In the murder trial of Jodi Arias — which became a national obsession and made headlines for testimony detailing graphic sex and violence — perhaps it’s appropriate that even the prosecutor who put Arias behind bars has been embroiled in multiple scandals.
Arias, 37, was convicted in 2013 of the 2008 murder of her ex-lover, Travis Alexander, 30. According to investigators, Alexander had been shot and stabbed 27 times in his Mesa, Arizona, home.
Juan Martinez was the attorney who prosecuted the case that ended with Arias being sentenced to life in prison. From the beginning, Martinez was a divisive figure: Some criticized his aggressive approach to questioning Arias, while others applauded the dedication and detective work that led to several “Perry Mason” moments during the trial.
One such moment occurred when Martinez famously produced gas receipts that showed that Arias had three gas cans with her during her drive to Arizona, which was indicative of premeditation on her part.
This week, it was reported that Martinez had dodged yet another bullet: He was cleared of attorney ethics violations for the sixth time.
The allegations came from Arias. Her complaint alleged that Martinez had engaged in sexual relations and information-sharing with two female media members covering the case.
In a letter to Arias’ attorney Karen Clark, Senior Bar Counsel Craig Henley stated that after an investigation, the State Bar of Arizona “did not find clear and convincing evidence that Mr. Martinez committed a violation of the ethical rules governing lawyers,” according to The Arizona Republic.
In fact, Henley wrote a letter to Martinez’s attorney J. Scott Rhodes stating that having sexual relationships with media members was not a violation of ethical rules.
However, Henley wrote:
“Please be aware that a prosecutor engaging in personal relationships with media members during a highly publicized death penalty case is ill-advised and will predictably result in allegations of ethical misconduct.”
According to Henley’s letter, both women denied having sex with Martinez, and Martinez neither confirmed nor denied whether sex took place. Martinez did admit, however, to allowing both women access to his office in the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office.
Neither the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office nor Martinez have so far offered to comment on the latest reports.
The Arizona Republic reported that since Martinez was hired at the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office in 1988, he has prosecuted cases that resulted in seven other defendants being sent to Death Row — and has been accused of prosecutorial misconduct in all but one of those cases.
All charges against Martinez have been dismissed.
“I was criticized during my cross-examination of Jodi Ann Arias for utilizing an approach that was described as strident and harsh,” Martinez wrote in “Conviction: The Untold Story of Putting Jodi Arias Behind Bars.”
“But I had seen in her interview with Detective Esteban Flores after her arrest and during the direct examination in court that Arias would manipulate the truth if she was allowed to control the questioning. My strategy was to wrest control by directing the questioning in a firm manner rather than allowing her the chance to revise her story yet again.”
Martinez sought to show how Arias had planned out her attack weeks in advance, and stole the 25-caliber gun used in the attack from her grandparents’ home where she was staying in Yreka, California.
Arias is currently serving a life sentence while appealing her conviction.
Beginning on Sunday, January 14, watch Investigation Discovery’s Jodi Arias: An American Murder Mystery on ID GO!
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Main photo: Image from interview with Juan Martinez [Fox 10 Phoenix / YouTube (screenshot)]