Peterson Judge Scolds Modesto Police for Violating Gag Order


Story created 6/28/2004 - 1:52 PM Last updated 6/29/2004 - 12:16 AM


The double murder trial of Scott Peterson got underway this week with the judge scolding the Modesto Police Department for violating a gag order.

At the start of the proceedings on Monday morning, Judge Alfred Delucchi called a police captain to the front of the courtroom. "No law enforcement officers are supposed to be discussing this case," Delucchi said. "I'm telling you, this has to stop."

Delucchi warned police officials that any anyone making any further comments about the trial would be subject to legal sanctions. The admonishment was prompted by statements made on Friday, when Modesto police refuted claims by Scott Peterson's defense attorney that they ignored a key witness in the case.

During cross examination Thursday, Modesto Detective Allen Brocchini testified that he omitted information on a key witness from his police reports. The witness reportedly saw Laci Peterson at the warehouse where her husband stored his boat.

On Friday, Modesto police Sergeant Ed Steele told reporters that information on the witness was included in a report by another detective, and that the report had been provided to the defense prior to the trial. He went on to characterize the previous day's court proceedings as simply an attempt by the defense to put a spin on events.

After Delucchi finished admonishing the police captain, Brocchini was recalled to the stand. Lead defense attorney Mark Geragos continued his cross-examination, picking up where he had left off on Thursday.

Geragos asked a number of questions about an alleged break-in at the Peterson home by Kim McGregor, who frequently walked the couple's dog. Brocchini testified about his investigation of the January 2003 break-in and his interrogation of McGregor.

Geragos honed in on several apparent lies by McGregor, including her denial that she had taken anything from the home. Police believe she stole a number of items, including Laci Peterson's Social Security card and a video camera.

Geragos seemed to be pointing to McGregor as a possible suspect or accomplice in the murder of Laci Peterson. When asked, however, Brocchini testified that his investigation found McGregor's alibi for the day of the disappearance checked out. He also told the defense attorney that McGregor had never been charged with the break-in because Scott Peterson declined to press charges.

Throughout the trial, Geragos has worked to portray the Modesto Police Department as incompetent and has endeavored to show that investigators ignored potential suspects while focussing their entire efforts on Scott Peterson.

Scott Peterson is on trial for the deaths of his wife and unborn son. If convicted he could receive the death penalty.