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Convicted By Suspicion -- Why Scott Peterson May Be Innocent
The Hollywood Investigator ^ | 11/30/2004 | J. Neil Schulman

Posted on 11/30/2004 10:26:51 AM PST by J. Neil Schulman



by J. Neil Schulman, guest contributor. 

[November 30, 2004]

[]  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 Peterson’s 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 Peterson’s 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 Peterson’s 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 he’d 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 ME’s 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 wife’s 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 wife’s 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 Peterson’s 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 judge’s 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 who’s 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 Peterson’s 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 Peterson’s 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 Peterson’s 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.

KEYWORDS: evidence; fresnoda; innocentmyass; laci; murder; peterson; scott; trial; trials
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To: J. Neil Schulman
"Those of you willing to abandon that for the momentary rush of seeing a nasty man burned at the stake are not celebrating American principles. You're celebrating Soviet, Nazi, and Taliban-style "justice." "

Are you serious? This last statement exposes you as an intellectual fraud. This last sentence has become the de riguer last stand of the left. "If you don't agree with me, you are a racist/homophobe/Nazi (pick one)." Soviets and Nazis executed people based on political, religious or philosophical grounds. Lumping this POS in with the millions of brave souls who stood against these regimes is an insult to their memories. As for the Taliban; what Peterson did is their idea of justice. He killed his 'inconvenient' wife! They did that all the time.

Don't make impassioned statements about 'inflamed prejudice' and then call those that disagree with you Nazis!
161 posted on 11/30/2004 1:13:48 PM PST by danno3150
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To: spiralsue

They believe Laci was smothered or strangled.There was her hair in the pliers but none of her blood was found.

162 posted on 11/30/2004 1:17:25 PM PST by MEG33 ( Congratulations President Bush!..Thank you God. Four More Years!)
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To: sandbar
I never posited the ridiculous, only you did, which I would have taken as sarcasm, up until you claimed it to be mine. Very convenient for you - you tell me what my position is and then hold it up to ridicule. Awfully close to arguing with yourself, however.

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.

163 posted on 11/30/2004 1:18:02 PM PST by DK Zimmerman
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To: danno3150


164 posted on 11/30/2004 1:18:33 PM PST by MEG33 ( Congratulations President Bush!..Thank you God. Four More Years!)
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To: spiralsue


Great analysis in a nano second. You must be a prosecutor - or a really good parent;)


165 posted on 11/30/2004 1:20:17 PM PST by sodpoodle (sparrows are underrated)
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To: sandbar

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.


166 posted on 11/30/2004 1:21:09 PM PST by J. Neil Schulman
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To: DK Zimmerman

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??

167 posted on 11/30/2004 1:22:36 PM PST by spiralsue (I will never forget 9/11)
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To: PeterFinn
And the poor bastard was tried by twelve people just like you.

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.

168 posted on 11/30/2004 1:24:26 PM PST by Gorzaloon (This tagline intentionally left blank.)
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To: danno3150
Slow down, Danno. Someone previously mentioned witch hunting/trials. Salem's version was, I believe, uniquely American, but certainly not what he meant either. Why not charge him with that too?

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.

169 posted on 11/30/2004 1:25:39 PM PST by DK Zimmerman
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To: sodpoodle

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?

170 posted on 11/30/2004 1:32:31 PM PST by spiralsue (I will never forget 9/11)
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To: ElkGroveDan
You forgot: No evidence was every presented showing that Scott bopped Lacy over the head with a bowling pin, nor was any evidence presented that Peterson ever owned a bowling pin, or for that matter had been to a bowling alley any time in the last ten years.


171 posted on 11/30/2004 1:33:40 PM PST by Samwise (This day does not belong to one man but to all. --Aragorn)
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To: MEG33

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.

172 posted on 11/30/2004 1:37:31 PM PST by spiralsue (I will never forget 9/11)
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To: DK Zimmerman
Please read my post again. I did not accuse him of calling me any of those things. What I object to is the way the terms Nazi and Taliban are thrown around. It may be hyperbole, but it's used far too frequently these days to shut down any kind of dissent. That is what I resent.

My other problem is that using this hyperbole is contradictory to his argument, despite mentions of the Salem witch trials earlier in the thread. You can not speak against prejudice in one breath and then tack the worst possible label on those who disagree in the next. It is hypocritical and intellectually dishonest.
173 posted on 11/30/2004 1:37:46 PM PST by danno3150
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To: DK Zimmerman

How many people died while the guy was driving in his proper lane with the right of way?

174 posted on 11/30/2004 1:38:17 PM PST by NautiNurse
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To: J. Neil Schulman
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

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.

175 posted on 11/30/2004 1:39:21 PM PST by Rodney King (No, we can't all just get along)
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To: J. Neil Schulman

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....

176 posted on 11/30/2004 1:40:44 PM PST by spiralsue (I will never forget 9/11)
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To: spiralsue
Are we a bit paranoid? I never assumed anything about you.

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.

177 posted on 11/30/2004 1:43:54 PM PST by DK Zimmerman
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To: kjam22

YUP... media lynching.

178 posted on 11/30/2004 1:44:00 PM PST by antceecee
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To: danno3150
Sorry Danno, how else am I to interpret "Don't make impassioned statements about 'inflamed prejudice' and then call those that disagree with you Nazis!"

Sure sounds like you accusing him of calling you one, but maybe that's just my perception.

179 posted on 11/30/2004 1:47:06 PM PST by DK Zimmerman
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To: spiralsue

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.

180 posted on 11/30/2004 1:47:30 PM PST by J. Neil Schulman
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