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April 16, 2014

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Ruling clears way for second Arias penalty phase

Updated Friday, Feb. 7, 2014 | 1:33 p.m.

PHOENIX (AP) — Jodi Arias will again face a potential death sentence after a judge's ruling cleared the way for a second penalty phase in the case.

Defense attorneys had argued that the Arizona law allowing a retrial of the penalty phase is unconstitutional.

In her ruling made public Friday, Judge Sherry Stephens denied the defense motion. Arias' retrial is set for March 17.

The 33-year-old Arias was convicted of murder last year, but the jury couldn't reach a verdict on her sentence.

Under Arizona law, while her murder conviction stands, prosecutors have the option of putting on a second penalty phase with a new jury. If they fail again to reach a unanimous decision, Arias would face life behind bars or be eligible for release after 25 years.