Will convicted murderer Scott Peterson, 47, ever go free? His trial attorney Mark Geragos maintains his former client’s innocence, and argued the state couldn’t win a retrial if one happened.
“They’re no way they convict him,” he told Law&Crime Daily co-host Aaron Keller in an interview Thursday. “I just don’t believe that’s going to happen.”
Wednesday saw the California Supreme Court deciding to review Peterson’s 2004 conviction in the killings of his wife Laci Peterson, 27, and their unborn child Conner. Jurors found him guilty of first-degree and second-degree murder and sentenced him to death. The problem is that Peterson’s current defense asserts Richelle Nice, a member of the panel, lied in order to get on the jury, so she could help find the defendant guilty.
On Thursday, Geragos asserted that at trial, they complained about what he called “stealth jurors” who lied to get on the case. He said he had no concerns about Nice, at least back when she was initially an alternate.
But Peterson’s appellate team says Nice lied on a juror questionnaire, omitting that she previously filed for a restraining order against her then-boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend for alleged harassment.
Nice had been “in fear for her unborn child,” according to the application for the order obtained by The Modesto Bee. But she asserted in a 2017 interview with the outlet that she had dropped the order and become friendly with the woman.
“She never threatened to kill me, to kill my unborn child, to beat me up,” Nice said. “When I filled out that questionnaire, my situation never came into my mind because it was not similar at all.”.
In August, Peterson’s defense won an appeal in which they managed to overturn the death sentence. The state Supreme Court found that “the trial court erroneously dismissed many prospective jurors because of written questionnaire responses expressing opposition to the death penalty, even though the jurors gave no indication that their views would prevent them from following the law — and, indeed, specifically attested in their questionnaire responses that they would have no such difficulty.”
Prosecutors were given the opportunity to retry the penalty phase, but now, they may not even get that far. The state has until November 13 to argue to a lower court why the conviction should not be overturned.
[Screengrab via Law&Crime Network]
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