A key member of Jodi Arias' defense team who was banned from the Maricopa County Jail for questionable reasons will be allowed back as early as today, her lawyer says.
Dan Raynak, lawyer for mitigation specialist Maria De La Rosa, tells New Times that an agreement was reached between Arias' defense team and the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office today, but it still has to be approved by a judge.
De La Rosa, an East Valley legal expert, was targeted by detectives at her home and then banned formally from the jail after she allegedly tried to smuggle out a colored-pencil drawing by Arias during a February 26 visit.
However, as we detailed in a story Wednesday, a motion filed Tuesday by Arias' lawyers states that the drawing was in a sealed envelope addressed to lawyer Jennifer Willmott when De La Rosa took it, and that the drawing inside was accompanied by a note that stated it was to be used as evidence in Arias' upcoming penalty-phase trial.
It's unclear why the Sheriff's Office wanted to stop Arias from giving artwork to her lawyers, who have previously argued that Arias' artistry is one of several mitigating factors that show she doesn't deserve the death penalty.
The motion also describes how Sheriff's office detectives sent to De La Rosa's home a couple of weeks later "snooped" around, peering in windows and chatting with her neighbors before contacting her the next day. In the filing, Arias' lawyers argue that the specialist's banning means they can no longer provide the convicted murderer an adequate defense, and therefore she should not receive the death penalty.
The Sheriff's Office apparently "realized their position was untenable," Raynak says.
A voice-mail message left with the Sheriff's Office wasn't returned immediately, but we'll let you know if we hear back.
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Raynak says he expects Superior Court Presiding Judge Joseph Welty to approve the agreement that will allow De La Rosa to continue her work in the jail.
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