Arias defense expert says he made mistakes

NEED TO KNOW
  • HLN is covering the Jodi Arias trial live gavel-to-gavel
  • Arias is accused of killing Travis Alexander, but she says she did it in self-defense
  • Watch 'HLN After Dark: The Jodi Arias Trial' at 10 p.m. on HLN
Arias defense expert says he made mistakes

When court is done for the day, the conversation is only just beginning. Watch "HLN After Dark: The Jodi Arias Trial" nightly at 10 p.m. on HLN.

Forensic psychologist Richard Samuels said on the witness stand Monday that he made mistakes in how he tested Jodi Arias for post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD.

Samuels testified last week that he diagnosed Arias with PTSD, and the anxiety disorder is what caused her memory lapses regarding the killing of her ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander.

Prosecutor Juan Martinez pointed out that Arias lied in her answers on the PTSD tests multiple times, because she claimed two intruders killed her ex-boyfriend. Arias testified that she killed Alexander in self-defense after he attacked her.

Samuels said he should have re-administered the tests to Arias after she changed her story. He called it an "oversight," and he should have made Arias take it a second time because the accuracy of the test depends on the test taker being honest with their answers.

HLN is live-blogging Monday’s proceedings. Read about Samuels' first day on the witness stand here Get caught up on DAY 1 of juror questions, along with Day 2 and Day 3 here. Read below for minute-by-minute updates from Monday's proceedings (best read from the bottom):

7:31 p.m. ET: Judge Stephens has recessed court until 1:00 p.m. ET Tuesday.

7:30 p.m. ET: Martinez is asking generally whether Samuels tries to corroborate a person's story if they are consistently lying to him. Samuels said if someone lies to him consistently he wouldn't evaluate them, because it would be worthless.

7:27 p.m. ET: The attorneys are at another sidebar with the judge.

7:21 p.m. ET: Samuels said it was an "oversight" that he did not administer Arias the PTSD a second time after she changed her story to self-defense.

7:20 p.m. ET:

7:18 p.m. ET: Martinez is asking Samuels if the test is as good as the person who is taking the test, and if someone is lying if it hurts the validity of the test. Samuels said yes if someone lies on the test it hurts its accuracy. Martinez pointed out again that Arias lied multiple times on the test. The attorneys are at a sidebar with the judge.

7:15 p.m. ET:

7:12 p.m. ET: Martinez is walking Samuels through the instructions for the test, and how it is scored.

7:10 p.m. ET: Samuels said he thought at the time Arias was lying on the test, and perhaps he should given Arias the PTSD test after she supposedly starting telling the truth. 

7:04 p.m. ET: The attorneys are at a sidebar with the judge.

7:02 p.m. ET: Martinez is pointing at multiple instances where Arias was not truthful on the PTSD test. Arias lists one traumatic event on the test she experienced as being caused by a non-sexual assault committed by a stranger.

6:59 p.m. ET: On the test Arias said she had never been raped, but she testified earlier in the trial that Alexander had forced her to have sex.

Arias also said she had been held at gunpoint, which is consistent with her lie that two intruders killed Alexander when she was in his home.

6:56 p.m. ET: Samuels agreed that at the time the PTSD test was administered Arias was still maintaining her lie that two intruders killed Alexander.

6:55 p.m. ET: Martinez said at the time Samuels administered one of the PTSD tests, Arias was still saying two intruders killed Alexander. The answers on the test reflects Arias' story that two intruders killed Alexander. The test was administered on March, 15, 2010.

6:48 p.m. ET: The attorneys are at a sidebar with the judge.

6:47 p.m. ET: Samuels is explaining the test and how he conducted it to Martinez.

6:42 p.m. ET: Martinez is asking Samuels to review some of the answers Arias wrote on one of the PTSD tests.

6:41 p.m. ET: Samuels said the accuracy of the PTSD tests depends on the honesty of the person answering the questions. Martinez just accused Arias of lying on the test.

6:38 p.m. ET: Martinez and Samuels are discussing the test he gave Arias to diagnosis her with PTSD. Samuels says he has administered the test 15 times.

6:36 p.m. ET:

6:35 p.m. ET: Martinez is now asking Samuels about complaints he has reserved about ethical violations he committed.

6:32 p.m. ET: Samuels admitted that he gave Arias a book to help her get better, but on the other hand, he said, he was supposed to stay impartial during the pyschological evaluation process.

6:30 p.m. ET: Samuels said he did not contact anyone at the jail where Arias was being held about the fact that she was suicidal.

6:28 p.m. ET: Martinez is asking Samuels if he had a duty to inform other health care workers that Arias was suicidal. Samuels said he told Arias' attorneys, but did not have any contacts at the jail so he did not notify anyone else.

6:26 p.m. ET: Martinez asked Samuels if he has any memory problems. Samuels said he does not.

6:25 p.m. ET:

6:24 p.m. ET: Samuels said he spent 25 to 30 hours with Arias total. Martinez is asking Samuels if there is a code of ethics that prevents him from giving gifts. He said yes, but it wasn't a gift. He gave Arias the book, because she was suicidal. The attorneys are now at a sidebar.

6:21 p.m. ET: Martinez is asking Samuels if he "liked" Arias. Samuels said that it depends on how like is defined.

6:20 p.m. ET: Samuels said he order the self-help book on Amazon.com, and it only cost $9.00.

6:19 p.m. ET: Martinez asked Samuels if he gave Arias a gift, and he responded no. Samuels said he gave her the book, because she was depressed. Martinez asked if he blurred the lines between the roles of evaluation and therapy.

6:13 p.m. ET: The judge is back on the stand, and testimony should start any minute.

5:57 p.m. ET: Judge Stephens said she would sustain the defense's objection to Martinez's line of questioning. The live blog will pick back up at 6:10 p.m. ET when testimony resumes.

5:55 p.m. ET:

5:54 p.m. ET: Willmott said this information is irrelevant and prejudicial to Arias.

5:52 p.m. ET: Martinez said Samuels blurred the line between evaluation and therapy. Samuels "crossed the line" according to Martinez.

5:51 p.m. ET: The judge has sent the jury out of the courtroom. Defense attorney Kirk Nurmi is objecting about Martinez's attempt to ask Samuels if he provided Arias with therapy before the trial when she was allegedly depressed.

5:48 p.m. ET:

5:46 p.m. ET: Prosecutor Juan Martinez is asking Samuels about the difference between treatment and a psychological examination. The attorneys are now at a sidebar with the judge.

5:45 p.m. ET: Samuels said it would have taken a lot of strength for someone Arias' size to move Alexander's body. Willmott has finished her direct examination of Samuels.

“It would suggest to me that she was indeed in a state of acute stress and that the adrenaline was pumping and that glucose was going to her body. It seems to me she was in a fight or flight mode,” said Samuels.

5:43 p.m. ET: Willmott is trying to ask Samuels if would have been difficult for Arias to move Alexander's body. Martinez is objecting to Willmott's every turn. The attorneys are now at another sidebar.

5:39 p.m. ET: The attorneys are at another sidebar with the judge.

5:38 p.m. ET: Willmott is walking Samuels through all the evidence he has reviewed in the case. Samuels said he believes the state of the crime scene where Alexander's body was found supports his opinion that Arias suffers from PTSD.

5:28 p.m. ET: Attorneys are still at a sidebar with the judge.

5:26 p.m. ET:

5:23 p.m. ET: Willmott is now asking Samuels about the evidence he has seen from the crime scene. The attorneys are now at a sidebar with the judge.

5:20 p.m. ET: Samuels said he observed Arias shake multiple times when he was interviewing her. Arias told him that the shaking began in 2007. Samuels said the shaking is due to high levels of anxiety, which is a characteristic of PTSD.

5:18 p.m. ET: Willmott is now asking Samuels about how Arias allegedly shakes and trembles when people yell at her. Samuels said it is a symptom of PTSD.

5:15 p.m. ET: Samuels said Arias was disconnected from reality when she was telling lies about how Alexander killed her. The alternative reality was created as a defense mechanism. It was like the killing didn't happen in Arias' mind, according to Samuels.

“The alternative reality that is created is so contrary to what actually happened that it would be very difficult for a person to even make those statements if they genuinely, in some part of them, didn’t believe that. Or weren’t functioning as if the alternative reality was reality,” said Samuels.

5:12 p.m. ET:

“Over the years I found that her personality seemed to strengthen. She became somewhat more self-confident, more assertive, she was able to communicate more freely and openly and I saw that as a positive indication,” said Samuels

5:08 p.m. ET:

 

5:07 p.m. ET:

“Based upon her history, what she was telling me at the time about her past relationships, about her childhood, how she was reared, certain interactions she had with her parents – it almost cried out to me that this is a young woman who was suffering from very low self-esteem,” said Samuels.

5:06 p.m. ET: Samuels said Arias had low self-esteem when he met her, but she seems to have gained more esteem during their interview sessions.

5:04 p.m. ET: Willmott is asking Samuels if someone can experience PTSD when they harm someone else. He said yes there is research that suggests people who hurt other people can suffer from PTSD.

5:02 p.m. ET: Samuels said not everyone who experiences trauma will suffer from PTSD.

5:01 p.m. ET: “She reported remembering that he was threatening her life. And then at the end she began to remember becoming reconnected to her environment while on that road in Arizona, covered in blood,” said Samuels.

4:48 p.m. ET: The attorneys are now at a sidebar with the judge.

4:56 p.m. ET: Arias wrote she couldn't marry Alexander in the journal entry. Samuels said most of the time Arias wrote positive things about Alexander in the journal.

 

4:54 p.m. ET: Samuels said Arias has been writing in her journals since she was a teenager, and she was a very optimistic person. Willmott is now asking Arias about a journal entry that was allegedly written days after Alexander injured Arias' finger.

4:51 p.m. ET: Willmott is asking about cases Samuels has worked on that involved child molestation. Samuels said it is common for family members to protect perpetrators so he would also have to provide the family members with therapy as well.

4:49 p.m. ET: Samuels is explaining how he has worked with victims of sexual abuse, and perpetrators of sexual crimes.

4:47 p.m. ET: Samuels is taking the stand, and his testimony should resume any minute now.

4:34 p.m. ET: The attorneys are at a sidebar with the judge.

4:21 p.m. ET: Testimony should resume any minute.

2:53 p.m. ET: Judge Stephens has recessed court until 4:25 p.m. ET. The live blog will pick back up when testimony resumes.

2:50 p.m. ET: The attorneys are still at a sidebar with the judge.

2:45 p.m. ET:

2:44 p.m. ET: Samuels said he was fined for inappropriate bartering, but that was his only penalty. Now Wilmott is asking Samuels about his experience working with sexually violent criminals. The attorneys are now at a sidebar with the judge.

2:39 p.m. ET: Samuels is explaining another complaint filed against him for bartering with a client for therapy. The client was bankrupt, and he was trying to help him out.

2:38 p.m. ET: Defense attorney Willmott is asking Samuels about complaints against psychologists commonly be filed in divorce or child custody cases. Samuels is explaining a complaint that was filed against him 1994 or 1995.

2:35 p.m. ET: “She reported remembering that he was threatening her life. And then at the end she began to remember becoming reconnected to her environment while on that road in Arizona, covered in blood,” said Samuels.

2:33 p.m. ET: Arias seems to be getting upset as Samuels explains how the memories Arias does have of killing Alexander haunt her.

 

2:31 p.m. ET:

2:30 p.m. ET: Samuels said during trauma, people can remember bits and pieces during the traumatic event.

2:29 p.m. ET:

2:28 p.m. ET: Samuels said Arias has been consistent with him about her memory lapses throughout his 12 interviews with her.

2:27 p.m. ET: The attorneys are at a sidebar with the judge.

2:25 p.m. ET:

“According to the research, the more intense the trauma, the more likely and the more complete the amnesia,” said Samuels.

2:21 p.m. ET: Samuels drew a sketch for the jury to help them understand how the ability to remember reduces during the trauma.

2:19 p.m. ET: Samuels is now discussing what happens in the brain when someone experiences severe trauma and suffers from dissociative amnesia.

 

2:12 p.m. ET: Samuels is explaining what dissociative amnesia means. He said it is a type of memory loss that is caused by severe trauma, that causes the brain to not record memories. The attorneys are at a sidebar with the judge.

2:06 p.m. ET: Samuels said stressors that shock the system can cause amnesia, but this is not what Arias suffers from. The attorneys are now at a sidebar with judge Sherry Stephens.

“Amnesia is not necessarily a fake or made-up kind of experience. It occurs fairly commonly in the population… it’s a small percentage but fact of the matter is it’s regularly reported. So it’s not as if amnesia can only be made up as to cover up something,” said Samuels.

2:05 p.m. ET: Samuels said simple stressors like being dunked in cold water can cause amnesia.

2:03 p.m. ET: Samuels is back on the stand, and defense attorney Jennifer Willmott is asking him about different types of amnesia.

1:38 p.m. ET: From our producer in the courtroom:

It appears the defense has decided not to elicit the testimony about the crime scene. The defense's expert was expected to talk about crime
scene research and the difference between instrumental (premeditated) crime scenes and expressive (heat of passion) crime scenes. The
prosecutor had objected to the testimony arguing that an expert opining on the character of the crime scene would mean invading the territory of
the jury -- as it will be up to jurors to decide whether the alleged crime is premeditated. It appears the defense has withdrawn the testimony -- so the judge will not have to make a decision on its admissibility. The court will reconvene at 2:00 ET, as that is when the jury is scheduled to return.

1:35 p.m. ET: Judge Stephens just announced court is in recess.

1:31 p.m. ET: Arias is wearing a black sweater over a green shirt today.

1:28 p.m. ET: The judge is on the bench, and the hearing is about to begin.

1:19 p.m. ET: The hearing should begin any moment.

Jodi Arias' defense team conceded a fight Monday with prosecutor Juan Martinez over what might have been helpful evidence for their client.

Judge Sherry Stephens was expected to decide whether the jury will hear what could be significant testimony from defense expert forensic psychologist Richard Samuels -- but the hearing was canceled.

Read more: Does Arias suffer from PTSD?

The defense wanted Samuels to testify about crime research that demonstrates the differences between premeditated murder crimes and heat-of-passion crime scenes. Samuels was expected to say the chaotic nature of the crime scene indicates that Travis Alexander's murder was a heat-of-passion crime that happened in the spur of the moment.

Prosecutor Juan Martinez objected to the testimony because Samuels would have to define the differences between premeditated murder and heat-of-passion murder, and that could have confused the jury. At the end of the trial, the jury will be given strict legal definitions for premeditated murder and other lesser included crimes. Martinez said Thursday that Samuels can't be allowed to muddle the jury's understanding of these terms with his own definitions.

On Monday, the defense announced Samuels would not testify about the crime research, therefore conceding the fight with Martinez.

Watch: Expert: Gun Jodi used jammed

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