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Law professor comments on murder trial

January 09, 2013

Clinical Professor Zig Popko, director of the Post-Conviction Clinic at the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, was interviewed by KSAZ-Channel 10 on Wednesday, Jan. 8, about the Jodi Arias murder trial.

Arias was accused of stabbing and shooting her former lover Travis Alexander in Mesa in June 2008 because he was going to take another woman on a vacation to Mexico. Arias has been in jail for four years awaiting trial.

Questions have been raised about whether Arias has been coached on acting more emotional while testifying. Popko said this is ill-advised.

“Look, everybody’s watching you, so just be yourself,” he said. “To tell a client to pretend is very obvious.”

Popko, who teaches a course in sentencing at ASU, said the Arias case presents many interesting examples in sentencing. The state has charged Arias with first degree murder, and must prove Alexander’s killing was premeditated.

“There are many facts that suggest this was just a crime of passion gone berserk, given the intensity of what we’ve seen,” Popko said.

To see the full interview, click here.

Popko teaches legal research and is a member of the board of governors of Arizona Attorneys for Criminal Justice. He also serves as the editor of AACJ's quarterly publication, The Defender. Popko has been a member of the Legal Writing Institute since 2001 and presently serves on its ABA Standards Education Committee.