Skip to comments.Convicted By Suspicion -- Why Scott Peterson May Be Innocent
Posted on 11/30/2004 10:26:51 AM PST by J. Neil Schulman
CONVICTED BY SUSPICION -- WHY SCOTT PETERSON MAY BE INNOCENTby J. Neil Schulman, guest contributor.
[November 30, 2004]
[HollywoodInvestigator.com] Scott Peterson may or may not have murdered his wife, Laci, and their unborn child. But the Redwood City, California trial that has just convicted Peterson of murdering Laci with premeditation was a kangaroo court in which none of the elements necessary to achieve a murder conviction were offered, much less proved beyond a reasonable doubt.
The first element that needs to be proved in any murder trial is that a murder has occurred. There was never a determination by any California medical examiner that the cause of Laci Petersons death was homicide. No medical examiner was able to determine the cause of Laci Peterson's death, nor even prove to a medical certainty in what week beyond her disappearance on Christmas Eve that she died.
A thorough examination of the residence where Scott and Laci Peterson lived together, by teams of detectives and forensic experts, uncovered no evidence whatsoever that a crime had occurred there.
No crime scene was ever found.
No forensic evidence was found in the Petersons motor vehicles lending any foundation to the suspicion that she had ever been transported in one of them -- alive or dead -- to the place where, months later, her body was found.
No weapon was ever produced with any evidence that it had been used to cause Laci Petersons death.
No witness was produced who had seen or heard Scott Peterson argue with Laci near the time of her disappearance, much less any witness who had seen Scott Peterson fight with his wife or kill her.
The only forensic evidence produced in court that even presumptively linked Scott Peterson with the death of his wife was a strand of hair that DNA analysis showed to be Laci's, in a pliers found in Scott Petersons fishing boat. A police detective interviewed a witness who had seen Laci in the boat warehouse where Scott stored that boat. Even in the absence of this witness statement to a police detective, the rules of forensic transference indicate that transference of trace evidence between a husband and wife who lived together is common, and not indicative of foul play.
No witness ever saw Laci in that fishing boat, nor did any witness ever testify to seeing Scott Peterson bringing a corpse-sized parcel onto his fishing boat. Thus, the fishing boat never should have been allowed into evidence, nor should prosecution speculation into his dumping her body using that boat have been permitted.
Nor was any evidence offered in court showing that Scott Peterson had engaged in any overt activities in planning of a murder. He was not observed buying, or even shopping for, weapons or poison. Police detectives found no records in his computer logs that he was spending time researching methods of murder. No evidence was offered that he ever considered hiring someone to kill her.
No evidence was offered in court indicating that Scott Peterson had any reasonable motive for murdering his wife, such as monetary gain, or to protect great marital assets that hed lose as an adulterer in a divorce in California, a no-fault community-property state, or because Scott had some basis to believe he had been cuckolded.
So in a case without an MEs finding of homicide or a known time of death;
without a single witness to a crime having occurred;
without a crime scene;
without a murder weapon;
without any indisputable forensic evidence linking the defendant husband to his wifes death;
without an obvious motive;
without the prosecution presenting conclusive direct or circumstantial evidence overcoming every single exculpatory scenario by which Laci Peterson might have otherwise come to her death;
in summation, without the prosecution demonstrating that Scott Peterson and only Scott Peterson had the means and opportunity to murder his wife and transport her alive or dead to the San Francisco Bay in which her body was found ... how is it possible that Scott Peterson has just been convicted of a premeditated murder with special circumstances warranting the death penalty?
It comes down to this: Scott Peterson was having an adulterous affair at the time of his wifes disappearance, and Scott Peterson is a cad and a bounder.
Scott Peterson repeatedly lied to everyone around him including his new mistress to further the pursuit of this affair. This pattern of lying was established by audio tapes of his phone conversations with his mistress that were played in court. But these tapes were played before the jury without any foundation for their playing being offered, since their playing spoke to no element required for conviction in the crime with which he was charged. And these tapes -- which were more prejudicial than probitive -- destroyed Scott Peterson's credibility to appear as a potential witness in his own defense. They served only to make the jury hate Scott Peterson.
Scott Peterson found himself at the center of a media circus, and his attempts to change his appearance and escape being followed can equally be interpreted as either avoidance of the media who were stalking him or avoidance of police who were tracking him.
The bodies of Laci Peterson and her unborn child were discovered in close proximity to the location where Scott Peterson said he had been fishing at the time of her disappearance. But those bodies were found after months of all-media publicity in which Petersons alibi was broadcast and published, and if Laci had been murdered by some third party, the murderer would have easily had both means and motive to dump her body at that location to convict Scott and end pursuit of themselves for that murder.
In any case where more than one explanation of a fact can be offered, the judges charge instructs the jury that the explanation suggesting innocence is the one they are legally required to adopt in their deliberations.
Scott Peterson was convicted at trial of murder possibly leading to a death sentence in which the trial judge allowed prosecutors to speculate in front of a jury on how Scott Peterson might have murdered his wife. Anyone whos watched a single episode of Perry Mason or Law & Order knows the judge is charged with forbidding such speculation unless there is a foundation of facts in evidence.
No such foundation was presented indicating a method of murder in the murder trial of Scott Peterson.
In other words, Scott Peterson looked and acted guilty, and in the age of 24-hour -a-day TV news networks that have to fill up those hours with ratings-producing subjects, Scott Petersons trial and conviction was the perfect storm of Guilty by Suspicion.
Scott Peterson may very well have been convicted of a murder that he committed. If so, he was convicted in a case that under our system of justice in which the presumption of innocence may only rightfully be overcome by evidence that is convincing beyond a reasonable doubt never should have been allowed into court, much less handed over to a jury.
The jury that convicted Scott Peterson was a lynch mob inflamed by prejudicial testimony and their conviction of Scott Peterson qualifies as a hate crime. The verdict needs to be overturned on appeal. The judge brought out of retirement to preside over the case needs to be retired again. The prosecution needs to be brought up on civil rights charges to make sure this behavior is punished.
May God have mercy on Scott Petersons soul if he is, in fact, a psychopath who spent Christmas Eve murdering his pregnant wife so he could avoid the inconvenience of a divorce.
And may God have equal mercy on the prosecutors, judge, and jurors who have taken away Scott Petersons life whether through a sentence of life imprisonment or death by lethal injection if they have allowed their disgust for a deeply flawed man to whip them into a passion in which suspicion in the absence of any proof was sufficient to convict him.
Copyright © 2004 by J. Neil Schulman. All rights reserved.
J. Neil Schulman's book, The Frame of the Century?, presents as strong a case for a suspect other than O.J. Simpson in the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson as was presented to convict Scott Peterson in the murder of Laci Peterson. Our sister publication, the Weekly Universe, has previously reported on Schulman's 'Vulcan Mind Meld with God' and his discovery of an eye drop that cures cataracts.
how would you
content contend that OJ would be innocent.
"Beyond a reasonable doubt" refers to the requirement for the prosecution to PROVE exactly how, why, and when the alleged crime took place, by the alleged criminal. There are elements of each crime, which the prosecution must prove, BARD. If all are not present, i.e. one or more are mere supposition, coincidence, or unprovable, then a jury is supposed to acquit. That is their job. That is why a jury that convicts in such circumstances is dangerous.
Remember, our system is supposed to give the defendant the benefit of the doubt. Not to be confused with us "civilians" out here. We're free to say kill the sucker, he's gotta be guilty. Those folks entering deliberation in the jury room must be held to a higher standard.
Let's not forget him checking out the currents and tide positions in the bay several weeks before his trip. And telling people his wife was dead. You don't have to have a smoking gun to prove murder.
LOL! I totally missed that last line, how I don't Know.That line is sarcasm in it's purest form. Very good.
Certainly not if the victim was knifed. But if you can't even prove murder was involved, a smoking gun is not only irrelevant, the presence of a crime is uncertain.
"My point is that when inflamed prejudice replaces reason in criminal trials, the system is broken and criminal justice appropriate to a free and civilized society is replaced with the law of talon."
Amen to that.
Moreover, I'd like to add the cult of personality that was created regarding Laci's good looks, smile and the fact that she was pregnant at the time of her death.
She was young, yes, but she was not beautiful. I, too, saw her smile and didn't think was genuine. In fact, reading her background, I came to the conclusion that she was not a saint herself, and her smile was a phony and despicable one. But this is no reason for killing her.
Maybe Scott did kill her, but the "beyond a reasonable doubt" standard was never met.
Nobody has ever been arrested for the murder of Chandra Levy.
What evidence was there that she was murdered?
>But if you can't even prove murder was involved, a smoking >gun is not only irrelevant, the presence of a crime is >uncertain.
WHAT? So I suppose you have a good explanation as to why a body is found in the bay decomposed, without limbs or head? And had been in the water a while, but yet did not wash up earlier. Hey, maybe she just went for a swim after walking for several hours (it's a 2 hour DRIVE). Ridiculous and you are grasping at straws.
They believe Laci was smothered or strangled.There was her hair in the pliers but none of her blood was found.
Look, it's really quite simple. I would posit that I probably might find all the evidence presented sufficient to agree she had been murdered. I do not believe, however, that the case presented proved he did it. Without both, I could not convict. You on the other hand, appear open to the possibility.
Great analysis in a nano second. You must be a prosecutor - or a really good parent;)
Laci's dead body being found in the bay is evidence that either she died there or her body was dumped there.
In the absence of an ME's determination telling us the cause of death, we have to eliminate natural causes, accidental death, and suicide before we can conclude her death was a homicide.
An eight-month-pregnant woman suspecting her lying husband was meeting his mistress, and tailing him to the bay, could account for any of the three non-homicide explanations.
Heck, for all we know she went fishing with him, fell overboard, and Scott -- a pathological liar -- locked himself into a stupid lie that got him convicted.
The point is: what happened was never proved in court by substantial and irrefutable evidence, and the defendant being emotionally distant, a pathological liar, and a serial adulterer isn't a case for murder.
No, I do not have it backward. Your terminology is incorrect. The key word is REASONABLE. Not just doubt. The standard is not "beyond a reasonable doubt." The prosecutor must "prove to the exclusion of reasonable doubt" that the accused did the crime. They do not have to prove how, when and why. Under your standard, we could all go out and kill with impunity. You would reward a criminal who has the ability to cover up a crime. The jury who are given detailed instructions stating that they can only find REASONABLE doubt if they can explain the evidence within the REASONABLE scenario that is giving them doubt. Otherwise, according to your standard, someone could say, "well, it must have been those little green creatures I see at night. They took her." Some juror may have a doubt but if it is not REASONABLE considering the evidence presented, they must convict. Why do you assume I'm not a lawyer??
No, the point I was trying to make was the guy was tried by people just like EVERYONE-All kinds of people, sex, race, economic strata.
What was this guy's lawyer doing (In the case I described)...Didn't he tell the guy not to antagonize the jury? Didn't anyone know better? The jury is made up of ordinary people, not trained in Law. As such they are going to act like ordinary people. Most of them do not even want to be there. Why would a defendent go out of his way to get these people down on him? It made no sense.
He didn't label you as any of those things. He suggested that settling for less than true justice suggested a willingness to settle for those types of justice. His hyperbole might have been too much, but hey, an objective read should bear me out.
Why, thank you. I'm so sick of hearing about how maybe there was some doubt about this guy. When you put all the pieces together as in a jigsaw puzzle (text book circumstantial case), what is the total picture? In this baby-and-wife killer's picture, there is only one REASONABLE conclusion...
Do I need to say it?
Yeah, that's right. Scumbag Peterson was proven to be a meticulous housekeeper, wasn't he? He was mopping up when they came to arrest him, wasn't he? He is such a clean freak.
How many people died while the guy was driving in his proper lane with the right of way?
So, she let her dog out of the house, and then took a cab to tail Scott to the bay... but Scott wasn't there with Amber, so she got out and weighted herself down with something and jumped into the bay? Yeah, that's reasonable.
Wrong-oh, JNS. The suspicion priority is first a homicide, second an accident, third a suicide, last natural causes. Some death certificates actually say "undetermined" as a cause. Does that mean they are not really dead?
Dun, dun, dun....
As to backwards, I was referring to the fact that the state must prove their case, the burden is upon them to do so. You, I believe, placed undue emphasis on the jury's ability to think of alternatives, distorting things to the point that the jury is required to accept the state's version of what happened if they can't figure out an alternative explantion. This would seem to beg prosecutors to seek only unimaginative jurors, which I believe they do, but for other reasons.
As to specific wording, I believe it actually varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. But hey, I'm no lawyer. I just read a lot.
YUP... media lynching.
Sure sounds like you accusing him of calling you one, but maybe that's just my perception.
Suspicion is irrelevant.
The ME's office must determine that a homicide has occurred before a prosecutor is supposed to charge someone with unlawful homicide.
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Whether baring of one's teeth, is seen as a smile, a smirk, a grimance or a show of hostility, is also in the mind of the beholder, and governed by known facts and/or pre-concieved notions about the person baring their teeth.
For what little it is worth, I personally thank she was a very lovely young lady, with a genuine smile, that came straight from her heart.
Neither your opinion or my opinion or anyone elses opinion of how she looked, has one iota of bearing upon Scott's guilt or innocence.
If I were on the jury now charged with deciding whether Scott lives or dies, I believe I would vote for life without parole. That way, if new evidence ever surfaces that shows his innocence, he will be alive to benefit from it, and if not, he will have a long time to think about what he did.
I too believe that the prosecution and the police work on this case, was shamefully incompentent and buffoonesque, like the OJ case, the Koby Briant case and the Bonet Ramsey case, to name a few. How do these people ever get out of Law school, much less pass a state bar exam.
Both families in this case has been very close for a long time. One lost a daughter and a grandbaby, the other has lost a son and a grandbaby-the grandbaby that would have bound both families forever.
I know that what I am about to say will sound very liberalesque, but here goes. Would killing Scott bring any sort of comfort or closure to the family of Lacy, or just more pain and misery to all the innocent people in both families?
Sh*t, I don't know. Go ahead folks-flame away.
This was years ago, but if I recall, it was the little old lady and a couple three from his truck. It was "fresh" - about a week old when the grand jury was empaneled and very emotional. Our prosecutor was an elected official, in the deep, deep south. Need I say more?
This trials message to all those adulterers out there who don't care about their wives:
You better hope to hell she doesn't suddenly show up missing and/or dead!!!! You will definitely go down for it if she does. Better to divorce than to continue to be a cheatin', lyin' schmuck!
And before someone says, "You can prosecute murder even without a body for the ME to examine" -- then why wasn't Peterson charged before Laci's body was found?
But there was a body -- two of them. And the ME wasn't able to conclude the cause of death was homicide.
Unless there was other compelling evidence eliminating the other possibilities, there should have been no charge.
This case doesn't even have enough hard direct or cirsumstantial evidence for a civil case which needs only to show a preponderance of evidence.
"Are we a bit paranoid?"
I don't know... are we? You wrote in your post that maybe a "lawyer" could correct you and I inferred from that statement that you don't think I am an attorney.
You would make a great juror to kick off a jury. Your verbal contortions are way off. Lawyers look for people capable of understanding critical and unemotional thinking. And you demonstrate the opposite. You are, however, a defense attorney's dream juror. All wrapped up in emotion and believing you have knowledge from "reading a lot."
Have you listened to jury instructions in a capital case? Do you have the written instructions given to this jury or any jury about what "reasonable doubt" is? YES, their doubt, if reasonable, MUST fit the evidence. The burden of proof is on the government but the burden of reasonableness is on the jury. You can't just sit in a jury room and say, "well, I have doubt." The doubt has to be explained and be in sync with the evidence.
What I did notice in your original description of the story is that you carefully omitted the number of deaths, you repeatedly refer to the deceased driver as a little old lady (why?) and now you need to offer up that this occurred in the deep, deep south.
I sense some real prejudices in your descriptions.
(I couldn't say it better....)
Ah, ad hominem. Then you admit you can't support your contentions with logic?
From the Contra Costa Times, June 7, 2003:
The coroner lists Peterson's manner of death as homicide. Death certificates for the 27-year-old and the son with whom she was eight months pregnant were made public late Friday.
Once again--you omitted the word 'reasonable' to describe other possibilities. Why didn't you include the alien abduction theory in your article?
If you accurately state you are (something you have yet to do), then you may well be the one I was looking for. Unfortunately, you aren't automatically right, simply because you have a sheepskin and made a statement.
"If I were on the jury now charged with deciding whether Scott lives or dies, I believe I would vote for life without parole. That way, if new evidence ever surfaces that shows his innocence, he will be alive to benefit from it, and if not, he will have a long time to think about what he did."
I believe this would be the right approach. Killing Scott won't bring Laci or Conner back. Killing Scott will probably create even more pain for these families.
Well, I truly scratching hard here. As I recall, the average age in the pickem up was about 17. The little old lady was a retired (much loved) school teacher around 70 and it was in mid-Mississippi. I'll bow to your evaluation of whether any of my description was the result of accuracy or prejudice.
Gee..he missed one..LOL
Don't worry..there are 600 waiting on death row in Cal and they execute at the rate of one a year.
You obviously have not read the transcripts.
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