Many remember Laci Peterson and her husband Scott Peterson, who was convicted in killing his wife and unborn son, Conner. Peterson, at age 36, was sentenced to death by lethal injection in March of 2005. The details of Laci’s death are speculation and theories put together by law enforcement, but Prosecution claimed Scott Peterson dumped his pregnant wife’s body in the San Francisco Bay on Christmas Eve of 2002. The State solicitors presented evidence that Peterson tied concrete weights to his wife’s limbs before boating out into the Bay and pushing her body over the side into the water.
Since his sentencing, Peterson has spent the last four years in San Quentin prison in California. His life in prison hasn’t changed much except he was moved to a cell with a sliver of a window with a view of the bay; the same one where he dumped his family.
The above photo is the latest mug shot – taken in June of 2007 – where his hair was clipped short by fellow inmates. Under his smirky face is a placard with his inmate number and the word: “Condemned.”
He can’t do much in his 4-by-9 foot cell on San Quentin’s death row, and has little choices, but he can decide how to decorate his wall. In his cell, Peterson has only one photo hanging across from his bunk…a smiling shot of Peterson and his wife, Laci. Other inmates plaster their cells with a collage of various photos and images. However minor that seems, it’s more than Laci has.
Predictions that Peterson would be ostracized because of his son’s death, have not occurred. Peterson gets along well with fellow inmates. He seems to have a group of guys he hangs with, but none who have the notoriety of Peterson. He spends five hours a day shooting hoops, doing pull-ups and playing cards with other inmates. Corrections officers seem to think the inmates perceive Peterson’s crime as just killing his pregnant wife and don’t consider the death of his son in their perception.
Peterson still receives regular visits from family and friends. He continues to receive letters from female fans who send money for his commissary account. According to San Quentin officials, Peterson has a significant amount of money in his account from people all over the world. He’s allowed to spend $180 a month on items such as soda, candy, cookies, toothpaste and deodorant. Sound like another person awaiting her trial in Orange County Florida jail?
Although confined behind the walls of prison, Peterson is able to reach out to the world through blogging on a Web site set up by his family. He is not allowed direct online connection to the internet, but he sends his comments to his family who post for him. Peterson claims he is the victim of a poorly managed police investigation. On March 16, 2005, Scott Peterson was sentenced to death and the judge stated the murder of Laci was “cruel, uncaring, heartless, and callous.” In addition to protesting his innocence, Peterson writes about others’ convictions. Peterson’s last post is on the recent arrest of the man suspected of killing Chandra Levy. Levy’s mother lives in Modesto, where the Petersons once lived.
Peterson’s Web page includes photos of him hugging his wife Laci and blog posts of his innocence. His personal Web site is maintained by his family who receives letters from Scott with his blog posts. They are in full support of Scott’s innocence and have an extensive coverage of the events leading up to Laci’s murder, along with all the court documents and transcripts. Oh, and they have a donate option if you would like to support his appeal. If you are interested in the case, it is an interesting read. ( http://www.scottpetersonappeal.org/ )
Laci’s family has been deprived of the joys of being grandparents and an ongoing relationship with their daughter. Not only do they deal with the fact their daughter is dead but with a horrendous crime by someone they all trusted and loved. Deception by love and trust at it’s finest, and Peterson continues to deceive people through his blog posts and pen-pal writings. Seems to me that once behind bars, convicted of a crime and sentenced to death, the public should not hear from an inmate. We should be sealed off from his psychopathic mind and deviant gibberish.
Peterson is not the only inmate in California’s prisons using the internet to state their case and connect with the outside world. How does this happen whereby inmates are allowed to state their case, connect with people, and solicit donations for appeal? Supporters of California’s inmates set up these Web sites for pen-pal postings, inmate writings, artwork, and photos. Most inmates use the nonprofit Canadian Coalition Against the Death Penalty which creates personal Web pages for death row inmates. Inmates are using modern technology to plea their cases in the court of public opinion.
The American Civil Liberties Union defends such Web sites calling it freedom of speech. I thought once convicted, prisoners ultimately lost their freedom, but as we recently heard from Linda Kinney-Baden on Geraldo, inmates still have rights. I’ve got some learning ahead of me. Fortunately, I did learn that Florida and Michigan recently adopted laws barring inmates from soliciting pen pals on the Internet.
Essentially, Scott Peterson, although sitting on death row, enjoys somewhat of notoriety with fan mail, heavily-ladened commissary account, online blogging, prison friendship, and lots of support for his innocence. Those who thought once Peterson was convicted and sent to prison would disappear were wrong. He continues to enjoy the freedom to reach out on his take of world events and his innocence, and routinely receives offers of marriage. His life goes on, although behind San Quentin walls, when his wife and son do not.
Geraldo Rivera’s show on May 31, 2009 featured attorneys for Casey Anthony. Linda Kinney-Baden, in New York, and Jose Baez, from Florida, answered questions and discussed the latest motion filed by Baez regarding the video of Casey Anthony in the medical unit at the Orange County Jail on December 10, 2008 when the remains of a child were found near her home.
Geraldo started out stating “Prosecutors have become twisted in their relentless pursuit of her life.” He went on to say he believed this is an “unprecedented move for a case of this sort.” Stating that he thought “Casey is most probably responsible for her daughter’s death,” Geraldo said the State is using every “dirty trick in the book,” including “manipulating witnesses.” He further stated the prosecutors are “leaking damning videotape and every deposition they can get their hands on.” This was his lead into the real issue of this segment with Anthony’s attorneys; the filming of Ms. Anthony’s reactions. Geraldo said Casey was maneuvered into the medical wing of the jail so “they could videotape her reaction to finding remains.”
Geraldo questioned Baez on his opinion as to whether he believed he will be successful in keeping this video from being released. Jose Baez stated he is using the “mode to keep video sealed” via a “suppression motion.” He went on to state that he “was at the jail trying to see Casey and was prevented from seeing her while they conducted this sham job.” Geraldo interjected with, “They denied her her right to counsel.” Geraldo stated he spoke with Baez the morning the remains were found and after Baez visited Casey that day.
Baez told Geraldo he was told he could not see Casey “until she was taken to medical and cleared.” Baez stated that he waited a lengthy period of time before he was allowed to visit his client while she was in medical. He said, “She thought she was being taken for medical treatment.” Geraldo’s comment was, “It seems so cheap with them releasing interviews.”
Geraldo then turned to Linda Kinney-Baden for her views on where the defense stands on the issue of the videotape. Ms. Baden stated that, “interviews were accidentially released” which “taints jury pool.” Ms. Baden further stated that as per media reports, “she (Casey) has no privacy rights.” Baden was emphatic in stating it’s untrue that inmates have no privacy rights. She seemed angered about the fact that while taping, someone “zoomed in on her (Casey) face while talking with her attorney and presented that as evidence that they were going to set out to the public.” Baden called this “outrageous.”
Geraldo’s legal analyst stated Casey’s contact with her attorney is “protective communications” and it’s “unethical” to tape. Her opinion was this “calls into question about the evidence in the case,” and the “Prosecutor must abide by the Constitution and uphold a person’s rights.”
Geraldo asked Baez to give his thoughts on the state charging Casey Anthony with Capital Murder. Baez stated he “does not think this is a death penalty case,” but “they (the prosecution) are aggressive with their public relations prosecution.” Due to the State’s tactics on this case, Jose Baez said they are, “mounting a strong defense and fight for her life.” Geraldo ended this segment with, “they are treating her as a serial murderer. I think it’s appalling.”
YouTube video of the Geraldo episode:
While viewing the episode I was literally enraged. That is exactly the reaction this show seeks. After viewing this segment all I could initially think of was Geraldo’s stinging remarks and how animated Baden seemed. I watched the video of this segment a couple of times and regained my rational perspective. Geraldo’s introduction and presentation of the facts were in his usual sensationalistic, showy mannerism. He started the segment with his typical firey pattern of using brusque words; accusing the State of “dirty tricks, manipulating witnesses, and leaking damning videotape.”
Geraldo made sure he inserted the fact that he spoke with Jose Baez that very day Caylee’s remains were found, not only once but twice. This comment seemed out of context with the subject Geraldo set in which Baez was responding. What did Geraldo having spoken with Baez twice that day by phone have to do with the defense’s attempts to suppress a videotape? Nothing. In my opinion, this was Geraldo’s attempt to validate to viewers his close involvement with the case and Jose Baez. Geraldo must feel important to be closely associated with Jose Baez, the up and coming Hispanic attorney battling the vicious media and Caucasion State Prosecutor. My remarks regarding his comment is about as important in this blog article as Geraldo’s remark that he spoke with Baez that day. It leads no where.
What I did find particularly amusing was that Geraldo actually stated that Casey was most probably guilty of killing her daughter. Neither Baden nor Baez commented on this statement. I would think since Geraldo is such good friends with Jose Baez, he would refrain from making such a damning remark regarding the defendent. Equally puzzling is the fact that Baez did not take Geraldo to task on this, which leads me to wonder if this is a subject Geraldo and Baez discussed in their ongoing conversations on this case. Maybe Baez revealed something to Geraldo which caused him to pronounce this judgement. One thing was clear to me in watching this segment…Geraldo’s snappy remarks were not on target with the subject.
Baden made one statement presenting a new fact. She stated “they zoomed in on her (Casey) face while she was talking with her attorney.” Baden indicated corrections officers were attempting to watch Casey’s lips in order to determine what she was possibly saying about the remains. So, in other words, this videotape might provide a lip reader with closeup views of Casey. If this is true that Casey’s face was zoomed on while she spoke with Baez then I agree, her right to privacy was violated. Since I’ve not seen this video, I cannot state this for certain. We, as the public, are left with the interpretation of her defense attorneys. The Prosecutor is not going to give her interpretation of the taping, so until a judge has reviewed the video and gives his official determination, we don’t know what is really on that tape.
In summary, Baez did not say anything new in his responses to Geraldo. Casey’s rights were discussed. As always, she has a right to speak confidentially with her lawyer, and she has a right for her medical treatment to remain confidential. Also, Baez continued to complain the Prosecution is trying this case in the public, and he reiterated he was not allowed to see his client when she asked to see him.
In my opinion, Geraldo was doing a favor for his friend, Baez. The defense wanted an opportunity to air their position on this videotape, so Baez took it to the one news show, if you can call it that, he trusted. Too bad Baez wasn’t listening closely when Geraldo said Casey most probably killed her daughter. Comments such as this could taint the jury pool. Hopefully, not many Floridians were watching. Baez cannot point the finger at the prosecution for this blunder. Perhaps Geraldo thought his last statement regarding Casey being treated as a “serial murderer” would make up for his previous condemnation of her. Still, Geraldo’s remarks were off target and dramatic to “beef up” the story and inflame the audience.
This four minute segment on the Casey Anthony case obviously was intended for the show’s ratings, but with an underlying purpose to give air time to the defense team. Baden and Baez presented their case views through this media outlet, of their choice, which is exactly what they’ve accused of the State of Florida District Attorney’s Office. Oddly, the Prosecution nor law enforcement has appeared on any shows discussing their case against Casey. The Defense team needs to call a spade a spade. They are up against the Sunshine laws, and now Geraldo’s damning statement and melodramatic journalism.
Drew Peterson has been in jail about three weeks on charges of two counts; murder and assault in a manner that is expected to cause death. He is currently being held in the Will County Adult Detention Facility in Joliet, Ill., on $20 million bail. He was arrested May 7.
Joel Brodsky, Peterson’s attorney, wants to pick the judge who will preside over his client’s murder trial. Chicago attorney Brodsky has repeatedly mentioned the possibility of trying to get Peterson’s case moved out of Will County, but on Friday, May 29th, after first filing a petition requesting a Cook county judge make the decision as to who will sit on the bench for Peterson’s trial, Brodsky filed a second petition asking that decision be left up to Will County Judge Richard Schoenstedt. Just last week, State’s Attorney James Glasgow accused Judge Schoenstedt of unspecified bias and succeeded, over Brodsky’s objection, in having him removed from the case. Brodsky is not only looking to get Judge Schoenstedt back on the trial, but wants the judge assigned in his place, Carla Allesio Policandriotes, out of the picture. In his petition, Brodsky said he “fears that (Peterson) will not receive a fair and impartial trial from” Policandriotes.
Solicitor Glasgow filed a motion also this week asking whichever judge does end up hearing the case to forbid attorneys from leaking information contained in discovery evidence. He intends to turn over evidence to the defense team this coming week. Glasgow also filed a motion requestiong the card games at the jail visits between Peterson and Brodsky discontinue. On May 24, Brodsky showed up at the Will County jail to see his client and they played cards during the attorney-client visit. Glasgow stated that Peterson is receiving preferential treatment which other inmates are not afforded. He asked the court to order Brodsky to converse with Peterson through a videoconference system. Peterson also is allowed unlimited visits with his attorneys.
Because Peterson is a former police officer and high-profile inmate, he is being kept in solitary confinement in the facility’s medical unit where he can be segregated from the general population. Behind the clear door of his 6-by-9 foot cell, Peterson has a bed, toilet, sink and shower, which faces a centralized open area where guards monitor activity from a raised command bridge.
Peterson is allowed out of the cell for 90 minutes each day when he can sit in the common area, look through the small library of lawbooks or use a computer that does not have Internet access for legal research. During this time period, Peterson can make collect phone calls to whomever he wants, as long as the collect calls are accepted. He can talk up to twenty minutes. It was during this time period that Peterson made his collect call to Mancow Muller’s radio show and joked about a new contest entitled “A Conjugal Visit with Drew.” Peterson complained that his “cuddling abilities have been taken away” and asked Muller to help him find love. How did Peterson get Muller’s phone number to the radio show? Joel Brodsky assured Muller that Peterson would provide some comedy for the show via phone calls.
Glasgow is worried Peterson won’t get a fair and impartial trial but his client has done everything possible to keep his face in the public’s eye. With the phone calls to the radio station, his on-again-off-again relationship with his teen-aged girlfriend, and his silly remarks to media about his “spiffy duds” and “bling” on his wrists, Peterson has made a mockery of the seriousness of the allegations against him and the corrections department, which is affiliated with the sheriff’s office where Peterson once worked.
Peterson talked about the showers being cold, the jail is cold, the “food is different,” and made a comment about the jail having seatbelts on the toliets due to the food. He stated he misses grooming his mustache and nose hairs, which is too much information for me, and said that the detention facility staff determines what TV programs he gets to see. In another attempt to be funny, Peterson claimed that if the female (gal) guards were in the day room, he has to watch the soap operas, but if the male (guy) officers are there, they watch sports. Yes, Drew Peterson is a sexist, IMO.
Some people are angry at his attempts to gain notoriety. The Will County Corrections facility has not had any other inmate try to bring attention to themselves through phone calls to radio stations or play to the media when escorted to court. Peterson’s jokes about his incarceration are a lame attempt to seek attention and portray himself as unconcerned over the current charges against him. In my opinion, all he’s done is show his arrogance and lack of respect for the law. This makes me wonder just what type of police officer was Peterson. He certainly didn’t just become an arrogant, sexist son-of-a-gun. Frankly, Peterson has shown no remorse for any of his actions or grief over the loss of his third ex-wife or the disappearance of his fourth wife.
People hate Peterson and have already determined he is guilty of not only killing Kathleen Savio, but his fourth wife, Stacy Peterson. Some cite that Peterson, having been a police officer for a number of years, is skilled in the art of crime. He knows how to commit a murder and not leave a trace. He’s studied crime scenes for most of his career as an officer. Has he developed the skills of a murderer?
Others despise him because he dates young girls, while some say Peterson is a victim of a witch hunt. He is presumed innocent at this time and no proof has been presented to indicate a homicide has occurred other than the second autopsy. The state must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Peterson commited the murder. His attorney plans to attack the law allowing Savio’s written and verbal concerns that Peterson was going to kill her. Prosecutor James Glasgow said Peterson told a fellow police officer that he would be financially ruined by a pending divorce, and life would be easier if Savio were dead. Peterson’s step-brother’s statement has already been attacked through his previous alcoholic behavior and depression. In the words of Joel Brodsky, Thomas Morphey has a history of mental issues. Peterson stated Morphey’s story of assisting him in moving a blue barrel from the home is untrue and his step-brother is “hallucinating.” Are these statements going to hold up in court? Where’s the hard evidence to tie Peterson to Savio’s death?
Peterson is due back in court June 17. Peterson has never shied from the media and has often offered up jokes and comedic antics over the past couple of years. His attorney claims this is Peterson’s way of dealing with stress. Let’s hope his comedy tour comes to an end and we don’t see any more attempts by him to joke and play to the media. This kind of behavior only fuels the anger from the public and makes it harder to find an impartial jury, but isn’t that what Peterson wants? Is his behavior truly a stress reliever or is it the actions of man who’s not taking life, as it is for him now, seriously? Is Peterson actually laughing in the faces of the legal system because he knows he done a great job covering up any evidence to link him to any crime?