Media seeks camera coverage of Sept. 29 penalty phase retrial in Jodi Arias murder case

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PHOENIX — Video footage of Jodi Arias' Sept. 29 penalty phase retrial should be allowed to be broadcast 30 minutes after the end of each day's proceedings to afford the public their constitutional right to witness criminal trials, a media lawyer argued Monday.

Arias was convicted of murder last year in the 2008 killing of her ex-boyfriend at his suburban Phoenix home, but jurors couldn't decide on her sentence. The retrial will determine if she gets the death penalty or life in prison.

Arias' first trial was broadcast live, but Judge Sherry Stephens denied that right this time around, ruling that no footage could be broadcast until after the verdict.

Several local television stations are arguing that Stephens' ruling is too restrictive and creates constitutional violations.

"For many people, access to the day's proceedings ... will be their only means of attending trial which is their constitutional right," media lawyer David Bodney told the judge.

Prosecutor Juan Martinez did not object, noting that Arias has sought media coverage herself, offering interviews before, during and after the trial, and that the defense is just seeking "to manage or attempt to control what's going out on the air waves."

Arias' attorneys argue the less restrictive media rules would hamper her right to a fair trial.

Defense lawyer Kirk Nurmi said that the motion is simply a desire by the media "to exploit this trial for profit."

The defense called no witnesses during Arias' first penalty phase, in part because her attorneys said some had been threatened and refused to testify.

If the judge amends her ruling and allows footage to be broadcast at the end of each day, Nurmi argued, some witnesses may "be harassed and threatened in the evening and may not want to come back."

The judge did not immediately rule.

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