California’s highest court docket overturned Scott Peterson’s death sentence Monday — though the ruling nonetheless left the door open for the wife-killer to be executed.
The state’s supreme court docket balked on the notion that Peterson — who murdered pregnant wife Laci in 2002 in one of the nation’s most infamous slay instances on the time — was wrongfully convicted as a result of of jury bias.
“Peterson contends his trial was flawed for a number of causes, starting with the bizarre quantity of pretrial publicity that surrounded the case.,” the court docket wrote in its resolution. “We reject Peterson’s declare that he acquired an unfair trial as to guilt and thus affirm his convictions for homicide.”
However the jurists unanimously agreed that the trial decide in the case erred when it got here to approving jurors who would resolve whether or not to offer Peterson the death penalty.
The decide “made a sequence of clear and important errors in jury choice that, underneath long-standing United States Supreme Court docket precedent, undermined Peterson’s proper to an neutral jury on the penalty section,’’ the upper court docket mentioned.
“Whereas a court docket might dismiss a potential juror as unqualified to take a seat on a capital case if the juror’s views on capital punishment would considerably impair his or her capacity to comply with the legislation, a juror will not be dismissed merely as a result of she or he has expressed opposition to the death penalty as a normal matter,” the judges wrote.
The choice nonetheless permits prosecutors to hunt the death penalty once more in opposition to Peterson because it upheld his conviction, simply not the decision on whether or not to execute him.
A spokesman for the Stanislaus County District Lawyer’s Workplace, which might retry the penalty section of the case, mentioned a call has not but been made on whether or not to hunt the execution of Peterson by deadly injection.
“We’re reviewing the choice and can focus on with the sufferer’s household,’’ the rep informed CNN
California Gov. Gavin Newsom has put a moratorium on prisoner executions in the state, though the ban solely lasts so long as he’s in workplace.
Peterson, now 47, was convicted of first-degree homicide over his 27-year-old wife’s death and second-degree homicide for his or her unborn son, Connor, in 2004. Laci was eight and a half months pregnant when killed.
The previous fertilizer salesman was arrested in 2003, shortly after Laci’s headless physique and the newborn’s stays washed up on a seaside in the San Francisco Bay, the identical space the place Peterson claimed to have been fishing Christmas Eve 2002, the day his wife disappeared.
His former lover, Amber Frey, got here ahead a yr after Laci’s disappearance to say Peterson had lied about being married once they began an affair. She ended up testifying for the prosecution at his trial.