A judge ruled that a juror on Peterson's trial committed "prejudicial misconduct"

By Steve Helling
October 15, 2020 04:17 PM
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Scott Peterson

Scott Peterson was in the headlines again in August when a court overturned his death sentence. On Wednesday, he won another legal victory when the California Supreme Court ruled that a lower court should take a second look at his case to determine whether his convictions should be overturned, and he should receive a new trial.

According to the Los Angeles Times, defense attorneys submitted a petition that cited several reasons why they believe the conviction should be overturned.

Both the Times and CBS News report that the court ruled that a juror committed "prejudicial misconduct" by failing to disclose that she had previously been involved with other, unrelated legal proceedings. According to CBS News, the juror filed a lawsuit in 2000 to obtain a restraining order after her boyfriend's ex-girlfriend allegedly harassed her while she was pregnant.

Peterson's attorney told the Los Angeles Times that the juror had been asked whether she was ever a crime victim or involved in a lawsuit. She allegedly said no at the time, despite the lawsuit, which had been filed four years before the Peterson trial.

Modesto Bee/AP Photo

Peterson, now 47, was convicted of two counts of first-degree murder in the 2002 death of wife Laci Peterson and their unborn son, Conner. He was sentenced to death in 2005.

Laci was eight months pregnant when she disappeared from her Modesto home during the day of Christmas Eve, 2002. Her body was found in April 2003 in the San Francisco Bay. Peterson claimed that Laci was killed as she walked the couple’s dog after Peterson left to go on a solo fishing trip on Christmas Eve morning.

Laci Peterson, Scott Peterson
ZUMA Press

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But as the case moved forward, jurors heard about Peterson's dark secrets, including a months-long affair with a woman named Amber Frey, who was unaware that Peterson was married when she started dating him.

Frey later worked with prosecutors, taping damning phone calls with Peterson. During trial, she testified for several days about her relationship with Peterson, her realization that he was still married and that Laci had vanished. Frey first called police in Modesto in late December 2002 to disclose the affair.

Frey's testimony proved crucial in the court proceedings. Peterson was convicted by a Redwood City jury in 2004 and in 2005 was sentenced to death. He has remained on death row while his appeal worked its way through the courts.

It's unclear when the lower court will make a decision on the matter of Peterson's conviction.