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Appellate panel rejects Peterson bid for new jury

/ Source: The Associated Press

A state appeals court Tuesday denied a defense bid for a new jury and change of venue for the penalty phase of Scott Peterson’s murder case.

A three-judge panel of the 1st District Court of Appeals in San Francisco refused to intervene in a petition filed hours earlier by attorney Mark Geragos.

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

After a five-month trial, Peterson, 32, was convicted Nov. 12 of one count of first-degree murder in the death of his eight-months pregnant wife, Laci, and one count of second-degree murder for the death of her fetus.

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.

Daniel Horowitz, a criminal defense attorney and regular Peterson trial observer, said Tuesday’s appeal was a standard strategy in a death penalty case. Defense attorneys often seek to insert as much time as possible between a guilty verdict and a penalty phase to allow for jurors’ emotions to subside.

Garagos is expected to next appeal to the state Supreme Court.