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Scott Peterson’s Bid for New Jury Denied

November 24, 2004

REDWOOD CITY, Calif. (AP) _ A state appeals court ruled that Scott Peterson will be sentenced for the murder of his pregnant wife by the same jury that convicted him of the crime.

Three judges who sit on the 1st District Court of Appeals in San Francisco refused to intervene Tuesday in a petition filed by defense attorney Mark Geragos. The denial was issued within hours of the filing.

Peterson, 32, was convicted Nov. 12 of first-degree murder in the death of Laci Peterson and second-degree murder for the death of her fetus.

On Monday, Judge Alfred A. Delucchi denied Geragos’ motion seeking a new jury in San Mateo County or somewhere else to decide whether Peterson should be sentenced to death or life in prison without parole.

Geragos claimed, among other things, the jury that found Peterson guilty is now tainted by public opinion. Geragos cited the throng that cheered outside the courthouse as the guilty verdicts were read.

In appealing Delucchi’s decision, Geragos asked the appeals court to delay the penalty phase, set to begin Nov. 30, and to schedule a hearing on the issues he raised.

Geragos is expected to appeal to the state Supreme Court.

Loyola Law School professor Laurie Levenson said Geragos raised ``substantial issues ... but courts are reluctant to interfere in the middle of a trial.″

``It doesn’t mean this isn’t a decent issue for appeal,″ she said. ``It just means this isn’t the right time to raise the issue.″

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