Trial juror Scott Peterson did not disclose being a victim
A woman who eagerly sought jury duty in Scott Peterson’s murder trial and voted to sentence him to death was at fault by not disclosing that she had been a victim of a crime, said on Friday. defense attorneys in their bid for a new trial.
New details show Juror 7 did not reveal that her boyfriend beat her in 2001 while she was pregnant. It was previously revealed that she failed to reveal that while pregnant with another child, she obtained a restraining order against the boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend, whom she feared would injure her unborn child.
Peterson, 48, was sentenced to death in the 2002 murders of his pregnant wife, Laci, and the son she was carrying.
“It is evident from her conduct before, during and after the trial that during (jury selection) she failed to disclose numerous incidents that threatened to harm her unborn children,” Peterson’s lawyers said. “This enabled him to try Mr. Peterson for the crime of harming his unborn child.”
A judge decides whether to order a new trial because of allegations that the juror was at fault by falsely answering questions during the selection process. The juror was not named in court documents but has already been identified as Richelle Nice, who co-wrote a book on the case with six other jurors.
The California Supreme Court overturned Peterson’s death sentence because prosecutors falsely dismissed potential jurors who revealed they personally disagreed with the death penalty but would be prepared to impose it.
The Stanislaus County District Attorney‘s Office declined to comment on the new allegation of misconduct, saying it would deal with the case in court.
In court records, prosecutors dismissed misconduct charges. They included a statement from Nice stating that she had misunderstood or misinterpreted questions regarding other legal proceedings in which she had been involved.
Prospective jurors were asked if they had ever been involved in any legal action or participated in a trial as a party or witness and whether they had ever been a victim or witness of a criminal act. Nice answered “no” to these questions. The defense said these answers were wrong.
The defense noted that the restraining order was a trial in which Nice testified. The prosecution and Nice have said they interpret a lawsuit as a dispute involving money or property. She explained that she considered the restraining order to involve “harassment” and not to be a criminal act.
“I did not interpret the circumstances that led to the restraining order request as a crime. I’m still not doing it, ”Nice said, according to court documents. “Minor indignities… don’t get over me, much less make me feel ‘victimized’ in the way the law might define that term. “
However, the defense scoffed at the qualification as a “minor,” saying the restraining order case claimed that Nice’s boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend had “committed acts of violence against her” and that ‘she “really feared for her unborn child”.
The defense said that by hiding facts and providing false answers, the juror undermined the jury selection process and committed misconduct that violated Peterson’s right to a fair trial.
“Mr. Peterson was entitled to be tried by a jury of 12 impartial jurors, not 11,” the defense lawyers wrote.
A lawyer from Nice did not return a message seeking comment.
The defense said Nice had “bent over backwards” to sit on the jury.
“She was prepared to serve on the jury for five months without pay, even though she had four minor children to depend on, and although it caused her financial hardship so extreme that she had to borrow money from another juror. “, wrote the defense. “The conduct of Juror 7 during jury selection was so unusual that the judge said she” had grown stronger and practically volunteered to serve. “
Laci Peterson, 27, was eight months pregnant with their unborn son, Connor, when she was killed. Investigators said Peterson took the bodies from their Modesto home on Christmas Eve 2002 and dumped them from his fishing boat in San Francisco Bay, where they surfaced months later.
Peterson was sentenced in 2005 in San Mateo County after his trial was moved from Stanislaus County due to pre-trial publicity around the world.
Lawyer Pat Harris says he has new evidence to show that there was a burglary nearby on the day Laci Peterson went missing. He said she was killed when she came across the crime.
If a new trial is ordered, prosecutors have said they will not seek the death penalty.
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