Throughout last arguments Thursday in Scott Peterson’s bid for a brand new trial, Choose Anne-Christine Massullo peppered the attorneys with questions that challenged their claims.
It was a preview of how she would possibly interpret the proof when she decides whether or not to uphold or overturn Peterson’s convictions for killing his spouse Laci and their unborn son Conner in 2002.
Massullo additionally cited a jury instruction about how jurors ought to determine whether or not a witness is credible. The instruction says they need to think about that folks generally truthfully overlook issues or make errors about what they keep in mind.
The crux of the juror misconduct declare by Peterson that might result in a brand new trial is whether or not juror Richelle Good is an sincere and credible individual.
Good didn’t disclose on her jury questionnaire in 2004 that she’d been the sufferer of a criminal offense and social gathering in a lawsuit.
Peterson’s attorneys alleged Good, juror 7 in Peterson’s 2004 trial, lied in an effort to serve on his jury so she may punish him for killing his son. They are saying she was biased in opposition to Peterson as a result of she, like Laci, was the sufferer of crimes whereas she was pregnant and that she took a particular curiosity in Conner, who she gave the nickname “little man.”
A 23-page questionnaire
Stanislaus County prosecutor Dave Harris mentioned throughout his last arguments Thursday that the questionnaire was 23 pages and contained greater than 100 multiple-part questions.
“She examined that when she stuffed it out, she did the most effective that she may,” Harris mentioned. “So what we’ve got right here … is an individual who stuffed out the questionnaire who made a lot of errors … however being mistaken doesn’t essentially make it false or make her a wild.”
He gave a number of examples of occasions she improperly stuffed out varieties and mentioned repeatedly, “Ms. Good shouldn’t be superb at filling out varieties.”
Throughout the March listening to, Good was questioned on the stand about an incident through which she was threatened by her boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend whereas she was pregnant and one other time when that boyfriend was arrested for home violence after a combat that she testified was “most likely” about him dishonest on her.
Whereas she was listed as a sufferer in police experiences associated to each incidents, Good mentioned she by no means thought of herself a sufferer and testified, “After I stuffed out that questionnaire — truthfully and actually — nothing of this crossed my thoughts.”
Choose Massullo requested Peterson’s legal professional Cliff Gardner about Good’s notion of victimhood. “Her life experiences are very completely different out of your experiences and maybe my expertise, agreed?” she requested, to which Gardner replied that he did.
Massullo additionally questioned Gardner in regards to the duty of the attorneys to ask follow-up inquiries to potential jurors in regards to the solutions to the questions that “are crafted by attorneys.”
“Wouldn’t it not be essential for the attorneys to make clear?” she requested, saying Peterson’s trial legal professional Mark Geragos by no means did.
Good has mentioned she did not know the restraining order she obtained in opposition to her boyfriend’s ex-girlfriend was a sort of lawsuit and did not think about a lawsuit she later filed in opposition to the ex-girlfriend for misplaced wages as a result of she in the end dropped it.
Within the 2001 incident along with her boyfriend, Good examined she was the aggressor and she or he hit him, not the opposite method round. He referred to as police and she or he refused to cooperate with officers once they confirmed up.
Good has mentioned what she skilled along with her boyfriend and his ex-girlfriend was nothing akin to being murdered.
Juror thought of issues ‘minor indignities’
In a declaration filed with the court docket, Good described the state of affairs with the ex-girlfriend as “minor indignities,” saying she had been in lots of fights earlier than and by no means referred to as police.
However Peterson’s attorneys level out that she did name the police in 2000 when the ex-girlfriend sprayed her boyfriend with mace, slashed his tires, broke down the entrance door after which stalked Good.
“By Ms. Good’s personal definition, then, these have been something however minor indignities for which she ‘did not want the police,’” the transient reads.
Harris mentioned that no proof of bias or intentional omission of knowledge was introduced on the evidentiary listening to. He mentioned Good was a reputable witness who denied each accusation and was plausible and honest.
“Her explanations have been consistent with her character and totally cheap. She was unshakable in her perception that she had accomplished nothing mistaken … the previous had simply by no means crossed her thoughts,” Harris mentioned in a court docket doc. “It was Petitioner’s obligation to show his claims and never merely interact within the character assassination of Ms. Good.”
Peterson’s attorneys say prosecutors’ assertion that she is a reputable witness, “is made not by counting on the file, however by ignoring it virtually solely.”
In her petition for a restraining order in opposition to the ex-girlfriend, Good wrote that she feared for the lifetime of her unborn child however throughout her testimony in March she mentioned that was not true, moderately she was “being spiteful.”
Good both lied underneath oath within the 2000 petition or throughout the evidentiary listening to in March, Peterson’s attorneys mentioned.
Gardner mentioned throughout Thursday’s listening to that “stark inconsistency” between Good’s testimony in March and different statements she made in court docket paperwork or on the time of the incident “that’s straight related to her credibility.”
“Good’s testimony not solely considerably departed from the documentary proof, however these departures seem to have been surgically directed to areas on which Mr. Peterson relied in making his juror misconduct declare,” he mentioned in a court docket doc.
Choose Massullo questioned Gardner about different inconsistent statements Good gave on her questionnaire, like about her training. Gardner agreed with Massullo that there have been inconsistencies that Geragos was conscious of however did not query on the time of jury choice and selected Good to remain.
Massullo delved additional into the jury questionnaire and requested Gardner about certainly one of Good’s solutions that hadn’t but been mentioned in court docket.
Lawyer Geragos didn’t comply with up
To a query about whether or not she may put aside any preexisting attitudes and base the case on the proof introduced, Good checked ‘no,’ but Geragos did not query her about this, Massullo mentioned.
“The entire motive for these questions is for the attorneys to have a look at these solutions fastidiously and comply with up,” Massullo mentioned.
Gardner agreed, calling it “astonishing” however pivoted saying, “It appears completely in step with the concept she had some predetermined biased within the case.” He mentioned he believes that if a trial lawyer have been to not handle a query like that he will need to have assumed it was a mistake.
Each attorneys completed their arguments by quoting Shakespeare.
Harris mentioned, “Do not solid away an sincere man for a villain’s accusation.”
“I consider she holds the oath cheaply,” Gardner mentioned, referring to Good.
Each side have till Sept. 16 to submit publish listening to briefs, after which Massullo may have 90 days to subject her resolution.