Defense attorney: Arias' self-representation might save her - Tucson News Now

Defense attorney: Arias' self-representation might save her life

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Arias in court for procedural matters on July 31, 2014. (Source: CBS 5 News) Arias in court for procedural matters on July 31, 2014. (Source: CBS 5 News)
Criminal defense attorney Dwane Cates. Criminal defense attorney Dwane Cates.
PHOENIX (CBS5) -

Jodi Arias has already been convicted of murdering her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander.

Now she wants to represent herself during her upcoming sentencing retrial and a judge has given Arias the go-ahead.

It's not uncommon for people to represent themselves in court.

But, Phoenix criminal defense attorney Dwane Cates said you don't see too many people doing that who are facing the death penalty.

"She's clearly had problems with her attorneys in the past and she doesn't trust her counsel," he said. "And, I think she feels like, what does she have to lose at this point?"

Cates was a frequent legal analyst and commentator during Arias' murder trial in 2013.

"It took on a life of its own," he said about public and media interest in the case.

Cates said the penalty phase of her retrial will likely draw even more attention with Arias representing herself and going head to head with prosecutor, Juan Martinez.

"It will be a circus on steroids," he said. "I mean this is going to be, this is going to be beyond bizarre."

Despite her lack of professional legal knowledge, Cates expects Arias will give it all she's got.

"Her life is in her own hands," he explained, "If she goes down, she's going down with guns blazing."

While Arias has a difficult task ahead of her, Cates said it's one that might just win over a jury and save her life.

"She may fail so miserably at her own representation, that they may feel sorry for her," he explained. "They're going to get to know Jodi intimately. She's going to be in front of them speaking every day. And, Juan Martinez is going to tear her apart. And, that may be just what she needs to avoid the death penalty."

Both of the attorneys who represented Arias during her murder trial will be retained in advisory roles.

CBS 5 News reached out to Kirk Nurmi and Jennifer Willmott to get their take on this latest twist in the case.

Neither attorney has responded to our requests.

Copyright 2014 CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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    Jodi Ann Arias stands accused of shooting, stabbing and slitting the throat of her former boyfriend, Travis Alexander, in June 2008.
    Jodi Ann Arias stands accused of shooting, stabbing and slitting the throat of her former boyfriend, Travis Alexander, in June 2008.
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