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No live broadcast of Jodi Arias sentencing retrial, judge rules

By David Schwartz

PHOENIX (Reuters) - An Arizona judge has rejected media requests to allow live broadcasts of court proceedings to determine if convicted killer Jodi Arias should receive the death penalty for murdering her ex-boyfriend in 2008, documents showed on Tuesday.

    Judge Sherry Stephens ruled that the penalty phase may be recorded but that any resulting audio or video recordings may not be made public until after a verdict has been reached, according to court papers.

The judge also said that in the unlikely case she opts to change course and allow limited live broadcasts, such airings would be subject to a 15-minute delay.

    The ruling in the high-profile case came in response to efforts by media outlets to live broadcast a sentencing phase retrial for Arias, a one-time California waitress convicted last May of murdering Travis Alexander in his Phoenix-area home six years ago.

Alexander was found slumped in the shower, stabbed multiple times, his throat slashed and shot in the face.

    The jury that convicted Arias also ruled that she was eligible for the death penalty but deadlocked on whether she should be executed or spend the rest of her life in prison.

    A new sentencing phase jury will be selected in September following months of delays in the sensational case, which had been live-streamed on the Internet and attracted tens of thousands of viewers across the nation.

    Since then, further proceedings have been argued mostly in closed-door proceedings, including the request to broadcast the penalty phase. Stephens made her ruling in an entry logged by the court on Tuesday but dated May 21. She did not make public her reasons for the decision.

    State prosecutors had the option of retrying the sentencing phase of the trial. If there is another deadlock, a judge would sentence Arias to natural life in prison or life with the possibility of parole after 25 years.

    The original trial took five months to complete, with jurors given a heavy dose of graphic testimony, bloody photographs and sex-laced situations. Arias testified for 18 days, proclaiming that she acted in self-defense.

(Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Steve Orlofsky)

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