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In the State of California

 

State Capitol Building
Sacramento, CA 95814
Phone: 916-445-2841
Fax: 916-445-4633

 

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger

 

X________________________________

 

Scott Peterson v. Red Wood City, California

 

Petersons Pardon HA-18-12-04

 

Due to an absence of physical evidence indicating he committed the crime there remains high levels of uncertainty as to whether Scott Peterson murdered his wife and unborn child. The jurors, having convicted him on 12 November, were given to choose between a life sentence without parole and a death sentence. On 13 December they returned a verdict for the death penalty. The jury verdict must be thrown out. The trial was flawed for two reasons (1) the jurors were discriminated against and replaced on the basis of their support for Peterson (2) the death penalty or life imprisonment choice is cruel and unusual. The entire Peterson trial must be ruled unconstitutional and tried again for innocence and reasonable accommodations.

Redwood City, California is indicted for the Crime of Genocide 18USC(50A)1091 under the Second Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, aiming at the abolition of the death penalty

Adopted and proclaimed by General Assembly resolution 44/128 of 15 December 1989

status of ratifications
declarations and reservations

The States Parties to the present Protocol,

Believing that abolition of the death penalty contributes to enhancement of human dignity and progressive development of human rights,

 

Recalling article 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted on 10 December 1948, and article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, adopted on 16 December 1966,

 

Noting that article 6 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights refers to abolition of the death penalty in terms that strongly suggest that abolition is desirable,

 

Convinced that all measures of abolition of the death penalty should be considered as progress in the enjoyment of the right to life,

 

Desirous to undertake hereby an international commitment to abolish the death penalty,

 

Have agreed as follows:

Article 1

1. No one within the jurisdiction of a State Party to the present Protocol shall be executed.

 

2. Each State Party shall take all necessary measures to abolish the death penalty within its jurisdiction.

 

By BRYAN ROBINSON, ABCNews.com

 

(Dec. 14) - Defense attorney Mark Geragos once looked like Scott Peterson's savior. Now it looks like his performance may be one of the targets of the convicting court in Peterson's appeal of his murder convictions and death sentence.

A jury in Redwood City, Calif., recommended Monday, 13 December, that Peterson receive the death penalty in the slayings of his pregnant wife, Laci, and the fetus she carried. Jurors convicted Peterson on Nov. 12 of first-degree murder in Laci's death and second-degree murder in the death of the baby they had planned to name Conner.

Early in the trial, it looked as if Peterson had a chance at either a hung jury or an outright acquittal. Geragos was poking holes in the prosecution's case, turning its witnesses into his own. But now, legal experts say, Geragos could become the focus of appeals.

"Unfortunately Mark is going to become a pincushion for not only legal analysts, but for people working for Scott Peterson on his appeal," attorney Michael Bachner said on ABC News Now, a 24-hour broadband video news channel. "And they're going to be dissecting every one of his decisions. Look, the bottom line is, no lawyer can guarantee results."

Unfulfilled Promises to the Jury

Geragos used the prosecution witnesses to emphasize the lack of physical evidence linking Peterson to the disappearance and death of his wife. He suggested investigators focused solely on his client, ignoring other potential theories and leads in the case.

But Geragos may have doomed the defense during opening statements when he promised jurors that he would prove his client was "stone-cold innocent" and show them who Laci's real killer was.

However, the defense's expert was not able to tell jurors decisively -- as Geragos had promised -- that the baby could have been born alive sometime after Laci was reported missing on Dec. 24, 2002. Peterson could not have killed Laci at that time, the defense argued, because he was under too much scrutiny.

"Geragos is going to take a hit on the defense appeal. I don't believe he will handle the appeal," said ABC News Supreme Court reporter and legal analyst Manuel Medrano. "He made a few critical errors. For example, I was astounded when, during closing arguments in the penalty phase, he essentially admitted that he hadn't prepared for this part of the trial because he didn't expect a conviction. The question is whether that can be brought up on appeal as an argument that he [Geragos] provided ineffective counsel."

The Turning Point

The prosecution's case gained momentum when Peterson's mistress, Amber Frey, took the stand. Prosecutors had suggested Peterson killed Laci because he wanted out of their marriage, was feeling pressure from her pregnancy and wanted to pursue a relationship with Frey. They believed Peterson killed his wife and used his boat to dump her body in San Francisco Bay.

From Frey's testimony and her wiretapped phone conversations with Peterson, jurors learned the fertilizer salesman told her he wanted them to be together and told elaborate lies to keep his marriage secret.

Before Laci's disappearance, Peterson had told Frey that he was a widower and would be celebrating his first holiday season without his wife. During one phone conversation -- which took place during the search for Laci -- Peterson told Frey he was in Paris on a business trip.

Through Frey, jurors saw Peterson as a liar and a philanderer. That, combined with the fact that Peterson told investigators he had been fishing on Dec. 24, 2002, at the Berkeley Marina near where the remains of Laci and Conner ultimately washed ashore, convinced jurors of his guilt.

"Mark Geragos really did not do any damage to Amber Frey when she took the stand," Medrano said. "This woman did not sell her story to the tabloids, and as a result her credibility was not undermined in that fashion."

Other Issues to be Challenged

Frey's attorney, Gloria Allred, also could be an issue for Peterson's appeal.

Frey has remained mostly silent but Allred has spoken freely, granting multiple media interviews. Long before the trial began, Geragos had argued Allred was jeopardizing Peterson's right to a fair trial and that she should be placed under the court-imposed gag order. But Judge Alfred A. Delucchi denied the request.

"Amber Frey may have been silent, but Gloria Allred appeared on every single program she could find," said ABC News legal analyst Dana Cole. "That might be an appellate issue that might come up, whether she should have been under the gag order."

Experts say Peterson's attorneys also could argue that the trial should have been moved farther away than Redwood City, 69 miles from the Petersons' hometown of Modesto. Geragos had tried to get the trial moved just before opening statements because of alleged juror prejudice, and he tried again before the beginning of the penalty phase.

"There are just a variety of issues that will be appealed," said California defense attorney Steve Cron. "They could challenge the venue, the episode where jurors were seen rocking the boat [allegedly used to dump Laci's body], and they could look into what led to the ousting of several jurors."

During deliberations in the guilt phase, two jurors -- including the foreman -- were replaced by alternates. There was speculation that the ousted jurors had been leaning toward the defense. Shortly after those jurors were removed, the panel convicted Peterson. Also during deliberations, Geragos called for a mistrial when he saw jurors get in the boat and begin rocking it, as if to conduct their own test.

Peterson's lawyers are "going to argue that the juror who was dismissed shouldn't have been dismissed, there will be issues regarding all of those matters," said Bachner. "Anything that goes to the deliberative process with the jury, I think, will be looked at significantly. The defense is going to be very interested in what jurors have to say, to look for any modicum of juror misconduct, whether they did their own independent legal research, performed their own investigation."

Safe Haven on Death Row

Delucchi will take the recommendation into consideration when he formally sentences Peterson on Feb. 25. Delucchi is not bound by the recommendation, and could sentence Peterson to life in prison without parole. However, it is highly unusual for judges not to follow a jury's finding.

For now, Geragos is recovering from a court defeat and Peterson is headed to death row where he faces years of appeals. Peterson's life on death row may be better than what he would have faced in the general prison population because of the nature of his crime.

"Scott Peterson will, by all accounts, get better treatment on death row than he would in the mainline prison population, where he would face more danger, get fewer privileges and perks," ABC News legal analyst Royal Oaks told ABC News Radio. "He will have three different levels of legal help, paid for by the state, and this will just wind through the state system and the federal court system."

12-14-04 08:03 EST

Use of Death Penalty Drops for Fifth Year

By SIOBHAN McDONOUGH, AP

 

WASHINGTON (Dec. 14) - The use of the death penalty dropped this year for the fifth year in a row, as questions grow about the guilt of the condemned and more states take a hard look at their use of executions, says a report by a group critical of the punishment.

The Washington-based Death Penalty Information Center's look at 2004 figures shows a 40 percent drop in executions since 1999, a 50 percent decline in death sentences handed out and a shrinking death row population.

The report to be released Tuesday follows last month's Bureau of Justice Statistics figures showing the number of people sentenced to death declining - and includes preliminary 2004 numbers.

There have been 59 executions in 2004 - down from 65 a year earlier, according to the report, which looked at figures up to mid-December and said no more executions were scheduled this year. Death sentences, projected from the first three quarters of the year, were anticipated to be 130 in 2004 - the lowest number in 30 years, down from 144 the previous year.

The majority of executions, 85 percent, took place in the South.

The report attributes the decline of the death penalty in part to high-profile cases in which innocent people were freed from death row. Last year, 12 people were freed from death row, more than any other year since the death penalty was reinstated. This year, five people have been exonerated.

In New York, the state's highest court found the death penalty statute to be unconstitutional; in New Jersey, questions about the method of execution have put all cases on hold.

"The events of the past year and the statistical evidence all point in one direction," said Richard Dieter, the center's executive director. "The public's confidence in the death penalty has seriously eroded over the past several years."

Dianne Clements, president of the Houston-based Justice for All victims advocacy group, criticized the report, saying, "It is impossible for anyone to make an intellectually honest argument that the death penalty is up or down based on high-profile cases.

"The murder rate is down," she said. "If the murder rate is down, how can you have more capital punishment trials? There is a direct relationship between capital punishment and capital murder."

12/14/04 09:04 EST