When a murder trial becomes a televisual happening, somehow the public aspects become almost as significant as the legal ones.
We're always told the jurors don't know what's happening in the media, but we wonder that they may have known more than they let on before being selected.
Then there are the defendants and the prosecutors. Each tries to gain some sort of sway in the public eye -- perhaps on a just-in-case basis.
There now, though, seems to be an usual twist in the trial that is currently capturing popular eyes -- that of Jodi Arias.
She stands accused of murdering her ex-boyfriend, Travis Alexander, in 2008. The evidence appears, to many lay eyes, damning.
Arias has changed her explanation of the events. First, she said there had been masked intruders. Two years later, she admitted she'd killed him, but said she'd acted in self-defense.
Now, despite spending her days in court and nights in jail, she is offering her thoughts via Twitter. Via a friend.
This gives her an interesting opportunity to offer commentary on the prosecutor, as well as reassure her almost 21,000 followers that she hasn't, somehow, purloined herself a new boyfriend while in jail.
She also offered: "No, I do not have a girlfriend. After everything I've been through it's amazing I'm not gay."
Her activity has elicited reaction. For example, this from Dolores Robinson in response to her girlfriend tweet: "Travis would be alive if u were."
Arias, though, seems undeterred in using Twitter to vent. She has accused the prosecutor, Juan Martinez, of having anger management issues, weak reasoning, and even "Little Man's Syndrome." (Martinez is not overly tall.)
To some, such tweets might seem a touch angry themselves.
She has even attacked the media. HLN is covering the trial. To Arias, the channel's full title is "Haters Love Negativity," which seems a trifle negative.
When famed HLN anchor Nancy Grace accused her of offering a middle digit in court, Arias' Twitter feed retorted: "Actually, Nancy, that finger was for you. Have a nice day."
More Technically Incorrect
Grace, for her part, didn't seem to need Twitter quite so urgently. She chose TV to call Arias a "she devil." On the other hand, she had used Twitter to tweet the picture of Arias appearing to offer a middle finger.
How does Arias choose what to tweet and what not to tweet? Bering told Fox 10 News in Orlando: "She'll call and say, 'I have a quote.' We'll talk about it. Sometimes she says, 'Let's tweet.' And then she'll say, 'No, let's not do it.'"
I suppose all of us have that conversation with ourselves once in awhile. But not all of us are standing trial for murder.
Equally peculiar, perhaps, is that Arias is using the Twitter feed to promote her Web site and her art. This again has caused frictionful Twitter exchanges.
There's something slightly strange in Twitter being used as a stage upon which to offer an additional drama to the trial. Yet, just as there is no law preventing Grace from tweeting, there is nothing to stop Arias either.
Grace tweets unequivocally. For example: "I predict a murder 1 verdict #JodiArias #NGM."
Meanwhile, Arias tweets that she'd like you to buy her art.
Perhaps there's some bizarre truth in the edict that Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg and others so often embrace: Everything is social.
Even someone's murder.