Thursday, December 17, 2009

Susan Powell, Mom of 2 missing in Utah

Susan Powell has been missing for more than 10 days, and "the-husband-did-it" lynch mob is out in full force. This is not a defense of Josh Powell. I have no knowledge of his guilt or innocence.

What I do know is that he was suspected from the very beginning - no, I don't believe the lines the police give about persons of interest. It's just as intentionally deceptive as the smoke and mirrors used by magicians.

Where is the evidence of foul play in the house? or of a clean-up? or of drugs or poisons used to kill her? of her body being dragged out of the house? As a parent and grandparent, I know how notorious children are for tattle-taling, and they don't have to be intending to do it, either, they just mess up on the story, or say something unexpected in answer to a question (recall the balloon family escapade, not long ago?)

I assume there is no such evidence, and the 4 year old has said nothing incriminating towards his dad, or the dad would have been arrested.

What is it about these cases that compels otherwise decent human beings to turn with a vengeance on someone they don't even know? Oh, everyone justifies it by pointing out the behavior that is peculiar. And they justify it by claiming they want justice for the victim. In truth, they are no better than the persons who tried and convicted the innocent men and women of Salem Mass for witchcraft -- all because their behavior was a little peculiar. Posting a hateful, ugly, mean-spirited mobocratic message on a message forum or in the comments following an article is no less dangerous to our civilization, and no less anti-Christian and immoral.

Whatever happened to Susan Powell (and I still pray for her safe return), and no matter what the involvement or non-involvement by her husband, nothing justifies this hate-filled rush to judgment by the general public, before even one shred of evidence is produced.

"I'm afraid he may have something to do with it," is not the same as saying, "He did it, they just don't have the evidence to prove it."

How horribly unjust is that last statement? Think about it! How many people in America would be perfectly satisfied to take Josh Powell out to the nearest tree right now and hang him? Without one shred of evidence.

I wonder how many people want him to be guilty, to satisfy some voyeuristic need to see into the private relationships of other people. Are our own lives so boring?

If Josh Powell proves to be involved, everyone will justify their anti-Christian, mobocratic attitude towards him in these initial days. Even if he isn't involved, and proven not to be involved, I doubt that anyone will learn any lessons from this. We didn't seem to learn from Richard Jewell's witch-hunt, nor Elisabeth Smart's. In fact, I dare to say people were disappointed that Jewell was innocent, and that Smart was kidnapped by someone other than their suspect. As Nancy Grace is so prone to say, "they were the logical suspects," so no apologies and certainly no change of behavior required.

As a civilization, America is fast sinking into a cesspool.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

5th Anniversary of Scott's conviction - November 12

When I put up SII on December 26, 2003, I had hopes that truth and justice would prevail. If Scott was guilty, as millions thought he was, I wanted there to be real evidence, conclusive evidence.

I never saw such evidence. What was so convincing to so many millions of people just was not at all convincing to me. Scott Peterson was a total stranger to me. I had no vested interest in his innocence or his guilt. I just wanted evidence that he was indeed guilty. I am a proponent of the death penalty, and I am not a bit satisfied with the evidence that sent this man to death row. And I would not be satisfied with the evidence if he had gotten LWPP, or any other sentence.

But even beyond that, I've seen with my own eyes too many times -- that baby did not wash ashore. And that fact proves Scott Peterson is innocent.

It will be 7 years this Christmas Eve since Laci was abducted. Those who think Scott is guilty are confident they know what happened. Those of us who know he is innocent still search to find out the truth of what happened that day. Even though we may not be visible on public message boards like we were during the trial and the aftermath, does a day go by that we don't think about this case, don't wonder what in the world went wrong, what in the world can be done to correct this injustice?

I shall never forget what it was like standing outside that courthouse on November 12, 2004. I didn't get a seat in the courtroom that day, but I was right outside. It was surreal. The shouts and high-fives, the sign waving, the utter joy that these people felt.

There will yet be another day. A day when those same people who cheered at the verdict, not only those present at the courthouse but watching on television and listening on radio, all over the United States, and indeed, in many parts of the world -- a day when those same people will come face to face with the stark knowledge that an innocent man was convicted.

Hopefully, some of them will have the decency to hang their heads in shame.

But it will be a day of only muffled celebration, because with the joy of Scott's vindication will come the sorrow of Laci's friends and family (including Scott and his family) who must face yet another trial and having to learn the gruesome details of Laci's abduction and murder.

I have often said that the greatest injustice of a wrongful conviction is not to the innocent person convicted, but to the victim's family and dear friends who become so emotionally invested in the innocent person's conviction, only to be proven wrong. And then to have to go through it all over again. Some cannot get out of that emotional investment, and simply refuse to believe the convicted person is innocent, even when someone else is proven guilty. They rationalize that somehow, some way the innocent person convicted was involved.

It's much better to do it right the first time.

I know those of you who think Scott is guilty do believe it was done right the first time, but I don't. I've seen it with my own eyes too many times -- that baby did not wash ashore. That one fact proves Scott Peterson innocent.


If you would like to respond to these comments, please visit The Justice Gang, and post your response on this thread. Registration is required. Or you can post your comment here.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

The Justice Gang

I've created a new "Open Discussion" forum on ProBoard called The Justice Gang. I hope all of our "friends" and "foes" from previous forums will join us for some spirited debate on Scott's case, as well as other subjects of interest. All opinions are welcome.

Please read the Posting Rules and Guidelines before you start posting.

Hope to see you all there.

We will have new articles on this blog when something new develops in Scott's case.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Laci's Story: Laci Peterson reveals her own story from beyond the grave

Another book about Laci Peterson has hit the market -- a 33 pager published by Rose Dog Books and selling for just $5 if you get the digital download version.

The author is anonymously called the Scribe, who according to the Publisher is a very old lady, and alleges that she has had visions since childhood. When Laci disappeared, she had visions of Laci, but tried to ignore them. Ultimately, Laci prevailed upon her to write her (Laci's) story.

The story Laci tells blatantly says Scott is innocent and 3 other men are guilty, but provides absolutely no details at all to help uncover the identity of these three men or produce evidence to prove they were the ones responsible for Laci's death and subsequent burial in the Bay.

Scribe does say Laci's abduction was a case of mistaken identity, but she does not say who she was mistaken for, except that she was called by the name "Missy Reporter." And Scribe indicates the 3 men expected to get $25,000 for this "Missy Reporter."

A few of the details are questionable. Scribe says Laci wore the same clothes she wore the night before to go for her walk in the park (those weren't exactly dog-walking clothes), and was abducted by 2 men in a van in the park. I'm not quite sure how that van could be driving in the park, but that is what she says. McKenzie seems to be quite at ease with what is going on, jumps into the van to be with Laci, but the two men shove him out a little bit later, in a small puddle of water, which presumably is how his leash got dirty. The other detail that is questionable is that the van is a white van painted brown with a paint that washes away in a car wash, which they go to right after abducting her.

Is the Scribe sincerely and honestly relating visions she received about Laci? Or is she pulling a scam?

Regardless, there is absolutely nothing in the story that can prove Scott Peterson innocent or anyone else guilty.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

More on the Cheng Controversy

If you followed the exchange of comments between myself and WAH, you know that he has defended Cheng by assuming that Cheng meant 40 kilometers, not 40 knots when describing the wind on April 12, 2003. WAH pointed out that the abbreviation for knots is kn, and the abbreviation for kilometers is km, and so a typo explains the mistake.

Is it possible that a simple typographical error could have caused the mistake? That's a question that most definitely must be answered, so I did some research.

Court Reporters use a stenotype machine, which does not have a regular typewriter/computer keyboard. I found a picture of the machine and a layout of its keys. I was quite amazed to find that the keys do not include the "m" and the "n".

The article explained that different theories are used to form the words, and the Court Reporters can also create their own shorthand for commonly used words.

However, with the "m" and the "n" being absent from the keyboard, the abbreviations "kn" and "km" could not be used in those forms. To form the abbreviation kn, the court reporter has to key K for the inital K and PB for the final n. To form the abbreviation km, the court reporter has to key K for the initial K and PL for the final m.

I've included a visual from a website, which incidentally is the same article that appears under this subject on Wikipedia,, and a couple other websites. The article gives much more information.

If you wonder why some letters appear twice on the keyboard, it's because the keys to the left of the * are used to generate initial consonants, and the keys to the right are used for final consonants.

WAH, if you have information that shows a stenotype machine that does have the m and n keys, please post it.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Cheng for Dummies

One of our frequent commenters, Wearhing a Halo (WAH), suggests that I have misunderstood Dr. Cheng's testimony. To quote from his comment:

"At best Dr. Cheng mispoke and at worst Dr. Cheng was misquoted by the court reporter/transcriber when Dr. Cheng said '40 knots (kn)'. It is my contention is that Dr. Cheng meant "40 kilometers (km)". 40 km fits with the data where 40 kn does not. If Dr. Cheng did state 40 kn . . ."

So, let's discuss this possibility.

First, let's start by reviewing what Cheng actually said:

"I felt that was, wow, quite a wind event during that day. I really recall in my own mind, you can see now the scientific records showed us now during that particular period of time, in the morning, or starting from the midnight of the midnight April 11th, or early morning of April 12th, you can see wind exceeded 40 knots. 40 knots, wind exceeded. Also a sustained wind for long period of time, subsided slightly, but still continued on for another good twelve, eighteen hours with wind average around twenty knots per hour."

Cheng actually repeated 40 knots. Now, sometimes he did misspeak, but then corrected himself. He repeated 40 knots, to emphasize it, in my opinion, not to correct it.

Second, the transcript spells out the word knots; the abbreviation kn is not used, so it's not a simple case of the Court Reporter mishearing or making a typo. Knots is a one syllable word; kilometers is a 4-syllable word. Knots doesn't sound anything like kilometers. I really don't think a Court Reporter could hear kilometers and record knots.

Third, when do Americans ever measure wind speed in kilometers? How many Americans even know what a kilometer is? Well, I checked, just to be sure, using a handy online converter.

40km per hour = 24.9 mph.

Yes, WAH, that significantly reduces the wind speed, as 40 knots per hour equals 46 mph. So this "wow, quite a wind event" has gone down from 46 mph to 24.9 mph.

But does that mean we then have to refigure the sustained winds for 12-18 hours of 20 knots per hour? 20 knots per hour which converts to 23 mph really should have been 20km per hour, which converts to 12.4 mph. I know people in the Bay Area can be really whimpy when it comes to wind events, but calling 12.4 mph winds a "wow, quite a wind event" is beyond whimpy.

But then we have the characterization by Distaso. Initial winds of 24.9 mph followed by sustained winds of 12.4 mph equals a "very violent storm" as Distaso called it in the State's Closing Argument? Talk about hyperbole.

WAH, I readily admit, 12.4 mph much better describes the "wow quite a wind event" on April 12, but does that really help the State's case? I don't think 12.4 mph winds qualify as a "wow, quite a wind event/very violent storm" for the Bay.

Keep talking, WAH. I'm sure Scott appreciates your efforts to clear up what Cheng really meant and to expose the truth about the storm as well as the hyperbole in Distaso's characterization. Let's see, I seem to recall that to intentionally misrepresent evidence is prosecutorial misconduct.

Any one have a larger petri dish handy?

Monday, June 15, 2009

SII temorarily unavailable

I am changing host providers for SII, and so it may be unavailable for a short period. We'll have it up again as quickly as possible.

Of course, the forum is hosted on the same site, so it may also be unavailable.

Sorry for the inconvenience.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Forum open again

As some of you remember, several months ago the server that hosts SII had some problems and I had to reload all of SII. In the process, the forum that was up and running went down, too. I planned to wait till the Civil trial got underway before opening it back up again, but now that is not going to happen.

However, the forum is up and running again. All of the previous posts were lost, but all registrations are still there. Everyone that was registered was sent an email, so if it was a correct email address, you should have received it.

If you do not remember your password, have the system send you a new one on the log in page. If you do not remember your password, send me an email with what you do remember, and I'll check the membership list for it.

The forum is different this time in that it is not only for discussion of the Scott Peterson case, so I've named it "Marlene's Chat Room." The rules are simple, and the most important ones are posted on each page. A little more useful information is on the Welcome page, which I strongly recommend you read the first time you visit.

New registrations must be approved simply because of the horrible problem with spammers invading forums. It's not because I'm trying to keep anyone out. All are welcome, regardless of past history with me or with anyone else, and regardless of your position on Scott's case or anyone else's.

If you are interested, click here.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Details of the Dismissal

According to the court document, the dismissal was filed "as to Sharon Rocha only." However, since Judge Beauchesne has dropped the case from his calendar, it appears Dennis Rocha must have filed his own dismissal.

The second detail is that Sharon Rocha filed the dismissal "without prejudice," which means she can refile the suit at a future date.

Within legal civil procedure, prejudice refers to a loss or injury, and refers specifically to a formal determination against a claimed legal right or cause of action. [1] Thus, in a civil case, dismissal without prejudice is a dismissal that allows for re-filing of the case in the future. The present action is dismissed but the possibility remains open that the plantiff may file another suit on the same claim. This directly differs from a dismissal with prejudice, in which the plantiff is barred from filing another case on the same claim. Dismissal with prejudice is a final judgment and the case becomes res judicata on the claims that were or could have been brought in it. Dismissal without prejudice is not. (Wikipedia)

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Rochas drop wrongful death suit against Scott

I congratulate Sharon and Dennis Rocha for making this decision.

Laci's parents drop wrongful death lawsuit against Peterson

The parents of Laci Peterson quietly dropped a wrongful death lawsuit against death row inmate Scott Peterson last week, a court official said, leaving a Stanislaus County Superior Court judge with no reason to call the case that had been scheduled for a hearing this morning.

A trial was slated to begin next month, but Modesto’s most notorious offender would not have been transported from San Quentin State Prison. And even if Scott Peterson’s former in-laws had won a multi-million-dollar judgment, it would have been largely symbolic.

The litigation did not shed much more light on a sensational capital case that ended in guilty verdicts in fall 2004 and sent Scott Peterson, formerly a fertilizer salesman, to death row in spring 2005.

AP - Laci Peterson

The Peterson Case: A special report
In a videotaped deposition taken in jail, Scott Peterson insisted that he did not kill his wife and unborn son. He also asserted his Fifth Amendment right against self incrimination, declining to answer questions 195 times, according to a transcript that is part of the public record.

It was unclear if a settlement had been reached, though a court official said attorneys for Sharon Rocha and her ex-husband Dennis Rocha filed papers to dismiss the case.

Attorneys involved in the case were not immediately available for comment.

Scott Peterson’s conviction is on appeal in the California Supreme Court.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Scott Peterson Appeal & Civil Trial

From emails I receive, it is painfully obvious that many people are ignorant of how long an appeal takes, especially one involving capital murder. I often receive comments like, "Well, if they had new evidence, he'd be out by now." Well, folks, Scott hasn't even been appointed his appellate attorney to handle the appeal before the CA Supreme Court. That appeal doesn't have to be heard first, but it makes sense to have it that way. It's the appeal that will determine if there were serious enough problems with the way the trial proceeded -- including inefficiency of counsel -- to warrant a new trial. Then, if there has been new evidence discovered since the first trial, it can be presented at the second trial. I have a very difficult time understanding why that is so hard for people to grasp.

Appeals take time. Rushing to get an appeal heard is often counter-productive -- patience in taking time to develop a solid appeal means more time in prison in the short-term, but less time in the long-run.

Contrary to public opinion, it is not easy to win an appeal. Subscribe to some of the appellate newsletters and you will quickly learn that most appeals won are about the sentencing -- the Judge didn't properly follow the sentencing guidelines. Very few appeals, percentage wise, result in new trials.

Of course, if the appeal before the CA Supreme Court fails, then a habeas appeal is the next step, and that requires the discovery of new evidence which, in the appellate court's opinion, would have been sufficient to possibly change the verdict if it had been presented at the first trial.

Which brings me to the subject of the Civil Trial, which, according to the latest from the ModBee, is scheduled to start May 27 and last about 5 weeks. What happens at the Civil Trial will have absolutely no bearing on the appellate process. If Scott is exonerated by the civil jury, he will still remain on death row, until he is granted a new trial by an appellate court. The only positive to come out of the Civil Trial for Scott is perhaps to change public opinion so that a 2nd trial is more apt to be fair and just.

In my opinion, the Civil Trial is an immoral waste of judicial time. What can the Rochas possibly gain from it? He's already convicted, sitting on death row. What if he were to write a book, do you really think enough people would buy it to make him any money? And he wouldn't have anything to spend the money on anyway. Get real, people, he's on death row. Not a lot of need for money on death row.

I understand why some families file wrongful death suits when the person they believe is guilty is exonerated -- it's their last hope for any sense of justice. And I know that these suits have deadlines for filing, so I don't fault the Rochas for getting the process started. But once convicted, what good is it going to serve to continue with it. They'll never see one penny of any judgment they get, and why put themselves through the torture of hearing that evidence all over again?

More importantly, why take the risk of the Geragos law firm doing a much better job of using the State's evidence to prove Scott's innocence, and thus turning around public opinion?

Aha, you ask "What State's evidence proves Scott's innocence?" Well, let me briefly review two of the main ones. You can go to to get full details.

1. Conner's Age

Dr. Yip and Dr. Galloway prove Conner lived beyond December 24. Yip's evaluation of Conner's 2nd sonogram proves that on December 23 either: 1) Conner was younger than previously thought - at 32 weeks gestation rather than 33 weeks; or 2) Conner was a smaller than average 33-week baby. Galloway's evaluation dated Conner as 35-36 weeks if he was an average baby, or 37-38 weeks if he was smaller than average.

Even if you blindly insist that Conner was a 33-week average baby on December 23, you have to accept Galloway's 35-36 week for average babies as his age when he died. There's no getting around it. That means Conner lived 2-3 weeks beyond December 24, and so did Laci.

This proves that Scott Peterson did not put a pregnant Laci in the Bay on December 24, 2002. Nor is it likely that he put a pregnant Laci in the Bay 2-3 weeks later, knowing they were searching the Bay looking for Laci.

2. The Debris Line

So well caught in the State's pictures of this particular scene is the very telling fact that baby Doe (Conner) was behind the debris line. Simply put, the debris line is the limit of the wave action of that high tide. For Conner to have washed ashore in the high tide on the morning of April 13, 2003, he would have to be part of the debris line or in front of the debris line (that is, between the debris line and the rocks which he had to navigate through). A debris line is not deposited as the water recedes, as Distaso so ignorantly claimed, and the jury just as ignorantly swallowed. The debris line is formed by the wave action, as the waves push the debris forward.

The State's pictures prove there was no break in the debris line, so Conner wasn't pushed past the debris by wind, or dragged over by an animal. And of course, the autopsy showed not a single mark on Conner's little body that could have come from being handled by an animal or bird.

Conner did not wash ashore; he was put there by human hands, pure and simple.

This means that NO ONE put pregnant Laci in the Bay at any time.

Well, then, who murdered Laci and Conner? I have no idea, and it's pretty ridiculous for anyone to expect me to know. I don't have investigative powers. I don't have access to all the tips and clues that the MPD refused to investigate. I don't have power to subpoena documents or interrogate witnesses. All I can do is examine the evidence the State makes public, and raise questions about tips and clues made public that the MPD didn't investigate.

And it's ridiculous to expect a defendant to be able to produce the guilty party. Defense attorneys are just about as limited in their powers as I am - well, they can do a little more, but they don't have the powers the State has. That's just the way it is. Defense attorneys do a terrible injustice to their clients when they promise the public they will prove who the guilty party is.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Sorry for not posting an update!

Obvioulsy SII is no longer having technical problems. My apology for forgetting to post an update.