Will Juan Martinez's notoriety following Arias trial affect future juries?

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by Crystal Cruz

azfamily.com

Posted on May 10, 2013 at 9:21 PM

Updated Saturday, May 11 at 6:53 AM

PHOENIX -- Do you know who Juan Martinez is?

That’s the million-dollar question defense attorneys going up against Jodi Arias' prosecutor in the future will ask those called in for jury duty. 

Martinez has been called aggressive in the courtroom, and that's one reason why so many people were following Arias’ trial.

Martinez is now somewhat of a celebrity. Courtroom spectators have asked for autographs and photos with him.

That notoriety has some people asking if defendants in future cases prosecuted by Martinez will get a fair jury.

Up next for the prosecutor is the high profile Richard Chrisman case that starts July 30.

Chrisman is a former Phoenix police officer accused of killing an unarmed man and his dog in 2010. Chrisman’s attorney, Craig Mehrens declined to comment.

If defense attorney Vladimir Gagic were representing Chrisman, Gagic would be concerned about finding 12 impartial jurors.

"He may be a ‘B’ list celebrity in this city. For some people that's good enough and I could see some people wanting to be close to him and maybe not telling defense attorneys or prosecutors or the judge that they have some sort of affection or admiration for him," said Gagic.

Gagic would want a change of venue, in hopes of finding folks outside of Maricopa County who don't have a clue who Martinez is.

Defense attorney Brent Kleinman, who's not on the Chrisman case, differs in opinion.

"I believe somehow there are probably 12 people in Phoenix who haven't watched Juan Martinez. They may have heard about this trial in snippets but they're not following it like some of the faithfuls," said Kleinman.

This week, Martinez won big when a jury found Arias guilty of first-degree murder for killing her onetime boyfriend, Travis Alexander.

Some people are now asking if Martinez will stick around for a 26th year with the Maricopa County Attorney's Office (MCAO).

"I hear a couple law firms are offering him a pretty penny to leave the state, leave the county," said Kleinman.

MCAO spokesperson Jerry Cobb declined to comment when asked if the office was concerned about Martinez's newfound fame affecting future cases and juries.

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