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Scott Peterson‘s convictions for the murder of wife Laci Peterson and their unborn son, Conner, may be overturned.
E! News can confirm the California Supreme Court ordered a re-examination of Peterson’s 2004 convictions for killing his pregnant wife and unborn son on Wednesday, Oct. 14. The California Supreme Court sent the case back to the San Mateo County Superior Court to determine whether Peterson will face a retrial on the charges.
In a statement to E! News, Peterson’s lawyer stated, “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.”
Per court records obtained by E! News, the California Supreme Court agreed with Peterson’s legal team 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.”
The Los Angeles Times reports the juror 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. Additionally, The L.A. Times reports that Peterson’s lawyers claim the juror “worked hard to get on the jury,” arguing that her willingness to serve on the jury without pay from her employer supported their claim.
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The California Supreme Court’s order comes two months after they overturned Peterson’s death sentence.
“Before the trial began, the trial court made 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,” Justice Leondra Kruger wrote in her decision. “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.”
It’s been nearly 15 years since Peterson was convicted of the murder of his wife and son. Since then, he and his legal team have appealed the convictions on numerous occasions, with Peterson maintaining his innocence throughout.
Laci went missing when she was eight months pregnant with Conner on Christmas Eve 2002. She was found dead four months later on a beach a few miles from where Peterson claimed he was fishing on the day of her disappearance.