Thursday, July 20, 2017

A&E presenting its 6-week, 7-hour docuseries The murder of Laci Peterson

A&E Network will premiere the new six-episode, limited documentary series, THE MURDER OF LACI PETERSON showcasing new interviews with Scott Peterson himself from prison. The series explores the infamous Scott Peterson trial, the case that destroyed a family, gripped a nation and defined an era, as a vehicle for understanding America's criminal justice system and the ways in which outside influences can affect that system. "The Murder of Laci Peterson" is set to premiere Tuesday, August 15 at 10PM ET/PT on A&E.

"A&E is in the business of finding and uncovering the real stories behind some of the most impactful cultural moments that our audience hasn't heard and 'The Murder of Laci Peterson' does exactly that," said Elaine Frontain Bryant, Executive Vice President and Head of Programming, A&E Network."The media's obsession with the Scott Peterson trial was unlike anything seen before. This new series will cut through the mass hysteria that has plagued and distorted the reporting of this story to deliver, for the first time, a definitive factual account by those who lived and breathed it every day."

The mystery of Laci Peterson's disappearance on Christmas Eve 2002 captivated the nation. Eight months pregnant, she vanished without a trace. Her body and that of her unborn child, Conner, appeared four months later on the shores of the San Francisco Bay causing a media frenzy on both a local and national level. To this day, no one knows exactly when, where or how she died, only that her husband Scott Peterson was convicted of murder and sentenced to death, despite the absence of DNA evidence or eyewitness testimony. Scott Peterson's conviction was less a tribute to the efficacy of the legal system than it was a case study for the overwhelming power of modern media to deliver the facts of news in a way that creates irresistible tabloid fodder.

As the 15th Anniversary of Laci Peterson's disappearance approaches, "The Murder of Laci Peterson" takes a fresh, new look at the case, reexamining the circumstantial evidence and assessing the media's influence on the case and its outcome. This documentary series will include unprecedented access to Scott Peterson and his family as they speak directly and candidly about Scott's conviction. In addition, the series will include interviews with an expansive and impressive list of key eyewitnesses, experts, lawyers, cops, journalists, detectives (professional and amateur), including Nancy Grace, Gloria Allred, Amber Frey, Detectives Jon Buehler and Ed Steele, journalists Ken Auletta and Maureen Orth, reporters Gloria Gomez and Garth Stapley, Scott Peterson's trial co-counsel Pat Harris, his appellate attorney Cliff Gardner, attorney and CNN and ABC contributor Chris Pixley and local reporter turned CNN correspondent Ted Rowlands among many others.

"The Murder of Laci Peterson" is produced for A&E Network by Left/Right and BQE Films.Executive producers for Left/Right are Banks Tarver, Ken Druckerman, and John Marks.Executive producers for BQE Films are Shareen Anderson and Po Kutchins. Executive producers for A&E are Elaine Frontain Bryant, Amy Savitsky, Brad Abramson and Emily Flood. A+E Networks holds worldwide distribution rights for "The Murder of Laci Peterson."

Friday, April 21, 2017

The "newly unearthed interrogation video"

Dateline is using the guise of a "newly unearthed interrogation video" to draw attention to its 2-hour show on Scott's case tonite.  It's the interrogation that Brocchini did at midnight the day Laci disappeared, so there's nothing new about it -- in fact, it was shown in court and the transcript has been on pwc-SII for years.

A short clip is posed on Scott Peterson Appeal facebook page.

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Watch for these two specials on Scott's case.

April 21st, Dateline, at 9 pm

May 7, Oxygen Channel, Snapped.  This appears to be the season's opener.

Here's a clip from Snapped.

Friday, March 24, 2017

The tests don't lie

The tests don't lie
So much is made, by those who believe Scott is guilty, that Scott lied so much how can anyone believe anything that he says. The truth of the matter is, we don't have to believe anything Scott says. We don't have to believe any one that has a vested interest in this case. We don't have to determine who is telling the truth and who isn't. We don't have to decide whose motives are pure and whose bias is objective.

Why? Because the forensic testing speaks loud and clear, and requires no interpretation, has no ulterior motive, and cannot be misunderstood.

It is not always the case that the forensic testing is so conclusive -- in some cases it still is very much subject to interpretation.

But, in this case, it is absolutely reliable.

Why? Because all of it contradicted the State's case. It was all collected by the State, controlled by the State, tested by the State, and reported by the State.

And all the tests came back NEGATIVE.

At every step of the way, those participating in its collection, testing, and reporting had a vested interest in the test results.

And all the tests came back NEGATIVE.

We don't have to take Scott's word for where he was on Dec. 24, and what time he was there, because he left a paper trail that proves, without bias, where he was and when.

We don't have to take Scott's word for why the mops and bucket were outside the door, or why anyone would be mopping the floor the day after the maid mopped, because the forensic testing proves with absolute certainty that the mops and bucket were not used to clean up a crime scene. That makes what they were used for totally irrelevant.

We don't have to understand why Scott washed his clothes or why and how they got wet, because the forensic testing proves with absolute certainty that he did not commit the crimes he was convicted of wearing those clothes. That makes everything else about the clothes totally irrelevant.

We don't have to understand why Scott was vacuuming on Dec 25, because the forensic testing proves with absolute certainty that the vacuum cleaner was not used to clean up a crime scene. That makes everything else about the vacuum cleaner or the vacuuming totally irrelevant.

We don't have to know where the pliers came from or how the hair got into them, because the forensic testing proves with absolute certainty that the pliers were not used to cut the chicken wire and had not been used recently enough to be involved in the crime. That makes everything else about the pliers and the hair totally irrelevant.

Everything that the state presented as evidence against Scott was inconclusive, subject to a range of interpretation; everything that was tested was absolutely conclusive that Scott did not murder Laci.

What was tested? Everything in that house that had the least hint of suspicion -- blood stains that they had to mark their location with sticky-notes because they were so small they wouldn't show up in the pictures. Everything in the pickup that had the least hint of suspicion. Everything in the boat that had the least hint of suspicion.

Besides collecting items for testing, cadaver dogs and scent dogs were used. Their results were inconclusive; most of it was not even allowed in as testimony it was so inconclusive. What was let in was contradicted with other dog testimony.

The State said Laci and Conner washed ashore, yet their own expert could not get them back to the same place, and the best dive and sonar teams could not find any evidence they had been where they should have been. So what difference does it make why Scott went fishing, or if he should have gone fishing, or what time of day he went fishing, or if he told some he was fishing and some he was golfing, because the State's own experts and other witnesses proved with a preponderance of the evidence that Laci was not where Scott was fishing.

So, when it gets right down to it, who cares whether Anne is telling the truth or Scott; whether Amber is telling the truth or Scott -- because the forensic testing proves that Scott did not murder Laci in that house or transport her in that pickup or boat, or dump her in the bay. The entirety of the forensic testing proves absolutely that Scott did not murder Laci in that house or transport her in that pickup or boat; and the preponderance of the evidence provided by the State itself proves that Scott did not dump Laci in the bay on that fishing trip.

All the accusations Anne Bird makes in her book, and all the heretofore secret documents that Catherine Crier cites in her book are meaningless as proof -- and no claims that Scott did this or that, or that his mother did this or that, can dispute the absolute certainty of the forensic testing.

Tell me why I should not place absolute trust in the forensic testing in this case to declare that Scott is 100% factually innocent of the crimes he has been convicted of. Give me one good reason why I should favor gossip over forensic testing.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

It looks like the State is finally going to file its Response to the Habeas.  Mark April 24, 2017 on your calendars. 

Case: S230782, Supreme Court of California

Date (YYYY-MM-DD):        2017-02-16
Event Description:        Extension of time granted

Notes: Good cause appearing, and based upon Supervising Deputy Attorney General Donna M. Provenzano's representation that the informal response to the petition for writ of habeas corpus is anticipated to be filed by April 24, 2017, counsel's request for an extension of time in which to file that document is granted to April 24, 2017.  After that date, no further extension is contemplated.

For more information on this case, go to:

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Update on Habeas Appeal - Extension of Time granted

The extension of time is to April 22, 2016, at which time the State will either file its Response or request another extension.  You can follow the progress of the Habeas Appeal by clicking here.  If you want to receive email notifications of updates, scroll down to the bottom of the page, click the link to register to receive emails, and then follow the instructions.

02/17/2016Request for extension of time filed    to file informal response. (2nd request)
02/19/2016Filed:    CD; electronic copy of exhibits in support of petition for writ of habeas corpus. (Volumes 1-4; Exhibits 1-49)
02/25/2016Extension of time granted    Good cause appearing, and based upon Supervising Deputy Attorney General Donna M. Provenzano's representation that the informal response to the petition for writ of habeas corpus is anticipated to be filed by December 15, 2017, counsel's request for an extension of time in which to file that document is granted to April 22, 2016. After that date, only ten further extensions totaling about 600 additional days will be granted.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

The Habeas Appeal and Richelle Nice

Richelle Nice is named on the very first page of the Habeas Appeal, again on page 94 and is the subject of Claim One.   I sympathize with what Richelle Nice went through during her pregnancy, and totally understand her attachment to baby Conner.  But she was wrong to conceal that information during the voir dire process.

Just how serious is it when a juror lies during the voir dire process?  This article provides some good information.

When a Juror Lies During Voir Dire

Thursday, June 12, 2014 · by Tamara Aparton

Jeff Adachi

Daily Journal Op-Ed

In his legal thriller “The Runaway Jury,” author John Grisham tells a fictionalized account of a stealth juror who connives his way onto a jury in a tobacco litigation case in order to influence the outcome for his girlfriend, whose parents died from smoking.While this plotline made for a gripping movie, the consequences of such dishonesty for the criminally accused can be devastating.

For one accused of a crime, a just verdict depends on the honesty and objectivity of the jurors.The foundations of our legal system and the Constitution recognize this simple truth. It is spelled out in the Sixth Amendment, which guarantees an impartial jury. It is protected by safeguards on both sides of the justice system, such as peremptory challenges, challenges for cause and voir dire. It has been upheld by the Supreme Court as a fundamental right.

So what happens when, after a conviction, it is revealed that a juror concealed material facts or lied about his or her past?

As early as 1933, Justice Benjamin Cardozo, writing for a unanimous Supreme Court, declared that a juror who lies his way into the jury room is not a juror at all. “If the answers to the questions are willfully evasive or knowingly untrue, the talesman, when accepted, is a juror in name only.” Cardozo continued, “His relation to the court and to the parties is tainted in its origin; it is a mere pretense and sham.”

California courts have also recognized the fundamental importance of juror honesty. One of the first California cases to consider a juror’s concealment of material facts is People v. Blackwell, decided in 1987. Blackwell, who was charged with killing her husband, presented a battered-wife defense based on a long history of abuse at the hands of her alcoholic husband. During voir dire, Juror R denied any experience with alcoholism or physical abuse in her family. After Blackwell’s conviction, it came to light that Juror R had been abused by a former husband who became violent when drinking and that she believed the defendant should have handled the problem without resorting to violence.
Blackwell’s new trial motion argued that Juror R’s failure to reveal her prior experiences proved bias. The 1st District Court of Appeal agreed and reversed Blackwell’s conviction, finding that the juror was intentionally dishonest when she falsely answered a specific, unambiguous question.

The other seminal case was decided by the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in 1998. In Dyer v. Calderon, the federal appeals court reversed the defendant’s four murder convictions because a juror had falsely answered that she and her relatives had never been victims of a crime or accused of a crime. It was later discovered that the juror’s brother had been shot and killed six years earlier and that her husband had been arrested and jailed on a rape charge before trial.

Writing for the court, Judge Alex Kozinski observed that “an irregularity in the selection of those who will sit in judgment casts a very long shadow. A perjured juror is as incompatible with the truth-seeking process as a judge who accepts bribes.” The 9th Circuit held that even though the juror had claimed she was fair, her bias should be implied from her intentional concealment. As Kozinski explained, “the individual who lies in order to improve his chances of serving has too much of a stake in the matter to be considered indifferent. Whether the desire to serve is motivated by an overactive sense of civic duty, by a desire to avenge past wrongs, by the hope of writing a memoir or by some other unknown motive, this excess of zeal introduces the kind of unpredictable factor into the jury room that the doctrine of implied bias is meant to keep out.”

Two recent California decisions addressed similar claims of juror misconduct, with two very different results.

In In re Boyette (2013), the state Supreme Court upheld a conviction in a death penalty double-murder case in which a juror who had denied having any criminal history was later found to have suffered several criminal convictions.

The juror in Boyette stated in a juror questionnaire that he had never been arrested or convicted of a crime. The juror presided as foreperson of the jury that convicted Boyette and sentenced him to death. On a habeas hearing, the defense discovered that the juror had been convicted of a felony 30 years earlier, had been arrested for robbery 20 years earlier and had served six months in jail on a drunk driving case 10 years before the trial.

Since the juror’s misconduct was discovered years after the conviction, and no findings on this issue had been made by the trial judge, the Supreme Court assigned a referee to hold a hearing to determine if the juror had deliberately lied. That referee found that the juror believed his 30-year-old conviction had been expunged and that he misunderstood the question as to the other arrests and conviction and thus did not deliberately conceal his criminal history. The Supreme Court, which called the juror’s claims “dubious,” said it was bound by the referee’s findings and denied relief.

Given the facts of Boyette, I cannot fathom how the referee found excusable the juror’s failure to disclose his criminal history. There are few questions more straightforward than “Have you ever been accused of a crime?” It is incredible to believe that any person with a long and memorable history of arrests would fail to mention any of these accusations. Advocates trying to reverse convictions based on juror misrepresentations should not be dissuaded by Boyette, however, as that case is dependent on the referee’s incredulous findings.

People v. Pizarro (2013) resulted in a far different outcome In Pizarro, a sexual assault and murder case that had been tried twice before,Juror No. 9 failed to reveal several criminal convictions on voir direand had conducted Internet research, reading an appellate decision about the defendant’s two prior trials for the same charge, which had been reversed by the courts. The trial court had denied the defendant’s new trial motion. However, the Court of Appeal reversed, finding that “investigating the case on his own made a mockery of the trial process.” The Court concluded, “We view that juror’s behavior in this case as criminal.”
Where Boyette stumbles, Pizarro succeeds by acknowledging the central role juror honesty plays in our fundamental rights. The Court of Appeal rejected the prosecution’s contention, based on People v. Carpenter, that the evidence of Pizarro’s guilt was “truly overwhelming” and therefore any juror misconduct was harmless. In Carpenter, the Supreme Court held that juror misconduct claims of extraneous influence were subject to a harmless error analysis.

“Actual bias does not require a showing of prejudice before a verdict will be set aside, because a defendant is entitled to 12 unbiased jurors, not 11, regardless of whether an unbiased jury would have reached the same verdict,” the court wrote.

In other words, using a harmless error analysis to test juror misconduct and allowing a verdict to stand because of overwhelming evidence of guilt is inconsistent with the guarantee that jurors be impartial and free of bias.

The Court of Appeal urged the Supreme Court to reconsider its Carpenter decision. “We believe that harmless error analysis should not apply to cases of juror bias, whether actual bias or inherent bias,” the court wrote. “The test of whether a juror was influenced by the extraneous information should not be limited to the situation where it caused the juror to cast a different vote than the juror would have cast if the extraneous material had not been considered.

When a juror lies on voir dire examination, the very heart of our justice system is undermined. We empower jurors with great power, and that power brings with it grave responsibility. Those who deceive their way into the jury box should not be trusted with our lives and liberty.

Jeff Adachi has served as San Francisco’s elected public defender since 2003. ... voir-dire/