updated 2/2/2004 5:05:19 PM ET 2004-02-02T22:05:19

The judge who will oversee Scott Peterson’s trial banned cameras from his courtroom for the duration of the case Monday in a brief hearing that ended with another delay.

Peterson appeared in court for the first time since the case was moved from his hometown of Modesto to this bedroom community south of San Francisco. Peterson told the judge he accepted as “a regrettable necessity” his attorney’s request to postpone the trial’s start because of a schedule conflict.

The day saw little of the frenzy the sensational case is expected to generate — just 10 of the 25 seats available to local citizens were filled. Arguments over whether the former fertilizer salesman killed his pregnant wife remained weeks away.

In a 20-minute hearing, Judge Alfred A. Delucchi banned cameras throughout the trial — over objections from the media — and accepted the delay at the request of Peterson’s lawyer, Mark Geragos, who is defending another murder suspect in Southern California.

No new trial start date set
Prosecutors had asked to start the Peterson trial Feb. 17. After the judge agreed to Geragos’ request to push the date back, neither side gave a new estimate of when the trial might begin.

Geragos also dropped his initial insistence that another judge handle the trial.

Left undecided was the possible sequestration of jurors. That could be discussed at another hearing scheduled for next Monday.

Peterson, 31, could face the death penalty if he’s convicted of two counts of murder for the deaths of Laci Peterson and the couple’s unborn son. In April, the remains of mother and child washed ashore along San Francisco Bay, two miles from the spot where Scott Peterson said he was fishing on Christmas Eve 2002, when his wife vanished.

Another retired judge, Richard Arnason, was initially appointed to hear the case, but prosecutors exercised their right to challenge the selection and require another choice.

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