A lawyer for Scott Peterson, convicted in 2004 of murdering his wife, Laci, and their unborn son, told the California Supreme Court on Tuesday that he was denied a fair trial because of massive publicity and a slew of legal errors made at trial.
During a hearing on his appeal, Cliff Gardner, Peterson’s lawyer, started his argument by noting that 12 prospective jurors were discharged after stating on written questionnaires that they opposed the death penalty but would be willing to impose it.
The prosecution has conceded that if the state high court finds that any one of those potential jurors was improperly excused, the court would have to overturn Peterson’s 2005 death sentence. Since his sentence, Peterson has been incarcerated at San Quentin prison’s death row.
Laci Peterson, 27, four weeks shy of giving birth, disappeared on Christmas Eve in 2002. Scott Peterson told police he had left their Modesto home at 9:30 a.m. that day and driven to a marina in Berkeley. He said he went fishing in his new boat, returned home late that afternoon and called his mother-in-law, telling her that his wife was missing.
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