Less than two months after overturning his death penalty, the California Supreme Court has ordered a trial judge to consider whether to overturn Scott Peterson’s convictions for murdering his wife, Laci, and their unborn son, according to a report.
The court sent the case back to the San Mateo County Superior Court to determine whether Peterson should get a new trial, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Juror Richelle Nice committed “prejudicial misconduct” by not disclosing that she had filed a lawsuit in 2000 to obtain a restraining order after her boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend harassed her while she was pregnant, according to the paper.
Nice, who was initially an alternate and replaced a discharged juror during deliberations, published a book with several other members of the jury about their experience during the 2004 trial.
When asked as a potential juror whether she had ever been a victim of a crime or involved in a lawsuit, she said she hadn’t, Peterson’s attorneys told the LA Times.
But in 2000, Nice was 4½ months pregnant when she was threatened by her boyfriend’s ex, according to Peterson’s lawyers.
She said she feared for her unborn child when she filed a lawsuit to obtain a restraining order against the woman.
The attacker — who was tried based on Nice’s charges — was convicted and sentenced to a week in the slammer, Peterson’s lawyers said.
In the case that made headlines around the globe, Peterson was convicted in 2004 of first-degree murder of his 27-year-old wife, who was eight months pregnant when she disappeared on Christmas Eve 2002.
Peterson also was convicted of second-degree murder of his unborn son, Connor. He has maintained his innocence.
Prosecutors argued that Peterson dumped their bodies from his boat into San Francisco Bay, where their bodies washed ashore almost four months later.
Peterson was eventually arrested after Amber Frey, a massage therapist living in Fresno, told police that they had begun dating a month before his wife’s death, but that he had told her she was dead.
In August, the state Supreme Court overturned his death sentence, citing “significant errors” in jury selection.