Arias And “Competing Theories” On Whether Women Should Get Death Penalty


Whether Jodi Arias gets her wish to be executed rather than spend her life in prison is up to the Arizona jury that found her guilty of brutally murdering her one-time boyfriend, Travis Alexander, says the Christian Science Monitor. Arizona already has three women on death row but has not executed one since 1930. Against that possibility in the Arias case, jurors will weigh mitigating circumstances, such as her allegations of abuse, which she outlined at length during the trial. An unedited video stream from the Arizona courthouse, incessant Twitter chatter, and cable news coverage about the case has given the Arias trial enough characters, drama, gore, betrayal, and lies to compete as a daytime soap opera. The sentencing phase, scheduled to start next Wednesday, could take weeks. James Acker, a criminal justice professor at the State University of New York at Albany, describes “competing theories” on death sentences for women this way. “This is about chivalry, where we're all bending over backward to make sure no women, or members of the fairer sex, are treated this way, versus the less-sexist notion that women [who commit capital murder] somehow tend to lose their identity as female and become a demonic killer that overwhelms the definition of a woman – that to dispatch someone to execution you almost have to relegate them [to being] outside the human family.”

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