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Trials & Litigation

Spectator sells seat to watch high-profile murder trial for $200, is scolded by judge

Posted Apr 24, 2013 2:48 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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A regular spectator sold her seat at a high-profile Arizona capital murder trial for $200, to a woman who was farther back in line.

But Maricopa County court officials overseeing the Jodi Arias murder trial arrangements found out and scolded both women, the Associated Press reports. Desiree Lee, who sold her seat, was also told to give the money back, and the unidentified purchaser was allowed to keep the seat for free.

While many courts have thought to make rules prohibiting the sale or transfer of scarce spectator seats in trials that have sparked public interest, the practice is common, observers said.

"As distasteful as it is to most people, it happens at the U.S. Supreme Court each time there's a big case," said criminal defense lawyer Michael Cardoza, who practices in San Francisco. "It's distasteful, but it's not unusual."

ABC 15 has a story, too.

See also:

ABAJournal.com: "$838K murder defense bill in Arias case pits public right to know against attorney-client privilege"

Associated Press: "Victim’s ex-girlfriend testifies in Arias’ murder trial; witness says he was never abusive"

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