Not too long ago, Jodi Arias dominated the news for killing her ex boyfriend Travis Alexander simply because she was mad that he no longer wanted to have anything to do with her. The court case seemed to drag on as the defense tried to put the killing off as Travis being a violent sexual deviant/pedophile and Jodi was simply defending herself. Needless to say, she couldn’t pull the wool over anyone’s eyes and was convicted on a first degree murder charge. Between two different sets of jurors, no one could agree on the death penalty, so Jodi Arias was sentenced to life in prison.
I didn’t watch the trial everyday, but I did, however watch a lot of news shows analyzing the day’s proceedings and I have to admit that I was very impressed with Juan Martinez, the prosecutor in the case. He didn’t take any crap from anybody and was stern in his pursuit of justice. If there was a human form of a bulldog, he would be it.
That’s why I was excited to hear of Martinez writing a book about the notorious woman and drama filled trial. I was interested in seeing what his thoughts were about the people involved with the case and how he gathered the evidence and prepared for the trial of the century. I don’t normally read books written by the lawyers themselves because quite frankly they tend to write about how great they are and how well they presented everything in the case, but I think this one is an exception.
In Conviction, Martinez starts from the beginning, taking us to the moment he arrived at the murder scene and explains step by step of the evidence, his relationship to the detectives and how he decided what evidence to bring to trial and how to question the witnesses, especially Jodi Arias herself. He knew that he needed to be stern with them and not give any leeway lest the defense get the upper hand. It was great to see inside the mind of a prosecutor and how much work is put into getting everything together before a trial begins. I always wanted to know how such things are put together, especially in a high profile case, and Martinez was able to show this without becoming big headed.
My only complaint about the book was his epilogue. There he briefly talks about why he is a lawyer and that he’s the same person as he’s always been. This seemed only slightly out of place with the rest of the book since he never introduced that bit in any other part of the book. It does reveal why he’s so passionate about prosecuting people like Jodi, but it didn’t seem the appropriate time to talk about it.
With that being said, I think Conviction is a great case study of a high profile case, the court system, and seeking justice in general. If you want an insider story of a high profile case without any grandiose asides and self promotion, I would highly recommend checking out Juan Martinez’s Conviction.