HLN viewers have had a lot questions about the Jodi Arias case since a mistrial was declared on May 23. HLNtv.com will answer some of the most-asked questions in a series of seven articles that will publish every day this week called Arias Trial FAQs, or frequently asked questions.
If Jodi Arias’ attorneys want to end their representation of the convicted murderer, they will have to get Judge Sherry Stephens' permission.
HLN legal experts say it is unlikely that the defense team will be released from the case at this stage, because Stephens has already denied defense attorneys Kirk Nurmi and Jennifer Willmott’s requests to leave the case multiple times.
The first jury in the Arias trial couldn’t reach a unanimous decision about whether to sentence her to death or life in prison. Arias is now facing a retrial for the penalty phase of her trial, and a new jury will be selected to decide what her fate will be.
If, for some reason, Stephens lets Nurmi and Willmott off the case, it could delay the trial. New attorneys would need time to prepare for the retrial of the penalty phase, which is scheduled to begin July 18.
A new defense team may not have time to get caught up on the case and get ready for the retrial by that date. And if new attorneys aren't given adequate time to prepare for the case, it could leave open the possibility of an Arias appeal of ineffective counsel, but only in regard to her sentence.
Stephens could let Arias’ attorneys off the hook, but she might not if she wants to avoid another delay.