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Murder: Media Flocks to Scott Peterson Hearings

was a prosecutor in Texas before entering private practice and handling deserving cases.

Scott Peterson With Mark Geragos


Scott Peterson Seeks New Trial From San Quentin Cell

Scott Peterson remained in his San Quentin prison cell yesterday while he appeared by video in the California courtroom of Judge Anne-Christine Massullo hoping to obtain a new trial after being convicted of murder more than a decade ago. In August, the California Supreme Court overturned his death sentence. Prosecutors were poised to get the death penalty reinstated later this month, but Peterson waived his right to a speedy trial for the death penalty case Friday in the hopes he can also get a new trial on the issue of guilt-innocence.

Hearing Set For Jan. 21 to Attack Conviction

Peterson's current attorney, Pat Harris, informed the court Friday that he would seek to have the murder conviction itself reversed. The hearing on that issue has been set for Jan. 21. The defense will argue that a juror failed to disclose a domestic violence related issue which should set aside Peterson's conviction.

Defense Attorney Claims New Trial Likely

Harris further said, "If that is granted, the entire trial would be retried."

Petereson's sister-in-law Janey Peterson said, "Scott's innocent and somebody else committed this crime. We're going to have the opportunity to not only show that he's innocent, but show the evidence we have of culpability of other parties."

Peterson Convicted In 2004

Every major news agency in the country flocked to California in 2004 to observe the jury trial when Peterson was charged with murdering his wife Laci and their unborn son. The media again Friday gave its rapt attention to these latest developments of this ongoing legal saga.

Peterson Attorney Claims Client Patient After 15 Years

Peterson's attorney said, "I think the fact that it's been 15 years, he's been extraordinarily patient but the day has come finally, and he is goiong to get his chance to be heard again."

Attorney Mark Gelagos represented Peterson at the jury trial.

New Hearings On Jury Misconduct

In a separate challenge to his conviction, Peterson filed a habeas corpus petitition. That is a legal procedure used after trial to challenge the lawfulness of the defendant's imprisonment. In this type action, the petitioner may rely on fact that were not presented to the jury at trial.

In the petition, Peterson's lawyers alleged that one of the jurors who served at trial lied to the court during pre-trial questioning. The jurors allegedly stated that she had not been a victim of a crime, had not been involved in a lawsuit, and had not participated in a trial as a party or a witness.

However, according to the defense motion, "when the juror was four and one-half months pregnant in November of 2000, she and her unborn baby were threatened, assaulted and stalked by her boyfriend's ex-girlfriend....She was so frightened that she filed a lawsuit to obtain a restraining order..."

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Alleged Juror Misconduct Basis of Defense Motion

The defense petition further alleged that the juror "sued her attacker for causing her to begin premature contractions, threatening the life of her unborn child...At trial on her own complaint against her attacker, the juror was sworn and called as a witness. Based on the juror's testimony, the court granted her a three-year restraining order."

The petition argued the juror would never have been seated on the jury had she disclosed those facts, and her failure to do so requires the conviction to be thrown out.

In an order dated October 14 the high court directed the trial court to hold hearings on whether relief should be granted "on the ground that Juror No. 7 committed prejudicial misconduct by not disclosing her prior involvement with other legal proceedings..."

Next Step Nov. 9

The next step in the process will be a case management conference on the habeas petition Monday, November 9 before Judge Massullo. The next step on the penalty phase will be a case management conference for Jan. 21.

New Witnesses To Be Presented

Legal analyst Dean Johnson says it's quite possible the defense can generate reasonable doubt.

"The nature of the new evidence is that there are a number of witnesses, for a lot of reasons, weren't called at the original trial who can credibly say that they saw Laci Peterson walking the dog after Scott Peterson went to San Francisco Bay to go fishing."

Scott Peterson Now


Scott Peterson Now


Did Media Affect Jury Trial?

The news media has closely followed this case since day one. An article in the Hartford Courant said the media coverage has been predominantly against Peterson. Cameras have ringed every courthouse in which there has been a hearing. The defense has not raised media coverage as an issue in its petition for a new trial.However, it is likely the saturation coverage could lead to a change of venue if there is a second jury trial.


Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on November 07, 2020:

This would be an interesting case to observe as how the proceedings would go ahead in this case.

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