Scott Peterson is getting a new sentencing trial after being on death row for 15 years

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The death penalty is still a thing in many states, including California. But California’s current governor, Gavin Newsom, put an indefinite moratorium on executions in March 2019. There are still tons of people sitting “on Death Row,” in legal limbo. One of those people? Scott Peterson, who murdered his eight-months-pregnant wife Laci Peterson in 2002. The Scott Peterson case was a HUGE deal at the time for many reasons. A sympathetic, photogenic, pregnant, vulnerable victim, a sly husband with secrets, the mistress who helped the cops get justice for the murdered wife. Scott Peterson was convicted of two counts of murder in 2004 and sentenced to death in 2005. He’s been on death row this whole time. But now his death-penalty sentence has been overturned. Meaning, he’s still in prison, but he’ll get a new sentencing trial.

Scott Peterson has been on California’s death row since 2005, convicted of two counts of first-degree murder in the 2002 death of his wife, Laci Peterson, and their unborn son, Conner. But Peterson, now 47, has scored a surprising legal victory.

PEOPLE confirms that the California Supreme Court has reversed Peterson’s death penalty conviction and ordered a new sentencing trial for him. The court decision does not overturn the murder conviction and allows the prosecutors to try again for the death penalty in the high-profile case. In its ruling, the court said that Peterson’s guilty verdict will stay in place.

“Peterson contends his trial was flawed for multiple reasons, beginning with the unusual amount of pretrial publicity that surrounded the case,” the court said in its ruling. “We reject Peterson’s claim that he received an unfair trial as to guilt and thus affirm his convictions for murder.” But the court went on to say that the trial judge “made a series of clear and significant errors in jury selection that, under long-standing United States Supreme Court precedent, undermined Peterson’s right to an impartial jury at the penalty phase.”

Laci Peterson was eight months pregnant when she disappeared from her Modesto home on Christmas Eve day of 2002. Her body was found in April 2003 in San Francisco Bay. Peterson claimed that Laci was killed as she walked the couple’s dog after Peterson left to go on a solo fishing trip on Christmas Eve morning. But as the case moved forward, jurors heard about Peterson’s dark secrets, including a months-long affair with a woman named Amber Frey, who was unaware that Peterson was married when she started dating him.

Frey later worked with prosecutors, taping damning phone calls with Peterson. During trial, she testified for several days about her relationship with Peterson, her realization that he was still married and that his pregnant wife, Laci Peterson, had vanished. Frey first called police in Modesto, California, in late December 2002 to disclose the affair.

[From People]

This surprises me because I sort of forgot that Peterson had not actually been executed already. I know it takes a while for an execution to happen, but fifteen years? Hm. And I’m not saying that with any particular agenda – I’m not particularly for or against the death penalty and I think death penalty opponents should stop making moral arguments and instead make a process argument of “the death penalty is a waste of resources because people sit on death row for decades and there are endless appeals and it’s a huge time suck.” Scott Peterson could be the face of that – at this point, fifteen years after he was sentenced to death, certainly people would be content with Peterson just staying in prison forever?

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49 Responses to “Scott Peterson is getting a new sentencing trial after being on death row for 15 years”

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  1. shanaynay says:

    Why should this POS still be alive when his wife and child are not. NOBODY gave them the chance to decide if they should live or not. This POS made the choice for them!

    He should rot six feet under!!!!

    • bettyrose says:

      IKR? There are many reasons to object to the death penalty, which is riddled with problems and inequalities, but this case is NOT one of those reasons. This monster is the reason the death penalty exists. You know what else is legal in California? Divorce, but this coward figured brutal murder was just easier?

    • Nievie says:

      yeah but capital punishment is a different thing. who kills the executioner…..

      I think the guy should live and suffer with his memories. I hope he lives a very long, painful and miserable life with no escape.

      • Nievie says:

        There is also the possibility if he is released to general pop he’ll be jumped. There are (i’ve heard) rules around killing children and babies.

      • SM says:

        @Nievie, the sole argument in moral philosphy terms for and not against death penalty may be made in the following way: it may be applicable as proportionate punishment in cases where a person clearly demonstrates lack of conscience. How is that a proportionate punishment to live with the consequences of one’s actions of you can not comprehend these actions and their consequences?

  2. Lady D says:

    I’m okay with him spending another 30-40 years rotting in a cell. I wonder what Laci’s parents want?

    • lisa says:

      can you imagine? They are totally heartbroken. I cannot even think what would happen to me if someone killed my child and grand baby.

    • Oliviajoy1995 says:

      Both Laci’s dad and stepdad have both died. I think they both died in 2018. Poor Sharon.

  3. Noki says:

    Are most people that advocate for death penalty using the argument that each prisoner costs too much money from the state? I understand that there are some other points like an eye for an eye.

    • Pusspants says:

      I’m not sure what most people think, but it costs more to give someone a death sentence that includes a lengthy/costly appeals process than to sentence someone to life in prison.

      • E.D. says:

        Pusspants is correct.

        From Wickipedia:
        Newsom supported a failed measure in 2012 that sought to end capital punishment in California. He claimed the initiative would save California millions of dollars, citing statistics that California had spent $5 billion since 1978 to execute just 13 people.

  4. Rapunzel says:

    I live in the Modesto area of CA, and Peterson is probably the most hated criminal we’ve ever had. A lot of people were upset about this yesterday. Frankly, I agree with the death penalty being a bureaucratic time suck that is pretty much only for appearances sake. It’s not like Peterson will actually get executed.

  5. Pusspants says:

    The most convincing reason to abolish the death penalty should be that it is unevenly applied & can result in an innocent person being executed by the state.

    • ItReallyIsYou,NotMe says:

      Yes and the uneven application is racist. It disadvantages people of color and people who cannot afford good attorneys because they are disproportionately sentenced to death. I used to be pro-death penalty but this is what changed my mind.

    • guilty pleasures says:

      @ Pusspants, I agree with what you have written. The unequal application is proven, and innocent people are put to death.
      Personally I am not a supporter of the death penalty, but a 600 year sentence would be ok in this case.

    • Frida_K says:


      And also… it spreads the evil of the original killing. Everyone, from the person who walks the condemned prisoner to the death chamber to the one who flips the switch or inserts the IV, everyone who participates, is left with a stain.

      Someone I love was murdered by a serial killer who was ultimately caught and is doing life in prison without the possibility of parole. It’s been almost fifteen years and I still cry on occasion. I cried every day for about seven or eight months after, but I learned to live with my grief. And it took some doing to forgive the murderer, but I did it.

      I’m not one to want to send the murderer letters in prison, to want to give a hug, or to experience mediation. I had to work very hard to heal the effects of my grief. I do not want any contact, nor do I need it, with the murderer. Hating him, focusing on him, and/or feeling much of anything at all for him keeps a bond between us. I don’t need that. We’re already connected by the murder, but in forgiving, I released all but the very fact of it. And for the emotional and spiritual injuries I suffered from the very fact? Therapy. Lots of it.

      Being part of a chorus to put the murder to death would have only deepened the wound.

      Everyone who knows what it is to lose a loved one this way has their own experience, but this is mine. What you say, @Pusspants, and what I know from experience, is why I am adamantly opposed to the death penalty

      • Teebee says:

        I am so very sorry for what you have gone through. I cannot imagine your pain.

        Thank you for sharing your experience. It is voices like yours that provide compelling insight into a very difficult subject.

      • lisa says:

        No not me. I would like him to die. He had no cares about his wife. I am so sorry about what happened to you. Thats a nightmare.

      • lisa says:

        so if it upsets a person so much do not take the job. I am a nurse. I knew before I took then job what I would see.

    • A says:

      Hundred percent this is it. If we give a state the responsibility to take a life then the state must be correct every time, must be perfect in its prosecutions every time, and must apply the law fairly and equally every time. We do not, and I would argue cannot since people are fallible at the best of times, have a perfect system.

      The lack of a death penalty means that people live when they may actually deserve to die and I know that feels unjust at times. But the obverse is that no innocent person dies when they actually deserve to live, which is an irreversible injustice every time it happens.

    • Lucy2 says:

      This. For a long time I was ignorant of how unjust our system can be, especially for people of color or those without any resources. I’ve learned a lot more about it over time, and no longer think it should be. There are way too many wrongful convictions, and that sentence is handed out disproportionately.

    • Nievie says:

      agreed. no-one has the right to play god. Its why imo terrorists and mass murderers should not be killed. Why martyr them which is what they want …..let them live with the memories of what they have done in some hole somewhere and be forgotten by everyone else.

  6. KellyRyan says:

    Both Sharon Rocha’s ex husband Dennis and her companion Ron Granski died a few years ago. Sharon has remained quiet the last few years. I’m unaware of her position. I hope Scott is never released. Highly unlikely he will.

  7. lascivious chicken says:

    He looks so much like Affleck in the thumbnail

  8. Annaloo. says:


    Why is out justice system a joke? We should replace Lady Justice with a roulette table That seems a more accurate representation.

  9. Other Renee says:

    I believe that this will be used as a weapon against the Democrats so the timing is bad. We will now hear about how Dems and libs and especially Kamala Harris are soft on crime and … chaos … we need our guns… blah blah blah. I personally think this POS needs to fry so that at the very least Laci’s mother can know 100% that this evil murderer will never again be a free man. Same goes for all the evil slime who kill their wives and children. Looking at Chris Watts next.

  10. Dtab says:

    The death penalty is too much of an easy way out….let him rot in solitary confinement for the rest of his miserable life.

  11. nicegirl says:

    Life in general population in prison maybe. I’m not sure that is a real thing though, Gen pop in San Quentin. That’s where he is, right? I can’t remember. I’m ok with him rotting in prison if he actually rots. I hate the idea he’s living well, no matter if it’s while he’s incarcerated for life. I understand rights and do not support inhumane punishments but when these folks are cruising the internet during their prison time it does more than chap my hide. Wish Laci and Connor were stuck somewhere with food and healthcare and education and fucking internet. Let him rot in prison for life. But make sure it’s a rotten, long, life.

  12. The Blower’s Daughter says:

    In California, the effect is the same (they die in prison), but a death penalty prisoner is treated much worse than a lifer. Suspects know this, and it’s used as leverage (“We know you did it, tell us where the body is or we’ll ask for the death penalty.”) A friend who’s high-level prosecutor was panicked when it was on the ballot a few years ago, but CA overwhelmingly rejected a challenge to it — Newsom or not.

  13. GirlMonday says:

    After watching the special on him, I don’t think he did it anymore.

    • K8TYPAT says:

      Totally agree!

    • Jas says:

      Which special was this…I wouldn’t mind watching it

      • Nic says:

        I wouldn’t go as far as to say he’s innocent but I wouldn’t have been able to give him a death penalty conviction.

    • kellyrae says:

      I also watched the A&E special and I have some doubts now. I think he’s guilty but I’m not sure he got a fair trial. Just my opinion.

      • Katherine says:

        I agree. I took a fab law and society class in college as this case was ending and we ended up debating it a lot during the class. The teacher, a lawyer, pointed out at the time that the evidence was all circumstantial and it was a shaky case to prosecute. From a purely evidence lens. While I emotionally think he did it and end of the day justice was served, people who point out flaws in his case have some legit ground.

  14. Lady D says:

    Why don’t you think he did it @GirlMonday, or are you trolling?

  15. holly hobby says:

    The court just reversed his death penalty sentence and ordered a new sentencing hearing. Yeah he got off on a technicality. This has nothing to do with “soft on crime.”

    Frankly he should have life in prison if we can’t fry him (I don’t need to be charitable to baby killers). He’s staying in San Quentin – where COVID is widespread in there FYI.

  16. Lady Luna says:

    I just listened to this great podcast called Crime Junkie, they made two episodes about him and talks about this case and it kind of makes you wonder about if he did it or not.

  17. damejudi says:

    Let him have a life sentence with no possibility of parole in exchange for detailed public testimony from him about the murders. An a public apology to Laci’s family.

  18. Leah says:

    Honestly, I question whether he’s guilty of the actually murder. I mean, the guys an asshat for sure but I don’t think he killed his wife. Watch “The Murder of Laci Peterson” and tell me you don’t question it just a little.

  19. JoJo says:

    Not ok at all with the death penalty. And if we stopped filling our jails with petty thieves, nonviolent criminals, and drug addicts, we could stop complaining about how our prisons are overflowing and costing taxpayers money. Jails would be reserved for people exactly like this – who actually deserve to spend their lives there.