Stages of the Criminal Trial
This stage is an examination of potential jurors to ensure a fair trial for the defendant. Ideally, voir dire will result in an impartial jury for the trial of the accused. On March 4, 2004 jury selection began for the trial of Scott Peterson. Nearly 100 potential jurors began answering questionnaires about their views on the death penalty and their opinions on extramarital affairs. The nearly 30-page questionnaire given to prospective jurors also included questions as whether they read Field and Stream, what stickers grace their car bumpers and whether they have lost a child. On April 14, 2004 Judge Alfred A. Delucchi dismissed an unidentified Redwood City woman after a brief meeting in his chambers. Defense attorney Mark Geragos two weeks early had accused the retired secretary of bragging to her friends on a bus trip to Reno, Nevada, that she has "passed the test" to get on Peterson's jury and that Peterson was "guilty as hell" and would "get what's due him." May 28, 2004 six men and six women were selected for Scott Peterson's murder trial all said they would be willing to sentence him to death if they convict him of killing his wife and the couple's fetus.
In the opening statements both side of the case make opening statements to lay the foundation of their cases. Opening statements are not allowed to be argumentative and cannot be considered evidence by the jury; they are the road maps laying out where each side intends to take its case. First the prosecution presented its case. They alleged Peterson killed his wife in their Modesto home because he was having an affair, then drove her body nearly 100 miles to San Francisco Bay and heaved it overboard from his small boat. Prosecution offered a steady drum beat of small bits of circumstantial evidence. From the Russian poetry Peterson read his mistress to the fishing gear in his alibi to the dessert featured on a...
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