Vetting the members of the jury is an essential part of the legal process. It is especially vital in a murder trial as a bad jury pick could lead to a variety of situations, such as a mistrial or a ruling for a new case.
That is what is happening, according to Newsweek, in the case of Scott Peterson. Peterson was convicted of murdering his wife and unborn son in 2002.
The request for a new trial comes as news about one of the jurors in the original case reveals she was in an abusive relationship. This is news she did not present when asked during jury selection. Holding back this information is a failure to disclose and would likely have led to her dismissal from the jury pool.
Lawyers also say she had other incidents in her history involving her unborn child’s safety that would have made her an unlikely juror pick due to bias. She had chances throughout the process to disclose this information, but she failed to do so.
This juror voted for the death penalty against Peterson after convicting him on the charges.
Beyond misconduct as a juror, Peterson’s lawyers say she ruined his chance at a fair trial. This is an essential right every person has guaranteed under the law.
Someone with a history of abuse from a romantic partner and fears for the life of her unborn child would not make a good person to decide the fate of someone accused of harming his wife and unborn child. The judge will have to decide if this is grounds enough to allow Peterson to have a completely new trial with a new jury.