The unprecedented dismissal of two Jurors after deliberations began.
This is an area of debate, whether the dismissal of a juror after deliberations began requires the dismissal of the entire jury and a new trial. Normally, alternates are selected in case a juror has to be dismissed during the trial. In this case, two jurors were dismissed after deliberations began.
The Trial Court erred in allowing the dog-trailing evidence.
The Trial Court conducted 402 evidentiary hearings in February and March of 2004. Two dog handlers testified at those hearings about the results of their trailing and cadaver dogs. The trailing dogs failed to follow Laci's scent from the house (523 Covena) to the truck to the Warehouse on Emerald Street, even though the State's theory was that Scott carried Laci's dead body from the house and loaded her into the truck and then drove to the warehouse. That is exonerating evidence. The cadaver dogs failed to alert to in the house, anywhere on the property, in the truck and in the boat. That is exonerating evidence.
The only portion of the dog evidence allowed in was the alert at the Berkeley Marina, under the claim that the bodies being found where they were was corroborating evidence. Yet no evidence was even produced at the pre-trial hearings to establish that the bodies washed ashore from where Scott was fishing. The Trial Court just assumed they had.
To allow only the incriminating dog evidence while excluding the exonerating evidence was unduly prejudicial against Scott.
The Amber tapes were prejudicial, not probative
The jury was subjected to hours and hours of taped recorded conversations between Amber Frey and Scott Peterson. These tapes had no evidentiary value. Their sole purpose was to inflame the Jury against Scott. The Trial Court allowed them under the pretext that they showed his state of mind after Laci disappeared. However, an analysis of the phone calls, and the calling pattern, demonstrates that each day Amber was the first to call, and often a couple of time, and Scott's calls to her were late in the evening when nothing further could be done to look for Laci. Indeed, the analysis suggests that Amber is the one engineering the continued phone relationship, not Scott. Since she was working for the police as their agent, this may well constitute entrapment.
The Trial Court erred by not allowing the Defense to present its boat demo.
The Defense prepared a demonstration with someone in a boat similar to Scott's and in the same area of the Bay attempting to put an object the size and weight of Laci overboard and into the Bay. The Trial Court refused to allow this demonstration on the basis that it could not precisely duplicate the conditions that Scott faced on December 24, 2002. Yet the Trial Court allowed the Prosecution to present a demonstration of a woman the size of Laci and pregnant getting into the boat and curling up to fit in between the seats. This demonstration did not duplicate the conditions Scott would have faced. Laci was dead, not alive. Laci had to be put into the boat, she couldn't climb into it herself. Laci had to be forced between the seats, she couldn't twist and turn until she fit. Most importantly, Laci most likely was at maximum rigor mortis.
The Trial Court also allowed the testimony of David Weber, VP Engineering, Lowe Boats, regarding the boat's stability when those stability tests are undergone under remarkably different conditions than Scott would have faced.