California Supreme Court Orders Review of Scott Peterson's Death Penalty Conviction
The California Supreme Court has ordered the review of Scott Peterson's murder convictions on Thursday.
Earlier in August, the California Supreme Court has also overturned Peterson's death penalty. The San Mateo County Superior Court will identify whether Peterson would have to face a new trial.
Peterson lived in Modesto in 2002, when the murders occurred. However, the trial was held in San Mateo, about 70 miles away, due to the publicity of the case.
Death penalty overturned
Last Aug. 24, the California Supreme Court overturned the death sentence for Peterson. The court said Peterson contents his trial was flawed for many reasons, starting with the amount of pretrial publicity.
"We reject Peterson's claim that he received an unfair trial as to guilt and thus affirm his convictions for murder," the court statement said in a USA Today report.
The state's Supreme Court noted that the trial judge made a number of clear and important errors in jury selection. The justices noted that it undermined Peterson's right to an impartial jury at the penalty phase under the long-standing United States Supreme Court precedent.
They added in a unanimous decision that a juror may not be dismissed merely because he or she has expressed opposition to the death penalty as a general matter.
Peterson was convicted of first-degree murder after killing his wife and the second-degree murder of their unborn son.
Investigators said that over 10,000 tips, considered parolees, and convicted sex offenders were chased as possible suspects.
However, Peterson was arrested after Amber Frey told police they had begun dating a month before his wife's death.
Frey, a massage therapist in Fresno, told the police that Peterson told her his wife was dead.
Laci Peterson was eight months pregnant when she disappeared from her Modesto home on the day of Christmas Eve in 2002.
Frey admitted that they were having an affair and the affair began Nov. 20 after Peterson told her he was a widower. Frey also worked with prosecutors, taping phone calls with Peterson.
Frey also testified about her relationship with Peterson during the trial. In a Film Daily report, she claimed that she was "relieved" that the court did not reverse Peterson's murder convictions.
She commented on seeking the death penalty again by saying that "the District Attorney should consult with Laci's family and honor their decision."
California Death Penalty
California Governor Gavin Newsom released a moratorium on March 12, 2019 that granted a temporary reprieve for the 737 inmates on the state's death row, as reported by the New York Times.
Newsom was said to be a longtime opposition of the death penalty. He noted that high cost, racial disparities in its application, and wrongful convictions were among his reasons.
Newsom said that he knows people think eye for eye, but he argued that "if you rape, we don't rape."
"And I think if someone kills, we don't kill. We're better than that," he was quoted in a New York Times report.
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