Instead of a Wednesday wanna-read this week, I am choosing to write about a book I finished last night.
I previously wrote about Conviction: The Untold Story of Putting Jodi Arias Behind Bars by Juan Martinez as a Wednesday wanna-read and I had high expectations for what would be in the book.
Unfortunately, most of those were not met.
Conviction is subtitled the “untold story” of the Jodi Arias case. But most of the details in this account were widely reported while the case was ongoing. The only new aspect is Martinez’s interpretation and insight into these things, which is virtually the same as any prosecutor would have. For someone who frequents courtrooms like I do, this wasn’t revelatory.
There were a few new details, like the fact that Arias had a knife and firearm in her possession at the time of her arrest (not the murder weapons–another knife/gun). But Martinez rushes through these facts and essentially glosses over them.
I had hoped for insight into what went on in the closed door meetings between the attorneys, Arias and the judge during the trial and penalty phases. I had hoped for insight into what Travis Alexander’s family was thinking about all of these proceedings and who exactly in the discussions for Martinez was pushing for the death penalty.
I had hoped for insight that only a person intimately involved with this case, like Martinez was (he did not have a second chair), would have.
I was disappointed on all counts.
Much of this book and Martinez’s persepctive felt defensive. It felt like he was trying to justify his courtroom demeanor and his approach to questioning witnesses. Martinez mentions he had many critics, especially for how he addressed Arias while she was on the stand, and it felt like he was using this book as a way to explain himself and further deny prosecutorial misconduct claims that were determined to be unfounded during the course of the trial.
Some of that insight was worth reading (especially about the cross-examination of Arias). Most of it wasn’t.
With that being said, I understand that Martinez is still an attorney of record and the appeal of the case is ongoing. There’s only so much he CAN say without it becoming an issue. The timing for this book probably makes it more profitable than if Martinez had waited years for the appeals process to be exhausted. But … a more complete book would probably have been more fun to read. (Or at least more fun for a book about a brutal homicide.)
Overall, if you are interested in true crime, I would say this book will be interesting for you, but it isn’t a must read.