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Jodi Arias Trial: Unwanted Lawyer Ordered to Stay on Case

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Jodi Arias, the Arizona woman convicted of the 2008 killing of her boyfriend, could continue representing herself in the penalty phase of her trial after the judge turned down her request to fire one of the two attorneys who was assigned to advise her.

Arias had said in Maricopa County Superior Court on Wednesday that she'd be willing to stand down and let another lawyer resume representing her if Judge Sherry K. Stephens allowed Kirk Nurmi, whom she has repeatedly tried to fire, to withdraw from the case. Stephens turned down the request in a ruling filed Thursday (PDF). Arias also asked Stephens to delay the second phase of the trial, which is scheduled to start Sept. 8, because she is finding it difficult to interview potential witnesses since she's in jail. Stephens set a hearing for Aug. 22 on that motion.

There was no immediate word on whether Arias had decided whether to continue representing herself. Arias, 34, was convicted of first-degree murder last year in the 2008 killing of Travis Alexander, but jurors couldn't reach a decision on sentencing, making it necessary to hold a second trial to determine whether she should face the death penalty.

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— M. Alex Johnson