[Deathpenalty]death penalty news----CALIFORNIA
rhalperi at mail.smu.edu
Wed Nov 10 15:47:48 CST 2004
Peterson judge removes jury foreman; reason not given
The judge in the Scott Peterson murder trial removed the foreman from the
jury Wednesday, the 2nd time in 2 days a juror has been removed from the
The foreman, Gregory Jackson, was himself an alternate, replacing a juror
just 3 weeks after the double-murder trial began. Justin Falconer was
dismissed in June for talking to Laci Peterson's brother.
The judge did not disclose why he dismissed Jackson, or juror No. 5.
Jackson is in his mid-40s and has both medical and law degrees. He juror
was replaced by an alternate whose son-in-law now owns a restaurant that
Scott and Laci Peterson once owned in San Luis Obispo.
The move follows the removal Tuesday of juror No. 7, Frances Gorman, who
reportedly did her own research on the case. Jurors are only supposed to
consider evidence presented during trial.
Judge Alfred Delucchi told the new panel to start all over with their
deliberations - for the 2nd day in a row.
"You must therefore set aside all past deliberations and begin
deliberating anew," he said Wednesday.
Jackson and Gorman remain under a court-imposed gag order.
Jurors sat impassively, some grim-faced, as Delucchi announced the latest
change. They have endured a 5-month trial and have been sequestered since
deliberations began Nov. 3.
Wednesday's move leaves the jury pool with just 3 remaining alternates.
Juror No. 6, a man who works as a firefighter and paramedic, was elected
as the new foreman.
During the trial, he at times seemed uninterested in the proceedings. He
was seen rolling his eyes on occasion, specifically during the playing of
tape-recorded conversations between Peterson and his girlfriend, Amber
"He was one of the jurors who seemed most bored during Amber Frey's
testimony," said Jim Hammer, a former San Francisco prosecutor who has
been observing the case. "He seems very mainstream, which is good for the
The judge indicated jurors had been communicating with the court but would
not elaborate. Hammer said it is too soon to say the jury is in disarray.
"I wouldn't call it a runaway jury," he said.
A jury expert said the foreman's removal could indicate that the panel is
concerned about its leadership.
"They went with somebody who seems a little less rigid," said David
Graeven, a jury consultant from San Francisco with no connection to the
The new juror has a distant connection to Scott and Laci Peterson.
His daughter is engaged to a man who owns the Shack restaurant in the town
where Scott and Laci Peterson graduated from college. The son-in-law had
worked for the Petersons when they owned the cafe and eventually bought it
from the person the Petersons sold it to before the couple moved to
Modesto, the San Francisco Chronicle reported.
Alternate jurors have been present throughout the trial in the jury box
but have not been inside the jury room during deliberations. They have
been sequestered along with regular jurors at an area hotel.
If jurors ultimately conclude that Peterson killed his pregnant wife,
Laci, and her fetus on Christmas Eve 2002, they must decide whether he's
guilty of 1st- or 2nd-degree murder.
1st-degree convictions, carrying the death penalty or life without parole,
would mean jurors believe Peterson planned the killings. 2nd-degree murder
convictions don't require a finding of premeditation and carry sentences
of 15-years-to-life for each count.
Prosecutors claim Peterson killed Laci around Dec. 24, 2002, then dumped
her weighted body from his small aluminum boat into San Francisco Bay. The
remains of Laci and the fetus were discovered a few miles from where
Peterson claims to have gone fishing alone the day his wife vanished.
Since deliberations began, the panel has asked to review numerous pieces
of evidence, including the boat prosecutors claim Peterson used to dispose
of his wife's body; San Francisco Bay tidal charts seized from Peterson's
computers; an anchor found on Peterson's boat that prosecutors allege is
similar to the ones he used to sink his wife's body; and transcripts and
recordings of telephone calls between Peterson and his mistress, Amber
Discord was evident early in the deliberations. On Monday, Delucchi
lectured the panel about the importance of keeping an open mind.
(source: Associated Press)
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