California v. Scott Peterson

Scott Peterson met Laci Rocha in 1994 while Peterson was working in the Pacific Cafe in Morro Bay, California.  They began dating and were married in 1997.  To the outside world, they had a picture perfect marriage.  Scott got a good job with an agricultural products sales company and Laci worked as a substitute teacher.  They bought a house, and in 2002 Laci announced that they would be welcoming their first child in February 2003.

But under the surface, Scott was coming apart.  He had extramarital affairs, including one which began in November 2002, while his wife was several months pregnant.  He told the woman that he was a widower.  Less than two months later, on Christmas Eve 2002, Laci Peterson went missing.

The bodies of Laci and the developed fetus were found in April 2003.  Within a week, Scott Peterson was arrested and charged with murder.

In this episode, Paul explains the confusing process of jury selection, how the process of whittling down an entire jury panel to the people who actually hear the case takes place.

Additionally, we look at the difference between direct and circumstantial evidence.  Paul explains what the difference is, that there is no inherent hierarchy of credibility between the two, and how an entire prosecution can be built solely on circumstantial evidence and yet be every bit as convincing as if there were direct witnesses to the event.

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