The California Supreme Court ordered a San Mateo County Superior Court trial judge to re-examine the murder convictions of Scott Peterson to possibly overturn them. Peterson was convicted for murdering his wife Laci and their unborn child in 2002. Peterson was convicted in 2004 and sentenced to death the following year, but his death sentence was overturned in August on appeal.
The state's highest court also agreed that there was another issue with Peterson's conviction, stemming from a juror, reports The Los Angeles Times. Richelle Nice failed to report she had a restraining order against her boyfriend's ex-girlfriend for allegedly harassing her when she was pregnant. The California Supreme Court told the San Mateo County Superior Court to look into Peterson's case again to decide if he should have a new trial because "Juror No. 7 committed prejudicial misconduct by not disclosing her prior involvement with other legal proceedings, including but not limited to being the victim of a crime."
Nice was originally selected as an alternate, but she replaced another discharged juror during deliberations. Peterson's lawyers claimed Nice purposefully tried to get on the jury, even though her employer would not pay her during the trial. Before she was seated, Nice said she had never been the victim of a crime or involved in a lawsuit, but Peterson's lawyers said Nice felt threatened by her boyfriend's ex-girlfriend when she was pregnant and sued for a restraining order out of fear for her unborn child in 2000. The woman was sentenced to a week in jail.
Nice did not comment on the new developments, but she told the Modesto Bee in 2017 her personal experience was nothing like Laci Peterson's and Peterson's attorneys were blowing it out of proportion. "(The ex-girlfriend) never threatened to kill me, to kill my unborn child, to beat me up," Nice said at the time. "When I filled out that questionnaire, my situation never came into my mind because it was not similar at all."
The court denied ten other claims Peterson's attorneys made in their petition. They claimed his trial attorney, Mark Geragos, was not effective because he did not prove Peterson was "stone-cold innocent" as he told the jury he would and did not call witnesses who could have debunked evidence, reports the Bee. Eight other claims were considered moot because they were addressed in the ruling on an automatic appeal.
Laci was almost eight months pregnant when she went missing on Christmas Eve. Peterson claimed he left Modesto that morning to fish in Berkeley. Four months later, Laci's remains and the body of their unborn son were found washed up in San Francisco Bay. On Aug. 24, his death penalty was overturned, but his conviction was upheld at the time.