The Appeals Process Begins

When Judge Delucchi sentenced Scott to San Quentin's death row on March 16, 2005, we entered a new phase of this tragedy -- the Appeals Process.  SII documents the developments and media coverage of this process, as well as other related developments, such as the Civil Suit and books published.


17 March 2005  Police & prosecutors hold press conference

The news conference at police headquarters was the first opportunity for police and prosecutors who built the circumstantial case against the 32-year-old to discuss at length the work they began on Dec. 24, 2002 — the day Peterson reported the expectant mother missing.  Brocchini and another detective, Jon Buehler, said that it was an inside joke in the department that he and three other detectives at the center of the investigation only had high-school diplomas, but the man they were pursuing held a degree from California Polytechnic University.  "He liked to think he was smarter than everybody," Brocchini said. "I want him to know I have a high-school diploma only." Brazelton said he would have arrested Scott and pressed charges even if the bodies had not been found.


22 March 22 2005  The Shack owners use Scott's former ownership as selling point

The ModBee reported that the current owners of The Shack, in San Luis Obispo, are using Scott's former ownership as a selling point.  "The Shack was founded by Scott and Laci Peterson in 1998," reads an eBay advertisement for the sports bar and grill with an asking price of $199,000.


17 Feb 2006  Proposed Senate Bill 1328, Allow victim of a crime to be present at all criminal proceedings

California Senator Jeff Denham (R-Merced) introduced SB 1328 to allow victims of crime to be present at all court proceedings.  Denham said the proposal stems from problems Sharon Rocha faced in the Scott Peterson trial. The public announcement of SB 1328 is laden with misinformation.  “Sharon and her family had already been through enough emotional stress and were forced to deal with the complications of not having a seat in the courtroom available to them.”  This is a blatant lie.  Laci's family had a seat in the courtroom every day.  The only days they were not present during the trial is when they intentionally were absent because of certain testimony being given or as a tantrum-like reaction to Judge Delucchi's decision to not have either family sitting so close to each other.  Laci's friends were prohibited from attending the trial because they were called as witnesses, but that rule was set aside for Sharon, Ron Grantski, Brent Rocha, Rose Rocha, Amy Rocha, and Laci's aunt -- all who testified. 


There is something terribly wrong when a courtroom is allowed to be packed with people, complete strangers to Laci (except for us), who want to witness the sentencing of the man who murdered her, yet, the people who have known and loved Laci for most, if not all her life, the people who SHOULD and NEED to be in that courtroom are shut out,” continued Rocha. “Laci would be so upset to know that the people who worked so hard to find her, and to put Scott in prison, won’t be allowed to witness his sentencing. She would be heartbroken to know her family and dearest, lifelong friends won’t be allowed to witness the sentencing of the man who murdered her because their seats were taken by people who felt the need to be a part of the circus atmosphere in the courtroom far outweighs the needs of Laci’s loved ones to witness justice being served on her and Conner’s behalf.”

The truth is, extra seats were taken from the public to give to the Rocha family.  Yes, some of Laci's family were excluded.  An aunt and uncle that attended faithfully every day were shut out because there were not enough seats.  Surely, Brocchini, or Grogan, or Kim Peterson, or the hairdresser for one of the ADA's wives could have given up their seats for this dedicated aunt and uncle.  It was Kim Peterson who told them there was no room for them in the Inn.

The bill died in Committee on May 3, 2006.

COURTROOM BILL DIES: Legislation to allow crime victims and their families into courtrooms, regardless of whether they might testify, died in a state Senate committee Tuesday. Although the vote was 1-0, other members of the panel did not vote on the bill, said its author, state Sen. Jeff Denham, D-Merced.

12 Jul 2006  Scott is deposed at San Quentin

Scott was deposed for an hour in preparation for the wrongful death civil suit.  The deposition was made public in June 2008.  Scott asserted his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination at the beginning of the proceeding, then declined to answer questions throughout the deposition.  The deposition was made public in June 2008, and includes these statements from Scott:

"An objective look at the evidence showed that I did not kill my family."
"I've been wrongfully convicted of killing my family."
"On the advice of my attorney, I'm not going to be answering any questions. How much, however much I would love to, I'm sorry, I continue to not answer your questions on the advice of my attorney."
"Well, it's difficult being innocent and being in this position."
"It's ridiculous what happened."
"I love my wife ... I love my son. I will always love them. I have always loved them. I should be able to hug them right now. I should be able to hold my son. But, you know, this Modesto Police Department never investigated for them. They could have brought them home ... and that's the reality we have today."
"I should be able to hold them and love them and kiss them."

31 Oct 2007  Decision, Principal Life Insurance Company vs. Scott Peterson, Fifth Appellate District

"The present appeal is from a judgment in a civil action awarding the life insurance proceeds to the Estate of Laci Peterson (the Estate). 1 The insurer, Principal Life Insurance Company (Principal), brought an interpleader action (see Code Civ. Proc., § 386) alleging that both appellant and the Estate claimed to be entitled to the life insurance proceeds. Principal asked for an order discharging it from any liability to appellant or to the Administrator of the Estate, and directing appellant and the Administrator to litigate between themselves their claims to the proceeds of the life insurance policy. Principal, appellant and the Administrator stipulated to the entry of such an order. The insurance policy proceeds were deposited with the clerk of the Superior Court of Stanislaus County, and Principal was dismissed from the action."


Ruling:  "Any evidence that appellant did not feloniously and intentionally kill his wife would have created a triable issue of fact. Appellant presented no such evidence, and the superior court properly granted the Administrator's motion."

26 Feb 2008 Judge Delucchi died

Delucchi was originally appointed to the Municipal Court in 1971 by Gov. Ronald Reagan, promoted to Superior Court in 1984 by Gov. George Deukmejian, and retired from active duty in 1998.  He was called out of retirement in 2004 to preside over the Scott Peterson trial.  "I've sentenced seven people to die, and every time I do it, I get a lump in my throat," he said in an online interview with his alma mater Santa Clara Law School after the trial. "It's not easy. If you're not affected, you're not a human being. You're sitting there condemning somebody to die."  After the Peterson trial, Delucchi made a rare exception and did an interview with Santa Clara Law.  The subsequent article gives more background on Delucchi's career, including that he has had only one reversal in over 30 years on the Bench. 

23 Jun 2008  Civil Wrongful Death suit trial postponed

The trial, set for July 8, has been postponed.  July 21 is the date set for a hearing in which Judge Beauchesne will set a new trial date.


26 Jun 2008  Amber Frey again in the news

Frey appeared on CBS's The Early Show to discuss her involvement in the case.  "A devout Christian, Frey is also giving back. She has just returned from a ministry project in Mexico building homes for the poor."