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Did Arias defense expert do more harm than good?

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
Did Arias defense expert do more harm than good?

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.

Prosecutor Juan Martinez duked it out Tuesday with forensic psychologist Richard Samuels over his own admitted mistakes in testing Jodi Arias for post-traumatic stress disorder or PTSD.

Martinez raised his voice as he bombarded Samuels about how some of his methodology shouldn't be presented at trial, and he read an article to Samuels that says one of the tests he gave Arias along with its results should not be used in court cases.

“It’s saying basically that this is not something that is set up to be used in a court case,” said Martinez.

“No, that’s not what it says,” responded Samuels.

“Well it does say that this ‘instrument does not allow for a client or defendant’s score [test results] to be interpreted according to a criteria of normality that may be an important factor to assess in a court case.’ Yes or no?” asked Martinez.

“That’s what it says. And what are you reading from sir?” asked Samuels.

“Sir, I ask the questions. Do you understand that?” said Martinez.

“Yes,” said Samuels.

Willmott objected saying Martinez should disclose the source of the article to Samuels. The judge then recessed court for lunch.

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.

HLN is live-blogging the Jodi Arias trial. Read about Samuel's testimony from Monday here, and check out Samuels' first day on the witness stand hereRead below for minute-by-minute updates from Tuesday's proceedings (best read from the bottom):

7:31 p.m. ET: Court is in recess until 4 p.m. ET tomorrow.

7:29 p.m. ET: Willmott is now having Samuels review his notes from another time Arias told him about killing Alexander in self-defense. All the stories seem to match up, but there seems to be more details. One new detail is Alexander's threat to kill her after the gun went off.

“She indicated she had never fired a gun before,” said Samuels.

“And did she say what happens with the gun after she fires it?” asked Willmott.

“It was dropped,” said Samuels.

“How was it dropped?” asked Willmott.

"He hit her and then she dropped the gun," said Samuels.

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

7:26 p.m. ET: “What did she say about shooting Mr. Alexander?” asked Willmott.

“She said the gun went off but it wasn’t her intent,” said Samuels.

“What was her intent?” asked Willmott.

“To keep distance between him and her,” said Samuels

“Did she talk about her feelings, how she felt at the time?” asked Willmott.

“She was terrified… she was frightened,” said Samuels.

7:25 p.m. ET: Samuels is reading the notes he took of Arias' self-defense story. Arias told him the gun went off, but it wasn't her intent, and she said she was terrified. After the gun went off, Alexander fell on top of her, and she ran down the hallway. She also told Samuels she doesn't have any real memories after getting away from Alexander. Arias appears to be getting upset as Samuels recounts how she shot Alexander.

7:18 p.m. ET: Willmott is now asking Samuels to review his notes about Arias' self-defense story. He recounts basically the same story as from a few minutes ago.

7:17 p.m. ET: Samuels said he asked Arias to tell him how she killed Alexander in self-defense multiple times to figure out what likely happened.

“What we find is if someone has a premade story, has made up a story, usually that story is very consistent, time after time after time. But here, each story was a little different and I was able to synthesize what I thought was the most likely occurrence. Not accurate -- 100% -- but reasonable,” said Samuels.  

7:15 p.m. ET: Samuels said Arias told him she ran out of the closet to the bathroom, turned around and the gun went off. At some point, they wrestled and Alexander pulled at her clothing.

"Did she say what happened after the gun went off?” asked Willmott.

“He let out a scream, she didn’t notice blood, but he kept coming towards her,” said Samuels.

“Did they fall on the ground?” asked Willmott.

“They fell on the ground,” said Samuels.

“When they fell on the ground, did she describe to you what happens on the ground?” asked Willmott.

“Yes, they wrestled and she was finally able to get up and flee,” said Samuels.

7:13 p.m ET: Willmott asked Samuels where Arias was standing when she ran out of the closet with the gun, and Martinez objected. The attorneys are now at a sidebar with the judge.

7:11 p.m. ET: Now Samuels is recounting the story Arias told him of how she killed Alexander in self-defense.

7:08 p.m. ET: Willmott tried to ask Samuels about what Arias told him about the gun, but Martinez objected. The attorneys are now at a sidebar with the judge.

7:05 p.m. ET: Willmott is asking Samuels about how Arias first told him about killing Alexander in self-defense in April 2010 almost two years after Alexander died.

7:02 p.m. ET: The attorneys are at a sidebar with the judge.

7:00 p.m. ET:

6:58 p.m. ET: Samuels is listing all the evidence he reviewed in the case to form his opinion on Arias.

6:56 p.m. ET: Samuels said he has perfected his note-taking technique over 30 years, and he said he knows it's old fashioned, but that's how he does it.

6:54 p.m. ET: Willmott is asking Samuels about his process of taking notes as he interviews clients during psychological evaluations.

“Did she talk to you about having anger towards Mr. Alexander?” asked Willmott.

“She was very mild in her expressions of anger if it was ever expressed. Most of the time she wrote adoring notes about him. I would say -- and I didn’t do a survey here -- but just by looking 90-95% of what was written about him was positive and effusive,” said Samuels.  

6:52 p.m. ET: Samuels said he did not think giving a book to Arias would amount to providing therapy.

“Is there anything, ethically speaking, that prohibits you, as an evaluator, from sending a self-help book to a client?” asked Willmott.

“No,” said Samuels.

“Do you remember specifically what the guidelines say?” asked Willmott.

“Well they say that obviously one should not be a therapist and an evaluator at the same time. But in the course of doing your evaluation, there’s a certain degree of leeway that can be taken to ensure the success of the evaluation,” said Samuels.

6:50 p.m. ET:

6:49 p.m. ET: Samuels is now talking about the self-help book he gave Arias when he thought she was suicidal. The book supposedly helps people build self-esteem.

6:46 p.m. ET: Willmott is asking Samuels about inconsistences he has learned about Arias after writing his report about his PTSD diagnosis. Samuels said the inconsistencies are not relevant to his diagnosis.

Is that something that’s important to your ultimate diagnosis of PTSD?” asked Willmott.

“No because if she was complaining that the physical trauma of having the anal intercourse was harmful to her, then it might have had an impact on my diagnosis. But it turned out not to be – it was not comfortable for her I recall but nonetheless it was not traumatic. And so whether she had had it with others before was really not that significant for my part of the evaluation,” said Samuels.

6:45 p.m. ET: Willmott asked Samuels aboutArias'  history of anal sex with Alexander's other boyfriends. Samuels said he thinks it was not that critical to his diagnosis of PTSD.

6:44 p.m. ET: Samuels said the oral sexual encounter seem to happen too soon in their relationship, and after the oral sex Alexander allegedly took Arias to church.

“Why was she uncomfortable?” asked Willmott.

“She was in a friend of theirs’ home. She was under the impression that premarital sex wasn’t permitted. And there was no preparation for her – he just popped up in her room and then preformed the oral sex – removed the clothing and performed oral sex,” said Samuels.

“Did this appear to be too soon for her?” asked Willmott.

“Yes, she claimed that it was too soon because normally in a relationship there’s a period of time that would transpire before she would be involved sexually with a person,” said Samuels.

6:39 p.m. ET: Willmott is asking Samuels about how Arias told him she felt uncomfortable the first time she had oral sex with Alexander. The attorneys are now at a sidebar with the judge.

6:36 p.m. ET: Samuels said it can take 10 years to create a test like the MCMI, and it is constantly being validated by research.

6:34 p.m. ET: Willmott is asking Samuels about how he scored Arias answers on the MCMI, and Samuels said Arias scored very high and it supports his diagnosis for PTSD. He also said his interviews with Arias, evidence he reviewed, and results from another PTSD test all supports his diagnosis.

6:30 p.m. ET: Samuels said there is a study that polled psychologists, and it says the PTSD test, MCMI, is used in more than a hundred times criminal cases every year.

6:25 p.m. ET: Samuels said during an extreme trauma a person can still function, because short term memory is still working, but long term memory is not.

6:21 p.m. ET: Samuels said during an extreme trauma memory loss can be more severe.

6:19 p.m. ET: Willmott is asking Samuels if a woman is attacked and is forced to kill someone is a more than a trivial trauma. Samuels said yes it is, and that situation would be an extraordinary trauma.

“If a woman is attacked by someone that she loves, and she feels like she needs to then protect herself from the attack and ends up having to kill that person, is that something that would be considered a greater trauma than one of the trivial stresses that we were talking about?” asked Willmott.

“Absolutely,” said Samuels.

“And what about, hypothetically speaking, there was no indications in her prior life of having any violence at all?” asked Willcott.

“Well that would indicate that the trauma was extraordinary,” said Samuels.

6:17 p.m. ET: The judge is back on the bench, and testimony should resume any minute.

5:57 p.m. ET: Judge Stephens has recessed court until 6:15 p.m. ET.

5:56 p.m. ET: The attorneys are now at a sidebar with the judge.

5:55 p.m. ET: Samuels is explaining how trivial stressors can cause amnesia like hot or cold water.

5:51 p.m. ET: Willmott is showing Samuels other journal entries that show Arias writing about assertive. Samuels said there is a large gap between writing about it and actually being assertive. Earlier, Samuels said he believed Arias was not assertive in her relationship with Alexander.

“She wrote something that was mildly assertive but that does not translate into assertive behavior. I used to run workshops a long time ago in assertive training, and I can tell you, there’s a big gap between what a person can write or say verbally about what they’re going to do and then between them doing it,” said Samuels.

“In all your time that you spent with Ms. Arias, was there ever a time that she ever told you that she was able to stand up to Travis?” asked Willmott.

“No,” said Samuels.

5:49 p.m. ET: Willmott is now asking Samuels about Arias journal entry from a couple days after Alexander's alleged pedophile incident. She points out that at the end of the entry Arias said she will stop writing about her issues with Alexander, because it is of no benefit.

5:45 p.m. ET:

5:44 p.m. ET: Samuels is still talking about all the symptoms of PTSD he observed in Arias.

5:39 p.m. ET: Defense attorney Willmott is now asking Samuels to walk through all of the criteria for PTSD he found present in Arias, and he found Arias was suffering more than three symptoms.

5:38 p.m. ET: Martinez pointed out Samuels' report only mentions two criteria for PTSD, but the guidelines require three criteria. Samuels said it was a typographical error.

“Isn’t it true that – it’s a counting kind of thing – three are required to be found in order for there to be PTSD, correct?” asked Martinez.

“That’s correct,” said Samuels.

“You only listed two, right?” asked Martinez.

“That was a typographical issue –“ said Samuels before being cut off.

“Is that yes or no?” asked Martinez.

“Yes, it is,” responded Samuels.

“Sir, with regard to this, you’re getting paid. How much are you getting paid per hour?” asked Martinez.

“I get paid per hour, $250,” said Samuels.

“And for $250 an hour you’re saying that you weren’t paying enough attention to put whatever else was needed under C?” asked Martinez.

“I reviewed the report numerous times and I must admit I missed it,” said Samuels.

5:34 p.m. ET: Martinez is now showing Samuels his own report that summarizes his PTSD diagnosis.

5:31 p.m. ET: Samuels is now reading the criteria for diagnosing someone with PTSD. Martinez asked how many symptoms did he observe in Arias, and he didn't agree with Samuels answer. The attorneys are now at a sidebar with the judge.

5:25 p.m. ET: The attorneys are at a sidebar with the judge.

5:24 p.m. ET: Martinez is entering the guidelines for a PTSD diagnosis into evidence.

5:23 p.m. ET: Samuels said he had not written an addendum for one symptom he believed Arias was suffering from, and now the attorneys are at a sidebar.

5:18 p.m. ET: The attorneys are now at a sidebar.

5:16 p.m. ET: Martinez is now walking Samuels through the symptoms Arias suffered from that made him diagnosis her with PTSD.

5:13 p.m. ET: The attorneys are at a sidebar with the judge.

5:11 p.m. ET: Samuels is still looking through his notes.

5:07 p.m. ET:

5:05 p.m. ET: Samuels is now looking through his materials to find his notes about the January 24, 2008 entry and the masturbation incident.

5:04 p.m. ET: Martinez is now asking Samuels about Arias' journal entry from January 24, 2008 that was written allegedly just days after Arias caught Alexander masturbating to an image of a little boy.

In the entry Arias writes, "I haven't written because there has been nothing noteworthy to report."

The attorneys are now at a sidebar with the judge.

4:59 p.m. ET: Samuels is reading an entry from Arias' journal where she writes about Alexander cheating on her.

4:58 p.m. ET: Martinez is yelling at Samuels about how he reached the conclusion that Arias was not assertive in her relationship with Alexander. Samuels said he got the impression that Arias was not assertive during her relationship of Arias. Martinez is now pointing out all the different ways Arias lied to illustrate that Samuels is speculating.

“Are you referring to this as an example of her saying something negative about Mr. Alexander or an example of her being assertive, at least in writing?” asked Samuels.

“I thought we were talking about being assertive. Do you have a problem remembering what I just said?” asked Martinez.

“No I don’t have anymore problem than you do, sir,” said Samuels.

4:54 p.m. ET:

4:51 p.m. ET: Samuels said someone in a state of dissociative amnesia may not know where a gun or knife is after an attack.

“So when you say that it is unlikely, that leaves the possibility that even though a person has amnesia… he can still remember. So which one is it?” asked Martinez.

“A person with true dissociative amnesia is very unlikely to remember anything at the acute phase of the incident,” said Samuels.

4:45 p.m. ET: Martinez wants to know how someone suffering from dissociative amnesia can respond immediately after an attack or trauma, because they wouldn't remember where things like a gun or knife is located if their mind is not recording memories.

4:42 p.m. ET: Samuels now explaining how the brain will not record memories during acute trauma.

4:39 p.m. ET: Martinez is asking whether either PTSD test Samuels gave Arias reflect whether Arias was telling the truth. Samuels said they test the patients internal struggle and he believes they are valid.

“The results of the MCMI do not reflect whether someone is telling one story or another. What it does reflect is the internal state of the individual. She experienced the trauma even though she was telling a story that was different from what actually happened. So this test reflects her internal struggle, her internal emotional state and, in my opinion, is perfectly valid,” said Samuels.

4:37 p.m. ET: Samuels is back on the stand, and Martinez is asking the MCMI test results are compared to people with mental illnesses instead of the general population. Martinez wants to know if a more valid approach would be to compare her tests results to the general population.

3:03 p.m. ET: The live blog will pick back up when testimony resumes at 4:30 p.m. ET.

2:57 p.m. ET: Martinez read an article to Samuels that says the MCMI test he gave Arias and its results should not be used in a court case. Samuels asked Martinez what he was reading from, but Martinez said he asks the questions and ignored him. Samuels asked again what Martinez was reading, and Martinez ignored him. Willmott objected saying Martinez should disclose the source of the article to Samuels. The court is no in recess for lunch.

“Isn’t it true that this instrument, the one that you gave her, the MCMI, does not allow for the client’s score to be interpreted according to a criteria of normality that may be an important factor to assess in a court case?” asked Martinez.

“Well, that’s correct by itself, that’s true,” said Samuels.

“It’s saying basically that this is not something that is set up to be used in a court case,” said Martinez.

“No, that’s not what it says,” responded Samuels.

“Well it does say that this ‘instrument does not allow for a client or defendant’s score to be interpreted according to a criteria of normality that may be an important factor to assess in a court case.’ Yes or no?” asked Martinez.

“That’s what it says. And what are you reading from sir?” asked Samuels.

“Sir, I ask the questions. Do you understand that?” said Martinez.

“Yes,” said Samuels.

2:54 p.m. ET: Martinez and Samuels are arguing over what Samuels said about how he scored a PTSD test he gave Arias. He asked Samuels if he has a problem with his memory. Samuels said he does not have a problem with his memory.

2:52 p.m. ET: Samuels is correcting Martinez about how he scored a test he gave Arias to diagnosis her with PTSD.

2:48 p.m. ET: The attorneys are now at a sidebar with the judge.

2:47 p.m. ET: Martinez is now asking Samuels about another test he administered to Arias, and how it is scored.

2:46 p.m. ET: Arias wrote that the following parts of her life have been affected by the trauma she experienced.

2:43 p.m. ET: Martinez is pointing out numerous instances in Arias answers that consistent with her story she told police that two intruders killed Alexander. Samuels said the specific trauma is not important, but she was responding to some trauma.

“I would like to make it clear to you that she is responding to some trauma. Nowhere on the test, except when it asks to describe the trauma, is the specific trauma that important. In order words, it’s not critical to the outcome of the test. In her thinking, in her responsiveness, she could have been responding to the trauma that occurred on that date. Granted, she told me one story and we found out later that there was another story. But both would have been perceived as traumas. So it’s possible, and I’m not saying that it is for sure, it’s possible that the trauma she’s referring to was actually due to the killing. But, because of the story she constructed, she had to attribute it to this made up story,” said Samuels.

“You don’t know that, do you?” asked Martinez.

“No I don’t. I’m speculating,” said Samuels.

“Right, made it up right now. Speculating,” said Martinez.

“No, clinical judgment, sir,” said Samuels as he raised his voice.

2:39 p.m. ET:

2:37 p.m. ET: Martinez is walking Samuels through the answers Arias gave to a PTSD test that are consistent with her story that two intruders killed Alexander.

2:36 p.m. ET: Samuels said he did not bring an original questions to a PTSD test he gave Arias to court. He gave Martinez a copy of the questions.

2:31 p.m. ET: Martinez asked if Arias told him if Arias was in or around the closet when she shot Alexander. Samuels said yes that is where Alexander was shot.

2:27 p.m. ET: Samuels verified the recording was his voice and he did say those words. The attorneys are at a sidebar with the judge.

2:26 p.m. ET: Martinez is playing a recording of an interview he conducted with Samuels. On the recording, Samuels said he remembers Arias telling him Alexander grabbed her sweater, and then she went to get gun and pointed it at him.

Samuels says on the recording: “He’s coming at her, he grabbed her sweater or something like that she said. And she remembered the gun, she took the gun and pointed it at him and then she said…”

“Where was the gun?” asks Martinez on the recording.

“I think it was on the shelf in the closet,” said Samuels.

2:22 p.m. ET: The attorneys are now discussing something with the judge at a sidebar.

2:19 p.m. ET: The defense attorneys are reviewing documents.

2:16 p.m. ET:

2:15 p.m. ET: Martinez is pointing out other inconsistencies in Arias' story of how she killed Alexander, and he was about to play a clip of Arias' interrogation. The attorneys are at a sidebar with the judge.

2:10 p.m. ET: Samuels is back on the stand. Martinez is asking Samuels about the report her wrote about Arias' mental state.

2:08 p.m. ET: The attorneys are still discussing an issue with the judge at a sidebar.

2:05 p.m. ET: Testimony should resume any minute.

1:58 p.m. ET: The judge has recessed court for five mintues.

1:57 p.m. ET: Judge Stephens has sent the jury out of the courtroom.

1:54 p.m. ET:

Martinez asked, "Isn’t it true that you chose not to include these inconsistencies, that you’ve now told us were relevant, in any report?

"Yes," replied Samuels.

The attorneys are at a sidebar with the judge.

1:53 p.m. ET: Samuels is explaining how he can add an addendum to his reports when new information comes to light. Martinez wants to know why he chose not to add certain information in an addendum. Samuels said he didn't think it was relevant to addendum, but then he did think it was relevant to original report. He called it a "judgement call."

Martinez asked. "Something new came out that you considered important, right?"

"Yes," replied Samuels.

Martinez asked, "And it involved an inconsistency, right?"

"Yes," said Samuels.

Martinez asked, "And yet you chose not to write an addendum, right?"

"I did write an addendum, but I did not include this new information. That is true," said Martinez.

1:48 p.m. ET: Martinez wants to know if  Samuels saw other inconsistencies in Arias' case. Samuels he couldn't answer it with a simple yes or no.

1:45 p.m. ET: Samuels said he did investigate inconsistencies in Arias' case, but whether Alexander had pictures of breasts on his computer was not relevant to his opinion.

Martinez asked, "Generally speaking, if an individual lies to you about something you consider irrelevant, it’s no harm no foul, right?"

"It depends on what the issue is related to…the presence or absence of breasts on the computer is not of concern to me, because there are many possibilities, with my limited knowledge of computers, that could account for that. And therefore, since pictures of breast are not illegal, and it did not come up anywhere else in the case, I did not see the need to pursue it any further," replied Samuels.

1:43 p.m. ET: Arias told Samuels that said Alexander had pictures of many women's breast on his computer. Martinez pointed out that there were no pictures of breasts on Alexander's questions. Samuels said he didn't think it wasn't relevant. Martinez asked him if he thought it was relevant if Arias was lying to him during his evaluation. Defense attorney Willmott objected and said there was no evidence that it was a lie. The attorneys are at a sidebar with the judge.

1:39 p.m. ET: Martinez is asking Samuels about what Arias told him about her sexual history. Samuels said Arias first engaged in oral sex at age 15.

1:35 p.m. ET: The jury is being seated, and Samuels is taking the stand.

1:32 p.m. ET: Judge Stephens is on the bench, and Arias is in the courtroom.

1:23 p.m. ET: The attorneys are in the courtroom, but the judge and Arias are not there yet. Testimony could begin any minute.

1:20 p.m. ET: Judge Sherry Stephens wanted court to start at 1 p.m. ET, but something is delaying the trial.

Forensic psychologist Richard Samuels will continue to answer tough questions Tuesday about his own admitted mistakes when diagnosing Jodi Arias with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Arias is accused of killing her ex-boyfriend Travis Alexander, but she says she did it in self-defense.

Read more: Does Arias suffer from PTSD?

Prosecutor Juan Martinez pummeled Samuels with questions on Monday, suggesting he crossed ethical lines with Arias by providing therapy instead of strictly evaluating her mental state. Martinez took issue with how Samuels gave Arias a book during the evaluation. Samuels said he only gave Arias a book to help her when he believed she was suicidal.

Watch: Expert: Gun Jodi used jammed

Martinez asked, “There seems to be a little of the blurring of the lines here don’t you agree?”

“No, I don’t,” replied Samuels.

Martinez asked, ”Well on the one hand, you want to help her by giving her that self-help book, yes or no?”

Samuels paused for a moment, and said, “Yes, it would be… Yes, I helped her.”

Read more: 180 Arias evidence photos

Martinez also pointed out that Arias lied multiple times in her answers on psychological tests designed to help determine whether she suffers from PTSD. The answers Arias gave were consistent with the story she told police in which she claimed two intruders killed Alexander. This contradicts what Arias said on the witness stand. 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 her answers.

“I was in error by not re-administering the PDS,” said Samuels.

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