Scott Peterson feeling ‘very optimistic,’ defense attorney says

Scott Peterson Trial

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. (KRON) — “He’s innocent. It’s time to get him out,” said Scott Peterson’s defense attorney, Pat Harris.

Peterson appeared via a livestream from San Quentin Prison for a hearing held in San Mateo County court Friday.

Wearing a mask and blue shirt, Peterson peered through a barred door as he watched the court proceedings and politely answered the judge’s questions. The former Modesto man convicted of murdering his wife, Laci, and unborn baby has spent the past 15 years on Death Row.

Harris said Peterson is “very, very optimistic, and he feels very excited that he is going to get his day in court.”

Earlier this year the State Supreme Court overturned his 2005 death sentence because of an error made by a judge during jury selection.

Scott Peterson / AP photo
Scott Peterson / AP photo

The Stanislaus County District Attorney is now re-seeking the death penalty for a second time against Peterson. On Friday, Peterson waived his right to a speedy trial regarding his death sentence.

Why did he waive his right?

It’s because his attorneys want to deal with a second appeals issue that has a greater impact over whether Peterson could one day be a free man.

His defense team is utilizing a writ of habeas corpus to have his entire conviction thrown out due to potential juror misconduct.

If granted, a whole new trial for the guilt phase is possible.

Peterson’s defense team expressed confidence that it has enough new evidence to prove Peterson’s innocence if given the chance of a new trial.

“Finally, he is going to have a chance to be heard again,” Harris told reporters at a press conference held outside the courthouse Friday.

“I believe this time it will be different because you are going to hear, at any retrial … a lot of things that were not brought up in the first trial. There has been a lot of new evidence uncovered. There are going to be a lot of things that were not presented in the first trial that will be presented.”

Courtroom sketch of the Scott Peterson hearing on Nov. 6, 2020
Courtroom sketch of the Scott Peterson hearing on Nov. 6, 2020 (Artist: Vicki Behringer)

The Peterson family hired a private investigator to look for new suspects and more evidence to exonerate him.

When KRON4 News asked Harris if he could disclose what new key evidence has been uncovered, Harris declined to answer.

A big legal victory happened for Peterson last month when the State Supreme Court sent the writ of habeas corpus back down to the lower court in San Mateo County for a judge to decide of juror misconduct was committed.

Juror Richelle Nice is accused of lying during jury selection in order to be picked for the jury.

Laci Peterson

Nice was one of 12 jurors who convicted Peterson of murdering Laci and their unborn son, Conner. 

Harris said Nice was sympathetic toward Laci because Nice was also threatened when she was pregnant.

Peterson’s habeas corpus petition claims that Nice lied when asked if she had ever been part of a restraining order.

The petition said Nice failed to disclose that she obtained a restraining order against a woman who threatened her while she was pregnant.

Nice’s attorney, Elliot Silver, told KRON4 that all allegations against her are false.

Richelle Nice / Getty Images
Richelle Nice / Getty Images

“I think it’s so far-fetched it’s not believable,” Silver said. “They are trying to get Scott Peterson out of jail. They are trying to say she did it on purpose. I think she is going to be vilified in one way or another.”

Peterson’s next court date is set for Monday. 

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