Prosecutor misconduct? Defense questions action outside of court

Prosecutor misconduct? Defense questions action outside of court

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PHOENIX -

In a case that's getting national attention, he's become a household name.

We're talking about the prosecutor in the Jodi Arias murder case -- Juan Martinez. You may remember we told you about his Facebook fan page last week, which has over 16,000 likes.

On it, people praise his actions in the courtroom, and women call him a heartthrob.

This was supposed to be a day dominated by testimony from a psychotherapist working for the defense, explaining why Arias was a victim of domestic abuse. There was some of that, but first a focus on the behavior of the prosecutor.

Arias' attorneys are upset that prosecutor Martinez posed for pictures with fans outside the courthouse and that jurors might be influenced by the hero worship.

"There has been video of Mr. Martinez online outside the courtroom signing autographs and posing for pictures," said Arias' attorney, Kirk Nurmi.

"I did not have any evidence to that effect until last night when Ms. Casarez working for HLN went on and said that she observed a juror saying Mr. Martinez' fan club and whatever you want to call it."

That would be Jean Casarez, covering the trial for the HLN network.  She was called to the witness stand.

Casarez said she "would be concerned if a juror saw that."

Martinez told the judge he didn't typically walk out the front door of the courthouse.

"You know sometimes facts are not quite what they seem or are reported and once we ascertain what that issue is, the course is to then ask the jury," he said.

"The defense council may not like the fact that people have come up to the prosecutor and asked him whatever and to have a photograph with him. That is not misconduct. If the defense council believes a juror was there that saw... even if he saw it, that still would not be misconduct because it happened outside."

"It's entirely possible jurors saw this. I don't know how many days this goes on because I'm not privy to that, but misconduct does not end in the courthouse walls," said Nurmi.

The jurors were asked about this by the judge after court proceedings Thursday. We don't know what was said because it happened behind closed doors.

Before that happened, defense witness Alyce LaViolotte told the jurors Jodi was emotionally vulnerable and easily manipulated by Travis Alexander.

"Most of it was distant..sexual, not what she wanted.. once again she went along with it, but she was not happy.. it was not what she wanted," said LaViolotte.

Jurors are left to ponder.  There are plenty of dysfunctional relationships out there.  Why did this one turn deadly?

There is no testimony March 29 or April 1. The trial, grinding along at a snail's pace, picks up again next Tuesday morning.

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