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HomeGeneralCounty Judge Grants Scott Peterson Status Hearing After Innocence Project Filings

County Judge Grants Scott Peterson Status Hearing After Innocence Project Filings

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Convicted Murderer Scott Peterson
Source: ABC7/YouTube

Scott Peterson, who has been in prison for over 20 years for murdering his pregnant wife, is going to have a status hearing soon. A county judge recently agreed to have the hearing after the Los Angeles Innocence Project took up the case. 

Scott Peterson’s case is famous for being a true crime story. Back in 2004, he was found guilty of killing his pregnant wife–Laci Peterson, and their baby boy, Conner. In April 2003, the body of his wife was discovered in San Francisco Bay after she disappeared on Christmas Eve in 2002.

Scott Peterson, who is now 51 years old, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder for his wife’s death and second-degree murder for the death of their unborn child. He was found guilty in 2004 and initially given the death penalty in 2005. However, his sentence was later overturned to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

But Scott Peterson pleaded not guilty and maintained his innocence. He also believed he didn’t get a fair trial because one of the jurors did not disclose her other legal involvements. In December 2022, Judge Anne-Christine Massullo rejected Scott Peterson’s appeal based on juror accusations.

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Less than two months after the Innocence Project took over the case, a status hearing has been scheduled. The upcoming status hearing is believed to be a response to the group’s request for new evidence from the original trial. The group’s goal is to use this evidence to try to prove Peterson’s innocence.

According to the court, Scott Peterson will attend the hearing remotely. His lawyers from the LA Innocence Project will be present in person to represent him before Judge Elizabeth Hill. In a filing reported by ABC News in January, lawyers from the group argued that Scott Peterson’s state and federal constitutional rights were violated. 

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They also claimed there is new evidence supporting Peterson’s claim of actual innocence. “New evidence now supports Mr. Peterson’s longstanding claim of innocence and raises many questions into who abducted and killed Laci and Conner Peterson,” the filings stated.

Scott Peterson’s attorneys are requesting some items that they claim were not found “after a thorough search” of the trial files from his previous lawyers. These items include evidence of a burglary in December 2002 at a house near the Petersons’ home in Modesto, Stanislaus County. 

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They’re also looking for evidence regarding Laci Peterson’s missing Croton watch and a van fire that occurred in the Airport District on December 25, 2002. Additionally, they are seeking documents from interviews conducted with several witnesses.

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Paula Mitchell, the director of the LA Innocence Project, mentioned that she discovered “deficiencies” when examining the evidence in Scott Peterson’s case. On November 14, 2023, she sent a letter to Stanislaus County District Attorney Jeff Laugero requesting the informal release of several specific items related to post-conviction discovery. This information was detailed in a declaration included in the filings.

Scott Peterson’s lawyer, Pat Harris, expressed his excitement about the involvement of the LA Innocence Project. He said they were “thrilled to have the incredibly skilled attorneys at the LA Innocence Project and their expertise becoming involved in the efforts to prove Scott’s innocence.”

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