, 215 Ariz. 553, 161 P.3d 596 (App. 2007), the defendant himself testified. The court
stated that a defendant could offer “reputation or opinion evidence” that the victim had a violent or aggressive character
trait, or could introduce specific acts of violence of which defendant was aware. Id. at 559, 161 P.3d at 602. That opinion
does not discuss hearsay and in fact cites Rule 405, which states that evidence of a character trait is presented by testimony.

Defendant argues that “not all of the content” of the letters “is even hearsay,” and she will not be offering it for
the truth of the matter asserted. She then goes on to describe the victim’s alleged “confession” to having “assaulted” her.
She clearly would be using the victim’s out-of-court statements to attempt to prove that he had committed a prior violent act to
bolster her self-defense claim. That is the very definition of hearsay in Rule 801(c). The State is not claiming a Sixth
Amendment right of confrontation, as defendant alleges, but the State has an equal right to confront and cross-examine
witnesses. “The primary justification for the exclusion of hearsay is the lack of any opportunity for the adversary to
cross-examine the absent declarant whose out-of-court statement is introduced into evidence.” Anderson v. U. S., 417 U.S.
211, 220 (1974). Here defendant is trying to admit the content of highly questionable letters purportedly written by the deceased victim.

Defendant also makes the novel argument that the letters contain statements against interest under Rule 804(b)(3),
because the victim theoretically could have been charged with unrelated assaults or sexual offenses. In State v. Tankersley,
191 Ariz. 359, 956 P.2d 486 (1998), and similar cases defendant5 cites, the usual scenario is that a third person (often an
accomplice or codefendant) admits or implies that he committed the crime, thus exculpating the defendant. There is no evidence
here that the victim was being investigated for any crime or that any of his statements tended to subject him to criminal
liability. The statements could have been mere fantasy. They do not meet the “against penal interest” prong nor the
trustworthiness prong of the rule. The State was unable to find any Arizona case law that applies the rule to unrelated alleged
offenses as defendant attempts to do here.

State v. Damper, 223 Ariz. 572, 225 P.3d 1148 (App. 2010), addressing present sense impression, also is not on point. In
Damper, the court concluded that text messages sent by the victim during a fight with the defendant just before she was
shot fell within the present sense impression exception of Rule 803(1), which states: “A statement describing or explaining an
event or condition made while the declarant was perceiving the event or condition, or immediately thereafter.” The letters
that defendant seeks to admit in this case refer to certain past events, with no indication of if or when those events occurred.
The letters clearly were not written during or immediately after an event and thus are not present sense impressions. In
addition, the events described do not apply to this crime — i.e., the victim is not describing events that occurred
immediately before he was murdered.

Defendant further argues that she can authenticate the handwriting in the letters through a forensic document examiner
pursuant to Rule 901. However, defendant has indicated that she6 does not have the original letters and received copies of the
letters electronically. She has thus far failed to disclose the whereabouts of the originals and who sent the electronic
transmission. Rule 1002 requires an original document unless otherwise provided by the rules. Rule 1003 states that a
duplicate is admissible unless “(1) a genuine question is raised as to the authenticity of the original or (2) in the
circumstances it would be unfair to admit the duplicate in lieu of the original.” In this case, a genuine question is raised as
to authenticity, because of the possibility that the originals were forged, photoshopped, cut-and-pasted or otherwise altered
before being electronically transmitted. In addition, because the State cannot have an expert examine the originals, admission
of duplicates would be unfair. Therefore, duplicates would not be admissible under Rule 1003.

The unfair prejudice to the State’s case under Rule 403 would arise from the tendency of jurors to be shocked by the
sexual nature of the letters and perhaps show sympathy for defendant or disdain for the victim. The State is not arguing
that the deceased victim is a “party” to the proceedings, only that he should not be subject to gratuitous character
assassination. Defendant argues that the letters are highly probative, because every aspect of her relationship with the
victim could give rise to a sudden quarrel, heat of passion, or belief that she needed to defend herself. However, many of the
letters were dated months before the crime and do not relate to any sudden event in June 2008. Furthermore, defendant was
hundreds of miles away and “safe” from the victim when she chose to drive to his home, where she killed him. Her current version
of events is that he became angry when she dropped his camera,which is unrelated to any prior conduct she describes. The
letters are not highly probative of what occurred the day of the murder.

Lastly, defendant argues that she will not receive a fair trial unless all ten letters are admitted. The letters she has
disclosed are letters she selected and are of questionable origin. We do not know if the victim wrote dozens of letters or
none at all. Defendant has produced only those letters that show her in a good light and disparage the victim. They are
irrelevant, cumulative and hearsay. However, if this court is inclined to admit some portions of the letters, the State
requests that defendant identify which specific portions she intends to use, how they are relevant and which hearsay
exception applies. She should not be permitted to simply introduce pages of self-serving hearsay.


The ten letters purportedly written by victim Travis Alexander and disclosed by defendant are inadmissible for
numerous reasons. They are hearsay, and no exception applies; they are irrelevant, or if relevant, are unfairly prejudicial;
and they do not qualify as character or other acts evidence.

The fact that defendant has changed her strategy to allege self defense does not make the letters admissible. Therefore, the
State requests that this court grant its motion to preclude the ten letters.

Submitted July , 2010