Domestic violence expert Alyce LaViolette was hospitalized last week for anxiety attacks and palpitations, from the stress of the social media outrage at her testimony in the Jodi Arias murder trial. It does seem she recovered, as she has been on the stand for several days since, and the public hatred for the woman has reached an unbelievable high. Numerous unfavorable memes have been created, as well as requests from some that she not be allowed to speak at domestic violence conferences and publication of her office phone number. Some say, if you can’t take the heat, stay out of the kitchen, but this is a little different. This is her job and she had no idea that there would be this kind of backlash, even involving herself in such a high profile trial. Anne Bremner, who provided legal counsel for Amanda Knox, said she received death threats while doing so and such behavior on online sites could affect testimony in future high profile cases.
Criminal defense attorney Steve Cron, who is not affiliated with the case, said he is saddened at how LaViolette’s reputation has been tarnished by her involvement in this trial, but it seems the fervent supporters of Travis Alexander are not yet crossing the line. It seems that presently, there is no real law that has caught up with the internet, leaving wide loopholes. Cron went on to say “It is a total abuse of the rights of free speech trying to intimidate someone, to slander and harass them because they voice an opinion. But the people who have done it have not crossed the boundaries between bad-mouthing somebody and something that would be threatening.” What does everyone think about that? Are first amendments rights being stretched too far or does free speech really entitle everyone to just say whatever the hell they want?
Jodi is on trial for the brutal 2008 murder of Travis Alexander, who she admittedly stabbed 27 times, shot once, and slit his throat, though she’s foggy about recalling the details. Ms. LaViolette read through both of their journals, as well as the text messages, instant messages, and email between the two. Using the information she learned from these, she, in her expert opinion, determined that Jodi was a victim of domestic violence.
Is it okay to harass witnesses and experts, or even attorneys, in high profile criminal cases? Are people just letting the trial go to their heads, getting too involved? Honestly, LaViolette’s testimony was dull, unless she was arguing with Juan Martinez, and really, it was pointless. Whether or not there was domestic violence in the relationship between Jodi Arias and Travis Alexander, she was the one who eventually pulled the trigger, admitted by her own words. Now this woman, who has spoken at conferences and written books on the topic of domestic violence, in addition to counseling for both sides of a DV relationship, has had her reputation brought into question. Maybe she too was sucked into Jodi’s web of lies. She wouldn’t be the only one.
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