Another break in the case. Scott Peterson’s 2004 murder convictions for his pregnant wife, Laci, and unborn son, Connor, are to be reexamined per an order from the California Supreme Court on Wednesday, October 14.
The California Supreme Court sent the case back to the San Mateo County Superior Court to determine if Peterson, 47, should receive a new trial on the grounds a juror committed “prejudicial misconduct” by failing to share pertinent information that could have influenced a bias in her judgment.
Peterson’s case will be subject to review after it was revealed the juror in question didn’t share that she had been involved with other legal proceedings. In 2000, she filed a lawsuit to obtain a restraining order after her boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend harassed her while she was pregnant, according to the Los Angeles Times.
The juror said “she feared for her unborn child,” but apparently answered no when asked if she had ever been a crime victim or involved in a lawsuit during the voir dire process, Peterson’s attorneys told the outlet.
Peterson’s attorney Cliff Gardner reacted to the break in the case in a follow-up statement to In Touch. “We are certainly pleased that, as it did in reversing Scott’s penalty on direct appeal several weeks ago, the Supreme Court recognized the importance of a fairly selected jury,” Gardner said. “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 was to the ability of the jury to reach a fair decision in this case.”
This development in the high-profile case comes after Peterson’s death sentence conviction was reversed in August. The former San Diego resident had been on death row since 2005 after being convicted of first-degree murder with special circumstances, and second-degree murder for the couple’s unborn child.
“Peterson contends his trial was flawed for multiple reasons, beginning with the unusual amount of pretrial publicity that surrounded the case,” the court said in its ruling about the 2002 murders of Laci and Connor. “We reject Peterson’s claim that he received an unfair trial as to guilt and thus affirm his convictions for murder.”
However, they did note there were “a series of clear and significant errors in jury selection that, under long-standing United States Supreme Court precedent, undermined Peterson’s right to an impartial jury at the penalty phase.”
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In December 2002, Laci, 27, went missing and her body was found four months later in 2003. Her exact cause of death could not be determined, however an autopsy revealed there was a “significant cut” made to the fetus’ body.
After Peterson’s death sentence was overturned, Gardner said in another statement to In Touch that he and his client were “grateful for the California supreme court’s unanimous recognition that if the state wishes to put someone on death, it must proceed to trial only with a fairly selected jury.”
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