Jodi Arias Case Costs Arizonans Millions

The high profile murder case of Jodi Arias has reportedly cost Arizona residents more than $1.4 million to finance her aggressive state-appointed legal team, as well as the continuance of her extensive trial. While these new figures appear outrageous, surprisingly it is not uncommon for cases of this nature. As long as the media circus and American interest prevails, the expenses for this trial will continue to increase enormously.

32-year-old Arias allegedly murdered her ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander in 2008. Alexander was found with 27 stab wounds, a slit throat, and a gunshot wound to the head.  The trial initially began in January 2012, and as the end of its third month approaches the expenses for prosecution have reached over the million-dollar mark. If convicted, Arias could face the death penalty.

Due to the fact that the death penalty is at stake, more financial expenses are typically required. The way in which the justice system is designed dictates death penalty cases to be more thorough, in order for the jury to make sure the death of a defendant is completely justified. Life sentencing without parole can potentially be millions of dollars cheaper. According to Amnesty International, the state of California alone spent an estimated $137 million per year. On the same token California could save upwards of $11.5 million by eliminating the practice of the death penalty. A Maryland report indicated that death penalty cases cost about three times that of other cases, with a single case costing $3 million.

In a current age where state and federal finances continue to make budget cuts it in the U.S., getting rid of this expensive practice can allow expenditures to be allocated elsewhere. However, abolishing the practice in its entirety will be highly unlikely, and will open up the floodgates to criticism and divide in public opinion.

Another high profile case that cost the state of Florida millions was that of Casey Anthony. According to state analysts, the total estimated amount after the conclusion of the trial approached over a million dollars. Anthony was acquitted July 2011 for the murder of her 2-year-old daughter Caylee.

Since the trial has become yet another American spectacle, Arizona tax payers can expect their money to continually fund for her legal team. As of now, Arias’ psychologist claims to have diagnosed her with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Due to this supposed pre-existing condition, her defense team argues that she had no recollection of killing Alexander. As new twists in the case continue to prolong the trial, the respective expenses will continue to be on the rise.

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Shawna Gillen

Shawna is currently studying Political Science and Psychology at Marist College. She has a passion for politics and is an aspiring lawyer. In her spare time she likes to play club women's rugby, and contributes as the Co-News Editor for Marist's student newspaper.

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