Eight years ago a jury sentenced Scott Peterson to death for murdering his wife and unborn son. Yesteday, he filed an appeal to the California Supreme Court which, thanks to a backlog, could take months, if not years to resolve. "Death penalty lawyer Cliff Gardner filed the 423-page document Thursday," reports The Associated Press. Gardner, on behalf of Peterson is arguing that there was too much publicity surrounding the case for it to be fair. "Before hearing even a single witness, nearly half of all prospective jurors admitted they had already decided Mr. Peterson was guilty of capital murder," Gardner argued.
The thing is, Scott Peterson isn't up against any deadline per se. California hasn't executed anyone since 2006, and only executed 13 inmates since 1978. And there are currently 725 inmates on California's death row. And The AP adds today that Peterson's appeal is expected to take months and maybe years to be resolved. "Appealing the death penalty can take two decades, meaning that the condemned prisoners are more likely to die behind bars of natural causes than be executed," wrote The AP last month. And though that delay is a relief for some, it seems that it also works against Peterson's appeal--if that's what he really wants. "We are moving at lightning speed compared to most automatic appeals," said Gardner last month. "He wants to establish his innocence."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.