Sixteen years after Scott Peterson was arrested, charged, and ultimately found guilty of his 8-month pregnant wife, Laci Peterson’s murder, his conviction is now set to be reexamined. According to E! News, the decision was made on October 14 by the California Supreme Court which ordered the re-examination.
The case has already been sent back to the San Mateo County Superior Court. It is there that it will determine if Peterson will face a retrial on the charges or not, E! News reports. Peterson’s lawyer said they are pleased with the decision in a statement given to E! News.
Judge Agrees Trial Court’s Actions During Scott Peterson’s First Trial Undermined His Rights
“We are certainly pleased that, as it did in reversing Scott’s penalty on direct appeal, the Supreme Court recognized the importance of a fairly selected jury. In particular, we agree not only with the Court’s apparent concern about juror candor during the jury selection process, but with its recognition about how central the misconduct here was to the ability of the jury to reach a fair decision in this case.”
In 2004, Peterson was convicted of not only his wife’s murder but also the murder of their unborn son, who was to be named Connor. Laci went missing on Christmas Eve 2002. Their bodies were recovered four months later. Since his conviction, his legal team has filed countless appeals.
In this particular case, his legal team said that there might be grounds for a retrial since a juror “committed prejudicial misconduct by not disclosing her prior involvement with other legal proceedings, including but not limited to being the victim of a crime.” And based on the California Supreme Court’s actions, they agree.
As The LA Times reports, the juror in question reportedly said she “had never been a victim of a crime or involved in legal proceedings, but in 2000, she filed for a restraining order against her boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend, who allegedly harassed her throughout her pregnancy.”
His legal team also stated, the juror “worked hard” to be on the panel of jurors, reportedly “agreeing to serve on the jury without pay from her employee,” according to The LA Times. The decision to reexamine Peterson’s murder convictions comes just two months after his death penalty was overturned by the CA Supreme Court.
Justice Leondra Kruger wrote in her decision to order the reexamination of his murder convictions that “the trial court made a series of clear and significant errors” while selecting the jury.
Kruger continued saying that the court’s actions, “under long-standing United States Supreme Court precedent, undermined Scott Peterson’s right to an impartial jury at the penalty phase. While a court may dismiss a prospective juror as unqualified to sit on a capital case if the juror’s views on capital punishment would substantially impair his or her ability to follow the law, a juror may not be dismissed merely because he or she has expressed opposition to the death penalty as a general matter.”
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