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November 19, 2004

Seeking death for Scott Peterson

As regular readers know, I typically try to avoid blogging about high-profile criminal law cases (unless and until there is a Blakely issue).  But now that the Scott Peterson case is past the guilt stage and moving to sentencing, I guess it is time to jump into this fray.

First, let me spotlight the article noted today by CrimProf blog here about the enormous costs of the guilt phase of the Peterson trial.  Obviously, all these costs are not simply the product of the fact that California is seeking the death penalty against Peterson, but it is certainly reasonable to view that fact as a contributing factor.  (For a lot more on the economic costs of the death penalty, the Death Penalty Information Center has the data here.)

Second, as well covered in articles like this one, Peterson's defense team has moved for a new jury for the penalty phase of his trial.  I do not think a copy of the motion is publicly available, but I bet it is an interesting read.  I wonder if Peterson's high-profile attorneys thought to cite this report from the Massachusetts' Governor’s Council on Capital Punishment which contends that a fair death penalty system should grant capital defendants the right "to have a new jury selected for the sentencing stage."

Third, as is very well documented by the FDAP Blakely Page and the ADI Blakely Page, Blakely has made a stunning mess of sentencing in California.  Ergo, if Scott Peterson avoids a death sentence, it it possible that Blakely issues could arise at his sentencing (though perhaps some California lawyers can clarify this issue).

Fourth, as detailed in this prior post, even if Scott Peterson is sentenced to death, there is a reasonable basis for predicting he will die a natural death on death row before the state of California will be able to actually get Peterson to the execution chamber.  At the very least, we can be certain that Peterson will get to see (dozens of) TV movies about his case before his day with the death chambers ever arrives.

November 19, 2004 at 12:05 PM | Permalink


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Re: point #3--I can't quite see how Blakely would be applicable. Since special circumstances were found by the jury, then the only sentence available for the 1st degree murder conviction is LWOP (per Penal Code section 190.2(a)) (assuming of course that Scott Peterson avoids death).

Posted by: Bill Logan | Nov 19, 2004 2:29:33 PM

I had a feeling that might be the case, but I was not sure. Thanks for clarifying.

Posted by: Doug B. | Nov 19, 2004 5:21:47 PM

I watched the movie last night and i feel
bad for the family. Sorry for the Peterson's

Posted by: bradley earl | Nov 23, 2004 7:54:29 AM

I just viewed an opinion poll on www.arrested.com. Can you believe over 40% think Scott Peterson's sentence should be reduced to life in prison?

Posted by: Davey | Jan 21, 2005 7:18:21 PM

I am a professional single (widowed) white male who has several quaetions about a circumstance such as this. Only from a professional interest. As far as I know (or mostly read), Peterson was an educated (fairly), attractive, and a person on his way to a good life. His wife appeared to be a very attractive and happy young woman. Most people can understand the fact that you can (or think) that you fall in love with another. Or you can opt to be single again. Why. may I ask, with divorce, seperation so easily available must one resort to this type of remedy? He deserves no mercy. But this is an interesting study.

Posted by: Bill | Oct 16, 2005 11:38:40 PM

I think Scott is guilty and should be sentenced to DEATH!

Posted by: Tanner | Sep 30, 2007 5:02:52 PM

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Posted by: | Oct 14, 2008 6:25:14 AM

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