The excessive court docket discovered that the trial itself was truthful and the homicide convictions stand.
In an automated attraction, which was first filed with the Supreme Court in 2012, the court docket discovered that potential jurors have been dismissed erroneously, partly as a result of they expressed normal objections to the death penalty on a questionnaire.
“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,” the opinion states.
Nothing within the questionnaires confirmed that the dismissed jurors would have been unable to vote for the death penalty if the the circumstances warranted, the justices stated.
“The death sentence must be reversed, and the People given another opportunity to seek that penalty before a properly selected jury if they so choose,” the opinion stated.
The case has been remanded to Stanislaus County Superior Court to deal with the sentencing.
Laci, who was seven months pregnant, disappeared from her Modesto house simply earlier than Christmas 2002 and was reported lacking by her husband.
In the early days of the monthslong seek for Laci, a girl who had been having an affair with Peterson got here ahead. In April 2003, Laci’s physique and that of her son washed up in San Francisco Bay. Scott Peterson was arrested shortly thereafter.
In November 2004, a jury discovered Peterson responsible of first-degree homicide for Laci’s death and second-degree homicide for the death of the son, Conner. Peterson, now 47, was sentenced to death on December 13, 2004.
Cliff Gardner, lawyer for Peterson, thanked the Supreme Court for its resolution.
“We are grateful for the California Supreme Court’s unanimous recognition that if the state wishes to put someone to death, it must proceed to trial only with a fairly selected jury. Prosecutors may not rely on a jury specifically organized by the state to return a verdict of death,” Gardner stated.
“In deciding whether to seek a new death sentence, the question for prosecutors now is whether they can prove Mr. Peterson culpable for this crime to even a single juror seated through a fair jury selection process.”
John Goold, spokesperson for the Stanislaus County District Attorney’s Office, stated, “We are reviewing the decision and will discuss with the victim’s family.” The district lawyer’s workplace has not stated whether or not it’s going to search the death penalty once more.
California hasn’t executed an inmate since 2006.